The 7 Best Love Seats Are a Solution to Small Spaces
For when the sectional won’t fit through the door.
Updated Sep 27, 2018 5:55 PM
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If love seats are outdated, no one told Noz Nozawa. The San Francisco–based designer swears by the compact two-seater sofa (her own living room touts a 19th-century French settee). But it’s easy to see why this often dismissed piece deserves a second look. Love seats are the shortest of all lounging furniture—they typically span only 60 inches—making them perfect for studio apartments, but also, perhaps surprisingly, larger living arrangements. “I think the proportions of a love seat make some seating silhouettes shine a lot better,” says Nozawa. “Longer sofas can elongate proportions to the point that some pieces look stretched.”
That’s not the only reason to add a love seat to your setup. Though napping in them may not be ideal, they are a boon for entertainers—great for encouraging mingling around a coffee table and impromptu conversations given their intimacy—and can create a cozy place to kick back and relax. So whether you’ve got a busy social calendar or big plans to Netflix and chill, we found seven shoppable love seats that do everything a sectional can do—and more.
- Best mid-century: Rivet Sloane Mid-Century Modern Love Seat
- Best modern: Hay Can Sofa
- Best rattan: Sam Coastal Rattan Wood Love Seat
- Best curved: CB2 Gwyneth Bouclé Love Seat
- Best armless: Blue Dot Bloke Armless Sofa
- Best slipcovered: Serena & Lily Spruce Street Love Seat
- Best leather: Cavett Leather Wood Frame Love Seat
Best Mid-Century: Rivet Sloane Mid-Century Modern Love Seat
Why we chose it: The tapered, solid wood legs root it in the best mid-century design.
Rounded edges soften the square silhouette of this mid-century modern two-seater, which comes in a 64-inch version ideal for studio apartments and tight corners. The button-tufted back cushion gives it a retro, tailored vibe, but the relaxed lean keeps things casual. Go with the pebble gray colorway for an easy-to-pair-with neutral in a cinch-to-clean fabric (regular vacuuming is recommended). Bonus: Looks like if you do decide to return it, you won’t have to pay shipping fees for up to 30 days.
Best Modern: Hay Can Sofa
Why we chose it: A simple silhouette nails the modern aesthetic.
Ideal for minimalists with a no-frills, utilitarian design sensibility, brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec’s less complex but arguably more comfortable take on the traditional sofa for Danish decor brand Hay has been an industry favorite since it arrived on the market in 2016. Available in six nature-inspired colors, the flat-packed sofa features a tubular steel frame and detachable modular pillows that make it a breeze to assemble at home—plus the down-padded, high-density foam cushions ensure you won’t ever want to get up.
Best Rattan: Sam Coastal Rattan Wood Love Seat
Why we chose it: The rattan details offer that perfect hint of organic texture.
This woven darling is one of the best-selling love seats at Kathy Kuo Home for good reason. The trendy rattan frame makes it a textural no-brainer for casual summertime locales, yet its timeless silhouette is sweet any time of year. But the best part? “The removable cushions give the option to either style the seat with your own pillows or leave it exposed to highlight the detailed rattan backing,” says interior designer Kathy Kuo, adding that consumers have been gravitating toward similar seats with exposed wood arms and sides that read more like settees. For styling, we can see this sitting pretty in an entryway or screened-in porch.
Best Curved: CB2 Gwyneth Bouclé Love Seat
Why we chose it: It’s a curved cutie in a trendy, highly textured fabric.
We’re convinced that popping a squat on Gwyneth Paltrow’s love seat for CB2 is the decor equivalent of resting on a cloud—and not just because it’s covered in last year’s It material, bouclé. Better yet, the plush fibers and rounded silhouette nail that high-end, luxurious look without the RH price tag. Pair it with or without pillows and a throw blanket for a glamorous take that never looks out of style.
Best Armless: Blue Dot Bloke Armless Sofa
Why we chose it: Less is more when it comes to this stand-alone sectional.
Remember armless furniture? It’s cool again, according to Domino’s contributing style editor Benjamin Reynaert. The Bloke by Blu Dot is a 60-inch, armless wonder that would do just fine squeezed between two walls or styled like an armchair in a gigantic great room. The biggest benefit of choosing this look is significantly less visual real estate—which, let’s be honest, is probably a luxury already hard to come by if you’re choosing a two-seater over a sectional. Though its sides are free, we love the high, deep back that feels like a comforting embrace.
Best Slipcovered: Serena & Lily Spruce Street Love Seat
Why we chose it: It’s the perfect marriage of form and function.
One of the most popular styles of the year, slipcovered sofas are no longer as stuffy as their predecessors once were. Case in point: Serena & Lily’s Spruce Street love seat doesn’t come with tassels or tied bows; rather it offers a streamlined, upholstered look for the most sophisticated living rooms—and it’s supremely washable, to boot. Though it does appeal to the millennial buyer, it’s by no means a starter sofa; this is an investment piece that you’ll have for years to come. If yours is a lively household with kids and pets, we recommend an acrylic performance fabric, like the company’s Perennials line.
Best Leather: Cavett Leather Wood Frame Love Seat
Why we chose it: This supersleek seat isn’t your boyfriend’s boring sofa.
Though often relegated to basements or man caves, leather is perfect for love seats—it is soft yet durable, often outlasting fabric, and easy to clean—and deserves a spot in your living room or bedroom. That’s especially true if it appears on this cantilevered, slatted walnut number from Crate & Barrel. With a compact frame that could do double duty as a bench at a dining table, these caramel cushions will patina over time, taking on a weathered, lived-in look that will only encourage you to lounge on it longer.
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Fillings and fabrics: “The fabric and filling of a love seat are important for both aesthetics and comfort,” stresses Kuo. Her advice is to go with feather-filled fibers since they’re durable but still pliable enough to conform to your body, creating a plusher feel that isn’t as stiff as foam and is less likely to start sagging.
Fabric, however, is a personal preference. At the moment, she’s loving rich mohair and velvet for a sophisticated look, but recommends cotton if you’re on the lookout for something a bit more timeless. Other natural fabrics, like linen, can be a sophisticated choice, but require a tad more upkeep. No matter the visual you’re aiming to achieve, a performance fabric (think: synthetic blends of nylon, polyester, and vinyl) or a quality leather is always a safe bet for households with children or pets.
Design: Love seats are made for nearly every design style, but Kuo says there’s increased interest in modern classic and French country styles. The former skews traditional and can be used to create a full-size seating optical illusion. “French country, on the other hand, has distinct elements and detailing that create an elegant appearance,” she notes—perfect for complementing a more elevated aesthetic.
Styling: Couches are great for napping, but it’s the petite proportions of love seats that draw Nozawa’s eye. “To me, love seats look best in nooks like bay windows and in living rooms that are much longer than they are wide,” Nozawa adds. And they are a good sectional or sofa alternative in small spaces. “It provides the seating you need without overwhelming the room the way a traditional sofa would, and often allows for more versatility when arranging or changing up the layout,” offers Kuo. “They’re a great addition in spaces like the living room, study, or even primary bedroom.”
Q: How long is a love seat in general?
Love seats earned their moniker due to courting couples, with a design just big enough to comfortably seat two individuals. In comparison, sofas are much larger, sitting a handful of people or allowing someone to fully stretch out for a nap (you’d likely feel a bit more cramped on a love seat). In general, these pieces are no bigger than 64 inches long, but can be quite small (sometimes only 50 inches, though Nozawa argues it’s unnecessary to harp on definite dimensions).
Q: How should I style a love seat?
You can style a love seat much like you would any sofa. To dress up a plain fabric, add a patterned throw blanket, draping it over an arm, along the back, or tucked under a pillow (for the latter, our Style team recommends a solid velvet). To make a love seat look bigger than it actually is, proportions are key. In small rooms, choose one that doesn’t dominate a lot of visual space, ideally something armless or streamlined with a straight silhouette that doesn’t lean too far back.“The proportions of a love seat are what makes this petite sofa size such an asset,” shares Nozawa. “If your space would be ideally laid out with a love seat and two armchairs, you could explore letting all these pieces be chunky, since there will be more open floor space in a room without a larger sofa.”
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