14 Iconic Sofa Styles + Where to Buy Them

In the market for a new sofa? Check out these drool-worthy designs that are worth the splurge.

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July 06, 2020

In the market for a new sofa? We've got you covered!

Online shopping can be overwhelming, but online furniture shopping is whole another beast entirely. The endless silhouettes, the fancy names, the countless color options and the sky-high prices are enough to frighten even the most seasoned design shoppers.

The silver lining here? We’re taking the stress out of online sofa shopping (yes, really!) by defining the most iconic sofa designs on the market, breaking down their history and sharing exactly where to shop them today.

Go ahead and whip out your pen and paper and prepare to take notes, because sofa school is in session.

$1,499.00 $1,199
Ballard Designs
20% Off!

A quintessential daybed marries beloved qualities of a traditional sofa and bed to create a lounge with unmatched coziness and style. The iconic design saw its beginnings in Ancient Egypt and enjoys continued popularity in design today. While there are countless modern interpretations of the sofa, its most recognizable profile features a three-sided frame with raised arms and back, crafted from wood or metal. An upholstered, twin-sized cushion and piles of pillows are used to soften the solid frame and allow the sofa to moonlight as a guest bed for out-of-town visitors.

$4,575 $2,882
Birch Lane
37% Off!

A chesterfield sofa is equal parts dashing and distinguished. The handsome design is rooted in British aristocracy and though its origin is unclear, the sofa is rumored to have been commissioned during the 18th century by the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, Lord Philp Stanhope. A classic chesterfield sofa wears genuine leather upholstery with deep button tufting, low back, tidy nail-head trim and stately rolled arms. These traditional sofas serve as mainstays in traditional and transitional interiors and adds an unmistakable air of luxury to their surroundings.

Pottery Barn

The English roll arm sofa is another iconic British design that exudes casual elegance and brings comfort to living rooms across the globe. The classic sofa is easy to spot with its softly sloped profile, tight back, deep seats, turned wood legs and demure, rolled arms. This endlessly versatile design is fitting in both casual family settings and formal entertaining spaces, alike.

Crate & Barrel

The midcentury modern movement produced an innumerable amount of impactful furniture designs, but few have proven to be as enduring, beloved and iconic as the Florence Knoll sofa. Its minimalist, geometric frame, angular arms and three rows of tufted cushions continue to serve as the ultimate muse for midcentury-inspired sofa designs today. The Florence Knoll original boasts an exposed chrome base, but many contemporary interpretations opt for tapered or cone wood legs.

Pottery Barn

Slope arm sofas strike a balance between contemporary and classic design and the results are nothing short of stunning. Their high back and sweeping, sloped arms create a sense of effortless elegance fitting for casual family dens and upscale city apartments.

$3,199.99-$3,599.20 $2,240
On Sale!

Decidedly dramatic, the channel back sofa rose to popularity during the midcentury modern movement and packs a punch of retro flair into interiors with its vertical channel tufted back and buttery, velvet upholstery. The glamourous design nods to the lavish trappings of Hollywood Regency style and plays well with vibrant color stories and geometric, art deco accents.

Serena & Lily

The ever-glamourous chaise longue shares the same, ancient Egyptian roots as the daybed. The historic piece is often described as an upholstered, sofa-like chair with an asymmetrical headrest and a long, cushioned bench seat. Modern chaise variations may feature a footboard, a symmetrical or angular head rest and one or two arm rests. Shop the iconic sofa for additional seating in your master bedroom, home office or sunroom.

Crate & Barrel

Consider the tuxedo sofa the sharp-dressed, clean-lined cousin of the traditional chesterfield design. The tuxedo sofa is defined by its ultra-boxy silhouette and a low profile back with arms at the same height and pointy, cone legs. It often features tufted details akin to those of chesterfield sofas but, unlike its leather-clad cousin, a tuxedo sofa typically sports a smashing velvet upholstery.

$619.99 $422
Joss & Main
32% Off!

A settee is a petite and polished variation of a traditional sofa built to accommodate two people. The pint-sized design often features upholstered cushions, a high back, wooden legs and bench-style seating. The sophisticated sofa is fitting for traditional dining rooms, roomy hallways and formal foyers.

Pottery Barn

A Lawson sofa is the blueprint for comfortable, casual and simple couches everywhere. It features an unfussy and approachable silhouette with three comfy seat cushions crowned by a trio of loose back pillows. The roomy seats are flanked by deep-set arms and offer ample room for the entire family to unwind with a movie at the end of the day.


Sectionals provide next-level lounging and unmatched comfort thanks to their innovative, modular design. Unlike traditional sofas, sectionals are comprised of two or more pieces arranged together in various layouts to create an expansive space to relax for the entire family. The best part? Unlike the other iconic sofas on our list, modular sectionals are sold in every design style imaginable and are easily customizable to your space.

Ballard Designs

The most recognizable defining quality of a cabriole sofa is, without question, the exposed, ornately carved wooden frame and formal, curved legs. Other distinctive features include a single-height back and arms and a velvet-upholstered bench and a taut, built-in back cushion. The dressy sofa plays well with a number of styles including French provincial, French country and traditional Victorian designs.

One Kings Lane

Traditional design lovers are sure to be smitten with this formal sofa. Camelback sofas are named for their camel-like, curved backs that often feature two arches at each end of the rest or a singular arch in the middle. The shapely sofa typically wears a luxurious velvet or damask jacquard upholstery and delicate, walnut feet.


Divans are unique lounges that originated in the Middle East and have since earned global adoration. Their distinctive design boasts a sleek silhouette, a low-profile frame and a long, upholstered bench ideal for lying down solo.

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