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Can Stylish Sofas still be comfortable?

There’s a strange perception amongst some people buying sofas that they have to choose between something stylish and something comfortable. Is that really true though? Is having an elegant, beautiful, chic sofa and having a soft, comfortable and inviting sofa necessarily mutually exclusive?

In this blog, we look at different styles of sofa, how people’s views of what is elegant differ, and whether each style still manages to be comfortable.

Traditional Sofas

Traditional sofas are inspired by 18th and 19th Century styles and, while they vary greatly, are often characterised by well-stuffed cushions, scrolled or rounded arms, small wooden legs, and slightly higher backs. They are often heavier and more sumptuous, and this, with the soft, thick cushions and higher backs often make them extremely comfortable.


Chesterfield Sofas

To some people, the classic leather Chesterfield sofa is the ultimate stylish sofa; a timeless classic that has been popular in every decade, and can be as much a status symbol, family heirloom or work of art as it is a mere piece of furniture. Is it comfortable though? Ironically, some stories have it that the Chesterfield, with its distinctive buttoned leather, was originally designed to be deliberately uncomfortable so that it could be placed in waiting rooms and outer offices and prevent visitors from becoming too at ease. Whether that’s true or not, though, there is no doubt that the Chesterfield as we now know it is far removed from those early uncomfortable benches. Sprung cushions, developed in the mid 19th Century, made the sofas far more comfortable.


Nowadays, while they may not be the sort of sofa that you will sink deeply in to, they are enormously comfortable. Their low back, that flows into wide scrolled arms, invites an arm to be flung casually over the back, or even for an occupant to lie back on one with their feet over one end. In fact, in at least one London club, after lunch, the staff quietly place a pillow on each of the ancient leather Chesterfields in the smoking room, on the assumption that the well-lunched members will probably want a snooze on these surprisingly comfortable sofas.

Cairness Range

Mid-century Modern Sofas

Mid-century modern furniture is characterised by an emphasis on utility and replacing superfluous design details with clean lines, smooth surfaces, and geometric shapes. This makes furniture in this style extremely elegant and distinctive, with many of the designs made popular in this era still immediately recognisable and highly sought after in their original or reproduction form today.

Darwin Range

Although mid-century modern furniture is markedly less sumptuous and welcoming than traditional styles, and at the more extreme end could be a little ‘bare’ with plain wooden surfaces and narrow arm-rests, its emphasis on utility and function also means that sofas could be very comfortable, with well-proportioned seats and backs, and well-stuffed cushions. Some of the most recognisable pieces, such as the Herman Miller Eames chair are some of the most comfortable pieces of furniture ever designed, showing that form and function aren’t at all mutually exclusive.

Studio Range

Contemporary Sofas

Modern sofas include a huge range of styles, of course, but they are often a little squarer, heavier and with low backs and arms. This chic and clean style looks fantastic in modern homes, especially light and open spaces, but it can be rather less welcoming than a shabbier, softer sofa covered in well-plumped pillows.

Milano Corner Range

That doesn’t necessarily mean that a modern, chic sofa will be uncomfortable, though. They often have deep seats that are perfect for sitting back on, and give space to add scatter cushions that offer back support and comfort.


Although some stylish sofas may be lacking in comfort, it’s clear that it’s perfectly possible to have very stylish and elegant sofas that are still extremely comfortable. Indeed, though styles and tastes vary enormously, some of the most enduringly popular designs have lasted the test of time precisely because they are as comfortable as they are aesthetically pleasing.