Couch Designs

The Ultimate Guide to Picking a Perfectly Shaped Sofa You'll Love

Our ultimate guide to sofa shapes gives you all the information you'll need to pick a couch shape that you love.

Couches come in all shapes and sizes. Picking the perfect couch shapes can be a dizzying experience. Thankfully, with our ultimate guide to sofa shapes, we have all the information you’ll need to pick a couch shape that you love. That way, next time you get dizzy, you’ll have a wonderful place to sit while you recover.

How to Choose the Perfect Couch Shape with Interior Designer Rebecca Hay

Couches come in all shapes in sizes. So do people’s homes! Rebecca Hay, founder of Rebecca Hay Designs, is a seasoned interior designer that understands a lot about how to navigate these un-shapely waters.

Rebecca is the host of a popular podcast called Resilient By Design and was my guest as we discussed how she guides her clients through choosing the right couch shape. Curved couches are all the rage, and so are modular couches… so which one is best for your home? Hear what Rebecca has to say before trying to fit a circle into a square.

Understanding Couch Types

One of the main challenges customers face is distinguishing between various couch types. Rebecca advises starting with broad categories: the cozy movie-watching couch versus the stylish cocktail-perching couch. She emphasizes the importance of understanding different couch shapes, such as skinny tapered arms versus rolled arms, and how these details impact the overall look and function of your couch.

Function-First Design

We discuss the importance of function-first design. While aesthetics are crucial, a beautiful couch must also serve your needs. Rebecca shares insights on considering the couch’s purpose: whether it’s for maximizing seating, accommodating family activities, or fitting your personal lifestyle.

Balancing Aesthetics and Functionality

Rebecca also highlights the balance between aesthetic appeal and functionality. She often helps clients find a middle ground, steering them towards choices that not only look great but also work well for their daily lives. It’s about asking the right questions and prioritizing practical needs without compromising on style.


Why choose a curved sofa? 

A crazy couch made of odd shapesThe most oddly shaped sofa in the history of sitting.
  • Elegant appeal: Curved sofas have a distinct charm, thanks to their flowing lines that evoke a sense of class and swagger. The gentle curves create an intriguing visual focal point that stands out in any room.
  • Easy conversations: One of the key advantages of a curved sofa set is its ability to foster natural and comfortable conversations. The rounded shape encourages face-to-face interaction, making it ideal for gatherings, family time, or friendly chats over a cup of coffee.
  • Flow and harmony: Incorporating a curved sofa into your living space can work wonders in terms of flow and balance. These sofas soften the hard angles typically found in rooms, contributing to a more fluid and balanced atmosphere.
  • Make a statement: Opting for a curved sofa is a statement in itself. It’s a design choice that showcases your willingness to embrace uniqueness and individuality. Whether placed in a contemporary setting or a more traditional one, a curved sofa becomes an eye-catching centerpiece that sets your interior apart.

We won’t grade your living room on a curve, but if you have a curved couch, we’ll definitely give you some extra credit.

Where to put an L-shaped couch in a living room?

L-shaped couches are some of the most popular options in modern interior design. And for good reason! They’re big enough for the whole family and they have an elegant, inviting shape. So rather than investing in an entire recliner sofa set, you might be better off buying one L-shaped sectional.

  • Corner charm: Placing an L-shaped couch in a corner maximizes space while creating a cozy and intimate seating nook. This arrangement also offers an open area for additional furniture and movement.
  • Room division: Use the L-shape to effectively divide open-concept spaces into distinct functional zones. This not only defines areas but also adds a sense of organization to your living space.
  • Window views: Opt for positioning the longer side of the couch along windows to frame scenic views and allow ample natural light to stream in. It creates a visually pleasing arrangement that blends indoor and outdoor elements.
  • Focal point: Arrange the couch to face a focal point, such as a fireplace or TV, making it the central hub for relaxation and entertainment. This setup enhances the visual flow of the room and ensures comfortable viewing angles.

Choose the placement that aligns with your room’s layout, emphasizes its strengths, and caters to your preferences for a lovely and functional living space.

Which shape of sofa is best for a living room?

The shape of a sofa set that’s best for your living room depends on several factors, from size to personal preference. You might be able to fit a giant U-shaped sectional, an L shape sofa, or you might need to squeeze in a tiny IKEA pull out couch instead. Knowing your needs and goals will help you determine which of these sofa shapes is best for your home.

  • L-shaped elegance: An L-shaped sofa is versatile and great for open spaces. It offers ample seating and can be placed in corners or used to divide the room.
  • Classic charm with a straight sofa: A straight sofa works well in smaller rooms or against walls. It’s a timeless choice that’s easy to arrange with other furniture.
  • Curves and comfort: A curved sofa adds a touch of uniqueness and softness to your living room. It’s perfect for creating a cozy conversation area.
  • U-shaped: If you have a large living room, a U-shaped sofa provides a luxurious feel and plenty of seating. It’s ideal for entertaining.

When selecting a sofa shape, consider the size of your space, your design preferences, and how you plan to use the room. Finding the right fit ensures comfort and style in your living area.

Which sofa shape is best?

We’re not going to cast our vote for one single sofa style when there are so many amazing options out there. But if we had to pick a few to choose from, here’s what we’d go with.

  • Chic chaise styles: Chaise sofas are increasingly sought after for their contemporary appeal and cozy lounging space. They effortlessly combine relaxation with modern design.
  • Sleek sectionals: Sectional sofas continue to capture hearts with their modular design and ability to adapt to various room layouts. They offer flexibility and ample seating.
  • Glamorous curved choices: Curved sofas are making a statement with their graceful lines and ability to create a captivating focal point. They add a touch of luxury and intrigue.
  • Dynamic daybed sofas: Daybed-style sofas are gaining popularity for their versatility. They function as both seating and lounging options, ideal for multifunctional spaces.

In the end, the most favored sofa shape depends on your individual preferences, spatial requirements, and the overall aesthetic you’re aiming to achieve in your living room.

Rebecca Hay Interview: Transcript of our Discussion About Finding the Perfect Couch Shape as an Expert Interior Designer

Alex Back: You have agreed to come to and tell our users about certain things that they may be curious about, that they may want to hire an interior designer to discuss, but maybe they should just… they could think about these things first prior to doing that or prior to going couch shopping. Certainly. One of the questions I think we get all the time is, I think customers generally have a lot of difficulty, and I’ve seen in my experience discerning between two different types of couches. I think starting with broad strokes and giving images to them, like the couch that’s so comfy that you really want to curl up and watch a movie, or a couch that could act as a perch to have a cocktail on, just start broad and then start to narrow in on something like a shape. Now, a shape is something that is often discussed a lot, and it’s quite literally the difference between one couch and another can be like the shape of the arms. And I think customers, in general, some people can see very clearly the difference between like a skinny tapered arm and a rolled arm, but I don’t know, like how do you guide people in the conversation about shapes or what are your general thoughts about shapes and couches? Is it something we should be thinking about from the jump or is that… I don’t know, maybe I’m overstating.

Rebecca Hay: Totally, and I love that you’re asking this question because I’m going to geek out for a second here as a designer, and designers, if you’re watching, you’ll appreciate this. But you know, I always say in my design firm that we are function-first design because of course, we’re going to make it beautiful. That’s what you’re hiring us for, and of course, your home is going to be beautiful when you pick a stylish couch from whichever supplier. But if it doesn’t function for you, then it’s a total miss. And so I think it’s having those conversations early on about, like I just said, like what is the purpose for your couch? Those curved couches, hey, I’ve done them, I’ve put them in clients’ homes, and they look super fab and cool, very trendy, but they may not be the right fit for your home if you are looking for a couch that can maximize the seating potential and you can fit six to seven people, and you want your kids to be able to hang out and play video games with their friends because a curved sofa is not a maximum use of space. And so it’s really thinking about first and foremost, how are you intending to use your couch? What is the intent? Are you going to be someone who wants to have a beer and watch the game? Do maybe you want an armrest so you can rest your arm while you’re holding a drink? Talking about a tapered arm versus a big square flat arm, so it’s a constant balance between what appeals to me aesthetically, right, and what really is going to function for me and my family. And often times, the conversations I have with clients is steering them sometimes a little bit away from what they thought they wanted, ’cause they saw it in a magazine once I start asking questions about how they intend to use the couch or use the space.

Alex Back: Thank you so much for being with us and sharing your insight. This is incredibly valuable. We hit all of our marks, and I genuinely appreciate it.

Rebecca Hay: Thank you for having me.

A smiling man with short brown hair and a beard stands on a beach during sunset. He is wearing a black short-sleeved shirt with small white dots. The ocean and sandy shore are in the background, creating a warm and relaxed atmosphere.
Alex Back is the founder and CEO of Previously, he was the co-founder and COO of the popular furniture brand, Apt2B, which was acquired by a large US retail furniture chain in 2018. He worked to integrate Apt2B, one of the very first online furniture retailers on the Shopify platform, into the operations of the 100 year old larger business entity and was deeply immersed in the business operations of both online and brick and mortar retail for 4 years before leaving in 2023 to start Working in various parts of the furniture industry since 2004, he has 20 years experience in retail sales, e-commerce, marketing, operations, logistics and wholesale manufacturing and distribution. He has worked extensively with partners such as Costco, Bed Bath and Beyond and Amazon and his work has been highlighted in many publications such as Forbes, CNN and HGTV, among others. Alex is delighted to bring his experience and authority on couches and the furniture industry to this platform, along with many of his industry colleagues who are helping him keep the audience informed and engaged on a daily basis.
Alex Back CEO & Founder