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Sofa

Sep 16, 2008
sofa is a permanent feature in all types of living rooms in modern day homes. But these elongated seating structures were first used in ancient world. Following the ancient Egyptians were the Romans, Etruscans, the Greeks, even the Chinese. The sofa has had quite an interesting journey through eras and across empires and kingdoms of the ancient world. During these times, they associated comfort with social status. And so the more elaborate the sofa is, the more important a person you are.

There are ancient art works depicting aristocrats and mythical heroes seated on sofa-like structures. This simply suggests that sofas coexisted with Alexander the Great and Queen Cleopatra and her friend Marc Anthony. Ancient artworks also depicted similar figures on ancient Chinese relics.

The word "sofa" is derived from the Arabic word "suffah" meaning cushion. Sofas weren't always cushioned when they first made their appearances in the ancient civilizations. It was only during the 19th century that a patent steel coil, invented by Georg Junigl in Vienna in 1822, made the sofa like we know it today. The use of these steel springs, added to the cushiony attribute of the modern day sofa.

However, it wasn't only until the 1930s that the three-piece sofa set became popular. The three-piece sofa consists of two cushioned single chairs and an elongated chair (what we also call a couch).

Enough of history. The modern day sofa, being one of the bigger pieces of functional furniture, is oftentimes the focal point of a room. Being that, it's the most over-used and abused seating furniture in the house. Children bounce up and down on it. Pet cats scratch on it. Pet dogs pee on it. People sit on it. Some humans use it for human functions other than sitting.

Sofas are reflective of certain personalities. Whether the sofa is placed in an office or a hotel lobby, the sofa reflects the design preference of a person. A sofa can either enhance and complement the already existing design scheme. It can likewise function to contrast with the overall theme of the space where the sofa is put, making the sofa an important piece of functional art.

In line with functional art, the sofa-bed is a stroke of genius all on its own. Perfect for the structures with limited space. The sofa-bed functionally doubles as a seating and sleeping piece of furniture. The sofa-bed is perhaps an offshoot of the 17th century day bed of the Restoration period.

Today, the sofa has evolved from its beginnings as a piece of furniture in the Ancient kings' courts and receiving halls to the aristocratic venues of the Greek symposia to the chateaus of French noble families. And on to the houses of middle class commoners and on to our very living rooms.

The sofa has come a long, long way. In the process, it had assumed all kinds of shapes and sizes. The sofa had donned all sorts of upholstery and had come in all imaginable colors.
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