In the days of yore, when cocktails were shaken, not stirred, and the clink of ice cubes in crystal glasses resonated through the homes of the chic and fabulous, mid century sofas emerged as the pièce de résistance of interior design. Picture it: the 1950s, an era when the world was still finding its post-war footing, and designers were crafting pieces that would redefine the very essence of cool.

These mid century sofas, darling, are not just seats; they are time machines that transport us to a bygone era of Mad Men and Audrey Hepburn’s effortless glamour. The lines are clean, the legs are slender, and the fabrics are as inviting as a well-crafted bon mot. It’s as if these sofas were designed to say, “Sit down, darling, and let’s discuss the absurdities of life over a martini.”

Mid Century Modern Classics

Mid century modern style sofas can be found these days in most of the large furniture stores and there is a dazzling array to choose from. Allow me to guide you through the nuances to find the style that suits your mid-century vibe.

In 1929 an International Exhibition was held in Barcelona. Mies van der Rohe designed the German pavillion and the “modern” world dawned. He also designed the eponymous Barcelona Chair and foot stool to go inside it. Almost simultaneously his contemporary, Corbusier, was working on a redesign of the classic club chair. He created the LC range. LC1 being an armchair, LC2 the two seater sofa and so on. It wasn’t until the 1950s that Florence Knoll created her lounge collection but it is redolent of the works of these modernist forerunners. The licensed editions of any of these designs will set you back thousands. Fortunately there are some wonderful copies that are affordable for most budgets. Which was what these designers were aiming for with their egalitarian vision in the first place.

If you want a truly timeless style and to own a piece of 20th century history I recommend choosing a dupe of one of these modernist classics.

I have also been pleasantly surprised by the styling of many contemporary sofas that have been inspired by the classics. The Zoe faux leather sofa has a beautiful button down base cushion and those bolster cushions are very authentic to the period.

At the other end of the budget spectrum, the Marcia 3 seater sofa has a laid-back silhouette with a solid oak frame and feather-wrapped cushions for supreme comfort. Upholstered in rich velvet, this timeless mid century modern sofa will anchor your living room space.

Mid century sofas were often producted with their naked wooden arms proudly on display. Hans Wegner and Robin Day designs are great examples of this style. There are some good vintage examples on the market, that are being sold with new upholstery.

But again, if you prefer new sofas that are inspired by these classics I’ve discovered some beauties for you.

Mid Century Modern: 1950s and 60s Mad Men Style

Don Draper’s pad

This is where the more pronounced style of mid-century sofas emerged. They feature winged and buttoned backs and splayed legs. Oh those legs – they’re not just supportive structures; they’re the exclamation point at the end of a design sentence. Tapered and poised, they elevate the entire aesthetic.

And if you need a sofa bed the mid century style lends itself beautifully to creating a click clack sofa bed at wallet friendly prices, as you can see from these examples.

And let’s talk materials, darling. The mid century sofa is not content with mediocrity. No, it craves the richness of teak, the warmth of walnut, and the cool sophistication of leather. Or maybe it’s a Jackie Kennedy style sofa, draped in boucle, like her Channel suit? Often upholstered in Draylon back in the day, now more likely to be covered in luxurious velvet. Suitable hues inlcude petrol blue, olive green, burnt orange, elephant grey and muted mustard as shown below.

There are some very beautiful examples of classic mid century styles available for all budgets.

Sexy Seventies

Let’s move forward to the louche and sexy seventies. Take, for instance, the iconic bean bag chairs and modular seating arrangements that allowed for endless possibilities. Comfort was king, and lounging was an art form. I like to picture a rock-god like Lenny Kravitz, reclining on a Togo modular sofa, surrounded by floor cushions and the sweet sound of vinyl spinning in the background.

I have to admit to having a bit of a seventies fetish right now. Maybe because it is so darn decadent. Just add a shag pile white carpet and a black glass coffee table and you have the party pad to end all party pads. For the real seventies vibe you should aim for a corner sofa; a base that goes right to the floor and cushioning that’s nice and squishy. A Togo sofa gives the perfect seventies vibe. This is not the time for formality. Invite your friends over, kick off your shoes and reeeeeelax.

But don’t worry if the prices of the real thing are too terrifying. There are some great “inspired by” options for those with a tight budget.

If the Togo isn’t wuite your stlye. Too slouchy perchance? Then the Cameleonda by Ligne Roset brings the ultimate in Italian seventies chic. Again the real version is eye wateringly expensive but the market is flooded with some great dupes.

This one is a fabulous price. No idea how they manage it!

Again, these are seriously stylish mid century sofas at bargain prices.

And let’s not forget the beauty of curves. There are some stunningly glamorous mid century sofas that reject straight angular lines and bring a feminine allure to any living space. I adore the 70s styling of the Noelle Modula sofa with its coffee tables incorporated.

The Vivienne also channels that curvy aesthetic and is a timeless piece.

Still not found the one for you? Never fear, there are plenty more mid century sofas where those came from. Check out all our discoveries in our full sofa lisings.