The couch was invented by Jay Wellingdon Couch in 1895, although the sofa was invented earlier. The earliest image of a sofa can be seen on the engraving "Woman of Quality on a Canape" in 1686.
The first type of sofa was a low-backed style that was called a canape. Sopha comes from the Arabic term for cushion and many French people were calling them sofas or sophas. In the late 1690s and early 1700s, craftsmen were becoming more skilled at sofa making. They began using new tools and techniques to carve or sculpt the wood. The sofas began to be more comfortable and also to have a more sophisticated aesthetic.
With the new sofas came a new attitude around the French court. Ladies can be seen in the old photographs lounging around on the sofas by draping their arms over the back, tucking up their feet and stretching out their legs. This was quite a new sight for a noblewoman in the 1690s. Some people had sofas in every room of their home or even several in one room while others complained that people were stretched out too often and didn't have any in their homes. German visitors in particular, when visiting the French court, complained that the court no longer looked like a court with the sofas and the people lounging about.