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what side surrounds are you using? From what I have read the rear channels in a 7.1 config should have direct firing speakers and the side surrounds should use the bipoles.

Could you swap the two if you have direct firing speakers on the sides? As for placement, typically about 2 feet above the listeners ears and spaced about 6 feet apart. You might have to squeeze them a bit to fit them over the couch.
 

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I wouldn't bother with rear speakers in a setup like that. There's no way to put them behind you. I'd sooner pay more attention (and $$) to room acoustics. Your room could benefit from such treatment.
 
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