Vintage Sofa Styles


Vintage sofa styles bring a sense of personality, history and flair to a room. They come in a variety of styles, ranging from 18th- and 19th-century styles that have become enduring classics to the clean, efficient lines associated with modern times. Learning about the key features of various vintage sofas can help you identify a style that suits your taste.

Mid-Century Modern Sofas

  • Mid-century modern refers to a style of architecture and interior design from the 1930s through the 1960s that is based on the principle that style equals function. The look features simple, clean lines, and geometric shapes with no unnecessary ornamentation. Many pieces of furniture from this era are considered highly collectible. Sofas from this era have spare, straight backs with proportionately-sized arms, and little or no extra decoration or embellishment.

Chesterfield Sofas

  • Chesterfields date back to the 19th century. The hallmarks of this style include a high sofa back that wraps into armrests of the same height. Chesterfields also have large, rolled arms and sewn-in cushions that cannot be removed. Often upholstered in leather or velvet, Chesterfield sofas traditionally feature tight tailoring and tufting that is accented with buttons.

Chippendale Sofas

  • Named for 18th-century furniture designer Thomas Chippendale, this vintage sofa style features a number of striking characteristics. Chippendales have curving lines with a camel-back or "Cupid-bow" shape to the sofa back. They typically have a single, uninterrupted seat cushion. Traditionally, they rest on mahogany, cabriole-style legs with a horizontal railing between them. Most Chippendale sofas feature leather or textured upholstery, such as heavy damask.

Fainting Couches

  • Also called a chaise lounge or chaise longue, a fainting couch is a classic sofa that has come back into fashion. The chief characteristic of a fainting couch is that the back is only raised at one end. The 19th-century style got its name because of the tight corsets worn by Victorian-era women. The undergarments constricted women's waistlines and mid-sections so tightly, they often became dizzy and faint when climbing stairs. Victorian homes often had fainting couches positioned at the top of the stairs.

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  • Photo Credit sofa image by Clementina Cabral from Modern Sofa image by I-MAGIC from Pillows on a beautiful and modern sofa image by terex from las vegas images image by isatori from
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