Consumers in the market for a new sofa in this year will find upholstery designs are showing a softer side, with lush curves and sumptuous arches. Moving away from massive and chunky, this new streamlined trend has yielded chairs, ottomans and recliners — in addition to sofas — that are strong in functionality yet soft on the eyes.

“Upholstery often anchors a room, and it can be among the most personally expressive purchases a consumer makes,” says Jackie Hirschhaut, vice president of the American Home Furnishings Alliance. “Whether it’s the slight curve of a home-theater sectional or the exaggerated arch of a modern chair, the rounded profiles coming to stores this spring offer an easy way to add personality and flair to any room.”

Fashion and function harmonize in the Gaines swivel chair, the latest inspiration by Celerie Kemble for Laneventure. Drawing upon the clean, simple lines of 1950s design, it features a curved back and a rounded seat. A unique design feature is its concealed swivel which adds the unexpected surprise of mobility. A single welt traces the chair’s edges for a crisp, tailored style, and its maple legs are available stained or lacquered.

Another curvaceous chair comes from Ransom Culler for Thayer Coggin. There’s no way around it, the Axel lounge chair is far from square. This sleek, modern silhouette is gracefully and intelligently conceived and features a rounded seat, circular cut-outs on its sides and a criss-crossed solid maple base.

Both frames and fabrics enjoyed the flair of a well-executed curve at C.R. Laine. The fluid lines of the McGee chair are complemented by the graceful swirl of an overscaled black-on-white paisley. The Onassis oval back chair and Nickleby round ottoman both have definite curve-appeal, but while the former is dainty and decorated in its collage of vintage fabrics, the latter is inelegant and intriguing in 100 percent cotton canvas from recycled Brazilian truck tarps.

Among new upholstery designs from Pennsylvania House is a curvaceous sofa with a dressmaker skirt, rolled arm and box cushion. Its European traditional styling offers a sophisticated look with a relaxed feel.

Boasting luxurious proportions and cascading curves is the Giovanna sofa from Marge Carson. With a distinctive sense of scale and proportion, the frame features a curvilinear form and sculpted cylindrical armposts. Its tailored skirt sweeps across the sides and around the back while a cascading front panel is accented with decorative nailhead trim in a diamond pattern.

Curves can be seen in a variety of combinations, including Midtown by England. This two-piece sectional features curved units that are subtly detailed with a single row of button tufting. They join to create a semicircular arc with arms that angle slightly inward toward the center. A coordinating semicircular ottoman with a removable lid for storage is also available.

Another introduction that works all the way around is the corner chair and ottoman from Cox Manufacturing. Designed to work together, the rounded chair and ottoman create a chaise lounge. Or, two of the corner chairs can be grouped side-by-side for a love seat or placed facing opposite directions for an interesting tête-á-tête.

Pearson also offers a striking silhouette in its shapely lounge chair and ottoman that feature a loose, boxed back pillow over a loose, boxed seat cushion. Gently sloping arms accentuate the curve of the outside back and flow into the angled top rail.

Showing a new twist on the curve is a rattan side chair with a scrolled back from Vanguard Furniture. Adapted from a 19th-century Biedermeier German style, the chair comes in four finishes and also is offered as an armchair.

Another well-rounded approach to home theater is Arclounge by Rick Lee for American Leather. The sofa’s tall back rounds downward toward the front seat cushion, while the ottoman fits into the concave arc of the front rail to form a large conversation pit.

“It’s clear this is one trend that consumers at all price levels will see this year,” Hirschhaut concludes.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance, located in High Point, N.C., and Washington, D.C., is the largest association of home-furnishings companies in the world .

For additional information or furniture and shopping tips, visit

Information courtesy the American Home Furnishings Alliance

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