A beautiful traditional sofa will always find its place, but if you really want to relax with friends or family, a corner sofa is perfect. Our interiors expert Giles Kime explains more.
One of the toughest interior design challenges is creating a living room that is not burdened by the polite but uninviting look of the Harley Street Lounge. Or, as the photographer I work with describes them: “Rooms that always look like the daily just ended.”
The solution is not rocket science; Break any symmetry, light a fire, stack the tables with stacks of books, and add a couple of sleeping dogs.
However, it is the upholstery that really underlies the issue. Whatever the undeniable beauty of 18th-century upholstery, industrial quantities can overwhelm a room. It’s amazing how the thoughtful formality of Georgian living rooms has had such a lasting impact, despite the best efforts of John Fowler’s Nancy Lancaster to beat the stuffiness out of classic English interiors with deep, cozy Howard-style upholstery.
The Victorians also understood the problem; The invention in 1826 of the hourglass spring (originally designed to cushion bus passengers from the roughness of cobbled streets) was soon used to create sofas and armchairs that offered a magical combination of comfort and joy. The interiors of the London Reform Club and the Athenaeum are beautiful examples of the 19th century that have survived to this day.
In the 21st century, one of the secrets of a sociable living room is a corner sofa. This design has its roots in the modular (or sectional) furniture fashionable among 1960s designers with modernist leanings. The growing popularity of new generation corner sofas is that they tend to be more comfortable and less straight forward and will fit snugly into the corner of a large open plan kitchen, effortlessly accommodating the average family and a couple of pets.
However, the benefits don’t end there; a corner sofa creates a cozy atmosphere that encourages conversation. What’s more, for box set consumption, they offer a near-perfect configuration for the most people, especially when paired with a large upholstered chair or ottoman (a new coffee table, in case that fact escapes your notice).
Good examples abound: Tetrad’s Truffle is a corner group that combines button closure and chiselled legs, while Sofas & Stuff’s Alwinton includes armrests inspired by the classic Howard sofa, giving it a classic feel. Both Long Island by Neptune and Gifford by Willow & Hall look casual with skirted upholstery, as does the large corner sofa from the Maker & Son’s Song collection. For those who prefer a more minimal design, there are Love Your Homes Jasper and Ottilie sofas.
Five of the best corner sofas
Earl Gray Corner Sofa by Love Your Sofa
This classic corner daybed sofa is available in a huge range of colors and fabrics and converts into a sofa bed.
Starting around £5200 at love-your-home.co.uk
Song Corner Sofa by Maker & Son
An oversized sofa – also pictured at the top of this page – for a large room with a beautiful, casual and cozy design. In such a seat, you can get lost for several days.
From £12,425 at makerandson.com
Fyfield Corner Sofa by Willow & Hall
Simple, clean lines, fully customizable and with over 100 different fabrics.
From £2395 at willowandhall.co.uk
Shoreditch L-Shaped Corner Sofa by Neptune
A deep and generously padded sofa with a low back, to put it bluntly, provides optimal slouching potential.
From £5,475 at neptune.com
Haresfield Corner Sofa by Sofas & Stuff
A classic Chesterfield with a modern take, featuring a springy buttoned back, deep seat cushions and a stunning selection of fabrics, including stunning William Morris options.
From about £5,000 on sofas and things.
Corner sofa Alicia from Tetrads
Many corner sofas are rectangular; this one cleverly covers curves without much resizing. However, this is not a ready-made option: it is fully customizable in size and configuration.
Price on request from tetrad.co.uk