Chesterfield, chaise, midcentury... as with many things in interior design, names of sofa styles can be confusing. Luckily, we have this guide to help you figure out the best one for you.
A living room sofa might be the most important piece of furniture in the house, and we don’t give out that title lightly. Think about it. Not only is the sofa typically one of the largest pieces of furniture, but it is also the most trafficked. Whether you’re lounging on it during some necessary Netflix and chill, using it to anchor a conversation nook, or simply plopping on it at the end of a never-ending Monday and having a much-deserved martini, your sofa will get a lot of action.
But there are SO many different types of sofas out there. While we’ve put together an essential guide to choosing the right sofa for your home, we also wanted to outline all the common names for sofa frames. Chesterfield? Check. Camelback? Double check. With this shoppable terminology guide, you’ll be set.
A lesser known style of sofa features deep tufting with buttons or other hardware and arms that are the same height as the back. Somewhat traditional at yet all at once modern and sleek, you can imagine it as the furniture equivalent of the suit it’s named for… It’s practically the James Bond of sofas as seen in the Williamsburg loft, pictured above, designed by Homepolish’s Allison Petty.
The more common version of the tuxedo, a chesterfield style also has the deep button tufted look and arms that are the same height as the back. The major difference from the tuxedo? The arms are rolled and often decorated, a throwback to its 1700s origin. No matter the setting, it’s sure to up the luxury factor.
As one might guess from the name, the daybed is an option that can serve as a sofa during the day and then swap to a bed in the evening. (Aka perfect option for those who often have company) The version above is an original by the famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and it was featured in the apartment we designed for the founders of Sweetgreen. However, there are much more affordable options out there too.
Jumping ahead a couple centuries and getting out of the staid traditional looks of the European continent, we have a wooden-framed style that emerged recently from American designers: Midcentury. Clean-lined and typically rectangular in shape it came into popularity during the Mad Men era. Cue the rocks glasses of whiskey, neat. And though it came into vogue over a half-century ago, it still looks right at home in the Chicago condo, pictured above, by designer .
Looking at a Brooklyn loft designed by Homepolish’s , we see another all-American style: the Lawson. A square frame featuring rolled or square arms, the defining feature are the overstuffed square cushions. Overstuffed… in other words, this is a sofa you can sink into. Sign us up.
6. English Roll Arm
Hopping back across the pond, you might guess two things about this style from the name. 1) It comes from England and 2) it features rounded arms. Additionally, the back cushions are not removable. An example, upholstered in a gorgeous toile pattern, is pictured below from Rebecca Taylor’s New York offices. A close relative is the Camelback style, which has a back with arches built into the frame.
Our designer Allison Petty is quick to point out that though these are the predominant traditional styles of sofas, new hybrids are emerging all the time. Whether it’s simply new bold colors or completely innovative frames, designers are constantly coming up with ways to reinvent the… sofa.