Upgrading the look of any living room requires the selection of a good sofa or couches. Sofas and loveseats are complimentary and necessary additions to any home. Over time, loveseats have evolved into natural additions to most living rooms across the globe. It might come as a surprise to most people that the settees or loveseats were at one time innovative and new pieces of furniture. They have come a long way since that time. To me this is an interesting subject so following is a brief history of sofas, settees, armchairs, couches and even upholstery.
The terms settee and sofa are currently virtually synonymous. However, sofa is the term that is commonly used to refer to any kind of upholstered seating meant for 2 or more people. Both terms are relatively new additions to the English language as they were not very common prior to the 17th Century.
The sofa was originally used as a dais that Grand Viziers sat on. It is because of such that there are still suggested connections with daybeds and couches. This is to say that sofas were as much intended for reclining as they were for seating. On the other hand, the settee was initially designed as a double chair and was furnished with cushions. As fashion changed, they rapidly evolved until there was little difference between the two.
During the period after the 17th century, settees were not frequently upholstered. Thereafter, they were made similar to other upholstered seating. This is because they were paralleling each and every major style. Settees that are relatively narrow and necessitated closer seating are what came to be known as loveseats or courting settees. Today, the loveseat is a term that implies a type of settee that accommodates two people sitting side by side, but normally facing opposite directions.
Contrary to what most people believe, loveseats were not invented so that 2 lovebirds could comfortably sit close to one another and consequently gaze into the eyes of each other. Instead, the invention was aimed at helping women sit and arrange their fashionable gowns in a comfortable manner. This is because the dresses women wore in the 17th as well as the 18th centuries involved a significant quantity of fabric and hoops.
The loveseat’s extra wide seat was designed to accommodate one woman and her dress. Furthermore, they had armrests and high backs incorporated to them. This type of sofas was primarily designed with fashion in mind rather than comfort. The size of loveseats grew as the seating craze caught on and this saw manufacturers increase the size to accommodate 2-3 people.
Fresh ideas for living room fashion have altered the loveseat into the form it has adopted today. Despite the fact that a significant number of loveseats are still made from fabric and wood, many modern ones utilize metal instead of wood for both the legs and frame. And loveseats are available in an array of upholstery like cotton, vinyl, twill, corduroy, leather and microfibre.
The addition of upholstery has the effect of changing the look and feel of a whole room. It revolves around style and comfort. Upholstery got its beginnings early with society’s upper classes. Skills in upholstery consequently spread throughout Europe’s tradesmen and mechanization and technology allowed it to thrive. The same happened in Italy and Europe. Upholstered seats were a rare find until sometime in the 17th century when only the wealthy had access to them. The first armchair that was fully upholstered was seen in 1705, characterized by wool moreen and silk damask. Upholstery cleaning in those days must have been a delicate and difficult task.
The Age of the Designer saw upholstery being heavily integrated into the furniture making process. The steam powered engine and steel coil spring were the 2 main inventions that lead to modern style being popularised and dropping all its associations with specific groups of people. Afterwards, upholstery began to increasingly become the buyer’s choice because of the availability of different fabrics and individual shops springing up to promote variation.
Sofas and armchairs were revolutionized with the use of moulded fibre glass, moulded foam cores, plywood and bent steel. Modern designs have seen the creation of several iconic custom textiles that are still heavily used.
In conclusion, through quite a journey sofas, settees, armchairs, couches and upholstery developed over the years have become what we recognise today.