Living rooms used to be all about the central seating arrangement, but a new trend is nudging giant sofas out of the way in favour of smaller couches that can be combined with one or more armchairs.
No longer playing a mere supporting role, the one-seater has become the big statement of the sitting room, while the couch blends into the background.
"The most important question to work out is what the chair is for, and whether it is meant to be placed together with the sofa or whether it is an armchair for reading and relaxing in, to be placed somewhere else," says Gabriele Kaiser, a trend analyst from Landsberg am Lech.
Answering this will help you pick the right shape of armchair. "If you want a cosy spot to read in, a winged chair is a good choice," says Kaiser. "The shape creates a sort of cocoon where you can read your book in peace."
It can be hard to work out the size of a chair when you're in a furniture shop or buying online, so Jan Kurth, of the German furniture industry association, suggests laying out the size of the chair with pieces of newspaper or cardboard on the floor.
It is not only about creating harmony so everything in the room fits well together – the seat itself has to work for you too.
"The width of the seat is crucial," says Kaiser. "It should be large enough so that you don't feel cramped in the armchair. For those who are more stately, a seat should be 60cm wide or more."
The seat should also match the length of people's legs.
The trend for combining one or several armchairs to form a seating area offers many more design possibilities than a single seating landscape.
Different materials can be fashionably combined, and you don't need to scour the web looking for an armchair with the same look as your couch.
You can also mix and match different colours. "You can work with contrasts or differing tones," says Kaiser. "Light tones such as cream for a sofa look great with an armchair in a bold red or blue."
"These can be beautifully combined with a clear blue or green. Or if you prefer a more subtle combination, match a beige sofa with an armchair in a warm chocolate brown, or a grey sofa with an armchair in anthracite."
It boils down to a single formula, in Kaiser's view: The smaller the piece of furniture, the stronger the colour - and the other way around.
Did you find this article insightful?
64% readers found this article insightful