[a chair with English style arms in an Auburn, Alabama home Paige and Anna Kay designed the interiors for]
Happy Wednesday–Doug here. In the past week, I’ve been asked by two different people (one of whom being my mother) as to what style of sofa I thought they should buy. Though I don’t necessarily have a go-to favorite style for upholstery (we tend to use a lot of square arms in our work and I personally have a shelter-style sofa at the moment though I’m dying for a Chesterfield) I have to tell you that in both cases recently, the answer I’ve given has been to buy an English Arm style sofa. English Arm furniture is classic and refined without being overly formal. The look doesn’t necessarily work everywhere but if you have generally traditional space and don’t want things to get too stuffy, I’d recommend considering this classic style as a great look to consider.
English Arm furniture is defined by the gently curving arm which descends towards the seat cushion (as opposed to a rolled arm or square arm that presents a full profile when viewing head-on). Typically English Arm sofas will have one or two cushions as opposed to three and very often sit up on feet. Large scale furniture that sits up on feet works well because the space visible beneath lightens the overall feel of the piece–especially in a smaller space.
Here are a few sofas with English Arms that are available through Tracery, all of which exemplify this classic look:
The 3452-11 Sofa from Lee Industries is just about the perfect choice for an English Arm sofa. The feet sit upon vintage-style casters (which we love!) and the back cushions are high enough (and the seat deep enough) to still make this more traditionally styled piece perfect for lounging. This particular sofa is ‘apartment sized’ making it perfect for smaller spaces.
Another great English Arm sofa from Lee is the 3980-11. With a long single cushion seat this piece has sleeker feel and would be great in a transitionally-styled space that included some more modern elements. We think it’s incredibly elegant, don’t you?
Hickory Chair is known for classic and beautifully made furniture. Their Colefax Sofa is another incredibly elegant example of a English Arm piece. We are crazy about the split front skirt on this sofa and used it recently in one of our projects (covered in a suit-like grey wool, not a pink stripe as in the photo above!)
Though we don’t carry Verellen furniture, we greatly admire the European-inspired company’s pieces and have used them several times in our work. Their Juliette Sofa doesn’t technically sport an English Arm, at least not in the traditional sense, but we think the sinuous curves found in this piece recall the classic style in a unique way. Check out that swooping back and the gathered fabric at the front corners…wow!