When it comes to living room decor, one of the biggest components is the sofa. Specifically, I’m talking big in three ways—major decorative impact, physically large in scale, and typically steep in cost. So it makes sense that a lot of consideration should go into buying this piece of furniture, and a lot of attention should probably be paid to sofa styles that will last. While velvet couches still seem to be incredibly popular in many homes, there are some other trends popping up right now that you might want to consider if you are upgrading your sofa situation. Here Alessandra Wood, vice president of style at Modsy, an online decorating service, shared the latest, including new trends to consider and what direction the velvet sofa phenomenon is headed in, too.
Pleated and tailored
If transitional style speaks to you, you’ll get a lot of mileage out of a pleated, tailored sofa or loveseat. These designs are back on the rise—think quintessential Nancy Meyers’ movie set style but with a little more edge, refinement, and a potential jolt of quirky color or pattern, which speaks to the grand millennial trend that’s also going on in decor these days.
Lately, I’ve seen a few images grace my Instagram feed of beautifully designed spaces starring a sofa with a crisp, pleated slipcover in a stiff fabricsays Wood
The rigid fabric and crisp pleats give the sofas a tailored and classic feelsays Wood
Buttery tan leather
This one probably comes as no surprise, since tan leather sofas have been all the rage on Instagram for at least a couple of years now. If you were hesitant to take the plunge on one of these, thinking the caramel colorway might be a flash in the pan, it appears as though that is not going to be the case. What’s important here is to pick the right silhouette—clean-lined, boxier shapes seem to best lend themselves to mid-century modern and boho aesthetics, while tufted Chesterfields can be styled to look traditional or farmhouse modern.
“This is akin to putting a sweater on your sofa and is the perfect fabric for lazy days,” says Wood of the bouclé trend. If you are into more muted furniture and tonal color schemes, bouclé might be the way to go, as this material is on the rise and has been featured in the recent collections of major home decor heavy-hitters like CB2, Living Spaces, and Article. The only caveat here is maintenance-related. Bouclé fabrics can be light in hue and somewhat prone to staining, and the jury is out on whether the fabric will pill as sweaters do.
Slouchy modular sectionals
“Slouchy, modular sectionals are also making an appearance in both livable, minimalist spaces and family-friendly designs,” says Wood. “The modular nature allows these pieces to be easily rearranged to suit different needs throughout the day.”
Wood suggests shopping for styles that have smaller components—think one- to two-seat pieces put together versus larger designs. More pieces mean a little bit more structure, keeping the relaxed nature of this silhouette from looking too soft.
Want something a little more on the sculptural side—and have room for multiple sofas in your living room? The chaise just might be one of your sofa soulmates. Chaises aren’t brand new, but they’re certainly picking up steam again, riding high on the asymmetrical aesthetic that’s becoming popular in design. While a chaise isn’t the best pick for a household with multiple people that need to sit or lounge on a sofa, they’re a great accent piece if you have room for one.
Ever wished you could try laying on a cloud? It sounds comfortable in theory, right? Well, the puffy-edged sofa might be the closest you can get to that sensation here on Earth. “This trend seems to take inspiration from 1960s inflatable furniture with soft, bulbous, and rounded edges replacing crisp hard lines,” says Wood. “It has a mid-century, organic feel that lends itself to modern lounging.”
To balance out the fairly organic form of the puffy-edged sofa, stick to stiffer fabrics such as leather or velvet. These materials will also give this trendy shape more staying power since both materials have been relevant in sofa design for decades.
If you have your heart set on a velvet sofa, good news: They’re still totally trending. The only thing that’s different for 2020—and likely the next few years or so—is the shades that are rising in popularity right now. It looks like warm colors are about to overtake cooler tones. “Velvet is still a top choice, but the royal blue that was popular a few years ago has taken a back seat to moody, more saturated colors, such as mustard, currant, mauve, or camel,” says Wood.
That said, navy blue and emerald green velvet upholstery are pretty much classics at this point, so you can’t go wrong with either of these choices. Pick what works for you, but know that if you want to take a chance on a spicy earth tone, you’ll be ahead of the trend curve.
The kidney bean
Curves have been back big time in the furniture market, and sofas are definitely seeing a lot of this Hollywood Regency and Art Deco influence. The kidney bean-shaped seat is one iteration of this resurgence, and these pieces can be quite dramatic, depending on what color and fabric they’re executed in. The styles with the most staying power will be structured—look for something with a tight back and wooden frame like the Infiniti from Crate & Barrel, shown here in a polyester fabric that’s meant to look like chenille.