To fully understand and appreciate how important this piece of furniture is the following exercise is necessary:
Picture your living space without the sofa...
Suddenly the room seems less inviting. Where do you do some major relaxing? Besides being the largest piece of furniture anchoring the room, it also speaks to us. "Come sit on me". "Put your feet up". "Lay down on me". And we happily obey. Picturing a life without the sofa seems like a life not fully enjoyed.
Sofas can be used all day of course, but it's when we get home at the end of the day we are longing for it. There is nothing better than coming home to the sofa to unwind and relax. We do all our real living on the sofa. We watch shows and movies, read, nap, snack, drink, cuddle - all the things associated with relaxing at home in private.
The use of the sofa changes drastically the minute we entertain. Suddenly there are some rules in place for how to use it. We have to sit up properly, no feet up, and usually share it with several others. Girls are often perched at the end of the seat at an angle with their knees perfectly together while the guys lean all the way back with a arm across the back of the sofa. And make room for others. If you know the person next to you it's ok to be a little crowded - if you're strangers physical contact is usually not very comfortable. Observe the body language!
Sofa is a Turkish word which means something you lay or sleep on and is derived from the Arabic word "soffa" which means wool, and that again originated from the word "sippa" which means mat. In short the sofa is a wool mat of sorts you get horizontal and possibly sleep on. Like a bed! The current definition is "a long upholstered seat with a back and arms for two or more people" - in conclusion: the most important furniture piece in the house we can't live without!
What's interesting is how we've come full circle when it comes to how we use the sofa. Very early on people were obviously laying around on these padded wool mats, then it evolved into something with a wood frame covered in padding and finished with a fabric but wasn't really for lounging, and now we're back to something we can stretch out on with the option to sit up when necessary.
A generation or two ago the sofa was only to be sat on very carefully. Full meals could not be consumed on it, and some didn't even allow snacking. Feet were not welcome on the seat, and napping was to be done on the bed. The occasional reading could take place, but the sofa was often in the formal living room and upholstered in fabrics mom was nervous about constantly. It became the forbidden furniture in the forbidden room and didn't get used often - it was for showing off and polite entertaining only. No family living allowed.
For the past few decades the formal living room has slowly vanished. The open space living with a kitchen, dining area and family room in the same space became the norm, and even if some still have a separate living room they don't contain off-limit furniture. In the US the big overstuffed sofas have long been a trend with their huge proportions and hundreds of pounds of down and feather, but the Europeans, and Scandinavians in particular, have always stuck to more tailored, smaller scaled sofas with firmer seats and backs, and that approach is finally becoming more popular in the US as well.
At Norden Living we feature tailored Scandinavian sofas in family friendly fabrics that can take some serious living. Whether the seats are fitted and firm, or feature some loose seat and back cushions, the styles are simple, sleek and slim. Even decades ago the Scandinavian sofa was always modern and although the styles have changed some they are still modern and perfect for any modern lifestyle.
We always like to advise our customers to pick the sofa first and then fill out with the rest of the pieces. Pick something neutral and simple and make sure you're honest about how you actually live - it's supposed to be lived on - and then accessorize with pillows and throws to fit your current design fancy. And when you want to change your style a few years later, the sofa can still stay but be dressed up differently for a whole new look and feel. Buying a sofa is a big decision, a big ticket item, and one you might need a little help with.
Please check out or current selection at nordenliving.com/sofas/ - because we're all about sofa living!