Leather sofas have had their place in the canon since the beginning of time, but somewhere in the mid-aughts, they took a mid-century turn that brought on boxy, angular versions. (We’re talking the brown Brooklyn bachelor pad numbers; you know the ones.) Suddenly our sofas made us look like we were either on the set of Mad Men or slinging craft cocktails while wearing suspenders in a hipster haunt.
Fast-forward to today, when the leather sofa is starting to show its softer side, thanks to overstuffing, low-to-the-ground heights, and curved shapes. In other words, the 2021 version is sexier, more loungy, and so much chicer than what you’d find in a Williamsburg loft circa 2008. From a classic cognac color to deep chestnut shade, they almost look vintage, but we promise you, they’re all new.
“These softer, curvier shapes are inviting and versatile,” says says interior designer Anne Sage, a leather sofa expert if ever there was one. “They slip easily into spaces that are vintage-inspired or contemporary in feel, and they ooze effortless cool.” She agrees that couches in the material have recently taken a turn for the better, so she’s picked her ten favorites that are on the market right now and told us what she likes best about them, in her own words.
Sofa or work of art? The jury’s still out, but one thing that’s certain about this piece is that it’s a jaw-dropper. The solid white oak frame provides an additional textural element to contrast with the leather, and the tufted, overstuffed cushions scream “Joni Mitchell in Laurel Canyon circa 1970.” The thoughtful joinery detail along the bottom is the icing on the cake.
From the Ground Up
It’s like your favorite teddy bear: chubby, affable, and inviting. And just like a Build-a-Bear, this one is fully customizable with modular pieces that can be combined in any arrangement. The lines are clean enough to suit contemporary spaces, while the knife-edge construction lends a cozier vibe as well.
Great for small-space dwellers, this sofa measures in at a petite 80 inches wide and converts to a lay-flat bed. The squinch-y tufting and ground-level orientation give it a casual, laid-back personality. The Greta is made from recycled leather, and at a price point of $949 it’s a wallet-friendly option that looks totally luxe.
Remember those couch forts you made as a kid? They’re back, in the form of this plump and pillowy sofa.The statement silhouette is characterized by an ultralow profile, outsize proportions, and shelter arms just right for a grown-up slumber party. Upholstered in hand-polished leather from a fifth-generation Italian tannery, this is peak adulting.
Loungy, But Make It Chic
Does the Tehama look like it was stolen from the back seat of the A-Team van? Yes. Am I upset? Not even a little. This ultimate vintage send-up also boasts a firm seat and tightly tufted upholstery—a real boon for those of us who hate the feeling of sinking into the crevices of a couch. Oh, and it’s apartment-worthy at only 82 inches wide.
Want your cushions overstuffed but your arms slim? This is the sofa for you. Stocked in a sumptuous shade of cocoa, this leather boasts Crypton technology that makes it not only stain- and water-resistant but even bleach cleanable. (Heads-up, parents and pet owners.) As a bonus, the Kipton is available in two depths—40 inches or 44 inches—and both ship within four weeks.
Bringing Sexy Back
When you can’t decide if you want a sofa or a hug, choose the Giselle. The rounded shape and tailored construction provide a crisp yet welcoming spot to land. Best of all are the 16 color choices. Go classic with Toffee or Fawn, or walk on the wild side with Fern, a stunning shade of dusty green.
Minimalist With a Twist
The stout and solid presence of Article’s aptly named Cigar sofa lends itself to visions of boisterous game nights (or, more probably, 30 minutes of scrolling Netflix before falling asleep till dawn). Whether you’re hosting 10 friends or just yourself, the roomy seat and ample arms make lounging around look good—and the rugged leather will patina beautifully with time.
Dangerous Curves Ahead
Curvaceous with a touch of glam, the Beretta features slim, quirky legs often seen in French Deco or Italian mid-century seating. The real conversation starter is the pleated application of the weathered black leather. It’s a striking rock-and-roll–meets–haute couture sensibility, and it would steal the show in any room!
Channel-tufting enthusiasts, rejoice! CB2’s much-loved Strato sectional is now available in an 80-inch sofa size. The strong horizontal lines of this seat set it apart from other channel-tufted sofas, most of which have vertical stitching. Pick the chestnut hue for a relaxed desert-inspired abode, or get black and live out your 1980s SoHo loft dreams.
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