The Sofa Style Trend We’re Seeing Everywhere (& Are SO Pumped About) + Shopping Options!

The Sofa Style Trend We’re Seeing Everywhere (& Are SO Pumped About) + Shopping Options!

It’s hard not to start a post here with something like “Hey EHD world, it’s Arlyn and I’m back with another post on XXXX.” Is everyone okay if I just launch into a thing? Yes? Good, because you know when you learn, say, a new word, and then soon after, you see and hear it everywhere and you wonder if you were blind to it all along or if everyone also just learned that new word, too? This happens to me a lot, and a decade or so ago, I did a lengthy internet search on this marvel.

It’s called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, or if German isn’t your thing, you can also refer to it as frequency illusion. So yes, it actually has a name! I could write a whole post on it (I actually did a really long time ago on another site!) but basically, it’s a cognitive bias that affects how we think and process information, making that thing we learn feel more common than it actually is.

Except this time, I think I’m onto something. Not just because of my own Baader-Meinhof moment, but because I like to believe I have a knack for these things. (Don’t worry, I’m getting to the sofa trend part of this post, just go on this journey with me, please).

Back in my days as a magazine editor, I went to a lot of trade shows where hundreds of home brands would exhibit their newest products. When you walk 20,000 steps from booth to booth to booth, you learn to quickly pick up on things, particularly trends. The publication I worked for covered uber-luxury design, and if you know anything about trends, you know they start at the tippy-tippy top. I got very good at calling a thing years in advance to hitting the mainstream market. All that to say, I’ve spotted a new “it” piece and I’m fairly obsessed with it.

While working on a shopping piece for another website recently, I popped into a custom-sofa boutique in Beverly Hills called The Joneses. (If you’re local and on the search for a sofa, GO THERE. It’s amazing.) I walked all the displays and kept coming back to the Beanbag sofa above. Something about the soft curves that meet in a peek in the arms was magnetic to me. I even went so far as to request a quote from the wonderful salesperson for this in a gorgeous mustard velvet but scaled down to better suit my living room (for the record, I’m not looking for a new sofa but I couldn’t help myself).

Then…I started seeing more and more of those arms everywhere I looked. In design publications like Domino, on my favorite designer’s Instagram feeds, in the catalog of great furniture stores. “I think I’m seeing a new trend emerge,” I said one day to Jess in passing, who encouraged me to write about it here.

The only problem was, I didn’t know what this was called. I started my Google search with “beanbag style sofa” and got some interesting hits but no exact dice. It wasn’t until I reached out to the incomparable Reath Design for more information on a photo I had saved of a living room with a rust velvet-colored sofa that I learned what this is: the Marenco Sofa by Arflex.

Marenco Sofa

Designed by Mario Marenco in 1970, this sofa style is on par(ish) with the other ’70s sofa design that became WILDLY popular in the last few years: the Camaleonda Sofa by Mario Bellini re-released by B&B Italia. You couldn’t open Instagram without this pebble-like piece being front and center. It was endlessly knocked off by more affordable retailers. You could even get a pretty badly made version for about $800 on Amazon. That’s when you know you’ve reached peak furniture trend.

Camaleonda Sofa

What I find most interesting about the Marenco line is the feeling that these big, tufted cushions are just floating. The cushions *are* the frame of the sofa, which makes it playful but also inviting. And while it’s a pretty unique silhouette, it’s still simple and sleek. I’ve seen similar styles but a bit toned down at other e-comm sites lately, and in any iteration, I’m smitten with it.

Let’s take a look at a few photos of the real deal in some different colors and fabrics:

image courtesy arflex
image courtesy arflex
image courtesy arflex

All of these photos are just catalog shots from the brand that makes the sofa, so they’re a little bit lifeless, yes. But here’s the photo I referenced earlier by Reath Design, in a real (albeit very grande) home:

design by reath design | photo by laure joliet

It’s the kind of piece that fits into a more traditional aesthetic like the room above (I think because it’s a vintage design rather than a new one) but it also modernizes whatever classic or even basic pieces surround it. And all the curves and fabric creases really accentuate the fabric choice, particularly in velvet.

If the Marenco sofa isn’t your speed (yet!), you might like this modified version in a room by Abbie Naber of A Naber Design. (I believe this is the Jones sofa from Maiden Home, which I linked below in the product round-up, too). It’s more in line with the framing of an approachable mainstream sofa design with the added touch of that interesting arm and upholstered base.

design by abbie naber/a naber design | styling by a naber design/california casa/en shell space | photo by charlotte lea photography

Also from Maiden Home is this less bulbous but equally striking design, their Bond Settee. What I’ve noticed is a lot of brands have taken the hallmarks of the Marenco (like that arm style) and mixed them into something a bit more straightforward. So while the *exact* design isn’t being replicated everywhere (again…yet!), there are whispers of it everywhere.

courtesy maiden home

Whether I’m right or wrong about this Marenco-style sofa trend, I do know one thing for certain: it’s a fabulously interesting furniture design that I’m going to keep my eye on for whenever the time comes that I’m ready for a new sectional.

And before we go, I pulled together nine options in a range of prices that give me the vibes I’m most drawn to of the original sofa.

1. The Jones Modular | 2. Copious Performance Velvet Sofa Cognac | 3. The Bond Settee | 4. Double Seat Sofa – Orange | 5. Marenco-Style Three Seater Sofa | 6. Cambria Green Velvet Sofa 96″ | 7. Clyde Modular Sofa | 8. Studio Sofa | 9. Jolt Ltalian Home Row Leather Sofa

I’d love to hear what you think here. Love it? Hate it? Undecided? If you’re anything like me, it might take a minute to warm up to the idea but just wait…like me and mushrooms, you may find yourself craving it soon enough.

Your friend in design (and sofas and funghi), Arlyn

Opening Image Credits: Design by Abbie Naber/A Naber Design / Style by A Naber Design/California Casa/En Shell Space | Photo by Charlotte Lea Photography

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