We often work with clients who, prior to meeting us, have already purchased a sofa for their living room, but stopped short of buying anything else. “I bought this sofa, but I don’t know what chairs to put with it” is a common refrain. Figuring out the perfect comfy chairs to pair with your sofa isn’t easy, which is why we’re going to start breaking down some of our favorite, fool-proof sofa/chair combinations starting with the perfect chair-style to combine with the tuxedo-style sofa. For those of you not familiar with this sofa style, it looks like this: This style of tuxedo sofa was made famous by interior designer Billy Baldwin, but there are lots of iterations of the tuxedo sofa. What distinguishes the tuxedo from other styles is its boxy shape. The arms are almost always the same height as the back and the legs are either upholstered or exposed (we like the way upholstered legs look on the tuxedo). Here’s a few of our favorite rooms featuring tuxedo sofas (from left: Tom Scheerer, Billy Baldwin, unknown):If we had to choose just one, fool-proof pair of chairs to pair with the tuxedo sofa, we’d choose the English scroll arm (as demonstrated in the image below). While there are of course many, many different chairs that would look great with a tuxedo sofa, we like the juxtaposition of angular (tuxedo) vs. curvy (English scroll). While choosing two different styles of chair and sofa that compliment each other is important, that’s only half the battle; size and proportion is key too. One way to determine if these three pieces of furniture will be able to live harmoniously together in the same room is seat height; make sure they are roughly the same. The depth of your pieces is also important to consider. A super deep sofa and a pair of very shallow chairs won’t look right together. Below interior designer Peter Dunham uses the same sofa/chair pairing as Billy Baldwin, above. Something we like to remind ourselves of when pairing different styles and forms of furniture together is this: the most interesting rooms are ones that incorporate a variety of different shapes. A room full of square shaped things without any circles to soften things up isn’t inviting and usually isn’t very pretty to look at. The most beautiful (and comfortable) rooms are all about the push and pull of hard and soft, angular and round, patterned and solid.
What to pair with the tuxedo sofa
September 11, 2013