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The sofa has a long history as a centerpiece in traditional living room décor. No matter what you call them, couch, divan, davenport or sofa, they should be comfortable and complement the rest of the furnishings in a room. Single chairs and tables offer a variety of styles of options.

You may assume all sofas are multi-seat designs with two arms and a back, offering limited uniqueness. That’s simply not the case. Here are a few different styles of sofas for you to consider, each with something perfect that might make it the best choice for you.

The Chesterfield Sofa

Our first choice is probably what most people envision when you formulate an image of a sofa in your mind. Three cushions evenly spaced across with a vertical back and two distinctive, very pronounced armrests on each end.

Distinctive is the key word when talking about a chesterfield sofa. This is the most common design for couches in the world. It is very unlikely that someone has not seen, if not sat on this type of couch.

There is a lot of legend behind how this sofa got its name. If the there is any viable story with some history to support such, the chesterfield dates back to the late 17th century. It’s said that Lord Philip Stanhope, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield specified craftsmen produce for him a sofa of specific design.

The resulting masterpiece was a leather couch that was so prominent it earned itself a dignified name. Chesterfields became the trademark of the affluent, with most chesterfield sofas made using either exquisite velvet or finely crafted leather.

During the Victorian Era, the chesterfield sofa thrived as a centerpiece for living rooms. This design of sofa is what most view as the traditional shape for a couch. Finely crafted leather chesterfield sofas are prominent pieces in fancy hotels and luxurious homes around the world. Its timelessness spans across all cultures.

The Cabriole Sofa

While the British are the most noteworthy early owners of the chesterfield sofa, the French can lay claim to the cabriole sofa. King Louis XV requested a distinctive furniture be crafted for his guest parlor. The French were inclined towards fanciful elaboration in their furniture.

The original cabriole was a two cushion couch, evidently to help unacquainted guests sit in more dignified comfort. There was no lack of dignity in the sofa itself, however. The cabriole is marked by fantastically ornate legs and feet across the bottom.

Six feet, four at the corners and two in the middle of sofa, are blended together across the front by masterfully artistic designs. Wider cabriole sofas may have an extra foot perfectly spaced at even distances from each end.

While the arms of a chesterfield sofa are distinctively large and pronounced, the armrests used on a cabriole are far less conspicuous. The back of a cabriole is usually arched in the middle or shaped in some manner like a heart.

Cabriole sofas are very comfortable for formal seating. However, their shape and cushion position are not as well-suited for stretching out prone. A cabriole sofa is frequently the center-focus of a room, often being positioned to draw everyone’s attention immediately towards it.

The Lawson Sofa

Cabriole and chesterfield sofas consumed most of the sofa market for a span of roughly two-centuries. Then, at the beginning of the 20th century there was a trend towards more simplicity in furniture design.

Families across America were becoming increasingly less interested in the eloquent, yet overly artistic designs in most European furniture. There was a thirst for sofas that provided comfort, but tended to blend in with the rest of the room.

The iconic works of craftsmanship were reserved for special chairs, bookcases or isolated end tables. A wealthy financial wizard named Thomas Lawson commissioned for a large couch to be made for his spacious living room.

One immediate difference in the Lawson from the previous two styles was a separate set of back cushions. Usually designed with three seat cushions and three matching back cushions across, the Lawson offered flexibility in a more conventional seating arrangement.

The Lawson is what you would see in a mid-20th century motion picture depicting the traditional American family parked in front of a television set. Lawson sofas often include fluffy pillows for added comfort and as decorative accents.

While both the chesterfield and cabriole sofa designs are still popular around the world, the Lawson is probably the most widely used today. Over the last 100 years, furniture manufacturers have masterfully attempted to blend attributes of each of three primary sofa styles into unique designs.

There are a number of other styles of sofas, but most are simply off-shoots of these three primary configurations. There are a lot of sofas out there to choose from, but armed with these prominent three styles, you’ll be able to get the perfect complement for your living room.