Home Design: Couch Potato; Sofa Styles for Every Space
When it comes to couches, trendy silhouettes come and go. If you stick with the classics, however, you’ll have a timeless piece of furniture that lasts a lifetime. Consider these five fan favorites and top designer tips when shopping for your next sofa.
ENGLISH ROLL ARM
This inviting sofa is also referred to as a bridgewater. With soft arms and cushions, its tilted back angle is embracing. Since it requires arm support for those seated to get up and out, you’ll want to look for arms that are built into the frame versus being tacked on the outside of it.
This sofa style is formal yet remarkably comfortable. Typically found in heavier materials such as linen, velvet, or leather, the chesterfield dons rolled arms (more modern versions tout straight arm styles) that are the same height as the back. Often tufted, it features a tight back and seats, so you’ll want to add a soft pillow or two for those afternoon naps.
This sofa style reminds us of Mad Men. Its high back and low profile with squared arms and clean lines provides great back support. Be sure to test this one out in person; although cushions are typically overstuffed, the seat height often comes in too low for client comfort.
Stylish and sometimes slightly feminine, the tuxedo sofa is great for small spaces. Boxy yet tailored, the back and arms are always the same height and the cushions are typically firm. Be sure yours doesn’t feature arms that are too high, as it’s often difficult to find side tables that complement it.
This style is also referred to as a chippendale. With upright and elegant features, thanks to curves and high arms, its back causes those seated to sit up straight. You’ll want to pay close attention to this particular sofa’s proportions, however—when the seat is deep, the back can often seem too high.
7 Top Buying Tips
1) Sit on the arm, in the seat, and lift up the cushions. If you hear a creak or notice considerable movement, the frame is inferior.
2) Request eight-way hand-tied or bench-made frames. Kiln-dried hardwood frames have been stabilized and won’t warp over time, so you can reupholster with confidence or resell your quality piece.
3) Inquire about your cushions. We recommend high-density foam wrapped in a down and feather blend so that cushions return to their original shape but are comfortable.
4) Most sofas come in a few standard lengths. If you’re looking for a catnap and conversation, an eight-foot version is ideal.
5) Should you be considering a sofa shorter than six feet, you may want to go for two club chairs and an ottoman instead.
6) Use painters’ tape to stake out the location of your new sofa. Measure door frames, walkways, and other clearances to be sure you can move the sofa into the space.
7) If you have narrow doors or stairs, look for models with removable legs.
By Kerrie L. Kelly, FASID
Kerrie L. Kelly, FASID, is an award-winning interior designer, author, product developer, and multimedia consultant helping brands reach the interior design community. To contact her, visit kerriekelly.com or call 916-706-2089.