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Our quick guide to the UK's 5 most popular sofa styles

Home All Our quick guide to the UK’s 5 most popular sofa styles

A sofa is often referred to as ‘the heart of the home’ and it can be easy to underestimate just how much of an effect it can have on its surroundings. (If you’ve ever changed the appearance of yours with brand new sofa covers, you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about!)

Now, a sofa is a pretty old concept – more so than lots of us realise. It derives its name from the Arabic word “suffah” which roughly translates to “bench”, and the Ancient Egyptians were using them 2000 years ago. Between that time and today, all sorts of new categories and subtypes have developed, and it can be tricky to keep track of them all. So whether you’re considering your next sofa for home, or you’re just looking to get yourself up to speed on the terminology, here’s our quick roundup of five of the UK’s most popular sofa types


With sectional sofas, let’s be honest, the clue is in the name. Sectional sofas essentially come in different pieces that can be configured into various different shapes, which makes them an excellent choice if you’re a bit short on space in your living room, or if the room is slightly awkwardly shaped. They’re also brilliant options if you have a big family, or if you regularly find yourself hosting guests, as it can easily accommodate up to six or seven people, depending on its size. Some of the most popular sectional sofa styles are L-shapes and U-shapes.


The Chesterfield sofa is essentially a leather sofa with distinctive rolled arms, a quilted back, and tufting, and structured back. It can trace the peak of its original popularity back to the 18th century, and it’s recently started seeing a resurgence in recent years due to the glamour and undeniably classic touch it bestows on its surroundings. In fact, it remains one of the most sought-after sofas in the UK today.

One of its most immediately recognisable qualities is its structured back, with no back cushions. That’s all to do with its history – the original concept is generally attributed to Lord Philip Stanhope, the Earl of Chesterfield in the mid-17th century. He’s said to have commissioned it so that regal gentlemen could have a place to sit without having to concern themselves with the possibility of creasing their suits.


Just a glance at the Camelback will tell you where this classic sofa got its name; yes, it’s the characteristic wavy slope of its back, evoking the silhouette of the animal it was named for. Further defining features include its exposed legs, structured back, and its rolled or squared-off arms.

It’s another sofa which can trace its popularity back for centuries (the 18th century, to be precise), and it’s a frequent fixture of more formal spaces. However, the unusual shape also lends itself very well to more casual surroundings too, and it’s often been covered in more fun and quirky fabrics.


The first thing you’ll notice about a tuxedo sofa is its abundance of clean lines in its design, with its back and its arms the same uniform height all the way around. The name obviously evokes more formal settings, and indeed they’re often used for these sorts of environments, but just like Camelback sofas, they can be easily adapted to more casual and fun surroundings with just a change of colour using loose sofa covers

English Roll Arm

Standing in quite stark contrast to a Chesterfield, the English Roll Arm sofa style has a lower seat and plush cushions for comfort. It features the eponymous rolled arms (slightly smaller than those of traditional roll arm sofas), and its short legs are placed on castors for easy movement. This is a sofa that effortlessly suits a wide range of interiors, and as you might imagine, it’s a hugely popular choice for cosy family homes.

Now, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the UK’s most popular sofa styles – but they’re certainly a few of our favourites here at Plumbs! Whatever style of sofa you’ve got at home though, you can always count on our experts to know exactly how to keep it looking at its best all year round.

If you just fancy a quick spruce-up, or a change in aesthetic, we’d always recommend taking a look at our extensive range of sofa covers. On the other hand, if you want to completely revitalise your sofa from top to bottom, we also offer a fully comprehensive reupholstery service here at Plumbs. Feel free to browse our sofa covers at your leisure, or give us a call on 0800 019 0505, and we’ll be happy to see how we can help.

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