6 Timeless Sofas Interior Designers say Will Never Make Your Living Room Look Dated

The silhouettes that know no era and designs that never date are the best way to ensure your living room stands the test of time

green tufted sofa in wood panelled living room
(Image credit: Daniel Schwartz for Field Theory)

When investing in an item of furniture that's as hard-working, and high ticket, as a new couch, timelessness is high on our list of criteria. A couch is really not something we want to be replacing sooner than we have to because we've got tired of it or feel it's started to look dated. 

The best couches have a solid, high-quality hardwood frame and a design that blends the classic with the contemporary. From the slouchy comfort of a Togo to the livable elegance of a mid-century modern sofa with its wooden tapered legs, there are infinite stylish options out there. So, how do you choose a couch that you know you'll love forever?

We asked interior designers for the timeless couch choices they recommend to their clients, so you can find something that will stand the test of time.

1. The Camelback

green tufted sofa in retro living room with stained glass windows

(Image credit: Daniel Schwartz for Field Theory)

The camelback couch was designed by English cabinet-maker Thomas Chippendale in the 18th century and remains popular today thanks to its beautifully curved silhouette and characteristic humped back. Interior designers such as Jake Arnold are known for embracing a living room sofa or day bed with a softly curved or waved back, and a camelback couch is a great way to incorporate very on-trend organic shapes, but in a more traditional way.

'I think a really beautifully constructed vintage sofa is timeless,' comments interior designer and Field Theory founder Leah Harmatz. 'If it has good bones, you can always reupholster it with a fabric that feels current.'

Leah Harmatz
Leah Harmatz

Leah Harmatz founded Field Theory in 2015, guided by the belief that beautiful, functional design has a direct impact on our daily lives. The design firm aims to add character and warmth to residential and commercial spaces with eclectic, layered designs and a point of view that activates all the senses.

2. The Lawson

living room ideas blue sofa and gallery wall

(Image credit: Future/Simon Brown)

Lawson sofas are generously sized and very 'no-frills' with loose back cushions, slipcovers, and rolled arms that are lower than the back. Some designs have exposed legs and others have skirts, which can be either tailored or ruffled.

Interior designer Nina Lichtenstein explains that the enduring appeal of the Lawson comes down to its chameleon-like ability to blend into any space: 'The timeless appeal of classic designs like the Lawson lies in their ability to integrate into various design schemes, providing a neutral foundation that can adapt to evolving trends.'

Couches with slipcovers are effortlessly stylish and infinitely comfortable, according to Kathy Kuo, interior designer and founder of Kathy Kuo Home. 'Depending on how the rest of your living room is styled, slipcover sofas can add softness to a more formal room, or structure and groundedness to a more casual space,' she says. 'They're also easy to clean and easy to pair with different throw pillow and blanket colors and textures — making them truly timeless!'

3. The Chesterfield

A chesterfield sofa in grey

(Image credit: Maestri Studio)

The Chesterfield is one of the best-known examples of timeless couch, originally designed for Lord Philip Stanhope, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield who wanted a couch where a gentleman could sit without creasing his suit, or so the story goes. It remains a highly coveted design with its low profile, large rolled arms and tufting, bringing some old-world elegance to any space.

'There are so many amazing interior design trends in furniture each year, but I think certain styles will always feel right in our spaces,' comments Breegan Jane, interior designer and entrepreneur. 'Sleek leather couches with tufting will always be a classic.' 

4. The simple sectional

white living room with grey sectional L-shaped sofa

(Image credit: Future / Anna Stathaki)

If you search for timeless couches on Pinterest, you'll see lots of comfy living room sectionals with pared-back designs in soft neutral tones. These tend to have a more 'blocky' shape than more traditional couch designs, so they are better suited to a larger room. Breegan Jane and Nina Lichtenstein recommend both sectionals, which have a fixed shape, and modular couches, which are made of independent parts that can be reconfigured.

'I think more modular, angled couches will be a staple because they tend to always read modern no matter what’s trending,' says Breegan Jane. 'We’re definitely moving quickly away from those oversized, slouchy double and triple back couches that used to live in our parents’ and grandparents’ homes!'

'Modular sofas have proven timeless, offering flexibility to adapt to different room layouts and changing needs. Neutral upholstery allows for easy updates with accessories,' says Nina.

5. The Tuxedo

A living room with fluted sofas

(Image credit: Maestri Studio)

If you want a slim silhouette and a level of formality, the Tuxedo is a design that never goes out of fashion. Dating from the 1920s, it would work well alongside Art Deco features, from wallpaper and mirrors to light fittings. It typically has arms as high as the back, clean lines, and often has channel tufting, as pictured above.

'The Tuxedo is taut and slick, with a square back and arms of the same height and shape,' says Peter Spalding co-founder of interior design marketplace Daniel House Club. 'It can be tight back or done with loose cushions and dressed up with welts or left very simple. This style works just about anywhere. I use it all the time.'

6. The English Roll Arm

Elegant white living room with blue sofa, glass coffee table and large mirror

(Image credit: Paul Raeside)

The English Roll Arm blends comfort and refinement with its plump seat cushions and traditional aesthetic. It's also sometimes referred to as the William Birch sofa, named after its designer, who made furniture for Liberty London in the late 1800s.

'The English Roll Arm is a little less versatile than the Tuxedo, but never seems to go out of fashion,' says Peter Spalding. 'Here, I think you want to be aware of the arm size and the thickness of the seat back. Too big in either becomes of a particular moment, but keeping these elements fairly petite will result in a piece that looks and feels great for generations.'

Millie is a homes writer and journalist renting in North London. She contributes regularly to Livingetc, Ideal Home and Real Homes. As well as covering shopping trends online, she loves vintage furniture, candles, Interior Design Masters and a Facebook Marketplace bargain. She has previously written for Fabulous, Stylist and Marie Claire.