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Your sofa is a big-ticket item, an investment piece that becomes the core focus of any living room, so it's crucial that the design and style withstand the test of time. 2022 has seen some interesting sofa ideas so far, from organic curves to ingenious multi-directional sofas.
These interior design trends mark a real shift in what we want from our living room furniture. In some ways, our sofas are working harder than ever before to reflect our ever-changing lifestyles and the way we use our homes. 'Spaces, moments - our very life - no longer have boundaries of time and space, we are wanting increasingly open solutions,' says Federica Biasi, designer for furniture brand, LEMA, who created a bed-like sofa in 2022 that has weighted, moveable arms that can be easily swapped around to mix and match for your needs.
For textile designer, Pierre Frey, it's about comfort. 'I think in 2023 we'll see a continuation of 2022 in that our clients want comfort from their sofas,' he says. 'They want materials that are welcoming and comfortable so they can sit for longer on their sofa.'
But as well as knowing what sofas are set to become the stars of our homes in 2023, we need to know which trends we're set to leave in our rearview mirror. We speak to the experts to find out which of the biggest sofa trends to avoid as we head into a new year of design.
Oonagh is an experienced homes writer and editor. With her ear to the ground and vast wealth of contacts in the industry, she has put together a list of the sofa trends she predicts won't be big in 2023, helping her readers make valuable investments for their homes.
Sofa trends to avoid
1. Rattan sofas
From sofas to armchairs, from decorative bed headboards to rugs, rattan has been popular in recent years, creating a Boho living room look that hints at the great outdoors. But we're seeing rattan on its way out, and nowhere more so than on the couch. 'Searches for the 'rattan sofa' went down 65 percent in the last three months,' points out Lucy Ward, director at Vinterior.
'This model became immensely popular in recent years, fitting into the neutral, clean styling that fits into chic city apartments. But due to its wide-spread popularity, it’s become less of a statement and more of an obvious choice,' says Lucy.
Ultimately, as we look to our living rooms more and more as cocooning spaces of sanctuary, as identified by Pierre Frey, the rattan style just doesn't fit the aesthetic and just doesn't say comfort as we need it to.
2. Structured, boxy sofas
If comfort is the name of the game, we want our living room sofas to be utterly sinkable and cozy. For this reason, avoid investing in a boxy, cubic sofa that gives off a stiff and uncomfortable look. 'I would avoid oversize, boxy leather sofas in general,' says Kelley Mason of Lulu and Georgia, a brand that helps the style-forward homeowner have access to the brands and home decor they love.
Box sofas, with rigid arms and lacking in curves can be formal and harsh-looking in a living room, and leather adds another layer of hardness to your sofa that we are looking to steer clear of next year. Look for sofas with soft, foam-filled arms and backs to bring an organic shape to the space, cozy cushions instead of stiff bolsters, and ditch those harsh lines in the living room in the new year.
3. Multidirectional sofa
Multidirectional sofas have been a big hit in 2022, allowing people to come together in whatever way they please, and reflecting the fluid and ever-changing nature of the home, how we relax and how we socialize, as identified in our interview with designer, Tom Dixon. People have wanted a comfortable place to work as well as sit in the evening, and 360° seating seemed to provide a solution.
Smart and stylish, yes, but we wonder if they are more style over substance, and are they realistic purchases for the everyday home? 'Their dramatic styling is on the decline, falling 50 percent in just 3 months,' says Lucy. The idea is interesting, and it's worth keeping an eye out for as it might manifest in other forms. Multidirectional sofas are also perfect designs for office spaces, but wavering interest shows people aren't taking the multidirectional sofa seriously in residential settings just yet.
4. Curved sofas
Curved sofas have been popular for a while, and we first reported on their uptake back in July 2021. They have reflected this wider trend for embracing curves in the home which we have seen over the years, but while they are pretty sleek and stylish, they aren't one for the average home and aren't a great space-saving piece of furniture for a small living room. The organic look is still here to stay, but is a curved sofa a good idea? It's now about softer waves rather than large curves. Go for a rounded armchair instead of investing in a large curve that's going to take up a huge amount of space.
'My biggest piece of advice is don't get too crazy with the curved pieces that have been trending lately, but think instead in moderation,' says Lauren Sullivan of Well x Design. 'Curvaceous sofas incorporated correctly can be great, but otherwise if used haphazardly they can quickly date a space as design trends come and go.'
5. Grey sofas
As far as sofa color trends go, we're seeing grey disappearing almost completely. Instead, trends are leaning more towards sumptuous jewel tones and bolder pops of color, or earth tones - from rusty reds to browns.
Grey is certainly an interiors stalwart, but at this particular moment, it's a color to steer clear of. If you are tempted to go grey, try and keep it warm and bring a bit of brown into the hue. Mushroom is proving popular as a color choice, which is a delightful combination of grey and brown all at once, adding warmth and comfort where grey brings a coldness to the room.
6. Impractical fabrics
Velvet has long been popular in the world of sofas, again something we identified back in 2021 as having a bit of a moment. There is no doubt that this type of material adds a beautiful softness to your sofa, but we're noticing a turn to performance fabrics in place of anything that is stylish but lacks substance. Homeowners are wanting material that is made to last, and turning away from fast furniture. Performance velvet is 100 percent polyester knit and has the power to withstand spills and dirt, repel water and stains, and can stand up to the wear and tear that comes with everyday activities.
'No sofa trend is inherently wrong, but that doesn't mean it's right for you,' says Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors. 'Boucle sofas feel amazing, but may not be the best choice if you like to cozy up at night with your pet cat. Before diving into any trend, take a moment to consider if it's right for you and your space and you'll never be sorry.'
Lucy from Lulu and Georgia advises staying clear of ivory linen too. 'Avoid any precious materials in favor of performance fabric.'
7. Maximalist patterns
2022 has seen a great surge in interest in minimalism and doing away with the visual clutter that stops your home from being a stress-free haven. This doesn't necessarily mean stripping everything back, instead, we've found a warm minimalist approach to interiors coming to the fore, adopting muted colors that are warm and hospitable, and keeping spaces without excess decor, but with some decorative focus. This stretches to our sofas, and what Gemma Thornton, who works closely assessing retail and branding for TikTok, refers to as 'Grounding Minimalism'.
'This theme espouses the theory of ‘clear home, clear mind’, prioritizing only the most functional essentials for day-to-day living and allowing the home to breathe. This movement is underpinned by a link to nature and earth, with an emphasis on rich, warming colors and tactile materials that are more traditionally crafted,' she says.
'#Minimalism has a staggering 10B video views, made up of two very different content themes. You have minimalist living, which is a home without excess décor, and you have the minimalist aesthetic which is more about having a sense of peace in your home. This is where a sense of grounded simplicity becomes relevant, and I see lots of inspirational videos that have a distinct focus on colors that provide a comforting aesthetic to calm and ground us.'
How does this reflect on the sofas that homeowners want? Well, we're seeing colors that are simple, earthy and nature-inspired come to the fore instead of busy patterns.
8. The cloud sofa
The cloud sofa had a bit of a moment in the spotlight in 2022, made famous by celebrities. While super comfortable, people have started to lose interest in its unstructured shape. 'Trending on Tiktok, people were upholstering their sofas with white, fluffy textured fabric to make a ‘cloud’ like sofa for their living room. But it seems the trend burned out hard and fast, with Google searches declining 18 percent, after going viral just a few months ago,' says Lucy.
Michel Rubin of MR Interiors agrees. 'Stay away from the cloud sofa in 2023. They are fluffy, the sofa dimensioms are oversized, and while extremely comfortable, sofas should add depth, color and purpose.'
8. Serpentine sofa
Finally, another style appearing to fall from grace is the serpentine sofa, made famous by designer Vladimir Kagan and a popular piece of furniture if you're looking for mid-century modern ideas for a living room.
The sofa adds shape to a room with its graceful curved form, but might be a bit dated for 2023, finds Lucy. 'These statement pieces date back to the 1970s, and now slot well into particularly modern or Art-Deco inspired homes. They had their moment in 2022, but are now on the way out,' she says.
As for where's the best place to buy a couch, our guide will be able to help you.
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For style leaders and design lovers.
Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.
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