Types of Sofas: What You Need to Know Before Buying Your Ideal Sofa

Types of Sofas

From the smallest apartments to the biggest mansions, all kinds of houses have one furniture in common – a sofa. The living room is also the place where we entertain our guests so it is important to choose one that is presentable and cozy at the same time. There are different types of sofas but are you aware that there are more than 10 of them?

We spend a lot of time in the living room which makes the couch one of the most important furnitures at home. This is also the reason why it takes time for us to choose the most comfortable sofa that would fit the size of the living room, our style, the theme of our home (if there is one), our personal preferences when it comes to color, shape, and material.

For someone who loves checking out furnitures like I do, it’s also surprising to know and to hear that there are actually a lot of types of sofas. It’s incredible and sometimes it’s even quite hard to tell the difference between some of them.

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The different types of sofas

Loveseat Sofa

Loveseat Sofa

The loveseat sofa is a medium-sized sofa designed for two people. They were designed in the 19th century for women with elaborately large skirts or dresses. They were actually oversized chairs. The earlier designs of loveseats had higher arms and back to act as barricades to the gust of air in the homes that are uninsulated.

Loveseats today come in different styles, designs, and materials. The main characteristics of a loveseat are its small size and a straight back. They are called loveseats because of the intimacy that they provide for two people sitting on them.

Because of its small size, it can fit in a small living room or even inside the bedroom to create a cozy area.

Sectional / Modular Sofa

Sectional Sofa

A sectional / modular sofa is a multi-piece sofa which means that it’s a combination of sofa pieces, usually around 3 or 5 pieces, that are put together to create an ultimate living room seating arrangement. It can be arranged in several configurations. A sectional / modular sofa gives the flexibility of downsizing, expanding, and rearranging seats as needed or as you prefer.

There are a lot of styles, materials, and designs to choose from because of its growing popularity. Some are big and can fit in large living rooms while some are a bit smaller. It is perfect for large families to be able to accommodate everyone in the same room.

The two main shapes are L-shaped and U-shaped.

Sectional / modular sofas were invented in the Victorian era but they became popular in the 1950s. The first sectional / modular sofas were made of two or more sofas that were put together to form a larger sofa.

Chesterfield Sofa


Divano Roma Furniture Velvet Scroll Arm Tufted Button Chesterfield Style Sofa
Divano Roma Furniture Velvet Scroll Arm Tufted Button Chesterfield Style Sofa

The chesterfield sofa is characterized by deep tufts or a quilted style in the upholstery, usually in the arms and back, and a low seat with exposed legs. It usually has high rolled arms that have the same height as the back to provide comfort while seated and to create a luxurious look.

The first chesterfield sofa was commissioned in the 18th century by Lord Philip Stanhope, the 4th Earl of Chesterfield. He requested the local craftsmen to create a piece of furniture wherein a gentleman could sit upright with utmost comfort without wrinkling his clothes.

The classic chesterfield was traditionally made of leather and was commonly found in gentlemen’s libraries or studies but nowadays, the chesterfield sofa come in a variety of upholsteries and colors to fit a variety of rooms or spaces.

Lawson Sofa

Lawson Sofa

The lawson sofa is a popular type of sofa nowadays because of its cozy, simple, and comfortable design. It features a box shaped sofa with loose back cushions shaped like large pillows and are separate from the frame, a tall back with untucked arms that are much lower, and square seat cushions. This type of sofa is perfect for napping.

The first lawson sofa was created in the early 20th century for financier Thomas W. Lawson. He desired a sofa that had a modern design and was comfortable, which is the polar opposite of the Victorian style that was quite popular during that time.

English Rolled Arm Sofa

Homelegance Cornelia Rolled Arm Sofa
Homelegance Cornelia Rolled Arm Sofa

The English rolled arm sofa is defined by a high back with low rolled or rounded arms that are tucked in which makes it quite similar with the Bridgewater sofa. What sets it apart from the latter is the tight back cushions, the lose seating cushions, and the upholstery that is tight all throughout.

This type of sofa is ideal for contemporary space. The style is friendly and casual and pairs well with modern furniture.

Bridgewater Sofa

Stone & Beam Carrigan Modern Slipcover Sofa
Stone & Beam Carrigan Modern Slipcover Sofa

A bridgewater sofa has arms that are slightly rolled to the side and are lower than the back. It has a traditional design that fits in most room designs but doesn’t stand out unlike the other sofa types. To set it apart from an English rolled arm sofa, it has loose seats and back cushions.

Many designs of bridgewater sofas have skirts to hide the legs but the more modern designs expose the legs.

Camel Back Sofa

Camel Back Sofa

A camel back sofa features a big hump in the middle part of the back seat and a small one at the end of each frame creating a wavy silhouette. The elegant curve of the back of the sofa can either be dramatic or subtle.

There are a lot of designs and styles available for a camel sofa but the traditional ones have exposed wood legs, the wood on top of the arms and the back is also usually exposed, and the back usually extends in a continuous line into the arms of the sofa.

This type of sofa is ideal in formal or traditional settings.

Chaise Lounge

Best Chaise Lounge for Indoor and Outdoor -Featured

A chaise lounge gives a dramatic feel. It is a seat for one person which is a combination of a chair and a footstool. The name is derived from its French term which means long chair.

A chaise lounge is perfect for the master’s bedroom or for the poolside. They are perfect for reading. It can also be easily paired with other types of sofas.

Some chaise lounges have arms but some don’t have. It is characterized by a high back and a long space to lay down that is designed for comfort.

Cabriole Sofa

Baxton Furniture Studios Oliver French Provincial Style - Cabriole Sofa
Baxton Furniture Studios Oliver French Provincial Style – Cabriole Sofa

A cabriole sofa was made popular by King Louis XV during the first half of the 1700s. Its trademark design is an exposed wooden frame that is continuous, exotic curved back, arms curved inwards, bowed legs that curve outwards and down, and some carved details. However, contemporary designs of the cabriole sofa don’t carry the wooden frame anymore.

A cabriole sofa is great when upholstered with velvet or softer fabrics for a more comfortable and cozy feel.

Sleeper Sofa

Modern Soft Linen Fabric Modular Convertible Sleeper Sofa
Modern Soft Linen Fabric Modular Convertible Sleeper Sofa

A sleeper sofa is an ultra-convenient furniture that comes in a wide range of styles, be it traditional, casual, or contemporary. It is one of the most versatile pieces of furniture. This sofa is perfect for sitting on and sleeping on.

A sleeper sofa is perfect sleeping solution for guests especially if you don’t have enough beds or rooms. These are the following forms of sofa bed or a sleeper sofa:

Recliner Sofa

Recliner Sofa A reclining sofa is a relatively new type of sofa and it is very modern in style. It can be put in the living room, entertainment room, media room, or family room. It allows you to comfortably read a book, watch TV, or take a quick nap with just a pull of a lever.

There are many styles of reclining sofas but the most common ones are the the casual ones with plush backs and rounded arms.

Tuxedo Sofa

Tuxedo Sofa

A tuxedo sofa features a clean box shaped sofa with arms that have the same height as the back. It is a pretty common type of sofa which is almost similar to a Chesterfield but is the modern type of it. The arms are square shaped instead of rolled.

The edges are sleek but it still provides a great support for sitting comfortably. Its neatly trimmed shape makes it formal. It has a classy design.

The tuxedo sofa first came out in the 1920s in a wealthy New York state enclave called Tuxedo Park.

Mid-Century Modern Sofa

Madison Home Mid Century Modern Ultra Plush Linen Fabric Sofa
Madison Home Mid Century Modern Ultra Plush Linen Fabric Sofa

Mid-century modern furniture reigned from 1940 to 1970 but is becoming popular again nowadays. This sofa is quite simple and has clean lines and a minimalist design. It typically has a tufted back with seat cushions and a hairpin style slanted legs.

Contemporary Mid-Century Modern Sofa

Contemporary Mid-Century Modern Sofa

A modern furniture is a furniture with a mid-century modern design. It is an enhanced version of the mid-century modern sofa. It’s actually a cross breed of a mid-century modern sofa and a contemporary sofa.

Divan Sofa

Fabric Upholstered Bedroom Bench Decorative Bench Entryway Hallway Bench
Fabric Upholstered Bedroom Bench Decorative Bench Entryway Hallway Bench

A divan (also called bedroom bench) is a type of sofa that doesn’t have a back that’s why it’s essential to put them against a bare wall where you can arrange some pillows in order to have a cushioned back or something to lean on to. A divan is not quite popular and is also not as comfortable as the other sofas.

Settee Sofa

Pulaski Sidney Settee
Pulaski Sidney Settee

A settee is actually a wide chair that has legs that are always visible and can either have or don’t have arms. The original settees were actually just plain long wooden benches that had backs. They were just improved by people by adding upholsteries on the back and seat.


meridienne sofa

The meridienne is almost similar to the chaise lounge but what sets it apart is the arched back on one side. It is called the fainting couch because of its design.

The meridienne was popular in the 19th century at French aristocratic homes. It was created in order for women to rest in the middle of the day when the sun is at the meridian, hence the name.

The design is luxurious and elegant especially with the woodworks around its frame.


Harper & Bright Designs 3 Piece Sectional Sofa Microfiber with Reversible Chaise Lounge Storage Ottoman and Cup Holders
Harper & Bright Designs 3 Piece Sectional Sofa Microfiber with Reversible Chaise Lounge Storage Ottoman and Cup Holders

The ottoman is usually used as a coffee table but it its used as a footstool in other countries.

It was first used in the Ottoman Empire as a centerpiece for seating in the living room. It is now much smaller compared to how it was before. It’s a good complementary furniture piece to a sofa.

Now that you know the different types of sofas, it would be easier for you to choose the type that best fits your needs and preferences. You won’t have endless choices anymore because you know the name of the sofa.

Maybe you already have a preferred sofa in mind but you just weren’t aware on what it is called. That’s one less thing to worry about. You just have to pick the design, style, color, and the type of fabric or upholstery that you prefer for your sofa.

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