Choosing a Stylish Sofa

While it’s a type of furniture that’s been around for thousands of years, never before have sofas been subject to so many different trends and variations. Lucy Mather, sofa specialist at Arighi Bianchi, a furniture store with a heritage spanning more than 160 years and now an online shopping destination, explains four of the main sofa trends emerging this year, in large driven by our desire to make homes more personalised and sensory than ever, and she shares some exciting new sofa styles, colours and shapes now available.

““Never has there been so much choice when it comes to shapes, colours and materials. The notion of the sofa as the focal point of a living space is unwavering – a key element in an interior scheme that has to be functional, feel good and look stylish in equal parts. To meet these needs, sofas do now come in all shapes and sizes – and there is lots of design innovation within this space.”

“Some key looks that are increasingly popular are very much in line with how our interiors are being shaped around our emotional needs and the feeling we want our homes to evoke in us.”

Exciting new themes shaping the current innovations in sofa styles include:

Casual Living

“Like with designer luxury fashion that’s very much gone down the casual styling, athleisure route, so have sofas. There are now lots more oversized luxury sofas featuring pillow back designs and boucle fabrics.”

“There is also a move away from the formalness of matching sets – which is great if you just want to switch up your sofa and keep other seating within the scheme.”

“The sumptuous sofa trend is very much a part of the idea that comfort is king. In an uncertain world, we want to feel cocooned and safe when we get home from a busy day. Snuggling down on an almost bed like sofa is very much a part of this.”

“Neutrals work well with this vibe – including pastel shades of green and pink – but colour choice doesn’t define this style … it’s about the luxury of casual styling that makes us feel fantastic.”

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Sensory Shades

“Where colour does come in is in line with the dopamine décor and sensory home trend. One of the key shifts we have seen in the broadening of interiors trends is driven by us making our homes a more ‘sensory’ experience. It’s about how our spaces make us feel and of course colour is a key way to drive a positive mood.”

“This is why colour choice for couches has significantly expanded and big statement sofas now come in almost every colour imaginable – sofas can certainly be the style setter in a room versus just there for practicality.”

New Traditional

“Heritage style sofas are certainly not being relegated to the second-hand shop!”

“New styles of more ‘traditional couches’ continue to be launched every year.
From scrolled arms, button detailing, and intricately shaped legs – all of these features scream quality and craftmanship. The great news for fans of traditional design is that there has never been more choice when it comes to putting a modern slant on the heritage trend.”

“From classic tweeds with beautiful contrast piping to the softest buttery leather in gorgeous grey, traditional in 2023 is anything but boring. Heritage sofas will never go out of fashion so invest in a piece that will stand the test of time and it will be trending for years to come.”



“Hybrid designing is part of the continued innovation in sofa and armchair fashions – and a hugely popular hybrid for the living room is the snuggler!”

“It’s the armchair’s more sumptuous big sister, and the sofa’s smaller sibling; and snugglers make a great addition to a living room configuration.”

“They are the perfect way to play with colour and texture in your living space. By choosing a hit of dopamine-inducing colour, a touch of tactile velvet or a bit of boucle, you can instantly bring your living space bang up to date.”

“Similar to the oversized sofa trend, snugglers are here to comfort and cocoon us – the perfect reading spot, a cosy nook to unwind after a busy day and a tactile space to chill.”

How to choose a sofa – expert’s advice 

Get the dimensions right:

It’s a seemingly obvious and unglamorous tip, but presuming you already know where you intend to place your sofa, once that is decided you need to carefully measure up the space. If the sofa will be arriving already assembled, you’ll also need to make sure you’ll be able to negotiate it into your home. That means measuring up the door frames and accounting for any awkward angles. 

Remember that ‘width’ refers to the measurement across the back of the sofa, while the ‘depth’ is the measurement from the front of the sofa to the back. If you think that you might have issues getting your sofa into the room it is intended for, make sure you mention this at the point of purchase as it may be able to be delivered in parts and assembled indoors.

Choose fabric that is both good-looking and practical

You may have found a colour and pattern that you love but the next crucial step is the fabric.

No two fabrics are entirely the same – natural materials, for instance, can sometimes be prone to fading over time due to sunlight exposure. This might make a manmade material the wiser choice if the sofa will be positioned close to the window.  An especially popular sofa fabric is leather a strong and durable material that stands up well to everyday use, and even the creases, marks and scuffs it will almost inevitably accumulate over time will simply enhance its character.

Velvet sofas are extremely popular right now, but it can be a high maintenance fabric that will need a bit of TLC.

Decide on the most suitable sofa shape

Sofas come in a dizzying range of shapes and sizes – everything from two seaters and corner sofas to opulent four-seat and grand sofas. 

The shape of the sofa you choose won’t depend purely on how you intend to use it, as aesthetics will play a part too. A small sofa in a large room, for example, will appear somewhat isolated, while a large sofa in a small room may seem a little overwhelming. 

Nonetheless, you’ll also need to take into account practical factors, such as how many people will be routinely using the sofa at any one time, and how they will typically position themselves on it. If you expect to spend a lot of time lying on the sofa, will it be sufficiently long to allow you to stretch out comfortably? 

The height of the people using the sofa will also be crucial. Taller people may require a sofa with a higher back for greater support, while if you are shorter, you should check that you’ll be able to comfortably tuck your feet under whatever model you’re considering.

Don’t forget about the filling

Given that you don’t see what your sofa’s stuffed with, it might be barely an afterthought for you when you’re looking for the best sofa. But that shouldn’t be the case! After all, the sofa filling is effectively what you will be sitting on for years, so it’s worth being aware of the qualities of the different stuffing options out there. 

A fibre filling, for example, consists of manmade polyester hollow strands that – when you sit on them – compress and expel air. Sofas with fibre fillings are soft and relaxing to sit on, but it’s important to frequently plump and turn the cushions to help keep them looking good. 

When the priority is to provide a more structured look and firmer support, a foam filling is a common choice. It needs hardly any maintenance over time, and foam cushions tend to spring back into shape as soon as the sitter rises. As for feather-filled sofas, these don’t appear as structured as their foam-filled counterparts, but they’re definitely luxurious sofas that practically beckon you to sit down and sink into them!

See also: Choosing the Right Kitchen Worktop

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