It started about a year ago at High Point Market, the biggest furniture and decor trade show in the world. I was browsing the showroom of Wesley Hall, a manufacturer of custom upholstery in North Carolina, when a green sofa stopped me in my tracks. “We call it the social sofa,” the showroom rep explained. “It’s great for parties, because you can sit on it and chat with people on either side.”
I was instantly obsessed. With its open back and low profile, a piece like this struck me as perfect for so many rooms in today’s homes, and not just party spaces. Given builders’ and buyers' won’t-quit fascination with open floor plans, there’s a desperate need for good “floating” furniture that provides comfy seating and defines a distinct space within a room without cutting it off from everything behind. When you put a high-back sofa in a floor plan, it tells the brain, the room stops here. Why aren't there more social sofas in the world?
In my own house, the front parlor sits next to a dining room, and we’re eventually going to widen the doorway between these rooms so they’re sort-of-but-not-quite unified. I want parlor seating that allows me to sit and relax with a book, but that also fosters conversation and casual meandering between the two rooms when guests come over.
Enter the lounging sofa. It's my name for any upholstered piece that’s long enough to offer seating for two or more, with a back that’s just tall enough to accommodate a few toss pillows and a cuddle session with kids. The social sofa is a lounging sofa. Some chaises are lounging sofas; so are some loveseats. And I want all of them.
Have a look.
What do you think? Would a low-backed sofa like this drive you crazy? Or do you love the look?