Roll arm, track arm, bench seating, turned leg or straight leg…with so many choices, it’s hard to know which sofa to purchase. Considering a sofa is one of the biggest furniture investments, it really does pay to invest in a classic design and buy the best quality you can afford. Quality is where it’s at…and if you read our blog regularly, you know we’re big followers of the Less But Better movement.
There’s a reason why there is such a price variance in furniture. Quality pieces use quality raw materials. It all starts with the frame. Canadian hardwood frames that are corner dowelled, screwed and glued means that it will last a lifetime. We want you to keep your sofa for many many years so using the best raw materials combined with hand cutting and individual sewing, ensures that your sofa is built to last.
If you pick a classic style, then in 10-20-30 years it’s worth having it reupholstered. Changing up the fabric means your sofa will have many more years of enjoyment.
Okay, so now you’re asking, what’s the best sofa styles to invest in? We had the opportunity to discuss this question with Marilyn Roberts of Gresham House Furniture and Jordan Fordyce of Stewart Drummond Studios. We came up with a list of the most classic styles and why they work. You’ll notice too that comfort gets mentioned often. There’s no point in having something that doesn’t feel divine.
William Birch or Charles of London
This is both a traditional and transitional classic piece. It has a perfect size arm that is not too big and not too small. It’s big enough for a man to feel like he has something to lean on, but not too massive that it overpowers the room. The classic arm looks more traditional with a turned front leg with caster. In the photo below, it looks more transitional with a tapered leg. The side profile has a beautiful soft curve to the arm and to the bottom of the frame. Again, not overpowering, just nicely subtle.
Straight Arm/Tuxedo Sofa
Designers put this style into traditional and more streamlined contemporary homes. The sofa arms are a perfect height to rest your arms on, or if lying down, very comfortably cradles your head. The width of the arm is just right. It’s big enough to feel sturdy, but not too big so that it overpowers the piece. Doing two or three seats, like above, provides a bit more of a traditional look. A single bench seat is more streamlined and works well in contemporary settings.
This sofa just screams elegance. More contemporary than a traditional rolled arm, but softer than a straight track arm. This sofa is both graceful and comfortable. A perfect fit for a formal space or a cozy family room. With the topstitched seat cushions and knife edge back cushions, these subtle details offer an understated simplicity to the design.
Traditional With a Twist
If you like traditional but want to mix it up a bit, this is the sofa for you. It takes a classic rolled arm and adds that modern element with the angled arm. The contoured sloping arm is graceful to the eye, but also fits a natural arm position perfectly. The single bench seat streamlines the three back cushions. This is perfect for that transitional space as it combines the best of modern and traditional design.
The Chameleon of Sofa Styles
This piece combines a flat 5″ track arm with a low profile or deep bottom rail, with wedge legs. The clean lines of the frame paired with the T-style back cushions create a simple, yet inviting sofa for every space. Timeless, sleek and casual all at the same time, this piece will be the perfect palette for the artwork of your fabrics. Depending on whether you choose a bench seat as above, or 2 seats as below, this chameleon of a sofa will work in any space.
A Real Classic
A real classic that fits in every space. From formal to family and from contemporary to traditional; this soft sweeping 4 inch track arm is comfortable and easy on the eye. It injects a subtle softness to a traditional straight track arm, while keeping it feeling light overall.
The best part about all the sofa styles listed above, is that they will look completely different depending on the fabric chosen. With thousands and thousands of fabric choices, you’ll have a classic style done in a fabric you love. Notice the casualness of the William Birch sofa below. When we did this billiard room, we wanted to create that fine balance of a traditional but casual space. Choosing a denim coloured tweed gives it that English charm of not trying too hard.
The possibilities are endless. Buying a classic sofa style in the best quality you can afford makes good sense. If you want to view the Gresham House Collection at Stewart Drummond Studios, get in touch. Once you sit in these Canadian made sofas, you’ll see the difference quality makes.
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Karen Fron Interior Design is a Calgary based design firm. We believe that a well functioning and beautiful home makes life better. It's not about how much you have, it's about using what you have to create beauty.