THE SOFA SPUD’S GUIDE TO VINTAGE SOFA SETS
Who doesn’t love a little binge watching? An occasional indulgence that pairs beautifully with Thai takeout and a glass of wine, a marathon of our favorite TV shows can be just the thing to set us straight after a soul-sucking week.
While we’ve certainly been known to binge watch in bed, a night full of TV really calls for a comfy vintage sofa set. In addition to providing room for a BF or hubby to sprawl out, they make it easy to change up your viewing angle should you develop a neck crick mid-season (yes, we’re consider ourselves pros here).
To help you pick the right vintage sofa set, we’ve gamely paired a few TV shows with some classic vintage sofa sets. Yes, it’s all in good fun, but who knows, you might just discover your new TV buddy.
THE 50S SITCOM LOVER
Your Shows: I love Lucy, Bewitched
Our Sofa Pick: A vintage sofa set by Florence Knoll
The Skinny: Simple and boxlike, but definitely not plain, Florence Knoll’s sofa sets look like something pulled straight from a 1950s Hollywood sitcom. Originally created for Knoll’s corporate Planning Unit, Florence Knoll’s sofa set was designed with premier efficiency in mind—just like those early soundstages. Tufting keeps Knoll’s sofa set from vanishing into the background (be it black-and-white or real life color), while its mindful scale makes it perfect for outfitting a small space with multiple pieces (and if you remember back to the 50s coms, rooms were stuffed with furniture to accommodate all those needy neighbors and mother in laws that popped in). While it’s common to find these vintage sofa sets in fire-red tweeds and cognac leathers, we love them in nubby gray tweeds, a throwback to that retro, black-and-white world.
THE ISLAND LIFER
Your Shows: Gilligan’s Island, Flipper
Our Sofa Pick: A vintage sofa set by McGuire
The Skinny: Whether you love the escapism of Gilligan’s Island, or you simply can’t get enough of Flipper’s rattan-and-palm style, those with a penchant for the island life will fall hard for McGuire’s vintage sofa sets. With its signature bamboo construction, a McGuire sofa set will set your living room ablaze in tiki-time style, but thanks to its innate sophistication, won’t make it look like you dragged your patio furniture indoors. When looking for McGuire’s used sofa sets, don’t discount those pieces with tired cushions, as those can easily be refreshed with the help of an upholsterer. Go with bold, Floridian prints in soft, pastel hues for a balmy look, or opt for loud, full-color prints if you desire something more equatorial. And for those who really want to go all out? Look for a used sofa set that includes not just sofas and chairs, but coffee and side tables too. With all that bamboo, you’ll feel like you’re living in a treehouse, except, of course, you have a TV (wink wink).
THE 90S REALIST
Your Show: The Real World
Our Sofa Pick: A vintage sofa set by Ligne Roset
The Skinny: The best way to watch a reality TV show about seven strangers picked to live together in a house? A pillow-y, beanbag-shaped sofa set that conjures up those wonky, color-splashed pads that the Real World roommates lived in. Ligne Roset’s Togo sofa set is just the thing, as these legless sofas perhaps have more in common with floor cushions than traditional seating (which we think the roommates would completely dig). While Togo sofas could easily dissolve into an eyesore, they feature artful, all-over ruching, which acts as low-level tailoring. To ensure your vintage sofa set radiates that true 90s buzz, look for sets covered in techno-colored velvets—purple, lime, and cerulean blue—and opt for the most elaborate sofa set you can find. Beyond bench seats, look for corner units and ottomans. And when it comes to setting up your space? Use two bench seats across from each other and set chairs at each corner. You'll have a conversation pit worthy of the Real World’s confessional.
THE LIVE ACTION ADVENTURIST
Your Shows: Survivor, The Amazing Race
Our Sofa Pick: A vintage sofa set by Percival Lafer
The Skinny: If you love the heart palpitating drama and exotic locales served up by game show reality shows like Survivor and The Amazing Race, then a Percival Lafer sofa set might be for you. Crafted of exotic woods like rosewood and jacaranda, and slung with pillow-y leather cushions, these vintage sofa sets aren’t just adventurous, they’re straight-up daring. A Brazilian designer who got his start after inheriting his father’s furniture store, Percival Lafer designed laid-back and sophisticated sofa sets that evoked the South American spirit. When shopping for Percival Lafer pieces, look for used sofa sets with up to five pieces, keeping in mind that a sofa with two chairs is a common find, as is two matching sofas. You might also keep an eye out for unusual leather colors. Mustard, sienna, and avocado are some of our favorites when it comes to these used sofa sets.