The Best Sofas In The World

Interior designers are always on a quest to find the best sofa in the world. This may seem frivolous to some, however, tell me JUST how many hours you sit on your sofa? Be honest. This is a very noble quest!

A sofa is a piece of furniture that goes well beyond aesthetics alone. They need to look beautiful of course, however they also need to perform. They need to be very comfortable, the fabric needs to wear well and not show stains, and they need to last.

We ask a lot from our sofa. And because it is a piece of furniture that we believe investing in, it’s important to choose the right one.

And so here it is, my definitive sofa recommendations guide, arranged into categories: Statement Sofas, Go-to Sofas, Leather Sofas, Small Spaces Sofas, Modular Sofas, Cane Sofas, Curvy Sofas, Dream Sofas and something for all the Share Houses out there! And even if you hate every sofa here, I have something for you too! Shall we get into it?

Lauren Li
Lauren Li
14th of June 2018

The Statement Sofa

Do you want a sofa that has something interesting to say?  A sofa that doesn’t just facilitate conversation, it IS the conversation!? The statement sofa is the main event in the space.  They are sculptural and different, they’re conversation starters, they’re friends with big personalities.

1. Bohemian by Moroso from Hub

The Bohemian range by Patricia Urquiola is a favorite of mine (let’s face it, everything by her is my favorite) because it ticks a lot of boxes.  It has a traditional element, with echoes of the old Chesterfield buttoning style but in a completely new way.  The Bohemian is the perfect fit for a formal room in a Victorian style space, but with an edge. We have specified this in a pink and blue armchair version (it takes on a whole other personality), and are waiting for the sofa in divine green leather to arrive for some very cool clients. It’s an investment piece, for sure, but I’m a huge fan of the Bohemian.

2.Agent 86 by Grazia & Co

I’m so excited to share this exclusive on The Design Files!  It’s the brand new sofa design from Grazia & Co.  It’s cool and low, bulky but light.  It doesn’t have legs as the seat floats on an upholstered base.  Actually, I haven’t seen anything like it and I’m really LOVING it.

3. DS-600 by DeSede from Domo

Yes, it’s slightly crazy but also incredibly clever and totally original.  Known as the never-ending-sofa, there is nothing else that even comes close. Each module locks then zips together forming a sofa that can gently bend and curve its way through the space.  It’s even a bit of a movie star, and has made a few cameo appearances in films such as The Hunger Games and more recently it made an appearance at Club Unseen by Studio Pepe in Milan.  Although it was designed in 1972, I feel it’s making resurgence right now.  If you were thinking that a leather sofa made in Switzerland sounds expensive, then you’d be right!

The Go-To Sofa

These sofas work well in almost any space.  They are great for family life, as the sofa that everyone including the cat wants to curl up on!  The go-to sofa has to work hard as well as look gorgeous.  We watch tv, entertain, relax, sleep, and sometimes eat dinner on them.  Fabric choice plays a big part in choosing a sofa that is the right fit for you.

These options tick all of the boxes of comfort, durability and quality.  They will last for years.

1. Phoenix by Arthur G

This sofa is a chameleon.  It is extremely comfortable and the fabric selection can really change the entire look.  For example, a velvet fabric looks luxurious whilst a linen fabric is more natural and casual.  The design is timeless and simple, it’s a great go-to and is exquisitely made in Melbourne.

2. Zaza designed by Charles Wilson for King Living

It’s pretty safe to say, that King is the ‘go-to’ place for sofas.  They know how to do them very well.  Within each range are a million different configurations and fabrics to select from.  When I first saw the new Zaza, which is to be launched at Denfair this week, I thought to myself, ‘Oh! I like what you did there with the folding armrest’.  I like the low back profile and that it’s a bit finer than some of their other sofas.

3. Wallace by Carmenes from Ajar

I first tried this sofa at Denfair last year and it was just divine!  Those armrests are like soft squishy pillows and provide the comfort, without the loose cushions that needs fluffing up. It’s so comfortable and always looks neat and tidy.

4. Wilfred by Jardan

The Wilfred looks so gorgeous and plush, but still has a light appearance.  The floppy arm-rest over the solid oak frame gives it a lot of personality and a casual vibe.  When it was released a few years ago, designers kind of lost their minds and we are still in love with this guy.  I’ve seen it ‘dressed up’ with a leather side and back detail by a very clever designer (Hi Gillian).  It’s incredible how upholstery selection can totally change the look.

Small Space Sofas

A lot of sofas are just ENORMOUS and they won’t fit in the living room of an apartment, that’s if you can even get them up the lift in the first place!  And let’s face it – apartment living is on the rise and just because it may be small in size, it doesn’t mean that your sofa can’t be extremely comfortable and gorgeous!  In fact, I would argue that because it’s smaller, more of the budget could be invested in a quality sofa and fabric, rather than something huge, just to fill a big space.

1. Togo by Ligne Roset from Domo

The Togo is having a bit of a renaissance at the moment as many designs from the 70s emerge.  These modular sofas are low, plush and extremely comfortable, they seemed to know how to relax back in the 70s!  A single section is perfect in a small space, but equally, two or more sections can be joined together to fill a much more generous space. The Togo is made in France by Ligne Roset and has a youthful vibe.

2. Camille by ANACA STUDIO

The Camille is most perfectly proportioned sofa with a slightly playful vibe. Designed by Melbourne based French/Australian furniture designer Anne-Claire, there is something very cute and sophisticated about the Camille, maybe that’s a French thing?  Anyway, it looks gorgeous in upholstered in a plush velvet and it’s extremely comfortable!

3. The Offset by Menu FROM The APARTMENT

What I love about this sofa is that it’s both delicate and boxy at the same time.  The fine arm profile is maximizing the seat space, which is perfect in a small space.  Designed by Norm Architects, its both homey and architectural at the same time.

The Modular Sofa

I am a bit conflicted about modular sofas. I get it, they are great because you can lie on one end and sit on another and some spaces just suit modular sofas perfectly.  However, they are just SO BIG!  I prefer two sofas and some armchairs for variety and interest.  Modular sofas should have a light, streamlined appearance so that they don’t completely overwhelm the space.  However, these modular sofas are absolutely gorgeous – they are perfect for Netflix binges, rainy Sundays and theatre rooms.

1. Tufty Time by B&B at Space

The Tufty Time is one of those sofas known by name.  It’s kind of famous amongst designers.  I would go so far as to say that it is a design classic of our time. It was designed in 2005 by visionary designer Patricia Urquiola.

It’s a modular sofa with the ottoman at the core, allowing for multiple configurations such as for the seat to be very deep, or the armrests high or low.  You can design some creative configurations perfectly tailored to needs of the space. It invites lounging however it always looks smart and the upholstered form doesn’t need plumping up. One to save up for!

2. Gentry Sofa by Moroso from Hub

This is the really the ultimate modular sofa that designers love to use.  Its refined shape, soft seat cushion, and elegant legs make it a modern classic.  It looks gorgeous in fabric and leather, even in quilted fabrics because the shape is simple.

3. Valley by Jardan

The Valley Modular sofa from Jardan‘s brand new ‘Art Series’ range launches TODAY! (It’s so new, in fact, that it doesn’t appear to be on their website yet… whoops!). An uncharacteristically curvy, retro-inspired shape ensures this eye-catching piece is destined to be a future classic. We love it in the smaller 3-seater shape, too! All Jardan’s pieces are made in Melbourne, which is always a plus.

The Cane Sofa

You know what I mean; it’s that sofa in the entry that you use to throw your coat on. Or the sofa in the bedroom that you bought with ideas to sit and read on, but you’ve NEVER sat on it, it just gets piled with clothes. This kind of sofa looks gorgeous, but comfort is not its most important function.

1.Belladonna by Sika from Domo

This rattan sofa is so sweet and romantic; it would add a touch of bohemian whimsy to any space.  It’s an iconic piece designed in Denmark in 1951 and is back in production in Indonesia where rattan is grown in abundance. Rattan is a solid fibre whereas bamboo is hollow, in case you were wondering!

2. Cane sofa by Curio from ClickOn

If you have been living under a rock these past few years, you may not have noticed that cane webbing is having a serious moment.  This cane sofa is refined and elegant and it would look perfect in a sunroom.

The Leather Sofa

I have a few rules about leather sofas:

1. Never have two leather sofas in the room. It will be too much leather and feel heavy and overwhelming.
2. Instead, one leather sofa and one fabric sofa, to soften the look and allow the leather to be the focal point.
3. Never, EVER use shiny leather. It needs to look natural with a matte subtle feel, not stretched tight and slick.
4. Leather looks gorgeous in an array of natural colours from cream, beige, tan, cognac, greige, light brown through to dark brown, even forest green.
5. I am not convinced that a bright white leather sofa is ever a good idea, and I’m yet to meet a black leather sofa that doesn’t look sleazy. If you know one, please introduce me.

There are so many gorgeous leather sofas out there, however I have narrowed this down to three.

1. Tiki sofa by Fogia from Fred International

So light and elegant with a slightly curved profile to the back and arms, the Tiki stands out from the crowd.  Designed by Norwegian designer Andreas Engesvik it’s a modern classic in my book, and a sofa I regularly covet.

2. Dawson by Arthur G

This sofa is absolutely stunning in person. What isn’t conveyed in the image is the open seam at the corners of the buttery soft leather, so you see the lovely raw edge of the leather. It just feels incredible and natural.  And because these sofas are made entirely in Melbourne, they offer the luxury of customisation. It’s always worth asking the lovely team at Arthur G if there are images of their sofas in other fabrics, as it really helps get the ideas going.

3. Klassik by Great Dane

With a slightly mid-century Scandinavian vibe, this is a true classic.  The high back makes this an extremely comfortable sofa, without being bulky.  It looks beautiful in leather, however there are some lovely fabric options available. This style is sofa can also often be found in vintage stores – try Grandfather’s Axe for similar secondhand options.

The Curvy Sofa

Curves are back baby! There are a few sculptural sofas that have been released recently and they make quite a refreshing change from the square bulky shapes we’ve know and love!

1. Julep by Tacchini from Stylecraft

This generously proportioned sofa is almost more like a sculpture than a sofa.  The Julep sofa is inspired by the Avant-garde furniture of the Fifties, I think its beautifully feminine and just gorgeous.

2. Stay Sofa by Gubi from Luke

What you see is what you get with a sofa like this.  This neat shape is always going to stay the same, no plumping, fluffing or faffing required.  This is a great option if you have a sofa in the centre of the room, as its curves look beautiful from every angle.

The Share House Sofa

Ok, so you live in a sharehouse.  This doesn’t mean that you have to sit on that skanky sofa that’s just always been there, but no one knows where it came from.  Get your housemates to pitch in to buy an affordable sofa.  Failing that, make them pay a price-per-sit fee (!).

1. Denver by Oz Design Furniture

This sofa definitely gives good bang for your buck!  It’s generous in size, so great for lounging with friends, but also looks contemporary and smart.  (And we’ve just noticed it’s on sale now!)

2. Como Sofa from clickOn

The fine arm profile of the Como sofa allows for more seat space, with those two little cushions included to soften the look.  A nice classic design and neutral colour options makes this such a neat, versatile little sofa with a neat little price to match!

3. The Hold from Curious Grace

Your housemates will be well impressed that you found such a cool sofa at a great price.  Although brown velvet sofas are fairly common in share houses, I would take a bet they don’t look as gorgeous as this! (It comes in heaps of other colours too!).

4. The Mellow from Curious Grace

The great thing about the Mellow sofa, apart from its affordability, is that it is robust and sort of ‘unflappable’. This is a sofa you won’t have to be too ‘careful’ with, if you know what I mean.  The structured design and smooth upholstery always looks neat, and if you select a dark colour like this, it will hide all manner of stains.

Lauren Li
14th of June 2018

The Dream Sofa

These are the sofas that designers lose their minds for.  When we specify them for our clients, we get insanely jealous and possessive, we just want them for ourselves.

1. Maralunga by Cassina from Space

When I asked my designer friends what their favourite sofa is, the Maralunga (available at Space Furniture) came up more than a few times!  Another design from the 70s that is relaxed and instantly recognizable with its folding backrest.  If you can find an original in good condition, its better than winning the lotto!

2. Sesann Lounge by Taccini from Stylecraft

This sofa gives me that feeling of walking out of Baby Pizza wishing that I wasn’t wearing jeans, apart from that, I am in love with this sofa. Bulky and soft at the same time, the Sesann Lounge was designed in 1969 and later went into production.

3. Maker &Son

I am seriously concerned that if I sit in this sofa by Maker & Son, I may never be able to move again!  The commitment to serious comfort is just beyond comparison!

Constructed with pure comfort in mind, this couch is built in the traditional way, using materials like French jute webbing, traditional horsehair layered with soft clouds of cotton, wrapped in hessian and canvas all topped with feather and down plump cushions.  It means that there are no poly-materials at all.  This is a sofa that’s really going to look after you, and give you permission to just… flop.

4. The Cloud Sofa by & Tradition

If you ask me what my favourite sofa is, well it changes…. at home we have the Togo and it’s a great sofa for a young family.  It doesn’t need any plumping up and the kids can jump all over it, and it doesn’t matter.  It always looks good.  However if I had to choose another, the Cloud by & Tradition is a firm favorite.  It has the right amount of structure and softness, it looks good from all angles, and it’s comfortable and elegant.

And, if all else fails…

If all of the options above left you feeling a bit, meh….?  There is a secret weapon out there that allows you to have the extra deep seat if you’re tall, or the wider arm at the perfect height, so that you can rest your head and fall asleep within three minutes. Or the perfect fibre fill that you don’t need to fluff up all the time. Maybe you’re more driven by the things you don’t even see, like an all-natural fibre filling free of formaldehyde, that you don’t want to inhale.  You may need an extra hard-wearing sofa, which uses a luxury outdoor performance fabric such as the Perennials 100% solution dyed acrylic. These outdoor fabrics might sound a little but believe me they are GORGEOUS!

There is another world of sofas that are custom-made to your specific requirements, if you work with an interior designer to help realise your vision.

Beyond choosing a different leg or fabric, there are so many options out there that an interior designer can introduce you to. Interior designers have a wealth of resources when it comes to sourcing the perfect fabric, as well as furniture fabricator contacts that are trade-only (sometimes the ones who actually supply sofas to your favourite stores). It means that you will own a sofa that your neighbours won’t have… because your sofa is about what fits perfectly for YOU!

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