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Sofa workshop
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The Evolution of the Sofa

The sofa has been an integral part of the living room for as long as any of us can remember, but we do tend to take it for granted. After all, people were not always afforded this privilege in their own homes, and those who did have one were not necessarily afforded the comfort and luxury that is so widely available today.

People have always needed somewhere to sit down and the basic concept of the sofa goes all the way back to the Stone Age, although early examples were little more than stone blocks – everyone has to start somewhere.

Nevertheless, evolve it did. The life of the sofa got off to a slow start, though, with all the real advances happening only over the last 3500 years. A slow process admittedly but a significant number of notably impressive and creative changes have taken place throughout history.

Take upholstery for example; did you know that the Egyptians used it as far back as 1500BC? It’s a standard feature in this day and age but back then it was a huge step forwards, although it was a rare luxury that most people wouldn’t get to experience.

The sofa as we know it today began to develop around 900AD with the wooden, high-backed bench – for a long time this was the kind of seating most people could expect to use. In fact, the modern sofa didn’t even begin to take shape until hundreds of years later with the canapé sofa in the 17th century.

From there the design was modified and altered, and the element of style became a more prominent factor than mere practicality. Today, sofas come in all shapes and sizes, to suit all tastes, and have certainly evolved far beyond their humble beginnings.

Our handy infographic ‘The Evolution of the Sofa’ details this journey and provides a fascinating insight into how sofa design concepts have evolved over the years.

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