ARMS AND SEATS AND LEGS AND SKIRTS – SOFAS 101

CHOOSING A SOFA 

IS A FUN BUT OFTEN DAUNTING TASK

HERE ARE 10  THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A SOFA.

PHOTO BY SARAH CRAMER - CAMEL BACK SOFA

PHOTO BY SARAH CRAMER – CAMEL BACK SOFA

1. STYLE – I AM IN THE MIDDLE OF A BIG DECORATING PROJECT AND HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY BROUGHT TO MY KNEES BY THE MYRIAD OF CHOICES. ARMS, LEGS, BACKS AND SEATS AND CUSHIONS AND UPHOLSTERY CHOICES…… “STYLE” REFERS TO NOT ONLY THE SOFA SHAPE, THERE ARE SO MANY STYLES…..HERE ARE A FEW BIGGIES….(all the diagrams and descriptions below are from DOMINO)

THE DOMINO BOOK IS HANDS DOWN MY GO-TO FAVORITE DECORATING AND DESIGN BOOK !!!

THE DOMINO BOOK IS HANDS DOWN MY GO-TO FAVORITE DECORATING AND DESIGN BOOK !!!

HANDS DOWN THE BEST RESOURCE BOOK EVER!

Slipper Streamlined and unfussy, like an elongated slipper chair, this option is made more for entertaining than lounging. Usually lean and open, it does well in small spaces.

SLIPPER
Streamlined and unfussy, like an elongated slipper chair, this option is made more for entertaining than lounging. Usually lean and open, it does well in small spaces.

ENGLISH ARM THREE SEATER Rumpled, yet aristocratic, this British country-house staple has soft, deep cushions and low arms that make it ideal for TV watching.

ENGLISH ARM THREE SEATER
Rumpled, yet aristocratic, this British country-house staple has soft, deep cushions and low arms that make it ideal for TV watching.

FRENCH SETTEE Often seen in a Louis XIV style, this regal option is delicate, formal, and architectural. The exposed carved-wood frame provides a structured contrast in a room of heavily upholstered pieces.

FRENCH SETTEE
Often seen in a Louis XIV style, this regal option is delicate, formal, and architectural. The exposed carved-wood frame provides a structured contrast in a room of heavily upholstered pieces.

TUXEDO- A signature of society decorator Billy Baldwin, this sofa is luxurious yet decidedly no-frills. A straight profile (the arms and back are the same height) give it a more masculine feel. Works in any room, modern or traditional.

TUXEDO- A signature of society decorator Billy Baldwin, this sofa is luxurious yet decidedly no-frills. A straight profile (the arms and back are the same height) give it a more masculine feel. Works in any room, modern or traditional.

MODERN More sculpture than sofa (this one is a mid-century design by Vladimir Kagan). This piece can float in the middle of a room.

MODERN
More sculpture than sofa (this one is a mid-century design by Vladimir Kagan). This piece can float in the middle of a room.

CHESTERFIELD This 19th century English design features tight tailoring, a high back, rolled arms and tufting. In leather, it's clubby and masculine.

CHESTERFIELD
This 19th century English design features tight tailoring, a high back, rolled arms and tufting. In leather, it’s clubby and masculine.

SECTIONAL Casual, with a '70's lounginess. Good for establishing a sitting area in a loft. Minimizes the need for other seating. A version with legs cuts the bulkiness.

SECTIONAL
Casual, with a ’70’s lounginess. Good for establishing a sitting area in a loft. Minimizes the need for other seating. A version with legs cuts the bulkiness.

KNOLE (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE FSU MASCOT!) This style is named after a grand house of King Henry VIII. Super-classic and formal, but very cozy and sheltering. Hinged sides untie and drop flat so you can lie down.

KNOLE (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE FSU “NOLE” MASCOT!)
This style is named after a grand house of King Henry VIII. Super-classic and formal, but very cozy and sheltering. Hinged sides untie and drop flat so you can lie down.

Dating back to the 18th-century British designer Thomas Chippendale, this piece has an old-world sophistication but also looks surprisingly modern in a solid linen fabric. SKIRTED OR UNSKIRTED.

Dating back to the 18th-century British designer Thomas Chippendale, this piece has an old-world sophistication but also looks surprisingly modern in a solid linen fabric. SKIRTED OR UNSKIRTED.

 

LAYLA GRAYCE BERKSHIRE SOFA

LAYLA GRAYCE BERKSHIRE SOFA

KATE SPADE SRAKE TUFTED SOFA!!!!

KATE SPADE SRADE TUFTED SOFA!!!! CHECK OUT THE SITE FOR MORE OF HER NEW FURNITURE LINE!!!!

2. LOCATION / ROOM SIZE, LAYOUT, DOOR AND WINDOW LOCATIONS, additional furniture and  AND FLOOR PLAN ALL PLAY A HUGE PART IS DECIDING WHICH OF THE SEEMINGLY MILLIONS OF SOFAS TO PURCHASE.

HOUSE OF TURQUOISE - BORGES BROOKS BUILDERS

HOUSE OF TURQUOISE – BORGES BROOKS BUILDERS – TWO SLIPCOVERED TRACK ARM SOFAS  WITH 3 PILLOWS AND 3 SEATS.

SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF : WHERE IS THIS SOFA GOING?

GASLIGHT SOFA

GASLIGHT SOFA  – LARGE SOCK ARM SOFA WITH BENCH SEAT AND 3 BACK PILLOWS – SLIPCOVERED

IN THE FAMILY ROOM, LIVING ROOM, AND HOW MUCH TRAFFIC WILL IT NEED TO WITHSTAND?

cococozy

cococozy – TWO ENGLISH ARM BENCH SEAT UPHOLSTERED SOFAS AND CHESTERFIELD TUFTED CHAIR

WHAT ARE THE AGES OF THE PEOPLE WHO WILL USE IT MOST? I remember watching as my toddler wiped her runny nose on the sofa cushions edge – which came conveniently to nose-height – and it was a blessing that those cushions could be laundered!

PSILOVETHIS.COM

PSILOVETHIS.COM – TWO  MODERN ANGLED STRAIGHT ARM SOFAS WITH “T” BENCH SEAT AND LOW TIGHT BACK WITH PILLOWS

CONFIGURATION – DOES YOUR ROOM HAVE 4 WALLS? OR AN OPEN FLOOR PLAN?

FOUR SEASONS FURNITURE DOES AN EXCELLENT SLIPCOVER...HERE IS THE ALEXANDRIA SOFA WITH 3 CUSHIONS...A SOCK ARM AND SKIRTED!

FOUR SEASONS FURNITURE DOES AN EXCELLENT SLIPCOVER…HERE IS THE ALEXANDRIA SOFA WITH 3 CUSHIONS…A SOCK ARM AND SKIRTED!

WILL THE BACK OF THE SOFA BE VISIBLE?

MAINE COTTAGE

MAINE COTTAGE – SOCK ARMS, RECTANGULAR CUSHIONS, TWO SEATS, TWO BACK CUSHIONS, SKIRTED AND UPHOLSTERED

WHERE IS THE LIGHTING IN THE ROOM?

WINDSOR SMITH

WINDSOR SMITH – ENGLISH ARM SOFA WITH “T” EBNCH SEAT AND TIGHT BACK UPHOLSTERED

IS THIS ROOM THE CENTER OF THE HOUSE…OF DOWN IN THE BASEMENT? ALL IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE YOU MAKE THE PURCHASE….AND FOR PETE’S SAKE – MEASURE YOUR DOORWAYS AND STAIRCASES!!!

3. BUDGET.  BUDGETS AND TASTES VARY AND CAN DICTATE OPTIONS.  BUT NOWADAYS – A TIGHT BUDGET IS NOT A BARRIER TO STYLE. EMILY HENDERSON DID A GREAT “SOFA” POST WHICH INCLUDES AMONG OTHER VALUABLE ADVICE ” GENERIC SOFAS NOT TO BUY” AND A FEW DOZEN GREAT SOFAS UNDER $1000!!!!

PINK RUE SOFA CB2 $999

PINK RUE SOFA CB2 $999 – MODERN CABRIOLE STYLE WITH TIGHT BACK, TIGHT SEAT CUSHION AND LEGS

4. ARMS – ENGLISH ARM 

ENGLISH ARM

ENGLISH ARM SOFA WITH 3 SEATS AND 3 BACK PILLOWS

…HERE ARE MORE TO MUDDLE THROUGH!

DREXEL HERITAGE ARMS

DREXEL HERITAGE ARMS

5. SEATS, CUSHIONS – NUMBER – DO YOU WANT ONE BENCH SEAT CUSHION, TWO CUSHIONS OR THREE…AND WOULD YOU LIKE “T” OR AN “L” CUSHION OR A “SQUARE/RECTANGLE”  STYLE?

"L" AND "T" CUSHIONS WRAP AROUND THE ARM OF THE SOFA.

“L” AND “T” CUSHIONS WRAP AROUND THE ARM OF THE SOFA.

RECTANGLE AND SQUARE CUSHIONS SIT SQUARE ON THE SOFA

RECTANGLE AND SQUARE CUSHIONS SIT SQUARE ON THE SOFA

6. PILLOWS – AND just as you can have NO pillows and a tight back you can have – 1, 2 , 3 or a bunch of back pillows –

burgundy and cream walls

PLUM AND BOW “ANNETTE” MAROON SOFA FROM URBAN OUTFITTERS $798 MODERN SCRILL ARM WITH 3 SEATS AND 2 PILLOWS WITH BUTTONS.

ANTHROPOLOGIE - THE CARLIER COLLECTION - BENCH SEAT, MULTIPLE PILLOWS, SLIPCOVERED - MODERN BENCH SEAT, TOPSTITCHED, 5 BACK PILLOWS,

ANTHROPOLOGIE – THE CARLIER COLLECTION – BENCH SEAT, MULTIPLE PILLOWS, SLIPCOVERED – MODERN BENCH SEAT, TOPSTITCHED, 5 BACK PILLOWS,AND SKIRTED – THIS IS A GREAT OPTION WITH KIDS

POTTERY BARN CAMERAON SOFA - 3 SEATS AND 3 SQUARE CUSHIONS, UPHOLSTERED

POTTERY BARN CAMERAON SOFA – SMALL SOCK ARM WITH 3 SEATS AND 3 SQUARE CUSHIONS, UPHOLSTERED

EDLYN COLLECTION, ANTHROPOLOGIE - TWO CUSHION, TWO SEAT, VELVET WITH LEGS AND SQUARE ARMS AND

EDLYN COLLECTION, ANTHROPOLOGIE – TWO CUSHION, BENCH SEAT, VELVET WITH LEGS AND SQUARE ARMS.

7. SKIRTED OR VISIBLE LEGS, – I LIKE A MIXTURE OF BOTH ….LEGS ARE CONSIDERED A BIT MORE DRESSY…BUT LOVELY SKIRTED ONES ARE BEAUTIFUL TOO….DESIGNER TRACI ZELLER HAS A RULE OF THUMB THAT IF THE SOFAS ARE SKIRTED SHE SELECTS MORE LEGGY TABLES….

TRACI ZELLER DESIGNS -

TRACI ZELLER DESIGNS – SKIRTED UPHOLSTERED ROLLARM SOFA WITH 3 CUSHIONS SEAT AND BACK

LEE INDUSTRIES ROLL ARM SOFA, SKIRTED AND SLIPCOVERED

LEE INDUSTRIES ROLL ARM SOFA, 3 SEATS, 3 CUSHIONS (2 “L” AND ONE SQUARE) BACK PILLOWS, SKIRTED AND SLIPCOVERED

LEE INDUSTRIES ROLL ARM SOFA

LEE INDUSTRIES ROLL ARM SOFA. TIGHT BACK, TWO T CUSHIONS AND ENGLISH ARMS –

HOUSE OF TURQUOISE - TURQUOISE AND GREEN

HOUSE OF TURQUOISE – TURQUOISE AND GREEN – UPHOLSTERED STRAIGHT SHELTER ARMS AND ONE BENCH SEAT CUSHION

PHOEBE HOWARD

PHOEBE HOWARD – PARIS CLUB ARMS, L CUSHIONS, CORNER PLEATS, SECTIONAL SOFA

8. DURABILITY – THIS MAY SEEM LIKE AN OBVIOUS CATEGORY, WHO DOESN’T WANT A DURABLE SOFA?  BUT SOMETIMES YOU JUST NEED A 3 YR SOFA, (THINK COLLEGE APARTMENT…) OR YOU KNOW YOU WILL SWAP IT OUT WHEN THE KIDS GET OUT OF DIAPERS AND YOU JUST WANT SOMETHING TO FILL THE SPACE …A SOFT PLACE FOR EVERYONE TO SIT …IN A ROOM WHERE ONLY YOUR FAMILY GOES. –

THIS "9 BY NOVOGRATZ" SOFA/FUTON IS $399 AT WALMART!

THIS “9 BY NOVOGRATZ” SOFA/FUTON IS $399 AT WALMART!

IN OTHER CASES, YOU CONSIDER THIS SOFA TO BE AN INVESTMENT, WORTHY OF EXTENDING YOUR BUDGET TO ACCOMODATE A PIECE OF FURNITURE THAT IS NOT ONLY WELL MADE AND STURDY, BUT CLASSIC VS TRENDY, WITH A TRADITIONALLY INSPIRED FRAME AND LINES, IN FABRICS WHICH ARE TIMELESS AND HOLD UP TO HEAVY WEAR.

RESTORATION HARDWARE - BELGIAN LINEN SLOPE ARM SOFA - SINGLE CUSHION, SKIRTED AND SLIPCOVERED!

RESTORATION HARDWARE – BELGIAN LINEN SLOPE ARM SOFA – SINGLE CUSHION, SKIRTED AND SLIPCOVERED!

9. COLOR/ FABRIC – AGAIN THIS IS NOT ALWAYS SOMETHING YOU HAVE LOTS OF FLEXIBILITY ON…BUT WILL THE SOFA BE YOUR POP OF COLOR? OR WILL IT SERVE AS A BACKDROP TO ALL OF THE OTHER COLORS IN THE ROOM – WITH ART, RUGS AND OTHER PIECES TAKING FOCUS?

GEORGE SHERLOCK SMALL SHERLOCK TWO SEATER

I LOVE THIS SOFA…WITH ALL MY HEART I LOVE IT! BY GEORGE SHERLOCK SMALL SHERLOCK TWO SEATER

EMMA TWO SEAT SOFA SKIRTED AND SLIPCOVERED FOUR SEASONS FURNITURE

EMMA TWO SEAT SOFA SKIRTED AND SLIPCOVERED FOUR SEASONS FURNITURE

GEORGE SHERLOCK SOFA FROM JENNA LYONS BROOKLYN APARTMENT

GEORGE SHERLOCK SOFA FROM JENNA LYONS BROOKLYN APARTMENT

FUNKY SOFA IS A GREAT SOURCE OF AFFORABLE CUSTOM AND NON CUSTOM "DIFFERENT" FAND FUNKY SOFAS!

FUNKY SOFA CHESTERFIELD SOFA – FUNKY SOFA IS A GREAT SOURCE OF AFFORDABLE CUSTOM AND NON CUSTOM “DIFFERENT” AND FUNKY SOFAS!

WILLOUGHBY SOFA - ANTHROPOLOGIE

WILLOUGHBY SOFA – ANTHROPOLOGIE

PINK YUMMY - NYLON PINKSY

PINK YUMMY – NYLON PINKSY- CONTRASTING PIPING ADDS WHIMSY AND STYLE…LOVE THE BROWN AND PINK!!

10. SLIPCOVERED VS UPHOLSTERED – I AM DOING A LIVING ROOM FOR A FAMILY THAT HAS 3 CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 4. I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT THE ONLY OPTION FOR YOUNG CHILDREN IS LEATHER… THERE AND SO MANY DURABLE FABRICS OUT THERE AND SUNBRELLA MAKES INCREDIBLE INDOOR OUTDOOR OPTIONS THAT THE POSSIBITIES ARE ENDLESS.AND I LOVE SLIPCOVERS!!!

DWELL STUDIO MODERN BUNGALOW INDOOR/OUTDOOR - ROBERT ALLEN

DWELL STUDIO MODERN BUNGALOW INDOOR/OUTDOOR – ROBERT ALLEN

DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THE DIFFERENT CONFIGUARTIONS THERE ARE KICK PLEATS, DRESSMAKER PLEATS, EVEN RUFFLES…YOU CAN CAVE MULTIPLE PLEATS, JUST CORNER PLEATS…OR A CENTER PLEAT…!!!!!

LOVE THESE SLIPCOVERS - HOUSE OF TURQUOISE WATERCOLOR FLORIDA

LOVE THESE SLIPCOVERS – HOUSE OF TURQUOISE WATERCOLOR FLORIDA SLIPCOVERED MODERN SHAPE SOFAS WITH STRAIGHT ARMS AND 3 BACK CUSHIONS.

THE FOUR SEASONS ZOE SOFA - ENGLISH ARM, SKIRTED, 2 CUSHIONED AND SLIPCOVERED!

MANY PEOPLE SAY THAT A WASHABLE WHITE SLIP- COVERED SOFA IS THE WAY TO GO…IF IT IS FROM FOUR SEASONS I AGREE, THEY HAVE AN AMAZING PRODUCT AND THE COVERS COME OFF IN PIECES SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO THROW THE WHOLE BLOOMING THING INOT THE WASH WHEN YOUR DOG COMES IN COVERED IN MUD….THE FOUR SEASONS ZOE SOFA – ENGLISH ARM, SKIRTED, 2 CUSHIONED AND SLIPCOVERED!

OVERWHELMED? YEAH, ME TOO!

BUT ISN’T IT BETTER TO CONSIDER ALL OF THE OPTIONS? I THINK SO, EVEN IF IT TAKES A LITTLE MORE TIME.

OVERSTOCK.COM BAXTON SOFA $404.99!

OVERSTOCK.COM BAXTON SOFA $404.99!

EMILY HENDERSON’S THEORY AS TO WHY SO MANY “MISTAKE” SOFAS GET PURCHASED IS BECAUSE THEY ARE 1.  IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE AND 2. INEXPENSIVE…BUT SHE AND I HAVE FOUND IS THAT IF YOU SHOP AROUND YOU CAN GET A GREAT SOFA FOR A DECENT PRICE…AND ONE YOU ACTUALLY LIKE – NOT SETTLE FOR!!!

LIVING ROOM SOFA IS A 20 YEAR OLD SOFA WHICH I HAVE HAD SLIPCOVERED TWICE. IT IS A GREAT STURDY SOFA.

LIVING ROOM SOFA IS A 20 YEAR OLD SOFA WHICH I HAVE HAD SLIPCOVERED TWICE. IT IS A GREAT STURDY SOFA.

teal sofa

FROM HOUSE OF TURQUOISE FEATURING DESIGNER LINDSAY CORAL HARPER – BEAUTIFUL DEEP LAGOON BLUE VELVET SOFA WITH PANEL ARMS.

SO HOW DO YOU CHOOSE A SOFA? WITH SO MANY CHOICES? AND SO FEW DECENT PLACES TO GO SHOP AROUND WITHOUT LOSING YOUR MIND?

MY SUGGESTION IS TO VISIT SITES LIKE PINTEREST, HOUZZ AND THERE ARE SO MANY GOOD ONES THAT FEATURE LOTS OF HOMES -…. I LIKE EMILY HENDERSON,  DESIGN CHIC,  AND OTHER STYLIST, DECORATORS AND DESIGNERS  – VISIT THEIR SITES AND JUST WANDER THROUGH THEIR ARCHIVES. PIN THE PHOTOS THAT SPEAK TO YOU – COLLECT PICTURES OF SOFAS THAT YOU LIKE!!!!

HOUSE OF TURQUOISE AGK DESIGNS -

HOUSE OF TURQUOISE AGK DESIGNS – TRACK ARM SLIPCOVERED SOFA WITH BENCH SEAT AND BACK PILLOWS

MY PERSONAL FAVORITE IS HOUSE OF TURQUOISE –  SHE FEATURES PRIMARILY DESIGNERS AND THE ROOMS AND HOMES THEY HAVE DESIGNED, SHE HAS THOUSANDS OF LIVING ROOMS FEATURED IN EVERY STYLE IMAGINABLE!!!!!

DO YOU HAVE ANY SOFA STORIES???? DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE STYLE??

HOW DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR SOFAS???

THE CHEVRON SOFA

THE CHEVRON SOFA

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4 thoughts on “ARMS AND SEATS AND LEGS AND SKIRTS – SOFAS 101

  1. Tracy

    Wow! My couch almost didn’t fit through my apt doors and it was pretty new. We got it in but the joke (but maybe truth is) it may stay here when I move out.

    Reply
  2. Mark

    I already thought picking out the right sofa was a pretty tough task as it is, but I never even realized there were THIS many different variations and types of arm rests and everything. How do you even begin to choose? Haha.

    Reply
  3. Jade

    A sofa is a poignant feature in any room, its important to thoroughly think through the shape and design. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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