Questions & Answers
Candid answers to your questions about furniture and design.
What is an English roll arm sofa?
Hi, I'm Chris and I'm here today to talk about one of our favorite types of sofas, the English Roll Arm Sofa. We have two types of English roll Arm sofas one is called Basel it's pronounced Basel. 99.9% of our customers call it Basil and I'm fine with that but it is Basel. That is a tight-back English Roll Arm sofa and reference our other videos on what a tight-back means, but that's that.
The other one is Blythe. Blythe is named after a, actually a childhood friend of mine weird thing, anyway.
Basel and Blythe are both English Roll Arm sofas and the English Roll Arm really refers to the side profile of the sofa. It has a descending line to it, it swoops back a little bit. It's rolled over in a very specific way. It has a front T cushion on it which means the cushion is actually extended all the way to the outside edges and the arms are recessed slightly.
Here are a couple things that are great about this sofa and why it's so popular. First of all it's very versatile, it's a very traditional looking sofa. It's very distinctly British in style. As you can imagine from the name but it actually works in a lot of different types of environments really well. We have folks use them in really modern settings. They're great in more country farmhouse settings. They're very nice in a lot of Manhattan lofts that we've built them for. So it works everywhere.
I think a thing that's really nice about this type of sofa is that it gives you what I call a lot of seating space for your buck. Everyone's concerned about overall scale. A lot of us are working with rooms that are maybe a little bit smaller than we'd like them to be. And we have to maximize that space, right. The nice thing about English Roll Arm is the arms are only about six and 1/2 inches and they are recessed. So I think on a shorter sofa it's still gonna sit like a larger sofa would. Which means you can still have room for some side tables and floor lamps. And you can have room to walk around it because my personal pet peeve is walking through a room and stubbing my toe on a piece of furniture because it's too big. I still wanna be able to lie down on it so that is gonna do a really good job of giving you the best of both worlds. The scale of it's right for more rooms.
We have a lot of customers who are going for the tight-back because it always look neat and tidy, it's very elegant, you don't have those back pillows that can sometimes get smooshed and need a little bit of fluffing. And it also can be made a little bit smaller than a pillow back can, save a few inches here and there. And in the end those little tweaks can add up when you're working with limited space.
The pillow back I think is one of our most comfortable sofas it's just fantastically comfortable to sit back in. It's really soft and cuddly.
I think another thing that's nice about it is the arm rest is some arms, I love Chesterfields we do a lot of them but that arm is really high and I'm tall but even still I feel like I'm sitting like this which is weird. I think the thing that's nice about that English Roll Arm is it does give you a little bit more relaxed position for your arm to rest. If you wanna lie back on it it's great 'cause it's not necessarily gonna prop you up too much and you almost lie a little bit more flat with the pillow, really comfortable.
And it's really graceful, it's timeless. It's been popular for several 100 years, I don't anticipate it going out of style any time soon. They look great in a wide range of fabrics. They look really good in leather. They're not so commonly done in leather. We do, I think a little bit more of them in leather than most people. I think they look awesome in leather so definitely consider that too if you're not sure. But really popular in velvets. We do a lot of them in blue velvets, gray velvets, a lot of cream linen blends are popular with that style.
It's just, it's traditional but not too fussy. It's elegant but not off-putting or grandiose. I think it's just a perfect option for a lot of rooms, a lot of environments. And I think it might just be what you're looking for.