Interior Design

5 Sofa shapes explained

Sofa shapes explained

Can you name the type of sofa that you have in your living room? Is it a Chesterfield, a Lawson, or perhaps a Tuxedo? Or are you truly clueless when it comes to such matters? For those who have no idea but are keen to learn, I have put together this short guide to five of the most well-known sofa shapes, all of which have stood the test of time and are as popular today as they ever were.

Name That Sofa

Impress your friends, astound your spouse and stay one step ahead of shop assistants, with your encyclopaedic knowledge of classic sofa designs!


1. Cabriole Sofa

This very traditional style features an exposed wooden frame, with gently curving legs from which it takes its name. Curving first outwards then inwards, the cabriole legs form an elegant s-shape that echoes the style made famous by the very best Louis XV furniture. The arms are a little lower than the back, and back cushions are not a feature of cabriole sofas although they are often styled with them as in the image above. Image credit.

Minotti London YANG_001-326

2. Sectional Sofa

Moving from the traditional to the contemporary, we come to the sectional sofa: a highly functional design that is most suited to homes with a modern interior décor. Featuring straight lines and utilitarian fabrics, sectional sofas often comprise a chaise next to a two-seater with one arm, although the modular nature of this design allows for endless possibilities. Image Credit – Minotti London.

Camelback Sofa3. Camelback Sofa

This famous design was first made popular by Thomas Chippendale, an 18th century furniture maker of such fame that his name is still familiar to most people in the modern world. Authentic camelback sofas feature an arched back that starts at the same height as the arms, rising slightly on each side before dipping then rising again to a higher peak. They may have either square or rolled arms and although the wooden frame is not exposed, the legs are. Image credit – 1st Dibs.

tuxedo sofa

4. Tuxedo Sofa

Named after the park in Orange County, New York, this sofa design features arms and a back of the same height. Its rectangular uniformity is closest in style to the sectional sofa although it was invented back in the 1920s, when the Art Deco movement was growing in popularity around the world. Image credit – 1st Dibs.

English Rolled Arm Sofa

5. English Rolled Arm Sofa

Sometimes referred to as the club sofa, this design originated at the end of the 19th century and is characterised by its relatively small, recessed arms, and low, deep seats. It is generally regarded as one of the most comfortable and casual styles, making it a popular choice in both period and contemporary properties. Image credit – Restoration Hardware

Now that you are familiar with five of the most recognisable sofa styles in existence, you can begin to expand your knowledge by investigating other popular styles such as the Chesterfield and the Knole, along with some of the modern variations on established designs that can be found in the shops today.

You Might Also Like