A Sofa-ciable History: Sofa Styles Through the Ages


From the Middle Ages to the modern day, the sofa has become a staple of cozy living rooms around the globe. Throughout history, sofas have evolved in form, shape and size, but they remain beloved to this day as a place to gather with friends and family. The following article will take a closer look at the evolution of sofa trends throughout the ages.

A Cozy Tale: Exploring Sofa Styles Through Time

Couches and sofas are a long-lived furniture staple, with the origins of the sofa stretching back to the Middle Ages. During this era, settees were constructed from wood and padded with animal skins or textiles, and were a popular seating option for royalty and the upper class. These medieval settees continued to be used in the Renaissance period, but with a more ornate flair. From the 16th century onwards, sofas were made with increasingly intricate designs, often featuring carved wood and even gilded surfaces.

Sofas Throughout History | UK Home Improvement

From Medieval Settees to Mid-Century Modern

In the 18th century, sofas began to appear in a wider variety of sizes and shapes. Divans, which are low-slung sofas, became popular, as well as daybeds, which feature a mattress-like surface and often have the option to be converted into a bed. During the Industrial Revolution, the design of sofas began to shift. New materials such as metal and leather were used to construct more modern looking sofas and armchairs, signaling the beginning of the mid-century modern style.

Historic Divans & Daybeds: Sofa Trends of Yore

The 19th century was the era of the grand Victorian sofa, with elaborate designs featuring carved wood, plush fabrics and intricate embroidery. This style was a testament to the craftsmanship of the era, and the sofas were often made of the finest materials. In this period, sofas were often seen as grand centerpieces in the drawing rooms of the upper classes.

Renaissance Recliners: The Golden Age of Sofa Design

The 20th century saw a revival of the sofa as a comfortable, functional piece of furniture, popularized by designers such as Charles and Ray Eames and Hans Wegner. Reclining chairs and sofas with adjustable headrests and footrests allowed for greater levels of comfort. This period also saw the emergence of the sectional sofa, which allowed for greater flexibility in seating options.

The evolution of the sofa and the best styles from every period to shop now | House & Garden

Grand Victorian Sofas: Comfort & Elegance Combined

The 21st century has seen the emergence of an ever-expanding range of sofa styles, from contemporary designs to more traditional looks. Sofas are now available in a wide range of shapes, sizes, fabrics and colors. Sofas can also be customized to fit the specifications of any room, from modern lofts to cozy living rooms.

Contemporary Comfort: Modern Sofa Styles

Today, the sofa continues to be a beloved piece of furniture, offering comfort and style in equal measure. Whether you prefer a contemporary design or a classic look, there’s a sofa style to suit everyone. From mid-century modern to traditional Victorian, sofas have come a long way since their medieval beginnings, but they remain an integral part of the home.


The sofa is a timeless piece of furniture that has been in our lives for centuries. From the grand Victorian designs of the 19th century to the modern designs of the 21st, the sofa has evolved in style and comfort to become an integral part of the home. Whether you’re looking for a classic look or a contemporary design, there’s a sofa style to suit everyone.