The retro sofa makes a comeback – here's how to style it in your living room

The new season's most desirable sofas look back to the 1960s; here's how to incorporate them into your living room design, according to interior stylists

Ether Curved sofa, Jonathan Adler
(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

The retro sofa may well be the answer to this season's lockdown living room fatigue. By now, we've all spent so much time in our lounge areas that many have the itch to reconfigure these spaces and find living room ideas that go beyond the tried and tested. 

Yet sometimes, finding the most unexpected and joyful new decorating look is about going back to the future, as it were. This season, the playful, futuristic sofa designs from the 1960s are making a big comeback in living room design – and they may well be the antidote to the couch boredom we're all experiencing. 

See: 10 designer furniture pieces worth the investment – and where to buy them

Asmara sofa, Ligne Roset

Asmara sofa (opens in new tab), Ligne Roset

(Image credit: Ligne Roset)

The return of the retro sofa has been marked by Ligne Roset relaunching its iconic Asmara sofa – a modular piece of furniture that still amazes with its curved shape and almost extra-terrestrial look. 

First launched in 1966, the Asmara was designed by a young architect, Bernard Govin, and its considered shape does echo the bold shapes of modernist houses. Olivier Roest, Ligne Roset's General Manager, describes this piece as 'inventive, lyrical and revolutionary' and explains that it is 'is ideal for flexible open plan living, morphing from an island for laid-back lounging with friends and family, to a row of cinema-style low-level contour-hugging seats.'

This type of sofa seems to really come alive in neutral rooms with tall ceilings, adding a playful, light touch that can't be achieved with a more traditional sofa. 

Ether sofa, Jonathan Adler

Ether curved sofa (opens in new tab), Jonathan Adler

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

Thankfully, retro sofa designs aren't all about a large scale and can work brilliantly as small living room ideas. Jonathan Adler explains that a 'unique sofa' presents a multitude of decorating opportunities, from 'floating' the piece 'in the middle of your living room to anchor an organic furniture plan' or 'lett[ing] it own that corner you haven't figured out what to do with yet – ours is even petite enough to pop into your bedroom corner.'

Ploum sofa, Ligne Roset

Ploum sofa (opens in new tab), Ligne Roset

(Image credit: Ligne Roset)

Finally, an unusual-looking sofa 'announces to the world that you are on the varsity decorating squad,' according to Jonathan. The 1960s interior decorating style was nothing if not outward-facing, all about making a statement and delighting guests as much as hosts.

The retro sofa trend embodies that mentality: open to the world, optimistic about future possibilities, and – last but not least – never content to play it safe. 

For more trend inspiration see why brown is the color you need to bring into your home this year.

Anna is Consumer Editor across Future home titles. She contributes to Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home and Real Homes, and she has a background in academic research. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s. Not just an expert in consumer shopping trends, she has also written about literature, architecture, and photography, and has a special interest in high-end interior design.