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You’ve narrowed down your project’s direction according to your desired interior design style. Now it’s time for another decision – choosing a focal piece for your space.
If that focal piece is a sofa and you’re having a hard time picking out one, it’s completely understandable. A sofa takes up a considerable footprint, not to mention takes a big chunk out of the budget.
More importantly, if you’re meaning to have this sofa as the springboard for every furnishing you pick, you’d want to get it right.
So we’ve scoured Amazon and assembled this visual guide to help you choose the best sofa for your project.
But before we get to that, here’s a reminder that a space’s style is not determined by any one element, but the totality of all elements used in the space.
That said, let’s dive in. Go straight to any style through the links in the table of contents below.
To get that abstract art-like feel, get a sofa with a simplified look. Here are some suggestions:
- blocky, cube-like, or even blob-like seats and backrests
- pieces with chunky, pillow-like parts
- hidden legs or without legs at that
- go for one that’s asymmetrical in shape, like a sectional.
- for a fun vibe, use an extra-large bean bag.
And because Abstract Style was part of the Modernist Movement, don’t forget the following:
- make comfort a priority
- a neutral-colored piece for a sophisticated look, and it can also serve as a canvas for pillows with abstract prints
- choose a bright-colored piece, or a multi-colored one for a bolder take on the style.
Art Deco Style
Art Deco is a glamorous style from the 1920s to 1930s. Here are some tips on what to look for in a sofa when creating a space in this style:
- luxurious materials for the upholstery, like velvet and quality leather
- upholstery using fabric with patterns associated with the style, like: stepped lines or zigzags
- gold-finished details to reference the style’s Old Hollywood and Egyptian King Tut influences
- Vertical channel tufting for the style’s emphasis on verticality as displayed by Art Deco architecture like the Empire State Building
- polished workmanship that’s worthy of the Machine Age.
- stepped silhouette
- “speed lines” detail and aviator-inspired (plane seat-like) silhouette as a nod to Art Deco’s connection to the rise of air travel.
Art Nouveau Style
Whether in the upholstery or the sofa’s frame, look for sinuous and undulating patterns. There should be an absence or a lack of straight lines. The motifs are from nature – flowers and foliage that are done in a stylized manner.
Arts & Crafts / Mission Style
As a revolt against the Industrial Revolution, the Arts and Crafts Movement went back to nature and used wood as the prime material for their architecture and furniture design.
Noticing a decline in quality among the mass-produced products of the Machine Age, good craftsmanship and everything handmade became the emphasis of the style.
When shopping for an Arts and Crafts or Mission Style sofa, look for:
- earthy tones
- straight or slightly curved lines
- motifs that include anything from nature.
These sofas are not just for Arts and Crafts and Mission Style spaces, they’re also good for Native American Style and Cabin Style homes.
Get that modern, masculine vibe by using a Bauhaus Style sofa in your space.
Here are what to look for:
- neutral-colored – white, black, or gray
- with or without subtle tufting
- exposed, polished metal frame and legs.
Bohemian Chic Style
One characteristic of the Bohemian Styles is being “global.” And if you’re looking into creating the chic version of this style, you’ll have no shortage of sofas to choose from.
Any piece from any era will do,, as long as it exudes a sense of elegance. This can be from the characteristics of the piece itself or from the materials used.
As for the color, any color would work fine, but for more of the chic vibe, get a piece with jewel-toned color.
Repurposing is also a trait of the Boho Styles, so your sofa doesn’t have to be brand new, or it can have a weathered, distressed look.
Cabin / Lodge / Log Style
A cabin’s interior looks a lot like its exterior in that it’s imposing and masculine, allowing it to withstand the rustic elements. But as a home and a respite, it should also be comfortable and easy to care for.
As for the sofas, there are many directions you can take:
- go for a plump, leather-upholstered piece to echo that masculine and imposing look and have the comfort element at the same time
- for more emphasis on the rustic element of the style, use an earthy Arts and Crafts or Mission Style sofa or any handcrafted piece would be a good choice
- a Country Style sofa like a slipcovered one not just adds to the rustic vibe but can also provide softness to the space
- pick a Modernist-Style sofa in leather upholstery to contrast against the rustic features
- any luxurious piece will also be a good choice especially if your going for an elegant look.
Classic Bohemian Style
Here’s how to choose the best sofa for your Bohemian Style space:
- on-the floor seating for the ultimate relaxed vibe
- earthy tones and bold florals because the style’s is about living a back-to-nature lifestyle
- patchwork upholstery for the style’s emphasis on simplicity
- any kind of pattern will work because Bohemian is an eclectic and global style
- makeshift sofa made of cushions on used wooden pallet if you want to tap on the style’s tendency to repurpose because of its love-for-nature quality.
Modern Bohemian Style
Keep your Bohemian Style modern by using prints with:
- bright colors,
- lots of whites, black and grays
- sharp, clean lines
To get the Contemporary vibe, choose a sofa with:
- clean lines
- exposed metals
- neutral colors, but any color will do.
Eco Style is a modern style that takes nature into account. If you’re choosing a sofa for your Eco Style project, here are some of out tips:
- choose one that’s made of natural material, like wicker, cotton, or linen
- go either for one with rustic or modern feel
- though not obvious visually, choose one that’s not treated or finished with harsh chemicals
- pick a light-colored piece or a white one to give your space maximum brightness – that can somehow help in saving on power
- consider where to purchase your piece from – saving on carbon footprint is part of the Eco Style.
Hollywood Regency / Hollywood Glam Style
Hollywood Regency is all about glitz, glamour, and drama. For your sofa, here are our top tips:
- get one that’s made of luxurious material, like good leather, satin, or velvet
- details such as exposed nail heads, button tufting, channel tufting
- gold or bronze finishes
- details that refer to Ancient Greek and Ancient Egyptian Styles which are the style’s influences other than the Old Hollywood of the 1920s
- or any piece that exudes glamour.
For this very masculine style that celebrates the abandoned industrial buildings, either get a sofa that:
- has distressed and weathered materials
- is all-leather
- is a Chesterfield. The rationale for this is that it’s been believed that Britain was the first nation to have experienced the economic benefits brought about by the Industrial Revolution, and the Chesterfield is a British-designed sofa.
These sofa tips will apply to whatever version of Industrial Style you’re working on, namely:
Mid-Century Modern Style
Here are things to consider when choosing a sofa for your mid-Century Modern Style project:
- has a masculine vibe
- with or without tufting
- legs can either be wood or metal, straight or splayed
- either neutral in color because of its Bauhaus influence or earthy like burnt orange, turquoise, or avocado green because of its association with the Bohemian Style.
Modern Glam Style
The Modern Glam Style is closely related to the Hollywood Regency Style. The difference is that Modern Glam is much simpler and more up-to-date.
For your sofa, here are things to look for:
- simple, clean lines
- luxurious materials and details
- gold or chrome metal finishes
- neutral or jewel-colored
Moroccan / Moorish Style
From casual to the formal, on-the-floor or close-to-ground seatings are usually used for the Moroccan or Moorish Style.
Use solid colors or patterned, neutral or multi-colored. There are no strict rules for upholstering your sofa.
Anything black or dark gray will work for a Noir Style space.
If you’re looking into creating a Noir space that’s true to the style, pick a sofa that has a vintage or classic vibe to it. Bit if you’re leaning towards something modern, that’s fine too. Just compensate by adding classic and other details to achieve the Noir look, that is mysterious, dramatic, and edgy.
A Parisian-styled space is one that exudes an effortless elegance to it. And one way it’s exhibited is by having an eclectic mix of furnishings and elements from different eras and the space would still look well put-together.
With that said, any kind of sofa can work for this style.
Except for going against everything Modernist, there are no clear rules when it comes to creating a Postmodern (PoMo) Style space. If something looks funky, unusual, and doesn’t look anything like the iconic Modern Style pieces, then it could well fit in a PoMo project.
For sofas, one particular characteristic we commonly see are the chunky sofas.
The Preppy Style is about reflecting the aspirational lifestyle. It can mean mixing pieces that are handed down from previous generations. But it can also mean mixing finds that come from different eras.
If you’re creating a project in this style, here are our tips for choosing your sofa:
- any traditional sofa in good condition will work, especially if you’re going for the Classic Preppy or Preppy Eclectic
- use the quintessential Chesterfield sofa. It has long been associated with gentlemen’s clubs
- include color contrast by using different patterns, or different materials with the piece if you’re going for New Preppy Style
- have well-constructed details like welting, skirting, and tufting.
When choosing a sofa for your rustic style space, look for comfort and easy-to-maintain qualities. For the upholstery, use fabrics made from natural materials like cotton, linen, canvas, or wool.
Depending on the style direction you’re taking, here are more specific tips:
- use slipcovered sofa, the cover can either be with simple or gathered skirting
- tailored skirts or classic pieces for a chic vibe
- for a modern look, choose one that has clean lines regardless of the materials used
- all-white for a sophisticated look
- white, cream, blue, tan or sand for a coastal vibe
- all-wood or wicker frame for more of the rustic vibe
- all-metal frame for a farmhouse / industrial look
- distressed or weathered look
- for Classic Country Style, patterns can be florals, plaid, checked, ticking stripes. Quilt or quilt-styled fabrics are great, too.
Here’s how to choose the perfect sofa for your Scandinavian Style project:
- get a white piece or a light-colored one. The Scandinavian and Nordic regions get long winter seasons during which they get shorter daytime. So to counter this, they keep their spaces bright and airy
- use one with subtle tufting to reference the style’s connection to Mid-Century Modern Style
- or one in Mid-Century Modern signature colors, but in bright version
- pick one that’s made of natural, organic materials because one of the style’s emphasis is “love for nature.”
Shabby Chic Style
Shabby Chic is a rustic and feminine style that celebrates classic, vintage pieces in their aged, distressed, and worn states.
Some tips on what to look for in a sofa:
- get an upholstered piece in a simple, natural fabric, but has elegant prints and patterns like damask, fleur de lis, or sophisticated florals
- any classic piece or one that’s reminiscent of Baroque, Rococo, or Neo-Classic Styles
- one exhibits some wear and tear. Either get them from flea markets or get a new one in a contrived patina, that is, a piece that’s deliberately manufactured to look like it’s aged and coming from a past era.