The sofa is arguably the most important piece of furniture in the living room. So it’s important to find the right one for your style and needs. But with so many different types of sofas to choose from, it can be hard to know which is right for you.
Similar to choosing between a sectional or a sofa, deciding on a sofa style comes down to comfort. But it’s also about the shape of the sofa and how it works aesthetically with the rest of your living room decor. For instance, if your living room has more traditional furnishings, a classic camelback sofa might make for a stylish option that blends right into your space versus other sofa styles. Or if your living space has a more modern and industrial vibe, a tuxedo sofa could be the perfect sleek-and-sumptuous piece you need. Either way, the sofa style you pick should play up a feeling of comfort and reflect the overall style of your room.
Already thumbed through all the types of sofas and know what you want? Check out our sofa buying guide to make sure you’re spending wisely before you purchase the piece, especially if you’re buying a sofa online. Otherwise, read on for our roundup of the most common types of sofas and why they might be perfect for your space.
When it comes to sofa styles, the Chesterfield is hard to miss. It’s said to have been designed in the 18th century for “gentlemen to sit upright without wrinkling the garment.” The more modern and boxy tuxedo sofa is derived from the Chesterfield.
The Perks: Chesterfields are known for their deep seating, high-rolled arms, and quilted or tufted backing, which gives them a sumptuous look and a bold silhouette. They’re typically made of leather, but contemporary takes on the piece also feature it in linen and velvet.
Good To Know: The Chesterfield generally has a large frame and is pretty substantial in size, so make sure you have the floor space to accommodate one.
It’s Perfect For… those who like more traditional types of sofas or something very masculine and timeless in style. The Chesterfield works well in a classic and formal interior, a sleek industrial space, or a pared-down rustic room.
The Bridgewater Sofa
For a classic sofa that emphasizes major comfort and an elegant form, try the Bridgewater. It has origins in England and was once among the most popular types of sofas. It’s less common in homes now, but it’s still one of the most comfortable options today.
The Perks: The Bridgewater has a slightly rolled back, low-set and rolled arms, and loose seat cushions that are generously padded, which gives them their signature plump look and plush comfort. They also sometimes come with a tailed skirt that hides their turned legs.
Good To Know: The Bridgewater silhouette is wide and deep, but today they come in an array of colorful upholstery fabrics that make them appear more streamlined and less bulky.
It’s Perfect For… fans of boho and glam style interiors that can use a sofa that combines traditional details with a modern edge. You can’t beat a Bridgewater sofa in a bright fabric mixed with eclectic patterns, colors, and accents in a room.
The Lawson Sofa
It’s not surprising that the Lawson is one of the most popular types of sofas for family homes. Low to the ground with a boxy silhouette, it first appeared in the early 20th century as a modern and comfortable sofa design that is a derivative of the classic tuxedo sofa.
The Perks: It’s one of the most versatile types of sofas because it’s easy to find it in many fabrics. The back and seat are comprised of extra-plush pillows that are separate from the frame, which means it’s a sofa designed for soft comfort and support.
Good To Know: Because it’s made up of large, soft pillows that give you a deep, sink-in kind of support., it’s a great sofa if you have kids or want something that’s snug and extra soft.
It’s Perfect For… any style interiors—traditional, modern, rustic—given its functional form and versatile fabric options. It works best in family homes, formal living spaces, and TV rooms.
The Mid-Century Sofa
Out of all the sofa styles here, you’re likely most familiar with the Mid-Century sofa. Originating in the 1930s, the Mid-Century sofa has been making a strong comeback in recent years given its minimalist aesthetic and clean lines.
The Perks: There aren’t many types of sofas that give you a tailored, streamlined look quite like the Mid-Century sofa. It usually has a boxy and slender silhouette, tapered legs, and tuft cushion backs that give you firm support. It’s also a sofa you can dress up however you want.
Good To Know: Aesthetics are key to the Mid-Century sofa, and sometimes it comes at the expense of comfort. But if you’re after a stylish and trendy-looking sofa more than anything, this is for you.
It’s Perfect For… modernists, minimalists, and mid-century style lovers across the board. The Mid-Century sofa is ideal in more contemporary interiors that have a rustic or glam touch.
The Slipcovered Sofa
If you’re after the types of sofas that are durable and long-lasting, Slipcovered sofas are your best bet. It’s a sofa style that typically comes with a classic frame, rounded arms, and a fitted fabric cover that can be taken on and off for cleaning. It’s all about function and easy care.
The Perks: No other types of sofas will stand up to wear, stains, and traffic like the Slipcovered sofa. Not only is the slipcover washable, but it’s removable and replaceable so you can change the cover and customize your look as needed.
Good To Know: While the cover is washable and easy-to-clean, it’s prone to get wrinkly. It’s all part of the look, but it’s something to consider if you prefer a tailored looking sofa.
It’s Perfect For… casual and relaxed rooms that aren’t overly decorated or filled with ornate accents. Think beach house living room, airy rustic family room, laid-back boho space. You get the picture.
Essentially a wide chair, the Settee is like a loveseat but much narrower. In terms of sofa styles, it definitely leans traditional and it sometimes comes with a curved frame that recalls a camelback sofa. If you’re after a beautiful traditional perch, you can’t go wrong with a Settee.
The Perks: Many Settees are cabriole style, which means they feature an exposed wood frame around the edges and have ornately carved legs. These are standout details that are sure to captivate. One way to modernize a Settee is to reupholster on in a colorful or patterned fabric.
Good To Know: Compared to the other types of sofas here, the Settee is always a sophisticated choice but not necessarily the most comfortable choice. It’s designed like a dining chair so it’s not the best for extending seating or lounging.
It’s Perfect For… classic and formal rooms are the Settee’s natural habitat given its Old World appeal. It’s perfect in a foyer or hallway as a seat for putting on or taking off shoes.
The Sleeper Sofa
The most compact and functional of all the types of couches available, the Sleeper sofa is what we call a workhorse piece. It does double duty as a sofa and bed, so it tops our list as the sofa that does it all.
The Perks: There aren’t any other types of sofas that offer you and your guests a sleeping solution that’s neatly tucked away under the seat cushions. The beds also range from futons to pullouts, and they’re often surprisingly more comfortable than they look.
Good To Know: Unlike the Mid-Century or the Settee, the Sleeper is all about big function packed into one streamlined piece. That means it’s less about good looks and more about comfort and convenience here. There are chic modern Sleepers, but they’re pretty pricey.
It’s Perfect For… small guest rooms, mixed-used spaces like an office den, or a compact apartment living room. Sleepers are usually pretty contemporary in design, so they’ll fit right in with any transitional or modern interior.
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