Skip to Content

What is a Lawson Style Sofa?


This is a close look at the simple living room that has a gray Lawson style sofa and a white circular side table.

• Invented as a bespoke sofa to suit the needs of business tycoon and author Thomas W. Lawson, the Lawson sofa offers deep seats, removable cushions, and an angled back for improved posture.

• Interior designers call it the chameleon of sofas because it can suit so many styles of décor.

You might find decorating your home fun, but when you do it for the first time, you will probably find it a bit daunting. That’s because you start from scratch.

You have all that space, and you have to fill it. Even a small house typically consists of a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room, and a garage. It sounds so simple when you buy it. You’ve lived in houses or apartments your whole life, so how hard can it be, really?

Like most people, you probably decide to start with something really basic and essential.

A sofa. You will buy a sofa. You can get a sleeper sofa, roll it out, and you have somewhere comfortable to sleep until you purchase everything else. Or you can choose a sofa bed.

Allow us to suggest a Lawson-style sofa – the sofa quite literally made for comfort.

Related: Types of Sofas | Sofa Arm Styles | DIY Sofas | Types of Sofa Cushions | Best Sofa Brands

What is a Lawson sofa?

Going with this suggestion also saves you from trying the other 39 couch types. Yes, really, with 39 available options, Thomas W. Lawson just had to have something new entirely. He wanted something ideal, so he commissioned its design.

First, the Lawson-style sofa provides overstuffed cushions that not only keep you from wrinkling your clothes but provide a squishy yet firm seat. We’re talking super cozy here.

Second, these sofas tend toward the long side of the design, so you can stretch out on them. They make perfect napping sofas whether you purchase the sleeper model or not. A typical length for this style of sofa is about 88 inches.

Third, the sofa’s back takes on the ideal angle to provide perfect posture even if you are not known for perfect posture. It puts you back in the proper position. The tailored back rises as high as the sofa’s depth.

Fourth, the versatile bottom styles of this sofa make it perfect for any décor. You can purchase a Lawson-style sofa with the legs showing or skirted. With the legs exposed and straight, it provides a modern look. Choose a tailored skirt for a more traditional décor or a ruffled or flounced skirt for a country décor.

Fifth, its simple, clean lines suit many contemporary, modern, and Mid-Century decors. You can pop this sofa in nearly any room with one of those styles of decorating and it will fit in perfectly. Some call it boxy, but we call it comfortable. Both its back pillows and seat cushions take on a box shape.

Sixth, if you nab a sofa in the original Lawson style, it provides three seat cushions. In addition to a great napping sofa, it proves handy if you want to sit the entire family down for a portrait. Thomas W. and his wife, Jeannie Augusta Goodwillie, had six children. That size family requires a sizable sofa.

Seventh, you can move the cushions and pillows around. Reconfigure them. Flip them over. (Ahem, hide a stain when one of the kids spills a drink and creates a stain you just cannot remove.) If you prefer loose back pillows, you can find Lawson-style sofas with these, too.

Eighth, you can choose from two arm styles. The Lawson-style sofa began with squared-off arms, but today’s designers also offer these sofas with rolled arms. This makes it suitable for a greater number of decors.

This is a Lawson Sofa in Natural Almond tone from APT 2B.

Source: AP2B


It comes in various sizes, but typically, the height of the back and the depth of the seat equal one another. The Lawson style of the sofa provides one of the longer sofa choices with many at an 88-inch length. It is not uncommon to see a Lawson sofa in a 96-inch or longer version. You can also find this style as a sectional sofa.

Is it in style or popular today?

This versatile style of the sofa provides one of the top choices amongst interior designers today. Its fabric upholstery choices combined with the leg and skirt choices make it ideal for most homes. Some 21st-century designers love its versatile modularity so much that they modified its design to make a Lawson loveseat or Lawson love seat.

Materials Used

A Lawson sofa uses a metal or wood frame. Its bottom varies, as mentioned. Choose from exposed legs with wood or metal feet (depending on the frame), tailored skirt, or flounced skirt.


The closest you can come to a Lawson sofa without buying one would be the Tuxedo sofa, another boxy design, but one with a more contemporary, ultra-modern style.

Pros of the Lawson sofa

• Versatile styling with many design options

• Seats many people, especially children

• Available in regular and sleeper options

Cons of the Lawson sofa

• Not suitable for small spaces

Where can you use this sofa in your home?

In any larger room where you want a cozy place to sit or nap, you can place a Lawson sofa. Its size works perfectly for napping, even for tall people. You could be just over seven feet tall and still stretch out on the typical Lawson couch. It works well in living rooms, dens, gaming rooms, day rooms, sitting rooms, family rooms, bedrooms, home offices, and business offices.

History of the Lawson Sofa

In the 1800s, Boston business tycoon Thomas W. Lawson had a furniture designer craft a sofa for him, ideal for a gentleman. He wanted, as he put it, a place suitable for a gentleman to sit without wrinkling his suit. That’s important when you’re mining copper and your running buddies are Henry H. Rogers and William Rockefeller.

The three formed Amalgamated Copper Mining Company and Lawson also got in early on the bespoke everything phase. With no sofa available to suit his needs, he had one invented. The designer named it for the man who commissioned it rather than himself, which is the tradition.

How do you style a Lawson-style sofa?

Jennifer Taylor Home Alana Lawson Sofa, Navy Blue

Click image for more info

The terrific thing about these sofas is you can make them suit your décor simply by changing the fabric of the upholstery and its color. Interior decorators call this the chameleon of sofas because of this versatility. When you custom order a Lawson sofa, you can choose from about 1,000 fabric choices at some locations. You will get hundreds at some shops.

Glamourous style: Choose a sparkly fabric upholstery or something with a sheen to it and choose either uncovered legs or a tailored skirt. Place a mirrored chest at either end of the sofa as an end table and top each with a crystal lamp.

Modern style: Choose black linen or leather for your upholstery and let the sofa’s legs show. Provide it with contrast by pairing it with a rustic wood coffee table, then play up its sleek style with a chrome floor lamp.

Country/cottage style: Cover the Lawson sofa in a plaid, cotton, or chintz floral or ticking and you have the ideal sofa for an elegant, cozy country cottage look, especially with a flounced skirt. Choose shabby chic small painted tables in pastels or white to bank the ends of the sofa.

Lodge style: Have your sofa covered in tweed or chenille to evoke a lodge’s warmth. Place a rustic wood end table on either side, each topped with a Meyda lamp from its rustic Lodge collection.

How Much Is a Lawson sofa?

Expect to pay between $600 and $3,000 for this comfortable, versatile sofa. You can spend more if you choose to completely customize your order.

Where can you purchase these sofas?

You can purchase this style of sofa at many fine furnishing stores locally or online at a variety of e-tailers, including Wayfair, LuxeDecor, 1 Stop Bedrooms, Ashley Furniture, Jennifer Taylor Home, and Rove Concepts.


One King’s Lane: Sofa Styles

Couches & Sofa: Lawson Sofa: How to Decorate Your Space with the Perfect Lawson Sofa

Home Stratosphere: Types of Sofas

Hunker: What is a Lawson Sofa

Project Gutenberg: Thomas W. Lawson