Cushions have existed for millennia; the ancients were well-equipped when it came to lounging. But it wasn’t until the Renaissance that someone had the groundbreaking idea of outfitting a bench with a permanent cushion. And thus the comfy and fantastic creation the sofa came into being. Couches can now be found as the centerpiece of almost every modern living room, and they are one of the most versatile pieces of furniture you can buy. Lounging, entertaining, studying, installing overflow guests for the night; you can do it all on a sofa.
Although a tried and tested addition to every home, when you actually get down to choosing and buying a sofa, the choices can be overwhelming. There are so many colors and styles and sizes to choose from. It’s important to identify the dimensions of the space you will be working with, the color palette you want to draw from, as well as the decor vibe you want to build on. If your aim is a slick, contemporary lounge, you don’t want to go with a tufted or patterned sofa, and a streamlined leather couch would look out of place in a formal living room.
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If your aim is a more formal, traditional style living room, consider a vintage replica, or a couch that is built along similar lines. Ornate, flowing curves paired with more luxurious materials will bring a distinctly historical feel to your space. The tufted sofa is especially indicative of old-fashioned style. ‘Tufted’ refers to the gathered divots in the material that are held together with a button. They are a staple of the Chesterfield sofa, one of the most well-known sofa styles.
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Keeping in line with formal vibe, the chaise lounge is a sofa trend that has been in style for, oh…the last thousand years or so. A pervading and popular reclining couch, it was in use before people even thought to affix cushions to the piece itself. The chaise lounge or “divan”, as it is sometimes called, brings an instant air of vintage luxury and history, and can class up any living room. Of course, there are many funkier, less traditional styles of chaise lounges, if that is what you prefer.
Sectional sofas, also sometimes called “modular sofas” are worth considering if you have a lot of space, and a lot of people looking to gather in that space. Sectional sofas come in a range of styles and materials, and sometimes their pieces are even interchangeable, letting you decide how you want to arrange them. Some include a reclining section, or a built-in ottoman. Sectionals are particularly great for encouraging conversation, since you and your guests can have somewhere comfortable to relax where you aren’t all sitting awkwardly in a line.
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The leather sofa I saved for last, just because it is so iconic and so versatile. At once classic and cutting edge, this kind of couch can be applied to your decor in so many different ways. It can be modern and moody and slick, fitting into a contemporary lounge, or it can be more homey and rustic, and fold right into a ranch-style living room. Leather couches come in all sorts of styles, form tufted to fixed-back (where the cushions are attached to the sofa’s back frame). If you are looking for a long-lasting, durable investment, leather is a good choice. Keep in mind, however, that they require more maintenance than your average sofa, and need to be treated every couple of years.
While by no means does having a living room contractually obligate you to put a sofa in it, a good couch is a great investment and one worth putting some thought into. The choices are endless, the styles are many, and you’ll reap the benefits for years to come.