'It's a new way of living!' This sofa trend has completely changed how designers lay out a living room

This clever couch idea is both the perfect living room statement piece and a smart solution for a modern layout

A dual-aspect sofa
(Image credit: Jeff Holt. Design: Chused & Co)

Dual-aspect sofas are changing the way designers and homeowners are approaching the layout of living rooms. Instead of a classic sofa style, with the seating flush against the wall, placing your sofa in the center of the living room is a smart way to carve up the space, offering two views, or 'dual-aspect'. 

'Spaces no longer have boundaries of time and space,’ says Federica Biasi, designer at furniture brand, LEMA, who created various bed-like sofas that have weighted, moveable arms that can be swapped around. 'We want increasingly open solutions and there is no longer a border between kitchen and living room, nor between living room and dining room, spaces are hybrid.' 

To find out more about this interior design trend for dual-aspect sofas, I've spoken to some of the big-name brands that have created furniture to fit this new way of living.

What is the dual-aspect look?

A dual-aspect sofa

(Image credit: LEMA)

The living room trend for open plan is nothing new, and designers and homeowners have long been getting rid of the boundaries between kitchens, living rooms, and dining areas to create a communal feel in the home. 

As such, we've had to adapt to these new spaces, using furniture in clever ways to divide and separate large spaces, bringing some distinction and helping to zone areas. 

Using the back of a sofa is a commonly used design tool, acting as a room divider, but the dual-aspect sofa goes one step further, offering seating on both sides instead of just one side of the sofa.

The benefits of this are profound. Offering two views, creating two distinct zones within one large space, and adding more areas for sitting. What's more, your sofa is an investment, so it makes sense to turn it into a statement focal point. 

Another benefit of the dual-aspect look solves the problem of what to do when a room is not quite large enough for two seating areas, and too big for one seating area.

Why is it gaining traction?

a living room with doors out to a terrace

(Image credit: Matthew Williams. Design: Studio DB)

According to Ruth Simpson, director at Seattle-based, women-owned design collective, Inform Furniture, the sofa trend for dual-aspect is a natural progression that reflects how our homes have become multifunctional spaces. 

'The rise in the popularity of the dual-aspect sofa is down to its versatility in open spaces,’ says Ruth. ‘Spaces at home must work harder to facilitate multiple functionalities. Dual-aspect seating systems allow more accessibility for the user enabling them to experience multiple vistas and create different zones within the same space. This versatility has redefined our seating requirements.'

The dual-aspect sofa is therefore a translation of a society in constant change. 'It's a cyclical change that has already been observed in the late '70s,' agrees Federica Biasi, designer at Italian furniture brand, LEMA, who designed the Niveaux Sofa. 'Spaces become hybrid, purposes mixed, rules more fluid, so the product must adapt once again to these needs of the modern home.’ 

How to use the dual-aspect sofa in the home

A dual-aspect sofa in blue in a large living room

(Image credit: Jeff Holt. Design: Chused & Co)

When it comes to how to adopt the dual-aspect look, the answer is simple. Place the piece in the center of the room, considering how you will use the new spaces that are created from splitting the room in two. Perhaps one side is a space for TV watching, while the other side looks out onto the view. 

Whatever you do, think carefully about how much space you have on each side. You don't want one size to become a tight squeeze, so imagine yourself using the space before the final placement.

The dual-aspect look makes a statement, so use it as a core piece of your color scheme. Think carefully about the material and the color of the sofa and how it works alongside the rest of the room. This example from Chused & Co is a perfect example, where the large dark green of the sofa informs the color pops used throughout the rest of the room. With white walls, there is no threat from other core colors, and green becomes the central color block in the room. 

'The living room shape was a large square so it was too generous for one seating area, but not quite large enough for two,' says Jenna Chused of Chused & Co.

'A baby grand piano also needed to fit into the layout, so I designed a couch that would sit in the center of the room and be open on either side, creating two separate seating areas. 

'This created seating facing the piano and seating in a typical living room set up on the other side. The clients love to entertain so it works perfectly for the space.'

3 dual-aspect sofas to buy now

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. 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.