There was no escape from the curved bank at the end of 2022. Our team has seen from as far away as High Point Market in North Carolina to Chelsea Harbor in London to a tiny island hotel in Croatia, it’s a form that interior designers clearly love. And we were sold.
Sofa trends come and go, but they often focus on fabric, the contrasting weld and bone materials. And while shapes vary, from straight two-seaters to family-sized sectionals, it’s unusual for a new silhouette to stand out from the crowd quite like this. “Curved sofas (and furniture) are experiencing a massive revival, having first become popular in the 1950s when Vladimir Kagen created his Serpentine sofa for an art collector client who required his guests to view his entire collection of all vantage points had to see,” says Samantha Wilson, interior designer and founder of Collection Noir (opens in new tab). ‘Since then, and thanks to this iconic piece and subsequent iterations, designers have been given a little more creativity when designing a space.’
But, aside from the pleasing visuals, what does this couch shape offer that straight backs can’t and why is this 1950s staple considered the best couch ever? We asked some of our favorite design experts.
‘Their versatility is endless’
‘There are many advantages to a curved sofa, for example, they can create a sense of space in a more compact environment. The perfectly chic design is so versatile that it can be easily adapted with bold and bright printed fabrics or even more muted neutrals and bouclés,’ says Samantha Wilson, interior designer and founder of Collection Noir.
‘The simplicity of the design can be transformed again and again by mixing soft furnishings, the occasional chair and even the interior styling of a room, making it an eternal, timeless piece. They offer more seating and function as a stylish piece that invigorates a space more than a modular sofa would.
‘If you have a spacious room, then the perfect setting for a curved sofa is to float it in the middle of the room. It exposes the beautiful curves and will add an element of playfulness to the room. Even if space is at a premium, adding the right curved sofa can help soften the edges and create a sense of grandeur and openness.
‘Allowing unique furniture layouts when faced with difficult designs, they are ideal for dealing with an odd-shaped room. Placing a curved sofa can help with the once unusable area of a living space.
‘For me, I love the way a curved sofa can center a room and instantly create a sense of understated luxury and calm, while paying homage to mid-century design. The subtle infusion of the curve instantly lifts a space and becomes a timeless yet versatile environment. Finally, it’s a great way to create a luxury look and feel without maxing out the budget.’
‘Their organic forms help relaxation’
‘As is often the case with new developments in NYC, there are challenges to be overcome – in our Waterline Square apartment project, the round concrete exposed structural column in the living room posed a furniture layout floor plan hurdle. We’ve delivered custom, jewel-toned, sculpturally shaped sofas that provide ample seating for entertaining, while doubling as functional, flowing art,’ says Francis Toumbakaris, founder and principal interior designer of Francis Interiors. (opens in new tab)
‘Curves have a unique way of softening a room and although curved furniture is nothing new, it is becoming increasingly popular because of the way it gives the eye a natural resting place.
‘Furniture that feels good is probably very important and curved interiors have been proven to give a relaxing, calming and welcoming feeling due to a softness and rounded organic appearance.
‘Curved furniture is ideal for spaces designed for relaxation. Choose a chair or chaise with soft cushions and rounded edges to set up a cozy corner for reading or relaxing.
‘Curved sofas are just one of the many examples of using gentle curves to create a relaxing environment, thus creating a calming home that benefits mental and physical health. The increasing pressure for nature to become part of our daily lives allows for the organic appearance of curved lines and soft edges to invite the impact of creating the natural, welcoming, familiar flow found in the environment at despite the more rigid feel that can sometimes be found in other geometric spaces.’
‘They are ideal for creating more intimate spaces’
‘Curved sofas and armchairs work so well to soften spaces and create a sense of coziness and warmth – I love using curved, flowing lines for seating, especially in living areas where families gather to spend quality time in a spend informal environment. I have quite a few curved pieces in my own home,’ says Noor Charchafchi, CEO and founder of Celine Interior Design (opens in new tab).
‘Curves are also a useful tool in larger spaces, as they help to create smaller, more intimate areas and provide a cocoon feel. We have played with rounded, softer shapes in recent projects and even if the back of a sofa is straight, it is interesting to include a curved seat which is then echoed by a curved coffee table, as shown in this project.’
‘They are a winning solution when scale is important’
‘Using a curved sofa is a good solution to help create several seating groups in one large room. I used one for a library in a house where we needed access to all the bookshelves built into the room. A curved sofa sat in front of a full-height bookcase wall and the shape helped us easily access the bookshelves,’ says Jen Dallas, founder of Jen Dallas Interior Architecture and Design Studio (opens in new tab).
‘A curved shape makes it easy to move around them and the scale is such that one sofa doesn’t take over the room.’
‘They take the focus off the TV’
‘I recently wrote about the return of the conversation seating arrangement to living rooms and how this 18th-century furniture arrangement is becoming popular again for anyone looking to take the focus of the living room away from the TV and place it firmly on socialising,’ says Lucy Searle, editor-in-chief, Homes & Gardens.
‘I think the new curved living room sofa ideas we’re seeing are part of that trend. I suspect the recalculation we’ve all made during the pandemic about how we use our homes – and the time we’ve spent away from friends and family – has made us realize the importance of socializing in our own spaces, and this has led to the re-emergence of this silhouette. Plus, it’s undoubtedly a more inviting shape, visually. In terms of comfort, the best are somewhat squashy and forgiving, with deep seats, so the back feels longer and more supportive. I’d avoid the slimmer, firmer designs, which don’t encourage curling up – sit instead.’
Are there any disadvantages to curved sofas?
‘You do have to be careful, as if you don’t consider the overall design of a room correctly, a curved sofa can create pockets or holes in a space. They can be much more expensive than a traditional couch, and if you’re someone who likes to rearrange your furniture and revitalize the space from time to time, then a curved couch won’t give you the same flexibility,’ says Samantha Wilson, interior designer and founder of Collection Noir.