A sofa is one of the most important additions to your home. Naturally, you want to get the best sofa that will last you a long time. However, it becomes difficult to settle for a particular option due to the large variety of styles available.
Whether you want a traditional or modern look, the design of your sofa plays a key role since it is usually the centerpiece of any space. Although most people imagine a Camelback or sectional sofa when sofas are mentioned, there are many different styles of sofas.
Keep on reading to learn more about the different types of sofas.
Table of Contents
1. Sectional Sofa
Sectional sofas consist of multiple sofas, usually two to five. The modern sectional sofa evolved from early Victorian era designs consisting of two or more sofas pushed together. The modern sectional sofa has been around since the 1950s and is still fairly popular.
You can arrange the pieces of a sectional sofa in many configurations. Sectional sofas are the easiest to move since you can separate the components. All sectional sofas come with fixtures to keep the pieces in place.
They are available in many sizes and materials due to their popularity. The three common types of sectional sofas include:
L-shaped Sectional Sofa: The L-shaped sectional sofa is excellent for smaller spaces. It maximizes seating space without cluttering your room. It consists of an attached chaise so that you can recline and relax.
U-shaped Sectional Sofa: If you have ample space and a big family, a U-shaped sectional sofa is an excellent option for you. It is best for large living rooms and those who prefer to recline on their sofa. U-shaped sectional sofas tend to be bulkier than other types of sectional sofas.
Curved Sectional Sofa: Curved sectional sofas give your space a distinctive look. They ensure that all people seated can engage in conversation without being stuck at the corner of the sofa. Curved sectional sofas look great and add an art deco touch to your space.
2. Chesterfield Sofa
The origin of the Chesterfield sofa is a commission by Lord Philip Stanhope, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield, in the 18th century. He desired a comfortable piece of furniture that would prevent the wrinkling of his clothes.
The Chesterfield sofa is a fancier sofa known for its quilted or tufted style. Most Chesterfield sofas only feature the tufted design on the back and arms, while some also have tufted seats. Chesterfield sofas add an old school touch to your space.
3. Bridgewater Sofa
The Bridgewater sofa, also called the birch-arm or Engish three-seater sofa, is a traditional design that originated in Great Britain. Its main features include a softly-rolled back, low rolled arms, loose cushions, and a skirt that hides the legs. Modern Bridgewater sofas may or not include the skirt.
The Bridgewater sofa is a comfortable yet casual design. It consists of rolled arms that sit lower than its back. The back of the Bridgewater sofa often features a tufted design. While this sofa style is very comfortable, it rarely plays the role of a centerpiece in any room. The Bridgewater design fits most room sizes and is a traditional staple.
Another benefit to this design is its versatility since it blends in with any room decor. You can use a neutral color if you want other furniture and accessories to stand out. If you want a more traditional look, opt for velvet fabric. A well-constructed Bridgewater sofa is comfortable and lasts a long time.
4. Lawson-Style Sofa
The Lawson-style sofa is a popular design available in many colors and materials. It is a relatively new style and was first created in the early 20th century for financier Thomas Lawson. He desired a comfortable sofa with a modern look. The Lawson-style sofa is inspired by the Tuxedo sofa.
The Lawson-style sofa is one of the most comfortable designs one can find. Its characteristic feature is its back pillows, which are not attached to the frame like regular sofas. This provides softer cushioning, unlike the rigid back pillows on some sofa designs. You can adjust the cushions for your comfort.
5. English Rolled Arm Sofa
The English Rolled Arm sofa made its first appearance in the early 20th century at British country manors. Often referred to as the furniture equivalent of meatloaf, this is one of the most comfortable and classic sofa designs.
The characteristic features of the English sofa include a taut back, plush seat cushions, and rounded arms lower than the back. It is similar to the Bridgewater-style sofa, but the upholstery is tighter and the arms are lower. Some English sofas may also feature arms so low that they seem armless.
The English Rolled Arm sofa is a timeless staple that is incredibly versatile. With a few changes, this sofa easily belongs in modern interiors as well. Depending on whether you want a traditional or contemporary design, change up the sofa’s legs and fabric.
6. Camelback Sofa
The Camelback sofa made its first appearance in the late 18th century. It was created in Great Britain by Thomas Chippendale furniture design studios. The Camelback sofa was popular among British aristocrats during the era for its durability, elegance, and expert craftsmanship.
The Camelback sofa is named for its unique shape, which resembles a camel’s humps. The back is high and descends gradually into the arms, with two visible curves. The legs and arms of the sofa feature exposed wood. The back and seat of the sofa are taut, sometimes even tufted for an elegant look. Traditional Camelback sofas have Quee-Anne style claw-and-ball feet.
Camelback sofas are a good fit for formal living rooms and parlors. If you want a more modern Camelback sofa, choose a brightly colored and patterned fabric.
7. Mid-Century Modern Sofa
Mid-Century Modern style furniture was widely popular from the 1930s to the 1970s. This style’s main focus is practicality, simplicity, and elegance. With a minimalistic design and structure, this sofa shines in any contemporary interior.
Mid-century modern style furniture can be traced back to the second World War. With many German designers immigrating to America, their Bahaus style inspired American designers. The main characteristics of Bahaus style are clean lines, geometric shapes, and smooth surfaces. Mid-Century Modern sofas are available in a variety of materials and fabrics.
8. Contemporary Mid-Century Modern Sofa
The Contemporary Mid-Century Modern style and Mid-Century Modern style sofa have certain elements in common but differ in comfort. Similar to the Mid-century modern sofa, this style uses modern materials such as plastic and glass.
However, it is much more comfortable than the Mid-century modern sofa since it features deep cushions and soft fabrics. Contemporary mid-century modern style sofas are simplistic but versatile and work well in a variety of interiors.
9. Chaise Lounge
The Chaise Lounge is a popular sofa design that is incredibly versatile. Chaise Lounge comes from “chaise longe” which means long chair in French. They are usually found in bedroom suites and on the patio. The Chaise Lounge looks similar to a sofa but has no arms. One raised arm is present to lean your back against, while the other side is open.
The modern Chaise Lounge sofa has existed since 3000 BC where Egyptians constructed similar sofas with palm stalks, rawhide, and wood. Greeks and Romans also used similar sofas for reclining while reading or eating. The French Chaise Lounge became popular during the French Rococo period where it usually consisted of rare, costly materials.
10. Cabriole Sofa
The Cabriole sofa’s characteristic features are uniform back and arms, which are at the same height. With most designs, the arms curve inward, creating a long line that runs along the sofa’s length. Traditional Cabriole sofas feature exposed wood trim on the top, arms, and bottom of the sofa and long, exposed wood legs.
There are some modern versions of the Cabriole sofa that include more cushioning rather than wood trim. Cabriole sofas add a sophisticated touch to any space.
11. Sleeper Sofa
Sleeper sofas offer maximum space to recline and put your feet up. These sofas are comfortable and can be used as a bed. There are many types of sleeper sofas, such as futons and the popular pull-out sofa bed.
The Futon is a combination of sofas and beds. Generally, the back of the sofa folds downward to create more room. The Futon is similar to a convertible sofa bed, but it is slightly different. Unlike other sofa beds where the mattress is hidden under the frame, the Futon’s back and seat work as mattress or sofa elements.
Pull-out Sofa Beds
The Pull-out Sofa bed has been around for a couple of decades and has changed vastly over the years. This style usually features a mattress that hides under the frame and can be pulled out. It is a convenient solution if you have guests that staying the night in a small apartment. Unlike Futons, the pull-out sofa bed does not flatten fully, so the back remains upright.
Daybeds are a great way to save space while staying comfortable. You can use them for a daytime nap, but they might be uncomfortable for taller people. A daybed looks similar to a Chaise Lounge, but it has a wooden back and end, like a bed. Use some colorful cushions and a throw blanket to give your daybed a cozy look.
Similar to a Futon, a convertible sofa can be flattened to create a wide sleeping area. There is no mattress, but the back and seat cushions double as a mattress. Convertible sofas are great for people living in small apartments who want to save space. If you have guests staying the night often, a convertible sofa is a great choice.
Bunk Bed Sleeper
A bunk bed sleeper sofa is rare but available at some furniture stores. In such a sofa, the top and bottom half of the sofa separate to create two sleeper sofas. The top half is raised at a certain height, similar to a bunk bed. If you have a cabin or vacation home that you visit with family, a bunk bed sleeper is a great solution to ensure sleeping space for all children.
The Divan is a Middle-Eastern sofa comprised of a frame that has no back and seat cushions. It is like a long seat, similar to a Chaise Lounge, but the Divan has no back support. Divans are a bit impractical because you don’t have many options for placement. However, you can place the cushions in any way you like. The only way to set up a Divan is against the wall with back cushions for comfort.
There are modern versions of the Divan that feature some back support. Generally, there are two wooden ends on each side for support.
13. Settee Sofa
A Settee sofa is similar to a Chaise Lounge but has a back and arms. The oldest version of the modern settee dates back to 17th century Europe. Although the settee was designed to accommodate two people, they are narrow and uncomfortable. The characteristic features of a settee include a high back, shallow seat cushions, tight upholstery, and long, exposed wooden legs.
Although the terms settee and sofa are now used interchangeably, the settee is very different from a sofa. Settees have a slimmer profile and add a formal look to your space. Since they are narrow and small, they are great for entryways, coffee nooks, and formal parlors.
14. Loveseat Sofa
Loveseat sofa generally refers to a two-seater sofa that comes in many styles. It is a modern take on the Settee but is much more comfortable. Loveseat sofas are similar to regular sofas but differ in size. When looking for a loveseat, you will find many sizes such as small, medium, and full.
The best place for a loveseat sofa is in the bedroom or at the foot of your bed. They are great for lounging by the fireplace with your loved ones.
15. Tuxedo Sofa
A Tuxedo sofa is a sleek and elegant piece of furniture that adds a sophisticated look to any space. It is an overstuffed sofa that has upholstered arms at the same height as the back. The arms may either be curved or straight. Although not the most comfortable sofa, Tuxedo sofas shine in modern interiors. They look great in a variety of colors and fabrics, but velvet and leather are the most common.
The Tuxedo sofa was first seen in the 1920s in Tuxedo Park, New York. Modern Tuxedo sofas have a straight, streamlined back compared to the old version with curved arms.
16. Recliner Sofa
The Recliner sofa is a fairly recent design that has grown in popularity due to its functionality and comfort. Recliner sofas are available as either an armchair or couch that reclines when you lower your back. A footrest is also present, which extends forward so you can lounge with maximum comfort.
It is rare to see recliner sofas in the living room, but they are perfect for family rooms and home cinemas. If you want to build a home media room, all you need is a large TV and a couple of recliner sofas.
Some recliner sofas also serve as massage chairs. These massage chairs use electronic vibrators and motors to provide a massage. The rollers on the chair focus on the spine down through the roller back. There are various options to choose from, like a rolling, kneading, or tapping motion.
17. Pallet Couch
A Pallet couch is a great DIY project for your home that is environmentally friendly. The wooden pallets used in shipping can be turned into various pieces of furniture, including couches, patio seating, and coffee tables. Wooden pallets are inexpensive, durable, and look great indoors and outdoors.
Although most people prefer to make their pallet couch, you can also buy them. Pallet couches are easy to create, versatile, and airy. You can use the spaces to store things such as books and remotes.
Most pallet couches are built against the wall, using the wall as the back with cushions leaning against it. However, you can also construct a back for the sofa for more back support.
18. Flex Sofa
A Flex sofa is a modular sofa that can be configured according to a variety of environments. These sofas are designed for functionality, comfort, and practicality. Whether you have a small or large space, a Flex sofa is easily customizable in various sizes. You can rearrange the plush cushions that play the role of a backrest to turn the Flex sofa into a Chase Lounge or free-standing bed.
The Flex sofa looks incredible in free-flowing modernist interiors. They provide comfort at home or even in fast-paced office environments.
19. Classic Mughal Sofa
Low-seated sofas were a classic tradition during the Mughal and Ottoman empires. They are still seen in traditional Oriental interiors with ornate patterns. If you want your home to have an old classic look, a Classic low-seated Mughal sofa is a great option. The cushions and sofa are heavily decorated with beautiful colors and complex patterns.
You can use a rug and antique pieces to complement your sofa. When looking for a classic Turkish or Mughal sofa, you will find options with and without a frame. Most designs are low-seated with a wooden frame and heavily padded cushions.
20. Bean Bag
Although most people wouldn’t refer to a bean bag as a sofa, they are actually a piece of furniture. A Bean bag consists of a sealed bag that includes dried beans, PVC pellets, or polystyrene. They are usually available as individual chairs, but you can also buy a bean bag couch that can seat three to four people comfortably.
Bean bags are one of the first pieces of modern Italian furniture. Soon after its creation, the bean bag became very popular since it was a comfortable and affordable piece of furniture. You can move them around easily, plus they come with a cover that can be machine washed if you stain it. Convenient, comfortable, and portable, Bean bags are so popular for obvious reasons.
Buying a sofa is one of the most important investments one makes for their home. It is often the centerpiece of every room and catches the eye first. We spend most of our time on the living room sofa since it’s where we lounge, entertain friends, and watch television. It makes sense to take your time to choose the right sofa for your space. When it comes to buying the perfect sofa, there are certain factors you must consider.
How To Pick a Sofa
Keep the following in mind when picking out a sofa for your space.
It is important you try out the sofa before buying it. While most sofas offer enough seat depth to accommodate people of varying heights, the comfort level varies. Try out different sizes and measurements before you decide which sofa to get. Ensuring the sofa is large enough to accommodate family and friends is also essential if you like to entertain often.
How you like to lounge on your sofa also matters. If you like to sit with your legs up or recline, the sofa should be wide or long enough. Ensure the sofa provides enough back support and is comfortable.
The frame of your sofa is its foundation. If you invest in a durable, sturdy frame, the sofa will likely last you a long time. A hardwood frame is much better than metal or particleboard frames. The style of the frame also adds to your space. Depending on whether you want a rustic or modern look, opt for a sofa that complements your space.
3. Feather vs. Foam Filling
Similar to your sofa’s frame, what’s inside it is just as important. When looking for a sofa, you will usually find two main options: feathers and foam or fiber fillings. Both options have their pros and cons. The feather-filled sofas are comfortable but need more maintenance, while the foam-filled sofa can lose its shape over time. It is recommended you go for an option that combines both. If your sofa’s back cushions are feather-filled while the seats are foam-filled, it will last you a long time.
The third most important feature when buying a sofa is the fabric. If you have children or pets at home, your sofa will probably get dirty often. Two of the best options for a comfortable living room couch are cotton and microfiber. Cotton comes in a variety of colors and patterns, while microfiber is highly resistant to stains. For the living room, a cotton or microfiber sofa is the best option.
If you want to give your space a more regal look, you can opt for a velvet or chenille couch. A velvet couch adds texture and richness to any space. If you want to put a velvet couch in any room, make sure the other decor is simple to help the sofa stand out. Although these are luxurious fabrics with depth and richness, they can stain easily so be careful.
You also have other fabric options, such as linen. Linen works well for an easy slip-on cover. If you’re worried about your couch being stained, a linen cover is easily washable. In addition, linen comes in a variety of prints so you can experiment often.
Leather is also an excellent choice for a highly durable and stain-resistant sofa. A leather sofa looks good in any space, whether modern or old school. However, leather comes in limited colors and is costly. If you would like a leather couch on a budget, look into faux leather. Faux leather offers the same look at an affordable price with a larger variety of colors.
Always measure your space before buying a sofa. A sofa is usually the centerpiece of any room, and the other decor is structured around it. The sofa size you get should fit and suit your room. There should be enough space for you to lounge and move around comfortably. When buying for a smaller room, pay attention to the sofa’s depth, while if your room has shelves, focus on the sofa’s height.
It is also necessary that you are able to move the sofa to the intended room without causing any damage to your home. If it is too large to fit the door or stairways, your walls and other furniture could get scuffed.
Each space offers its unique challenges. If you are unsure what size would be the perfect fit for your home, customizing a sofa is now easier than ever. You can customize everything from the size, shape, materials, and fabric.
When picking out a sofa, you need to find a balance between your lifestyle and aesthetics. There are many styles of sofas best suited for specific purposes. Deep-seated sofa styles like the English Roll Arm are perfect for those who want the living room to be a relaxing spot. In comparison, a large sofa style like the Chesterfield is great for those who like to entertain family and friends often.
The style of your sofa also changes the look of the space. A large sofa in a small room will make it look congested and even smaller. Depending on the other furniture in your room, opt for a sofa style that leaves enough space for you to move around comfortably.
Although sofas tend to be expensive, it is no surprise considering they are an essential piece of furniture in any home. It can be overwhelming and challenging to find one that fits within your budget with so many options. Do your research about the cost of the style and fabric you want for your space.
If you are having trouble finding a sofa that fits your budget, consider vintage sofas. Not only do vintage sofas cost less, but they are sturdier than modern sofas. Vintage sofas add character and uniqueness to any room.
Picking a Sofa Color
There are two ways to go around picking a sofa color. If you haven’t decorated the space yet, choose a sofa first and match your decor to it. Sofas take up most of the space in a room, so it makes sense to have your room designed around it. A centerpiece sofa with velvet fabric or an eyecatching print will elevate your space in no time.
Or, if you have decorated the room already, opt for colors that are present in your room. The simple answer would be to go for the color of the walls of your room, but there are many interesting ways to spruce up your space.
Light vs. Dark Sofa
Your floor plays a significant role in determining whether you should opt for a light or dark sofa. If you have dark wood flooring or carpet, a dark sofa will make your room look darker. However, if you want a dark sofa with your dark rug, choose one with light wood legs. A light-colored carpet under a dark sofa would pose fewer challenges.
If you want to add a light sofa to your space, keep in mind that it will stain easily. A white sofa will become dirty in a few days, especially in a room where your pets or children will use it. If you want to get a light sofa regardless, get a slip-on cover that you can clean easily.
Choosing The Right Color
After you have decided between a dark or light sofa, choose a color for your sofa. A neutral sofa looks best for most spaces, but opt for a textured sofa rather than a matte one. If your sofa is a neutral color and matte, it might look dull or bland.
If you have found the perfect sofa for an already decorated space, don’t worry. You can easily integrate your sofa with the rest of the decor by adding its shade to your color scheme. Put up art, plant some cacti in containers, or add small accessories that use the colors of your sofa.