The Sofa Trend Slowly Taking Over Instagram

updated May 12, 2020
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Buy a leather sofa for your living room, and you’re well on your way to man cave status, whether you like it or not. Which is totally fine—honestly, there are plenty of reasons why leather is greater than things like performance velvet or cotton in terms of durability and clean-ability, even if aesthetically it might pale in comparison. But I’ve noticed a shift lately on Instagram away from the ubiquitous blue velvet couch (guilty!) and into the wide world of buttery caramels and 70s-style tan sofas. And I’m starting to think, for the first time, that I should give leather a chance.

Let’s start with something you might have seen before, the “safari-style” tan leather couch. This guy typically has a wood frame and buttery, slouchy leather upholstery that buckles at the sides. Designer, influencer and HGTV personality Lauren Liess has had this kind of sofa since her first Domino home feature two houses ago, and it’s fun to see the ways in which she’s continued to reuse it. There’s something both exotic and retro about this particular sofa, and if you find one of these out in the wild when antiquing or flea market shopping, for the love of social media, buy it (if you can afford it). Anthropologie also makes a brand new version of this sofa, too.

Liess loves a tan leather sofa so much, she used a pair of them in a recent client’s install. Apparently, the fabric is from her new upholstery line. So maybe there will be a couple of tan colorways to choose from? Fingers crossed.

Another big hit on social these days is the low slung, slouchy caramel couch. The one in this uber-stylish Joshua Tree rental has a tufted seat and a pair of bolster pillows, which add extra comfort to the equation. Add a few mismatched printed cushions, and the boho chic look is all yours.

Speaking of tufted, the classic Chesterfield silhouette looks spectacular in this cognac color and fabric. Designer Jenny Komenda has been on this train for a while. What’s nice about brown leather is that it really becomes a neutral, so you can pair it with another kind of sofa, whether solid, striped or subtly patterned. And, of course, the leather pops against white walls.

But these couches can hang in colorful settings, too. All it takes to know that is one look at this setup at The Saguaro Palm Springs. This model is giving off major mid-century vibes. It’s all in the legs and the worn-in cushions.

Another influencer, another example of a mid-century style tan leather couch. This one belongs to blogger Joanna Goddard of Cup of Joe, and it’s extra deep. Even in exaggerated proportions, these sofas look darn good.

Say caramel’s a little too dark for you. Try its close cousin, an almost blush like taupe, similar to what’s seen here in the feed of blogger Erin Wheeler of Sunny Circle Studio.

Shopping for a sofa? All I’m saying is to consider something in caramel leather. These sofas have been around for a bit and are still on the rise. They’re chameleons depending on their styling and surroundings—super modern one day, vintage-inspired the next, and that’s why they’re worth a look. Here are a few of our current favorites.

(Image credit: Interior Define)

Vintage good looks and soft leather that’ll last a lifetime. You’ll learn to love any scuffs and scratches.

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Clean lines? Check. Less than $2K? Also check. This one is a real contender in my book.

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

The paneled detailing on the back of this Italian-inspired design makes it a great option for floating in the middle of a room.

(Image credit: West Elm)

One cushion is clutch for napping and Netflixing. Trust me.

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

Can’t argue with the price tag of this small space stunner.

(Image credit: CB2)

The edgiest Chesterfield I ever did see.

(Image credit: poly&bark)

Don’t worry. Sectionals can get in on the tan leather game, too. They look quite chic in this color and fabric combo.

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

Again, save your pennies because this tan sofa was made for Instagram and always seems to be in style.