Home Staples: The Sofa

This is an idea I’ve been kicking around for a little while. However, don’t let the name fool you, this isn’t intended to be as intense and drawn out as my Staples series. Rather, it will be a breakdown of some of the essential items in a man’s home that deserve focus.

The purpose of designing your living quarters should be three-fold. First, it should be functional. It doesn’t matter how great something looks, smells, or seems if it doesn’t accomplish its primary goal. Second, it should be a place that makes the man living there comfortable. For some men, this means an extreme minimalism about which they don’t need to concern themselves. For others, it means a well-curated home that shows off mementos and reminders of experiences, travels, events, and hobbies. Third, it should be a place in which other people want to be. Whether you’re like me and have a wife and children who also live with you, or you’re a free-roaming bachelor who lives on his own, we all have other people in our living space. We want it to be something that makes them comfortable and want to be around us more. Just like with clothing, the way our homes look can say a lot about us.

One of the central points in a man’s home is the living room, and one of the central points of the living room is the sofa. Whether he lives in a studio apartment or a luxury villa in Italy, any and every man should have a sofa. It’s a place to sit upright and socialize, get work done (I’m on mine as I type this right now), relax after a long day of work, or even crash for a quick nap.

And yes, a sofa is better than a row of recliners or other alternatives. Odd chairs look great in a living room, but the common space offered by a sofa makes people more conversational and can also make it easier to participate in other shared activities.

So what does a masculine sofa look like? It’s obvious that things like excess frilling, feminine patterns, and beer-stained cushions are all to be avoided. Here’s an idea of what to shoot for.

Modern

Modern Masculine Sofa

 

Mid Century

Mid Century Sofa

 

Vintage

masculine chesterfield

Rustic

Rustic Masculine Sofa

 

Preppy

Preppy Nautical Striped Sofa

Industrial

Industrial Stephen Kenn Sofa

 You’ll notice that there are good representations of all three archetypes of style. The mid century and modern are more Rakish, the industrial and rustic are more Rugged, and the preppy and vintage are more Refined.

After looking through a few hundred pictures, I started notice some trends in the sofas that looked inherently masculine:

  • Most had arms that were as high as the back. This gives them an overall lower stance, making them appear broader and more aggressive.
  • Darker or bolder colors were used. This may have been in the sofa itself or with the throw blankets and/or pillows. A little unapologetic contrast is a good way to show a man lives in the home.
  • Most were made from materials that are traditionally associated with masculinity. Leather, fur, brass, canvas, dark wood, and even denim can work well on a sofa.
  • While many had a few accent items thrown on, none went overboard. A few pillows and a blanket shows intentionality. Going all Jan Levinson makes anyone look crazy.

Finding the right sofa can be an exercise in patience. Buying something brand new can be prohibitively expensive. Even popular vintage pieces like mid-century leathers and chesterfields can cost an arm and a leg. Using consignment shops, craigslist, antique stores, and keeping an eye on sales at regular furniture shops will make it easier to find the right piece at the right price.

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Meet The Author


Tanner is the founder and primary author of Masculine Style. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife and two kids, and helps run Beckett & Robb – a men’s clothing company built around custom suits and shirts.

  • Aaron Richard

    That was a great article Tanner. It was probably the first time I’ve read home decorating advice that wasn’t aimed at bored housewives.

    • MasculineStyle

      Thanks Aaron. It’s funny to me that so many men will complain about their homes being too girly when they don’t take the time to learn how to make them feel more like a man lives there.

  • Justin McBride

    As the architectural guru I claim to be, I feel that a sofa without a lounge chair is like sandwich without bread. I would love to see you do a post on the lounge chair… Even though there is really only one lounge chair that every man should own. #Eames

  • I like your three points on purpose for living space in a man’s home, especially functionality and friends. After all I think that it is the root of the desire to have a home: a place to comfortably use and enjoy with friends and family. Great article!