I’ve just spent months researching a new sofa for our rather compact lounge.  Which makes this the perfect time to do a round-up of contemporary compact sofas for small spaces.

The living room of our terraced Victorian house is fairly small and roughly square, and we made a classic mistake when buying our first sofa.  OK, it fitted into the room (just!).  But this huge 3-seater couch also also totally dominated the space.

Several years later, and on the hunt for the next sofa, I was determined not to make the same mistake twice. Here’s what I’ve learned…

Why “small sofas” often aren’t really that small…

What I know now is that what are often described as “small sofas” aren’t really that small.

Often they’re just a 2-seater version of the larger models.  But they’re still the same depth (i.e. the size from front to back).  Which is typically between 90 – 100 cm.

Often this won’t matter, which makes life a whole lot easier.  You can find a sofa you like, and opt for the 2-seater version.  But that wouldn’t work for our small room – and here’s why.

For small rooms the depth of the sofa is just as important as the width

Not only was our ex-sofa a whopping 210 cm wide, it was also a substantial 100 cm deep.  Which means it came much, much too far out into the room.

When choosing a sofa for a small room depth matters just as much as width.  That’s why the standard 2-seater size of many sofas just don’t work in small, modern living spaces.  They’re just too deep.   What you’re actually looking for is a shallower depth of sofa from front to back.

How to choose the ideal compact sofa for your small living space?

I recently heard a tip from an interior designer who recommends you go for the longest sofa possible for your small space, but really take note of the depth.  Yay! – that’s exactly what we outlined above.

Other valuable style tips to bear in mind when choosing the best compact sofa for your small living space are:

  • opt for streamlined shapes and simple clean lines
  • make sure the sofa arms are narrow and slimline rather than wide and chunky
  • look for styles with slim legs that lift them off the ground to give the illusion of more space

These things really do make a difference – I learned the hard way!  With that in mind, this Top 10 sofas for small spaces has compact sofas that are less than 90 cm deep, and vary in width from around 140 – 190 cm wide. These dimensions give you the ideal “petite”, perfectly proportioned, genuinely small contemporary sofas for small spaces.

10 best compact contemporary sofas for small spaces

Slimline contemporary Arlo Sofa for small spaces from John lewis & PartnersThe clean, unfussy lines of the Arlo Small 2-Seater Sofa by John Lewis are perfect for small spaces. Measuring a petite 154 cm wide by 88 cm deep, it’s ideal solution for maximum comfort for when space is at a real premium.

John Lewis & Partners compact Arlo Sofa for small spacesWith slimline, flared arms and subtle buttoned detail, the Arlo is perfect for small living rooms and space-starved apartments or if you’re looking for a very small sofa for a bedroom, hallway or kitchen.  If you have slightly more room, there’s also a slightly wider Arlo Medium 2-Seater sofa (175 cm wide).

Also from John Lewis is the beautifully soft and extremely comfortable leather Halo Groucho Small Sofa in the Napinha Camel colourway.  I really fell for this compact leather sofa when I saw it.  And sat in it – it’s very comfy.  This rich tan colour is also gorgeous, and very versatile (it looks particularly good against a deep, inky blue wall…).

We love this chic contemporary reworking of English country house style, with its plump feather cushions and brass castors. The Doze Collection from Graham and Green comes in a range of luxe fabrics and a choice of sizes.  The 2.5 seater sofa above measures 165 cm wide and 87 deep and is shown in Forest Green Velvet.  Gorgeous!

MADE Tubby compact red fabric sofa for small living roomsThe Tubby collection, above, is one of MADE’s most popular in-house designs.  Its contemporary yet retro lines are smooth, sleek and fuss-free, making it ideal for small spaces.  The Tubby 2-seater sofa measures a truly petite 125 cm wide x 76cm deep.

Tubby narrow sofa for small spaces in saffron yellow velvet

The 3-seater version, above, is still a very compact 170 cm wide by 76 cm deep.  For both sizes you can choose from a gorgeous range of fabrics and colours, like the stunning saffron velvet, above, blush pink, forest green, teal and lots more.  Legs can be either light or dark wood, plus there’s an equally cute compact armchair as part of the Tubby range.

How sumptuous is the Savio Large 2-Seater leather sofa?  Beautifully sleek with slim profiles and black metal frame, it measures 182 cm wide and 89 cm deep. Shown above in the Mink colourway there’s also a classic Tan leather version too.  Simple, sophisticated and perfect for small contemporary spaces.

The Brunel 2-Seater Sofa from Heal’s mixes “mid-century and industrial influences” to great effect, don’t you think? It’s made in the UK and measures 159 cm wide and 90 cm deep. Choose from blue, shown above, and also a lovely mid grey, plus there’s a chaise sofa and armchair too.  Could this be the perfect cosy yet super-stylish small sofa? (Oh, and you can see the whole range of best-selling Brunel furniture here).

The Sweep Medium 2-Seater Sofa, again from John Lewis, is the ideal slimline sofa for small spaces.  Designed specifically for small, modern homes, the Sweep Sofa features stylish tailored twin seam detail on its narrow arms and comes in mustard and grey as well as the blue colourway above.  Delivery is from 3 working days, it’s a brilliantly affordable price and it gets very good reviews too.  H88 x W167 x D87cm.

Green sofa - Brighton compact sofa for small places by Darlings of ChelseaAt 91 cm deep the Brighton range of compact sofas is the tiniest smidge over our target depth.  But I’ve sneaked it into the roundup because it’s specially designed for small spaces and comes in a useful range of  4 widths, from the Brighton Snuggler at 135 cm right up to the Extra Large at 225cm wide. Plus there’s a really lovely range of fabrics, leathers and 4 leg finishes too. Small really doesn’t have to be boring!

Iris pink velvet sofa for small spaces from Love Your HomeThe Iris Modern Sofa from Love Your Home is shown above in Blossom stain resistant velvet but also comes in a huge range of fabric and leather choices in stunning contemporary colours and prints.  And there are 10 different wood finishes for the legs too.  Slim arms and a streamlined single seat cushion keep the Iris sleek and unfussy, and the 2-seater version measures 190 cm wide by 89 cm deep.

And finally, here’s the Swyft Model 02 Medium 2-seater sofa from John Lewis & Partners. It’s bursting with fabulous design details – piping, buttoned seat cusion and petite arm bolsters – small really can be beautiful! It measures 175 cm wide and 85 cm deep, and you can choose from 3 colours each of either velvet or linen fabric.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the round-up, and in conclusion I think it’s fair to to say I’ve learned a lot about buying compact sofas for small spaces.  The most valuable lesson?  It really pays to look at the bigger picture.

Images: brands and shops as credited above

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