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Found in every household up and down the land, sofas are a crucial part of what really makes a house a home. Whilst the designs may vary, from the classic shape and style of Danish sofas through to the more luxurious and decadent nature of vintage leather sofas, a sofa is the place where families and friends gather to relax and recuperate. In modern times, the mid-century sofa has come to the fore thanks to its variety of stylistic elements, but with such a dynamic and varied history, there is a lot more to the humble sofa than meets the eye.
A Brief History Of SofasThroughout history humans have enjoyed being able to take the weight off after a long day and relax at home, but believe it or not the sofa took a very long time to come into being! For thousands of years, humans sat on everything from stones to wooden pews, but it was the vision of one man who drove the creation of the sofas we know today, and that man's name was Lord Philip Stanhope, A.K.A The Fourth Earl of Chesterfield…
Lord Chesterfield was a polymath and trendsetter throughout his adult life in the 18th Century, and one of his mandates was to create an item of furniture upon which people could comfortably sit in groups without wrinkling their clothes. This is where the idea of the modern sofa came from. As a result of his push for comfortable group seating, Lord Chesterfield has lent his name to one of the furniture world’s most enduring items, the Chesterfield sofa. Often considered as vintage style sofas, this design has traversed the years between the Lord's death in 1773 and the modern day, and it has become an icon for interior designers all over the world.
Whilst the Chesterfield is probably the most famous sofa style in the world, the versatility of the item has given designers the chance to experiment and create some amazing and unique designs. Scandinavian sofas, and in particular Danish sofas, have also become increasingly popular over time with their simple lines and straightforward designs. By minimising the number of elements included in the design of the sofa, creators have managed to ensure that they fit well with any style of decor in our homes.
Another period in history when a change occurred in sofa design was after the First World War. With the world a vastly different place from what it was just a few years previously, reductionism came to the fore in many different elements of everyday life such as art, architecture and of course furniture. Modernism was born post war, and designers began to find beauty in the raw elements of a sofa rather than what it was supposed to represent. This saw the end of the theatrical use of components such as eagle wings and snakes being carved into sofas, and the introduction of the “less is more” thought process. This led to innovations in design such as the 2 seater mid century sofa, which at the time was a drastic variation to a design that had been almost set in stone for hundreds of years.
What makes a good product?We know that purchasing a sofa is an investment so there are some questions to ask yourself before you commit to a purchase. Is that oxblood leather sofa perfect for your living room, or should you take a look at a smaller antique sofa? There is a lot to consider, so here are our recommendations for when buying a sofa.
The first thing to consider is the build quality of the piece, and for the sofa the most important part is the frame. Hard woods such as oak, ash or beech are great materials to construct the framework from, so look at this before buying a sofa. Also the quality of the joinery, springs, and material are all other considerations you should take into account to help ensure you are getting a long lasting item.
Secondly, the size of the sofa should also form a big part of your thinking. They are one of the items of furniture that can vary most in size, so make sure you measure up before buying! There is something for every size room out there, so just make sure you take the time to ensure your dream sofa will fit in your living room before you buy.
The final consideration when shopping for sofas is the style. For every person who prefers the often grandiose designs of an antique sofa, there is another person who prefers the sleek simplicity of a mid century modern piece. A sofa is a great chance to express your personality in a piece of furniture that will be at the centre of one of the most important rooms in a house for years to come, so it is good to get excited when looking for your new sofa!
If you do need a little help picking your new sofa, then use our filters above to narrow down your choice. You’re only a few steps away from securing your dream sofa!