I am so excited about the next significant trend in sofas. Yes, I know. I need to get out more.
Sofas have been around since 2000 BC, although they were not the comfortable pieces of furniture we enjoy today. Romans and Greeks built their couches from wood, stone and bronze and they resembled benches more than sofas. The only softness came from throw pillows.
This continued throughout the Dark Ages. A time of religious extremism, anything comfortable was considered sinful. The more you suffered, the better.
The Renaissance brought about many changes, including a softening of home furnishings. Along with the relaxation of religious rules came the rebirth of color and cloth including draperies, rugs, wall hangings and linens. Although there were some new design options, comfort was still not high on the list of sofa features.
Most sofas of that period were stuffed with moss, hay and even horse hair.
With the industrial revolution came the introduction of the sewing machine, lower cost textiles and coiled springs. The sofa became an item not seen only in the homes of the royals and wealthy.
By the 20th century, mass manufacturing again lowered the price of furniture. In short order, the showcase of each home was the three-piece group including sofa, love seat and occasional chair. Foam manufacturing advancements by NASA made them even more comfortable and durable.
What is the next evolution in upholstered living room furniture?
Furniture design tends to be based on its primary use. Initially a place for more than one person to gather and meet, in the 20th century, it changed to be a place to enjoy radio and TV. Today, we spend more time on mobile devices and binge watch programs. Research shows that we tend to lie on our sofas rather than sit on them. That means designs will change.
The sofa of the future will be a place to “rest and recharge.” Couches will include built-in chargers and ports for electronic devices. Manufacturers are already testing sofas with embedded devices that extend wi-fi signals and capture solar to power devices in the home.
With more hours spent stretched out on the sofa, expect to see more sofas with motion features. In addition to reclining head and footrests, motion sensors will detect how long you have been sitting in one position and will automatically adjust coils and foam for comfort. No more numb bums and sore backs with the smart sofa of the future. Sensors will detect your body temperature and cool or heat the couch for ultimate relaxation.
Our homes are expected to become smaller, meaning that convertible sofas will grow in popularity. We are already familiar with sofa beds. In the future, we can anticipate sofas that convert to desks and tables. Imagine using your couch as a desk during the day in a work-from-home scenario, and then switch to a sofa for binge-watching your favorite programming in the evening.
Sheryl Novak is an expat Canadian who has owned a home in Mexico for over 10 years. She is the owner of SOLutions Mexico — the online furniture store for your home in Mexico. She is considered the expert on sourcing all styles of furniture, for all sizes of budgets, in Mexico. Email the author at email@example.com for a free newsletter on how to get good value on furniture in Mexico.