Turquoise retro small sofa

I’ve just spent months researching and finally purchasing – hurrah! – a new sofa.  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 it also totally dominated the space.

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

Several years later, and on the hunt for the next sofa, I was determined not to make the same mistake twice.  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.  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 too far out into the room.

In small rooms depth matters just as much as width.  That’s why the 2-seater size of a lot of sofas just don’t work in many small, modern living spaces.

So what is the ideal small sofa?

I recently read 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.  Hear, hear – that’s exactly what we’re saying too.

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.

Compact Contemporary Sofas for Small Spaces

The 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 for when space is at a real premium.  With slim, flared arms and subtle buttoned detail, this small sofa is part of the Design Your Own range, so you can choose from a huge range of fabrics.

There’s also a slightly wider Arlo Medium 2-Seater sofa (175 cm wide) and an equally compact armchair in the Arlo range.

John Lewis Groucho small sofa in Walnut leatherMy second offering is also from John Lewis, as I really fell for this compact sofa when I saw it (and sat in it).

This is the beautifully soft and extremely comfortable leather Groucho Small Sofa in Walnut which is 152 cm wide and 84 cm deep.

There’s also a Groucho Medium Sofa that’s 182 cm wide, and they both come in a darker brown leather too.
mimi_threepowblue_productpage_carousel_1_desktop With its unmistakable mid-century Danish design influence, the stylish Mimi 3 Seater Sofa from Swoon Editions is upholstered in wool-rich fabric in a variety of colours. It has solid oak legs and measures 181cm wide and only 79cm deep.

Also from Swoon Editions is the neat, compact and tailored Tivoli 2-seater sofa.

Part of their new Made to Order range, there’s a wide range of fabrics and leathers to choose from as well as leg colour.  This 2-seater version measures 178 cm wide and 87 cm deep, but the Tivoli range also includes an armchair, 3-seater sofa and compact corner sofa.

Blue velvet Jonah 2 Seater Sofa for small spaces with bookcase and cushionsThe Jonah Sofa, above, was designed for MADE by James Harrison, winner of the Elle Decoration Young Designer of the Year 2007.  Its contemporary yet retro lines are smooth, sleek and fuss-free, making it ideal for small spaces, and the Jonah 2-seater Sofa measures 160 cm wide by 81 cm deep.  Shown here in rich cobalt blue velvet fabric, the Jonah comes in a range of other fabrics and colours (including bright Ketchup Red and soft, sunny Saffron Yellow)  as well as a 3-seater size and armchair.

lightbox_ariana_2_seater_graphite_grey_lb01The plump and softly curvaceous Ariana 2-seater sofa, above, is a style that’s traditionally on the larger end of the spectrum.  This, however, is a cleverly scaled down version for smaller spaces.  At 162 cm wide and 91 cm deep it’s a tiny touch over our criteria, but only just.  Classic design features have been teamed with contemporary fabrics and colours, and the seat cushions are soft and generously deep.

7803_BrickWalls_Bermondsay_Large-Sofa_Front_Reading-Green I do like a mix of materials, and the Bermondsey Small Sofa from Sofas and Stuff shows off a very handsome, solid oak frame teamed with some very sharp mid-century upholstering details in a wool-rich fabric.  The Bermondsey Small Sofa measures 170 cm wide and 86 cm deep, is available in other colours (some of which are part of their ready-to-deliver 7 Day Sofa collection) and also comes as a 3-seater sofa and armchair too.

Habitat grey Chester sofa for small spaces in modern room settingDesigned by Matthew Hilton for Habitat, the very popular Chester Sofa is available in a range of leather and fabric options, and with either oak or dark stained feet.  The 2-seater version shown above in black and white Italian woven fabric measures 170 cm wide by 85 cm deep. They also do a very compact version at 120 cm wide – called, not surprisingly, the Chester Compact Sofa.  Clean, simple, lines make this small sofa a timeless classic.

Tribeca sofas for small spaces in blue and yellowThis box sofa has been softened with padded curves – we love! The Tribeca 2 Seater Sofa measures 163 cm wide by 85 cm deep, is crafted with solid oak legs, an integrated seat back, tucked seat cushion and comes with two matching cushions. Shown above in Mineral Blue and Yolk Yellow there’s also a lovely Dust Pink and Marl Grey to choose from.
Purple 2.5 seater Rucola sofaAnd finally, this is the sofa we eventually went for, in a dark, warm grey and white marl type fabric.  It’s called the Rucola Sofa, from Aria, an independent design shop in north London.

We chose the 2.5-seater version which measures 186 cm wide and 84 cm deep, and is a much better fit for our room, as are its clean, simple lines and slim profiles.

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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