We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Fainting Couch?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A fainting couch is a backless couch that typically has one end raised, against which a person can recline. This type of couch might have been made before the 19th century, but the term "fainting couch" wasn’t commonly used until the 19th century. Fainting couches were made for women, especially because so many women in the 1800s wore corsets. A tight corset kept a woman almost breathless, making it much more likely that she would faint. Some homes and hotels even had fainting rooms, where women could catch their breath on these couches.


This type of couch is similar to a chaise lounge. It often looks like a small, narrow day bed. Most of these couches have four carved, wooden legs. Various fabrics can cover modern fainting couches, though velvet or microfiber tend to be the preferred upholstery fabric.

A fainting couch sometimes has a foot section, which usually is not upholstered. The most popular style in the 21st century does not feature a foot section. Instead it merely looks like an extended chair and is about 5-6 feet (1.52-1.83 m) in length.

Some modern versions of a fainting couch have a partial back. Part of the fainting couch might have an upholstered, rising back with a suggestive feminine curve. This provides additional support for the upper body as a person reclines on the couch.


Some people enjoy using a fainting couch in their bedroom instead of their living room. Restless sleepers might enjoy having an extra spot to try sleeping. The headrest of the fainting couch can provide a way to sleep in a semi-seated position, which can be difficult to do in a bed. Although a reclining chair supplies the same type support, many people prefer the elegance of fainting couches to the bulky aspects of recliners.

Considerations when Purchasing

As with all furniture, fainting couches will vary considerably in price. Inexpensive models often have cheap fabric, and more expensive models might be covered with velvet or leather. The more expensive coverings might be more durable, so couches that have them could end up being better bargains. High-end fainting couches with elegant designs also are available.

Antique fainting couches also are popular among many people. These are not in short supply, because they were popular furniture items through most of the 19th century. Many antiques stores will have them, or they can be found online through various websites. Anyone who is looking to purchase an antique couch should look for sturdy legs, fabric that is in good condition and cushions that still exhibit some spring.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon989373 — On Mar 03, 2015

Women were not out of breath because of corsets. There are many pictures of women wearing corsets while horse back riding and such.

By anon341111 — On Jul 08, 2013

Until someone shows you a bill of sale from the 19th century that lists a 'fainting couch,' I would be suspicious of the term. I keep waiting to see an actual advertisement from a Victorian furniture manufacturer listing their 'fainting couches' for sale. What's the guarantee that anyone would be near the thing when they were feeling faint? A lovely sofa, couch, chaise lounge(French for long chair), maybe, but a fainting couch?

And as a person who dances in a corset, I take issue with the stereotype that all the corset wearing Victorians wandered around breathless all the time. And how many children did they have? How did the housework get done? Corsets are very supportive (albeit hot) for physical activities as long as you don't lace too tightly, and the corset fits properly. Certainly some women were uncomfortable. Should we start talking about the high heeled shoes of today?

By naturesgurl3 — On Sep 17, 2010

I was once in a play set in the Victorian era and got to regularly "faint" on a vintage swan fainting couch. When I first saw that on the props list I though it was just a brand name, like an Eastlake fainting couch, another famous fainting couch brand. But no, the thing actually had a swan carved into it!

A beautiful piece, but not overly practical by today's standards, I suppose.

By rallenwriter — On Sep 17, 2010

My best friend's parents are quite well-off, and they had an antique Victorian red leather fainting couch. Of course, nobody ever sat on it, but it looked really cool. It was in great condition, and the carving on the legs was so detailed. It made a great conversation piece, as long as you remembered not to sit on it -- that was a sure way to get permanently un-invited to their house.

By TunaLine — On Sep 17, 2010

I had no idea that there was actually a thing called a fainting couch, much less that you could still purchase fainting couch furniture! And here I thought I was fancy when I traded out my living room sofas and got a sectional couch...

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a HomeQuestionsAnswered contributor,...
Learn more
HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.