Know your Sofa

Here’s a quick guide to some of the most common types of social seating, from couches and sofas to daybeds and settees, and a few of the most popular styles of sofas.




4530-753 settee

Upholstered, in a Neoclassical French style. Settees, as a rule, more closely resemble a chair than they do a sofa. With an upholstered back and seat, and padded arms like a French fauteuil, the settee is comfort and refined style for a social setting. Their popularity grew as chairmakers in the 1600s grew more confident with their skills.


Cabriole sofa

cabriole sofa- paul robert

Is named for the sinuous curve of its back and legs, and is a petite, refined seat that was a fixture in French salons. The key is in the back: it’s got an exposed wood frame, often with carved detail, that makes one continuous line from the back into the arms. It’s an extended version of the French bergere, and has no back cushions—only a loose seat cushion.


Camelback sofa


Was a Thomas Chippendale original, named for its elegant sloping back that’s high in the middle, then drops to the same height as its subtly rolled arms. These seats are completely upholstered with exposed wood legs, and feature stuffed seat cushions but a taut, smooth back. Once you know this silhouette, you’ll see it everywhere. Classic, refined, and beautiful from all angles.

2-chair-back settee

2 back chair settee Jonathan-Charles-2T

Was the first type of social seating to develop completely separate from the old-fashioned medieval settles. It was essentially two chairs fused together, and ranged in styles from Queen Anne walnut chairs with upholstered seats to Colonial American wagon chairs with rush seats.

Empire-style sofa


The iconic, cornucopia-armed Empire-style sofa . These behemoths often include bolster-style cushions on each end below their dramatic arms, and have lots of carving on their exposed frames and (sometimes precarious) curved legs. Look for Asian or eagle motifs, and animal’s paw feet.



day bed JR

Has come a long way from its origins: it was essentially a wooden chair with an elongated seat stretched out over 6 legs, a form that died out in the 18th century. Nowadays, it has a more versatile appeal, going from social seating to luxurious lounging in a pinch. Chaise longues took their place, and a stylish variation, the recamier (pictured below) features a high, assymetrical side.



English rolled-arm sofa


Is a 19th-century classic with versatile, casual style. The arms, in comparison to other sofa silhouettes, are compact and recessed. All-over upholstery, from the tight back to the plush seat cushions, make it a perfect, go-to piece for kicking back.



Is a specific style of chaise longue that has a regal edge: its asymmetrical high side makes it ideal for reclining in style, and was named for Madame Recamier whose portrait was famously painting doing just that.

Chesterfield sofa


Has an all-over tufted, quilted look, often covered in leather. The dramatically rolled arms are the same height as the back, originally kept low so that men could sit in them without wrinkling their coats.

Tuxedo sofa

tuxedo sofa

Has all the pomp of the Chesterfield, but with a sleek and modern silhouette: its high, straight arms and squared-off back are all the same height, it lacks back cushions, and it features decorative tufts (although, often just one row).


Lawson-style sofa

H2000_C_L_Arm lawson style

Is comfortable and casual—a classic that puts the sitter’s needs first without sacrificing good proportion. Unlike the English rolled-arm version, its back cushions are separate from the frame, and it has low, taut arms and feet often covered with a skirt.


8999--7831_2488 canape

Is like a mini-Cabriole sofa, a French-style loveseat with a carved, exposed frame and a continuous back-to-arm shape. It rose to fame in Rococo France under Louis XV, and grew streamlined with the Neoclassical lines of Louis XVI.


Shopping for Sofas

Everyday we see clients looking for the perfect sofa for a new house, room, or a replacement for an old or cheap sofa. It is hard to decide on the perfect one by seeing it in a showroom and having to imagine if it fits into your room or your routine. So here are some hints for you to find the perfect match for your home!
First, think about where the sofa is going to go. Have all the measurements and either pictures or sample of fabrics and finishing of other pieces that will be in the same room. Is the sofa for a living room or family room? Are you going to use it everyday or just when you have guests? Have those facts figured out before you go shopping for your sofa.

There are so many different sizes and you need to know which one fits you the best. So, if you want a couch to be long enough for a nap, you need to go for at least 90″ length. The depth should be 40″ – 44″ depending if you and your family have longer or shorter legs and how many throw pillows you want. But a 90″ x 40″ is perfect to just curl up while watching a movie and take a nap. A 19″ seat height is also very comfortable. But seat on a few different ones to see the perfect height for you. If the sofa is for a living room that is not used that frequently, you can go for more antique styles that are less deep but still comfortable. If you have a 8″ ceiling, go for a low sofa that will give the impression of the ceiling being taller. If your home has a high ceiling, use a high back sofa that will make a presence in such a spacious room.

sofa post
Fabric and Finishing
Choosing the fabric can be tricky. Think about your style and the style of the room. Do you need something more calm to go in your entertainment room with other preexisting pieces? Choose a solid color as your curtains and walls. That will make the room calm and will give you space to innovate with the throw pillows. Choose a different pattern for your throw pillows and bring a new look to your house. They are easier to change if you get tired of the pattern. But if you want to take a risk and get a sofa that adds a lot of personality to the room, use mixed patterns. One idea is to have a frame and back with a solid color, cushions in one pattern, and the pillows in another pattern. That will be an exciting piece that shows you can take risks!

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If you are thinking about skirt or bare legs for your sofa, you need to have some facts in mind. Skirts will allow you to add lighter pieces with exposed legs to the room without making it too much. And you can add a 1.75″ trim at the base of the skirt in a different texture and color slightly darker than the body of the sofa to give it contrast. But the legs will give more personality to your couch. You don’t need to match the wood of the leg of your sofa with every other piece you have. A room that matches too much is boring. You can use different colors of legs in your sofa and coffee table as long as they go together. Use your personal sense of style to know what goes with what. Those details are what makes your house your home.

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Another detail is, do you love tuft sofas like we do? They give it that extra something. But if you have kids and pets, don’t forget that it can keep a lot of the crumbs or dirt left behind. It is more high-maintenance.

When shopping for sofas, don’t forget that you get what you paid for. The are no miraculous factories or products that can offer cheap sofas that will last you 10+ years. The frame of the sofa is very important and it is what will make it last for a long time. It needs to be made of hardwood as kiln dried maple or solid mahogany, for example. One way of testing the frame of the sofa is to lift one of the front legs 5″ to 7″ from the floor. The other leg should lift as well to prove a sofa with a sturdy frame. If the leg is still touching the floor, the frame is weak.
The cushions should also be good quality to last you long. Cheap sofas have cheap cushions that will go down and have your butt print after a year. Always look for sofas that are filled with down. A mix of down and feather, but with majority of down, can also make very comfortable sofas. A cushion filled with down will last you without needing replacement for a long time. Just choose softer or firmer according to your taste.
When choosing a good quality sofa, think that the piece will last you a lifetime and you can just get new upholstery every now and then to change colors, patterns, and textures, and you will have practically a new sofa at your home.

Those are our Divine tips to buy a great sofa that will compliment your home and last you a long time.
Do you have other hints that you want to share with the readers? Comment in our post and let’s hear about it!