While there are many popular sofa design styles, we've chosen some of those considered by many to be "classics." These classic sofa design styles have inspired many of the sofas manufactured for centuries, decades, and still today–in both purist and hybrid versions.
|CHESTERFIELD STYLE SOFA
|Vibe: Think gentlemen's study with a crackling fire in the fireplace surrounded by books. A light-filled city loft with modern design and eclectic furnishings.
Features: Deep button tufting on its backrest, seat, and arms. Tight back with no cushions. Rolled arms and back-same height. Bench or cushioned seats. Fabric models in velvet and linen have softened the style making it more approachable and accessible. They are often seen upholstered in leather.
Story: A sofa with a legendary beginning. It is said to be initially commissioned by the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, Philip Stanhope (1694-1773), who wanted a seating that would allow for sitting upright comfortably without wrinkling his suit. After centuries it is still the quintessential choice among other sofa design styles.
Photo by Johnny Briggs on Unsplash
ROLLED ARM STYLE SOFA
|Vibe: Summer country house dressed in linen. A Brownstone with a loungy feel…sofa dressed in soft velvet in a jewel tone. It's both transitional and casual.
Features: One of the most versatile sofas. Tight seatback with seams. Small recessed arms. Generous seat cushions. Turned wood legs often with casters. Two, three, or four-seater versions.
Story: This "club" (aka English Rolled Arm) style sofa first gained popularity in the 19th century and is still as popular as ever.
LAWSON STYLE SOFA
|Vibe: Transitional space in neutral tones with a comfortable yet collected feel. A large house with dual living spaces…one for entertaining and daily use.
Features: Straight lines. Firm back cushions, loose or fixed. Arms lower than back. Bench or cushioned seat design. Fabrics range from leather, eco-leather, linen, velvet, and wool.
Story: The Lawson Sofa is often called the "cousin of the English Rolled Arm" as it is a bit firmer and more square in shape than its relative.
CHAISE LOUNGE STYLE SOFA
|Vibe: Upscale social space with sumptuous textiles of silk and velvet. Modern apartment with mid-century modern-style furniture in wool or leather. Glamorous bedroom with sensual visual and tactile elements.
Features: A long, cushioned bench-style seat, flat or curved to the user's body. A high cushioned back. The seat and back MAY come with button tufting. Low-slung body set atop wood or metal frame or legs and manufactured in modern, transitional, and traditional styles.
Story: The most iconic chaise lounge was the Barcelona Chaise, designed by Mies van der Rohe in the mid-20th century. The original is still in production today as well replicated by many manufacturers.
MID CENTURY MODERN STYLE SOFA
|Vibe: Urban studio or apartment with minimal furnishings and the sofa upholstered in soft leather or neutral textured fabric. Furniture in light wood and soft-hued fabric on sofa and chairs. A Scandinavian-style house filled with lots of light and plants.
Features: Sleek look. Small squared arms mid-height to the top of its back. Seat cushions tufted or tight. They have tapered wood legs. Fabrics used include leather, linen, wool, and velvet.
Story: Designed in the mid-20th century with growing popularity until the mid-1960s, the mid-century style sofa is still favored today.
TUXEDO STYLE SOFA
|Vibe: Art deco-inspired apartment with geometric shapes ruling the space. Think elegant yet formal. Ornamental in style. Textured velvets and silks with metallic details.
Features: High square arms connected to its back on a 90-degree angle–both have the same height. Arms, bench seat, and seatbacks have deep button tufting. Turned or cabriole-style legs. Brass nailhead trim highlights the sofa base, arms, and back.
Story: Originating in NYC in the 1920s, the Tuxedo sofa inspired the Art Deco style movement.
In the market for a new sofa? We hope this article sharing some of the more classic sofa styles provides you a great start and allows you to recognize classic sofa design styles, features, and details. We invite you to browse our selection of sleeper sofas, sofas, sectionals, accent chairs, and much more... all customized to your liking and manufactured in less than 30 days.