My Prediction? "Box Pleat" Sofas Will be the Couch Trend of 2024 - and They Feel Surprisingly Modern

Designers are re-introducing a couch detail I thought we'd seen the last of, but re-imagined in a modern, minimalist way

blue box pleat sofa in a living room
(Image credit: Bilal Tarright. Design: Colin King for Future Perfect)

It feels like every year, there's an 'it' couch. In 2022, it was undoubtedly the white, curved boucle sofa, and this year, it has been the iconic Camaleonda sofa that's captured our collective imagination, right?

So what's it going to be for 2024? I'm hazarding a guess (well let's call it a prediction) that one style of sofa is going to make a big impression in the year to come, and it might just surprise.

And, just so you know, I haven't plucked this sofa trend from thin air - it's a couch that's been put back on the radar by some of the biggest tastemakers in the interior design world. We're talking designers and style icons like Jake Arnold, Sarah Sherman Samuel and Colin King, who have each put their name on this couch being the next big thing.

What's the big sofa trend for 2024?

Without further ado, let me introduce (or re-introduce, as it were) the box pleat. It's a small but impactful decorative detail, often applied to sofa slipcovers that's still often seen in more traditional decorating schemes. I remember it from my grandma's living room sofa when I was young, but it's not something we've seen a lot of used in the couches of today outside of a more classic look.

However, this re-imagination of it has far more modern and minimalist leanings. 'The box pleat dresses up the sofa in a crisp, modern way, adding subtle verticality and playfulness to the overall composition,' says David Alhadeff, founder of contemporary design gallery Future Perfect, who recently collaborated with Colin King on Enveloppe - a range of seating featuring box pleated covers, part of a wider collection called Variations.

showroom with tree and green olive sofa

(Image credit: Future Perfect)

'The Enveloppe designs, to me, are a pared-down version of a very traditional upholstery collection that has been given a modern twist that gives them a sophisticated elegance and makes them feel at home in any configuration,' David explains. 'As Colin and I talked through what we wanted the collection to embody, we really leaned into the idea of blending Art Deco and Neoclassicism with elements of a Donald Judd-inspired formalism.'

living room with a cherry pink sofa

(Image credit: SSS Atelier)

The box pleat is the anti-trend to what we've been seeing in the last few years in interior design trends - the amorphous, organic blobs we've seen come through in furniture and decor replaced by something that feels prim, proper - tailored, even.

However, I'd argue a rise in textile design like this isn't a call to return to 'drawing room'-style interiors, but rather a way to bridge the gap between old and new in an interesting way.

For David, it's a style that's a part of how you play with the design of a room. 'It’s the sort of thing that grounds a room while you add playful and bold pieces that are in conversation with the more traditional pieces,' he tells me. 'This combination brings a modern, fresh feel to a space.'

In its classicism, the box pleat acts like a reference point for the room. It's comforting in its familiarity, offering a welcome relief to the alien-esque qualities we often see in modern decor - but it's not one or the other, both can live in harmony together.

How do you style a box pleat sofa?

a modern living room with two white sofas

(Image credit: Crate and Barrel)

The challenge that comes with a box pleat couch is in keeping it looking contemporary. The wrong styling can, in my opinion, make this sofa look like an awkward inheritance in a modern home, not something carefully considered for the space.

My suggestion? Keep it minimalist. Keep the sofa undressed for a more minimalist look, or else invest in matching throw pillows or bolsters when you buy. It can't help but feel purposefully pared-back and chic in this incarnation.

David's a little more optimistic in its versatility. 'This type of upholstery styles itself,' he tells me. 'It's going to look great with a bunch of cushions and a throw blanket, but can also stand on its own without needing to be dressed up.'

'I think this sort of work grounds the room and allows for you to have some fun with the other art and design elements in the space. There’s no period of design that won’t look great,' he adds.

Where can I buy a box pleat sofa?

Aside from Colin King's collection, Sarah Sherman Samuel has recently launched a modern box pleat sofa for her high-end design brand SSS Atelier called the Alba. In comparison to the Future Perfect design, it flexes into modernism more with its round sculptural arms.

Design Jake Arnold also included a box pleat sofa in his collection with Crate & Barrell. There are a few other examples of box pleat couches you'll see on the market now, but it's my prediction - we'll see a lot more of this style in the year to come.

Luke Arthur Wells
Freelancer writer

Luke Arthur Wells is a freelance design writer, award-winning interiors blogger and stylist, known for neutral, textural spaces with a luxury twist. He's worked with some of the UK's top design brands, counting the likes of Tom Dixon Studio as regular collaborators and his work has been featured in print and online in publications ranging from Domino Magazine to The Sunday Times. He's a hands-on type of interiors expert too, contributing practical renovation advice and DIY tutorials to a number of magazines, as well as to his own readers and followers via his blog and social media. He might currently be renovating a small Victorian house in England, but he dreams of light, spacious, neutral homes on the West Coast.