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Not Your Childhood Sofa: Comfy, Stylish Choices for your Living Room

I think most of us conjure a pretty similar mental image when we think of a couch or sofa. I blame The Simpsons. But while we’ve all probably sat on that beat up three-seater at one point or another in our lives, that certainly isn’t the be-all end-all of what a sofa can be – and shouldn’t be what you resign yourself to! From unique add-ons and configurations to simply improved designs, a good modern sofa or couch should bring comfort, style, and flair to your living room.

Upgrading The Classic Couch: Recliner Sofas

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Probably the most popular way to spice up a boring sofa (at least among my family!) is to add recliner functionality. While recliner sofas aren’t much to look at (and to be fair are arguably a little less visually appealing even than that Simpson’s sofa), they’re easily the peak of living room comfort. You’ll pay a premium, but get an adjustable footrest and adjustable backrest for anywhere from one to all the seats on the sofa. The real appeal of recliner sofas, though, is that the seats can be adjusted independently – which means peace in the living room, since everyone can sit however they want. They also won’t block your walkways with permanent ottomans or footrests, and mean no feet on the coffee table!

Sleeker Modern Sectional Sofas

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If “sofa” or “couch” doesn’t make you think of something of the Simpson’s variety, I’d say there’s a good chance you grew up with a sectional sofa. A close friend of mine as a kid had one that wrapped around three sides of her living room and was fit to host a slumber party and then some. But these, too, have gotten a major face lift in recent years. While you can certainly still find those big pleather behemoths, most sectionals are closer to traditional sofa size, but designed with built-in chaises. This adds comfort in a similar way to a recliner sofa – by letting one or more people put their feet up. The chaise is always there and can’t be packed away, but in exchange these sectionals are much lighter weight and less expensive than recliners. Plus, they have a fun, asymmetrical modern design.

Supplement Your Sofa With A Chaise Lounge

Chaise Lounge 657ARJ from Polrey Designs
Chaise Lounge 657ARJ from Polrey Designs

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You can also buy chaise-style sofas all by their lonesome. Now, while you might not want a chaise to be the only source of seating in your living room, they can be a great add-on if someone in your family really likes to lounge. Usually designed with one arm and a shaped half back, one or two people can sit upright in a chaise, but they’re really meant to be used fully reclined. In style they can range from ornate antiques to more subdued midcentury inspired designs, which means they can make a fun accent for your space. But as the kid who couldn’t get comfy without sticking her feet out (and always got kicked off the sofa for it), I’ll say that chaises can actually be a really practical addition to your living room, too.

Don’t Skip The Loveseat

Baroque-Inspired, Eclectic Dome Loveseat, 658-B by Polart

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Similarly, loveseats aren’t just for single people with small living rooms. While you certainly don’t want one to be the only piece of furniture in your living room if you have a family of five, a cute, cozy loveseat can be an equally good place for parents to get a little kid-free time… or to banish a wiggly kid or two off your main sofa. Whether you make it your “quiet time” loveseat or your kid’s new “get along” chair, supplementing your sofa with a loveseat is a good way to keep the peace. And while you certainly can buy a matchy matchy sofa-and-loveseat set, I think buying a more distinctive piece is a great way to add style and variety to your space, and to make the loveseat feel a little extra special.

Skip Sofa Sets And Mix And Match Stylish Pieces

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To be honest, I’m a big fan of getting a little eclectic with your living room furniture choices. There are certainly some sofas that are so decorative and ornate that you might not be comfortable using them on a regular basis (to say nothing of the fact that they aren’t terribly comfortable to sit on in the first place!). But stepping a little outside the typical, or even mixing and matching different sofa styles is a great way to break up the monotony of your living room. If you have a big sectional or a multi-piece matching set, switching it up and adding a few accent sofas (especially in the less-used parts of your living room) can really bring something fresh to your space. The best part? “Accent” can be anything from an ornate antique to a more modern sofa with a fun, funky back or done in an unusual color.

Simple Sofas With Style

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Last but not least, if you just want a regular, no-frills sofa, but haven’t shopped for one in a while, it might be time to update your mental image. While what I’d call accent couches often feel too fancy to sit on, you absolutely can get a comfortable, sit-able sofa that doesn’t look like you dragged it out of your dad’s basement. From bright bold colors to subtle accents like button tufting and wood legs, a good contemporary sofa looks like more than a collection of cushions.

When you’re shopping for a new sofa, the final choice will always come down to two things: comfort and price. It doesn’t matter how nice a sofa looks if you can’t sit on it, and it doesn’t matter how comfy it is if you can’t afford it. That said, if you’re redecorating your living room, it’s worth taking a look at how far sofa design has come in recent years – and considering what extra style and function you can get from choosing unique sofa add-ons!

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