The sofa is arguably the most important piece of furniture in your living room. Aside from a bed, it’s a necessity when it comes to your interior furnishings. It’s not only the centerpiece of your living room, but it’s also where you may gather with friends and family for a cocktail party, watch movies on Friday nights, and discuss some of life’s most important moments. It’s more than just a living room – it’s your living space, centered around the sofa. We’re here to share a quick guide to help you pick out the sofa design that best fits your style and make your living room feel more like home.
Introduction to sofa designs:
Let’s first explore the sofa’s rich history. For a piece of living room furniture that is so common, it certainly has a unique and interesting past. The sofa, also called a couch, settee, or sometimes futon, has a long history dating back to 2000 BC. It is said we can thank the Egyptians for this interior design staple, as sofa-like designs were reportedly used by pharaohs. Despite this piece of furniture being reserved for only the wealthiest in society, they were not nearly as comfortable as the fabric sofas we know and love today since they were primarily made of wood. Eventually, sofas became more of an everyday object, not limited to only a portion of society. We’d be remiss if we didn’t also point out an important turning point for the modern sofa. In18th century Europe, Lord Phillip Stanhope, The Fourth Earl of Chesterfield, mandated the creation of a multi seater piece of furniture that would not wrinkle clothing. Born was what we know today as The Chesterfield, a classic, yet comfortable sofa. We can thank the Earl for his trendsetting and fashion-forward request. Now if only all modern sofas didn’t wrinkle our clothing!
Sofas also play an important role in the history of the living room. As we all know, the sofa became what defines these rooms in our homes, and without this furniture design, our living rooms would be vastly different. They are the pinnacle of the modern living room and serve an important role in its functionality.
List of Unique Sofa designs and specifications
Since you can now recite a 30-second version of the sofa’s long history, let’s dive into the types of sofa designs that could potentially make their way into your living room. Sofas, like other pieces of furniture and art, are often representative of a certain period of time. They showcase the styles of that time, but today that’s fortunately with a bit of a modern spin, such as the use of upholstery on an antique English sofa from the 1800s.
Keep in mind these design ideas should assist in helping you find the perfect sofa, and we believe you’ll know the right sofa for your living room design once you see it. After all, the focal point of your living area should be uniquely you.
Our complete list of sofa designs includes: Chesterfield sofas, Chaise lounges, English Arm Roll, Tufted sofas, Modern sofas, Mid-century Modern sofas, Scandinavian sofas, Sectionals, Modular sofas, and Sleeper sofas. However, there are more sofas than we can list out here. If none of these sofas speak to you, there are a plethora of other options available.
Classic sofas: Chesterfield, Chaise lounge, English Arm Roll, and Tufted
“Classic sofas” are a bit of an all encompassing category and really can be many types of sofas dating back multiple centuries.
The Chesterfield Sofa: We already touched on the Chesterfield sofa, but that is a great example of a classic design that is still heavily used in the 21st century. It screams tried and true no matter what you upholster it with – though we do love a good velvet or leather sofa. You can’t beat the durability or high-quality of either of these fabrics, especially if your household includes pets and children.
Tufted Sofa: Tufted sofas are another classic style that derives from Earl Chesterfield’s design, because it actually serves a very functional purpose. Tufting is simply a fancy way of saying buttons or stitches are sewn to create a certain elegant look. However, this design characteristic is also very functional: it stays in place and doesn’t bunch up, which can prevent wrinkles in clothing, as Chesterfield so desired. Unlike the classic chesterfield sofa, tufted style can be applied to other sofas and isn’t just limited to the Earl’s one style.
Chaise Lounge: The chaise lounge is really more of a chair that’s long enough for someone to stretch their legs across it. In short, it was a place to retire if or when you didn’t want to go to your bedroom. During the Victorian era, sofas were designed with social and fashion norms in mind. Since women often had to wear tight undergarments, fainting was unfortunately quite common and sofas played an important role in helping women recover when out socializing. You may even see Victorian drawing rooms referred to as “fainting rooms” if you decide to read up on this interesting history. Today, this is what’s known as a chaise lounge, which almost looks like a fancy sofa bed + recliner. Thankfully, we no longer need fainting rooms or fainting sofas, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still love the traditional sofa look (but only if it has modern conveniences including comfortable seat cushions, armrests, and of course, throw pillows!).
English Roll Arm: The English Roll Arm sofa is essentially a classic sofa with rolled arms that are low profile and slightly sloped. Additionally, this style of sofa has deep seating and statement legs, perfect if you’ve always dreamed of living in a beautiful London flat.
Modern style sofas: mid-century modern sofas, Scandinavian sofas, and the modern sofa
Like classic sofas, modern sofas can be all encompassing, but there are a few key styles worth pointing out.
The Modern Sofa: A “traditional” modern sofa is a minimalist’s dream. This now classic design is both modern and universal at the same time – it’s a great way to add a modern flare, no matter your style!
Mid-century Modern Sofa: These modern sofas are typically sleek but still make a strong statement. They are very proportional and stem from the American design movement that was highly popular from 1945-1969, though we could argue it’s still a design staple.
Scandavian Sofa: Scandanvian sofas are similar to mid-century modern sofas, because their emphasis is on minimal design, neutral tones, and simplicity. If you’re a fan of the hygge mindset, you’ve probably brought this decor style into your life to help create coziness and comfort in a modern way.
Modern Sectional: A sectional sofa probably doesn’t need much explaining. It’s a fan favorite, but what you may not know is that like the chaise, it was also very popular in the Victorian era. However, it wasn’t until the 1950s that the sectional sofa evolved into what we know today: the corner sofa. While it may not be the best for small spaces given its size, it’s certainly a crowd pleaser if your living room can fit a sectional sofa. Many sectionals today can actually be broken out into two sofa sets, so it does provide some additional flexibility if you’re the kind of person who likes to constantly redecorate.
Other creative sofa designs and styles: Modular and sleeper sofas
If you aren’t a fan of any of the sofas mentioned above, don’t worry. There are more types of sofas, couches, and loveseats out there than we could ever fit here. Check out a few of these unique sofa designs, especially if your number one priority is comfort (hint, hint – we highly recommend a modular sofa if that’s the case).
Modular Sofa: A modular sofa is calling your name for your movie-theatre inspired living area, go for it. This unusual sofa should really be called a structured bean bag with a backrest, because let’s face it, the goal is comfort.
Sleeper Sofa: The sleeper sofa serves two purposes: sofa by day and bed by night. It’s the perfect investment if you frequently have guests visiting or you just want the option in case family happens to pop into town. These sofas can vary, but include full pull out sofas, futons, and even daybeds, which are great for a small home office.
Summary of sofa styles:
Your living room sofa is one of the most important pieces of home decor for homeowners and renters alike, and it should always always make your house feel like home. All you need to do is pair your sofa coffee table, and voila! Your space is complete.