When looking at wingback sofas from a modern standpoint, the design is contradictory in nature.

Interior Design Ideas Using a Wingback Sofa


A wingback sofa features upholstered high-backs with angled panels or “wings” that curve downward and are attached to the armrests. When looking at wingback sofas from a modern standpoint, the design is contradictory in nature. Is it not that form should follow function? When one sits on the wingback sofa, one is unlikely to come into touch with the wings and thus may not even require lateral support. So, what is the purpose of adding structure to and upholstering the sides of a chair above the armrest? 


You can get the answer when you look into the history of 1600s Britain. During that period of time, the non-existent climate control   the invention of this sofa style. Houses and buildings at that time were drafty since they lacked weatherstripping, caulk, and triple-glazed windows. The wingback chair, also known as a fireside chair, a grandfather chair or an easy chair were traditionally built to be placed in front of fireplaces, which were the primary heating source. Its wings or also known as “cheeks” were meant to shield against the searing heat of flaming fires and to keep the cold breeze from piercing through your cosy sanctuary as you sat on the wingback sofa. The wingtips have prominent protrusions, which are helpful in protecting your ears and neck from drafts. A wide variety of wing styles exist – the most common being the flat wing and the scroll wing. There are also more fancy variations, such as the bat-wing and butterfly-wing chairs.


This wingback sofa quickly became a household staple in Colonial America during the 1700s. The older models were entirely composed of wood, and the seated area was placed with a cushion for enhanced cosiness. As time went on, wingback chairs gradually became more comfortable, and by the 1800s, manufacturers started adding leather upholstery, studding, springs, and plentiful horsehair stuffing. A French variation of the wingback chair was the Bergère style chair. While preserving the shape of the wingback sofa, Bergère style chairs were built with a curved, more flat back for improved comfort and a larger, deeper seat cushion for lounging purposes and were typically elegantly carved. It was primarily designed for ladies to sit in these types of wingback sofas. It grew in popularity in the Nordic countries later in the 19th and 20th centuries, where it took on a more Scandinavian flair. America and Europe began to adopt deep buttoned designs in the early 20th century, with luxurious velvets as one of the most popular choices for upholstery.


The wingback sofa is still trendy in today’s culture and has become increasingly fashionable due to its versatile design, timeless style, and functionality. Although initially, the impressive silhouette of the wingback sofa may make them intimidating to be used as a part of home decoration, once you figure out the best way to do so, you’ll have a truly stunning piece.


Below are some of the design inspirations to incorporate wingback sofas into your interior:


The Suitable Spot


With its striking design, a wingback sofa can make a statement in any area of your home. Nonetheless, it is best to put it in the appropriate place if you wish to maximise the use of your sofa. One typical place to put your wingback sofa is in front of your fireplace because its unique wings were originally meant to protect you from the cold breezes and shield you from the heat coming from a blazing fire. You can arrange a couple of wingback sofas with their backs to the fireplace immediately in front of the hearth for a traditional aesthetic. You may also add another sofa across them to create a comfy chatting space.


Furthermore, adding a wingback sofa can also serve as an excellent piece to fill an empty corner of your room. Empty spaces at the base of foyer staircases require special attention and are challenging to furnish. But you can make your foyer or entryway look polished with a wingback sofa and create a comfortable reading nook in an alcove.  Additionally, they provide a useful place to wait for a friend or a ride while in sight of the door.

Dining Duo


Apart from that, wingback sofas at the ends of a dining table are an interesting alternative to armchairs in a dining room. One thing to note if you’re pairing wingback sofas with conventional side dining chairs, you have to make sure the shapes complement each other. However, for messier people, wingback sofas might not be the best option. Wingback sofas are heavier than average dining chairs and require you to push yourself up and away from the table by keeping your hands on the armrests. Therefore, you should pick long-lasting upholstery fabric. There’s probably a need for stain guards as well. If you’re contemplating on placing wingback sofas in your dining room, keep in mind that the arms should not touch the bottom of your table top. Otherwise, people will knock against the table, damaging both your table and wingback sofas. Besides, the sitters are also going to eat while perching on the front edge of their seats.


Masculine Appeal


The traditional wingback sofas often have studded upholstery and rich wood-stained wooden legs which make them look stunning in dark, sombre interiors. An amazing design inspiration is to put the wingback sofa in a masculine study area and complement the dark tones in the wood legs with an expansive wooden desk and an antique bookshelf. Alternatively, you can put the wingback sofa in a den or man cave with classic elements such as natural wood cabinets, wrought iron light fixtures, and genuine leather upholstery.


Traditional is the Way to Go


What immediately springs to mind when you think of a wingback sofa? You probably picture a traditional chair with curvilinear wings that end with a rolled arm. The traditional design normally has legs that are bent, straight, or cabriole shaped. This vintage-styled wingback sofa is an excellent choice for any decor, from rustic to glam design. Keep in mind that you don’t have to keep with the same aesthetic for your fabric choice just because you have a traditional wingback chair frame. For example, you can choose a modern fabric design for the upholstery. You can also pair your traditional wingback sofa with other classic items, such as a camelback sofa, which has similar traditional theme. Adorn the adjacent windows with floor-length silk drapes with stunning pleats instead of casual blinds or shades for a more formal appearance. A crystal chandelier may also be added as an impressive centrepiece, paired with a coffee table and end tables made of polished wood.


Modern Aesthetic


A traditional wingback sofa may be modernised in a variety of ways. Mid-century modern versions, for example, are more streamlined than previous models and typically feature wings that are entirely open or partially split away from the arms. Oftentimes, the wings are also merged with the seat back to form a seamless unit. To accentuate the lines, mid-century wingback sofa is often cushioned in fabric with strong and vibrant shades.


Create Contrast 


Your wingback sofa has a unique shape that enables it to be the focal point of the room. But you may go even bolder by selecting a furniture piece that contrasts with other essential items in the space. For example, you may opt for a wingback sofa upholstered in a bold colour like red and combine it with another sofa in neutral shades like beige or brown. You can also liven up a dull space, place a wingback sofa with a bright floral design against a solid white or ivory wall. You may also use textures to create contrast – such as combining a conventional velvet sofa with a cotton-covered wingback sofa.


Add accessories


Undoubtedly, a wingback sofa can stand on its own due to its unique features, but you can also complement it with some essential accessories. For instance, a throw pillow in a contrasting colour or pattern may bring attention to the wingback sofa and liven up the interior of your home. If put in front of or beneath the wingback sofa, a throw rug with a distinctive style can also bring attention to the sofa. You may also add height to your furniture setup by pairing your wingback sofa with a stylish floor lamp or a potted tree. By placing the lamp nearby, you may transform your wingback sofa into its own small reading area. You may also include a pouf or an ottoman to serve as a footrest or can also be used to place books, magazines, or newspapers. A little round table is also ideal for pairing with a wingback sofa. It’s a good place to put a cup of tea or a plate of snacks.


Double the Charm


A wingback sofa has a curvilinear shape which makes it appear stunning in pairs. You may choose to pair the wingback sofas in three different ways. Firstly, you can arrange them next to one other, with enough gap between them to allow the placement of a side table or a fireplace. Secondly, they can also be arranged side by side with no gap between them. This arrangement provides far more flair and visual movement rather than complementing it with a love seat or couch. The final method is to place the wingback sofas opposite a coffee table.


Single is Fun too


Now we know that wingback sofas look fantastic when they are paired together, but they also look great on their own. A wingback sofa is frequently used to occupy a corner of the room. For example, it balances the seating group by combining it with a sofa and a pair of spindle chairs.



Choosing the Fabric

The amount of fabric needed for a wingback sofa, like any other upholstered item, will differ depending on the pattern repetition, the width of the fabric, as well as the size of the sofa. A fair reference point for an ordinary sofa is 6 to 9 yards.

  1. Knit backing. Adding a knit backing to the linen cloth before upholstering will help to ensure that the fabric appear tailored and smooth. Knit backing is often reserved for linens, silks, and lightweight cottons. Heavier cottons and woven materials, as well as velvets and leathers, function well without knit backing.
  1. Contrasting piping. Wingback sofas are often exquisite family heirlooms that are routinely ignored. When upholstered in a modern, vibrant fabric with contrasting piping, they are very versatile and can bring a lot of charm to a space. For this project, each wingback sofa needs 8 yards of fabric and 1 yard of piping.
  1. Slipcovers. Slipcovers are a wonderful alternative if you’re afraid to commit to a fabric or if you need to clean your wingback sofas more frequently. A nicely fitted slipcover appears very sophisticated that people might never guess that it’s not a permanent element of your wingback sofa. The slipcover is also detachable, so you can quickly throw it in the wash or replace it with another slipcover for an entirely fresh look. Apart from that, it is not necessary for the slipcovers to be neutral coloured. You can choose vibrant shades and patterns to brighten your room.


The Take-away   Your perfect wingback sofa is now within reach, since you’ve seen some design inspirations. Head over to Acacia website to find the right one for you.

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