Warning, hyperbole ahead: There are two types of people in this world—the kind that just resolves to buy a sofa that’s comfortable no matter how boring it looks (i.e. my husband) and the kind that toils and tinkers online and in-store for days/weeks/months on end trying to find something a little more interesting (uh, me, always and forever). At a high price point, it’s not that difficult to source something really special, but it’s far more tricky when you’re talking anything mid-range or even budget-friendly.
While designing the living spaces of themountain house, I’d kept hearing Emily talk about the sofa selection process with the design team. She wanted something comfortable but visually different…not the standard boxy sofa available at every retailer. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a straight-forward design (which can easily be dressed up with other unique pieces in a room) and no one is going to take you to design jail for going the simple route, a silhouette with some flair can be nice to really shake things up and put your personal touch on a space. Sometimes even a leg detail that’s a little different or the slope of an arm can level up a boxy, standard design. It doesn’t have to be over the top to be interesting.
Let’s take THE sofa, for instance. That baby up there is epically iconic around here and if you’ve been reading this blog for a few years, you know it. Had this been a boxy gray number (or you know, the equivalent of pre-furnished college apartment furniture), I guarantee no one would remember it, which of course would be fine for most people but if you’re that second type of person I mentioned up there, the “me” in the situation and you’ve been spinning round and round hoping for something more sculptural, I hear you, I see you, I am you.
Goodness, I remember when I saw this sofa from Emily’s previous living room. I mean, the leather sides and straps at the back made me weak in my knees. Most sofas are not meant to be seen from EVERY angle (particularly not the back), but floating a sofa in a space is sometimes your only option depending on your layout and something that’s interesting in 360-degrees is just going to make your design that much more elevated.
When I was working on my living room makeover, I knew the sofa I wanted immediately (the one I had before was INSANELY comfortable but kind of just a gray box and didn’t work great in my living space stylistically) and while it’s not necessarily anything mindblowing in terms of silhouette, it’s lower slung than most “standard/basic” sofas, the walnut and brass legs really take it up a level and the updated English roll arm on it looks a little different than what you expect to see in a traditional sofa so in general, it’s not CRAZY DIFFERENT but just different enough that my living room feels specific to my tastes.
Going the vintage route is always a pretty solid way to get something interesting looking. Sites like Chairish, Etsy, Everything But the House and even Craigslist might take a little digging—and reworking—but there are absolutely treasures there. We have a few picks from some of these sites below (you’ll see them marked “I’m vintage!” or “recover me!”) but also a ton of new pieces in a wide variety of price points to aid in your shopping no matter what your budget looks like.
First up, our picks under $1,500:
1. Olsen Sofa | 2. Vicente Faux Shearling Sofa | 3. Carlo Mid-Century Sofa | 4. Marissa Velvet Sofa | 5. Ruby Sofa | 6. Hoxton Stone Sofa | 7. Milo Baughman Style Midcentury Sofa | 8. Aalto Sofa | 9. Logan Grey Boucle Sofa | 10. 1960s Danish Sofa | 11. Magner Sofa | 12. 1980s Print Sofa With Upholstered Frame | 13. Greta Recycled Leather XL Sleeper Sofa | 14. Cadet Armless Sofa
First and foremost, I want to call out some of the vintage picks from this roundup: #7 is, well, boxy, but the wood plinth it sits on makes it feel like something you’d find at a super high-end design store BUT IT’S 715 DOLLARS! Leaving it in the white would be great if you have a modern vibe going on, but if you have some wiggle room in your budget, this could also be SO great in a wonderful patterned fabric or even a slate-y blue or olive linen textile. OH, and #12 looks NUTS right now (I believe it’s from the ’80s) but the stepped design of the bottom frame could be SO fun if you reupholstered. After Emily did the sherpa fabric on the sofa in the Atlanta showhome from early this year, we’ve been pretty obsessed with the cozy fabric, which is why #2 and #9 are something I’m very into (besides the fun shapes). And finally, the super fun settee with drink holder (#5) was just too cute not to include. It might be technically a loveseat, but if you’ve got a tiny little apartment, it could still work for you!
1. Remy White Wood Base Sofa | 2. Franklin Sofa | 3. Franklin Sofa | 4. Forte Channeled Charcoal Velvet Extra Large Sofa | 5. Drops Leather Sofa | 6. Drops Leather Sofa | 7. Benedict Sofa | 8. Benedict Sofa | 9. Bardot Sofa | 10. Jason Wu Custom Sofa | 11. Infiniti Curve Back Sofa | 12. Chelsea Sofa | 13. Brooklyn Down-Filled Leather Sofa | 14. Cadet Black Leather Sofa | 15. Corinne Sofa | 16. Forte Channeled Saddle Leather Extra Large Sofa | 17. Justina Blakeney Moses Sofa Natural | 18. Oak and Linen Sofa | 19. Larry Sofa | 20. Mid Century Gold Tufted Sofa | 21. Murphy Sofa | 22. Fabienne Velvet Sofa Moss | 23. Reclaimed Wood Sofa | 24. Puff Puff Sofa
Okay, this mid-range board has some of my favorite picks of the whole bunch. For instance, the base of #1 is SO GOOD if you’re into that ’80s modern thing that’s happening right now (but the charcoal keeps it super fresh instead of dated). The wood frame of #2 reminds me of Mel’s sofa which I adore, and the channel tufted of #4, #9, #12 and #16 feel super interesting to me in a variety of textures. Even the subtle slope of the back of #15 makes that rather simple shape exciting. And because curved shapes are very in now (again, I think in an answer to an ’80s and ’90s revival), #11 just really shapes up the traditional straight-edge sofa silhouette.
1. Amura Lapis Sofa | 2. EJ 880 Savannah 2-Seater | 3. Chambley Sofa | 4. Dandy 96″ Leather Sofa | 5. Casey McCafferty Bone Velvet Walnut Sofa | 6. Beice 3-Seat Sofa | 7. Donato Sofa | 8. Edmund Sofa | 9. Vintage Teak Minerva Daybed | 10. Caravan Day Sofa | 11. Douglas Sofa | 12. Mello Modular Sofa | 13. Kalmar Sofa | 14. EJ 485 Bow Sofa | 15. Moreno Sofa | 16. Rhys Three-Cushion Sofa | 17. Glam Emboss Sofa | 18. Sauvie Sofa | 19. Rivera Sofa | 20. Vintage Mid-Century Sofa | 21. Scandinavian Cognac Brown Leather and Rosewood Sofa | 22. Tepee Sofa | 23. Spindle Sofa | 24. Sense 3 Seater Sofa
And finally, while I know it’s not exactly hard to find cool, edgier furniture at price points like the above ($3,000+), I couldn’t help but show you some VERY cool pieces (some Emily pinned and saved herself for the mountain house during that furniture selection process). Man do I love SO many of these. #1 kind of looks like smooth rocks (that happened to be covered in blue velvet) but those are the coolest rocks ever, okay? The leather sides of #2 remind me a little of Emily’s vintage sofa I showed you earlier in the post. #4 is BURGUNDY LEATHER so that’s all I have to say about that and #10 is a sofa the design team has used numerous times from Katy Skelton and it so beautiful in person. The straight-up coolness of that weathered leather from #16 and #21 is for anyone who really loves that California casual vibe, and the spindles on #5 and #23 are just rad.
And this is where I leave you for today. But before I go, I’m curious where all of you land on my “two types of people in this world” statement from the beginning of this post. Let’s pretend there was no sacrificing comfort…are you more drawn to a straight-forward sofa style or are you into these different shapes? Which are your favorite? OH and also, raise your hand if you’ve ever bought a vintage/second-hand sofa and gone through the process of reupholstering it (how much did it cost, how much fabric did you need, was it worth it?). Spill the beans, folks!
** Looking for more of our shopping picks? Head to our shop page