In 1970, Vladimir Kagan changed the game for sofas. That year, the furniture designer debuted his iconic Serpentine Sofa—a curved couch that looked like a kidney, a boomerang, or the letter S, depending on which angle you viewed it from.
At the time, curves were nothing new in furniture. The ancient Greeks loved curved backrests and chair legs. Art Nouveau architects outfitted desks, beds, and vanities with curves. And fans of Midcentury Modern Design used curves in playful ways—filling their homes with amoeba-shaped tables and dramatically sculpted chairs. But until then, sofas had been relatively boxy. Sure, you saw rolled arms, medallion backs, and cabriole legs. But the back of the couch’s frame was almost always straight—designed to slide into corners and sit flat against walls.
With his Serpentine Sofa, Kagan created a sumptuous piece that could hug the sides of a coffee table and make space for large-scale wall art. He also created a new way to play with shape in interior design. Should you pair a curved couch with an equally curvy coffee table? Or should you juxtapose it with boxy pieces and straight lines? Questions abounded. And their answers were endlessly interesting.
These days, curved sofas aren’t quite as revelatory. But they’re as enticing as ever. People can’t help but fill their homes with lavish curves—trading rigidity for rondure at every turn. Sometimes, these curved pieces look like the sleek sofa that inspired them. Other times, they look categorically different: They’re bulky, or modular, or packed with more curves than ever seemed possible.
But they offer a welcome break from the straight lines that once dominated design. And they make homes feel softer, cozier, and like the kind of place you’d want to spend all day in.
A Mediterranean Room Filled With Neotenic Furniture
This living room from Brana Designs is packed with curves—curved sofas, curved armchairs, curved tables, and even a round rug. “Originally, the project had Mediterranean architecture, and our goal was to update the aesthetic toward a contemporary look,” Helena Brana, founder and principal at Brana Designs, says. Though she wanted to transform the space, she made sure to maintain some original architectural elements—like the curved doorways and archways that lined the room.
“Through our concept, it made complete sense to add curved yet modern furniture—not just for aesthetics, but also to create an engaging space,” Brana says. “I found many [curved sofas], but they all started to look alike, and we were looking for something special. I almost gave up. But then I found this [couch] … and I immediately fell in love with it.”
A Craftsman-Style Room Packed With Sleek, Sculptural Pieces
This Dane Austin Design living room was built around a single piece: the piano sitting in the corner. “The room is essentially a square, and the piano dictated the floor plan,” Dane Austin, luxury residential interior designer at Dane Austin Design, says. “[It] was tucked into one corner, allowing for the performer to be in the center of the room.”
His strategy was simple: “We wanted to mirror the curve of the piano and to play against the stereotypical symmetry in a traditional room,” he says. Every piece was chosen with that goal in mind. “All of the furniture has an emphasis on curves in opposition to the linearity of the room’s architecture—the green apple swivel chair, the round ottoman under the piano, the round side tables, and the lamp,” Austin says. “I appreciate that the curve of the sofa mimics the curve of the piano and softens an otherwise linear space.”
A 1970s-Inspired Salon, Complemented by a Sleekly Curved Couch
This pretty pink curved sofa doesn’t inhabit a living room. Instead, it lives inside a boutique hair salon designed by Jessie D. Miller Interior Design. And it adds a pop of sleek contrast to the 1970s-inspired space. “[This sofa] was the perfect curvy compliment to the feminine, 1970s-inspired design,” Jessie D. Miller, principal and owner of Jessie D. Miller Interior Design, says. “I love the pale, blushy color and voluptuous shape. Everything I design is based on intuition—[the pieces] just ‘feel good’ together.”
Enjoy a few more curves that Buildlane has sculpted for Interior Designers like you.