I’ve shared the fascinating Legacy of English Interior Design and Why It Matters with you, and now it’s time for me to share a little bit about how you can incorporate British style into your own home. Some pieces of furniture are foundational elements that can set the tone for your entire home. Today, we’re taking a deep dive into a piece that epitomizes comfort, sophistication, and timeless style—the English Roll Arm Sofa.
The History: A Seat with a Story
The English Roll Arm Sofa, also known as the Bridgewater Sofa or Club Sofa, traces its roots back to 19th-century Britain. This iconic piece was birthed from the desire to merge comfort with elegance, a reflection of the era’s shift towards domestic coziness over mere ornamentation.
The Anatomy: What Sets it Apart
The Rolled Arm
The signature design feature is, of course, its rolled arm, which is the same height as the back. This creates a sense of symmetry and invites relaxation.
Unlike other styles that may prioritize form over function, the English Roll Arm Sofa offers deep seating for unparalleled comfort.
Its balanced proportions and subdued lines make it compatible with various decor styles, from traditional to modern.
Choice of Legs
Whether concealed or exposed, turned or straight, the legs of the sofa offer another opportunity for customization.
Why It’s the Top Choice
Its enduring style has made it a staple in homes for decades. An investment in an English Roll Arm Sofa is an investment in a piece that will outlive trends.
From the fabric to the type of cushioning and leg design, these sofas are often customizable, allowing you to infuse a bit of your own personality into the piece.
Let’s not forget the ultimate aim of a sofa—comfort. The English Roll Arm Sofa is built with relaxation in mind.
Styling Your English Roll Arm Sofa
Given its versatile nature, this sofa can be styled to fit into any aesthetic.
- Traditional: Think rich fabrics like brocades and plaids, surrounded by antique wooden pieces.
- Modern: Opt for lighter fabrics and minimalistic accessories.
- Eclectic: Combine the sofa with bold patterns and colorful textiles.
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In the realm of sofas, the English Roll Arm stands in a league of its own. As you embark on your design journey, especially if you’re just starting out, consider this iconic piece not just as a sofa but as a storytelling element in your living space.
We’ll delve into the intricacies of picking a sofa in our upcoming “Starter Style” series, but for now, let this be your clarion call: if you’re in search of timeless beauty and unmatched comfort, the English Roll Arm Sofa should top your list.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts! What are your sofa non-negotiables?
Want more British Style?
On the blog, you can read about three of my favorite coffee table books from English interior designers and explore the Legacy of English Interior Design. On Substack, you can take a deeper dive: learn about Colefax, Fowler & Lancaster and some of my early exposure to English interior design. And over on Spoonflower, I have my own British Style collection of patterns—order your favorites in fabrics, wallpapers, and home goods!
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Other posts in the British Style Series:
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