February for us in North America is either about frigid weather or Valentine’s Day, so it seems fitting to cozy up and discuss the loveseat, the one piece of furniture dedicated to snuggling and affection. At least, that’s what most assume.
This two-seater sofa made its first appearance on the furniture scene back in the 17th century. Its sole purpose was not to invite cuddling and romance, but rather to provide ladies with more sitting space as the fashion of the time was skirts with large layers and hoops. The intention of the loveseat, you see, was highly functional. In fact, the first loveseats were not upholstered and consisted of solid wood.
As fashions evolved and women began wearing slimmer silhouetted clothing during the 18th and 19th centuries, the “wide chair” was observed to accommodate more than one individual. Social trends still upheld austerity and conservatism, so many couples and sweethearts took advantage of the loveseat to sit relatively close to one another without talk of scandal. This is how the loveseat came to be the love seat.
As we moved into the 19th century, the loveseat became a sign of wealth, as it was often only seen in upper class homes. Today, they are used as functional, space-saving seating in small homes or condominiums—or as part of living room sets.
And now that we’ve uncovered the myth of the loveseat, it doesn’t mean we can’t indulge in the romanticism of their function.
Here are some of our favourite loveseats:
Cavett Wood Frame Loveseat – Crate & Barrel
Relax back to another modern time. Cavett’s mid-century lines capture the best of 1950s design, complete with solid American walnut and cushioned seating upholstered in a warm, textural weave with a hint of retro character. Dramatic streamlined arms, cantilevered seat, and vertical slat back attract the eye from every angle.
A sleek choice for smaller living rooms and family rooms, the Cavett loveseat angles at a slight recline with supportive cushions upholstered in a polyester basketweave that layers varied tones of brown. The Cavett Loveseat is a Crate and Barrel exclusive.
Ondine Salon Bench – Restoration Hardware
This loveseat’s elegant, arching back, down-scrolled arms, and cabriole legs echo the Louis XV style of mid-1700s France. An exposed frame of hand-carved oak encloses its plush bench seat and tightly upholstered back. Four loose cushions add comfort and relaxed style.
This is a more contemporary, truly comfortable, Italian-inspired sofa option for a family. Designed by Goop, this luxe, elevated take on the loveseat was directly inspired by a piece in Gwyneth Paltrow’s apartment. Updated dimensions and modular construction make it more comfortable and customizable to fit families’ changing needs. A simple shape belies elegant details like exaggerated trim and button tufting, while snow white performance fabric stands up to the most intense lounge session. CB2 exclusive.
Womb Settee – Design Within Reach
The expressive sculptural forms of Eero Saarinen’s furniture can still be found to this very day in his architecture, from the TWA Terminal at Kennedy Airport to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to Dulles International Airport. In 1940, the Finnish American and his friend Charles Eames took first prize at the Organic Design in Home Furnishings competition at MoMA. Later that decade, Saarinen developed his fit-for-two Womb Settee (1948) for his first big architectural commission, the General Motors Technical Center in Warren, Michigan—a massive, 25-building complex that required furnishings for over 5,000 people.
By applying foam molded over a fibreglass shell, Saarinen created a single-piece form that perfectly facilitates a relaxed sitting posture. Of the clumsy oversized models seen elsewhere that the Settee was designed to replace, Saarinen said, “These dreadnoughts disappeared from modern interiors partly because they were designed for an era that tried to impress by sheer mass.” But he saw the robust forms as timeless. “The need for such chairs has not passed. Today, more than ever, we need to relax.”
Dallas Love Seat – Swoon
With a diagonal, crisp edge, this loveseat is one we want to cozy up on all night long.
It took 17 amendments to the original sketch—and three iterations in the flesh—to get the Dallas just right. That’s because Swoon Studio was adamant about giving you the lovely detail that is the diagonal, welcoming, crisp edge on the front of this love seat’s arms. And then there are the scatter cushions of all shapes and sizes, not to mention the wealth of padding on its arms for the unadulterated unwind.
Feeling laidback yet? Ah, just wait until you get your feet up on those deep, thick seat cushions. There’s plenty of room for books, snacks, and maybe even your favourite person.
Love Seat – Italinteriors
Designed by British artist Jake Phipps, the seat’s form suggests the duality of a loving and successful partnership—fundamentally opposed, yet with complementary principles of balance and unity. Facing in opposite directions, a couple can share a conversation, their different perspectives providing a more complete outlook on the world around them.
The bench is made from a single block of scented cedar. It features an original and ergonomic design that permits direct contact. The products are made from completely natural wood that is hand-finished without the addition of any treatment. Movements, cracks, and changes in the appearance of the wood are intrinsic characteristics of these items and result from the natural settlement and diverse environmental conditions.
Plumy – Ligne Roset
This is a January 2016 re-edition of an iconic 1980 model by Annie Hiéronimus’ Plumy, totally in the spirit of the ’80s and its “couch potato generation.” Three elements combine to provide the comfort: the uniquely designed structure of the armchair, settees made from glued-together blocks of polyether foam, and Bultex polyurethane foam of different densities.
Back cushions may be angled; seat cushions may be unfolded to facilitate all manners of sitting and relaxing in a “chaise longue” position.
One could quite rightly declare that the model Plumy is comfort with a capital ”C” and relaxation with a capital ”R”.
Underline Loveseat – Roche Bobois
Sofa, armchair, loveseat, day bed…The elegant silhouette of each piece in this collection is highlighted by a thin down that wraps around each headrest and extends down between the base and the seat. The incredibly soft nubuck leather makes it the perfect place to relax and snuggle.
This loveseat was designed by the multidisciplinary Raphael Navot, who identifies himself as a non-industrial designer. A graduate from Design Academy Eindhoven, he likes to combine artisanal know-how with contemporary methods, whether in his interior architecture projects or in his custom furniture orders. In Paris, Raphael Navot has produced the Club Silencio in collaboration with David Lynch, and the Hôtel National des Arts et Métiers. For Roche Bobois, he has imagined the NATIV collection with natural and organic lines, a dialogue between culture and nature combined with the mastery of geometry and spontaneous shapes. It is manufactured by hand with noble materials.
Nolta Armless Loveseat – Mobilia
Featuring an incredibly stylish rounded shape, comfortable cushions, and soft upholstery, the Nolta fabric loveseat is the perfect addition to a modern or boho-chic decor. Just add a monochrome throw and surround it with metal accessories for a more contemporary look or opt for fur cushions and colourful accents to create a bohemian feel. Let your imagination run wild to make it your own! In any case, this unique piece has already done most of the work.
The famous Bocca Sofa Studio 65 was originally designed by Salvador Dali. Two sensual red lips compose this beautiful Bocca sofa that is representative of the Surrealist movement. This version of Bocca Sofa is a two-seater loveseat. A true work of art, it surprises with its originality and comfort. The Bocca Sofa Studio 65 is made of soft roto molded resin and red cashmere.
1000 pieces were produced in 1970 by Design Studio 65 for the Italian house Heller. It has since been distributed in many places around the world.