Examples of different styles of contemporary sofas include the Chesterfield sofa, the Lawson-style sofa, the cabriole and the English rolled-arm sofa. Chesterfield sofas exhibit Victorian-design characteristics while the Lawson-style sofa is a comfortable and casual American design.

Chesterfield sofas are easily distinguished by their tufted style and often ornate woodwork. Typically, a Chesterfield sofa features dramatically rolled arms that are the same height as the back. The arms were low so that Victorian-era men could sit in the sofas without wrinkling their outer garments.

Lawson-style sofas are usually comfortable by design, with a back comprised of numerous pillows kept separate from the frame of the sofa. This sofa design places comfort first but avoids sacrificing the aesthetic benefits of good proportions.

Cabrioles are extended versions of the French bergère design, featuring an exposed wooden frame that combines the back of the sofa with its arms. Typically, the wooden frame of this type of sofa is ornately decorated and detailed.

The English rolled-arm sofa, also commonly known as a club sofa, has its origins in 19th century, and is designed with a casual, versatile styling that does not expose the frame of sofa. It features arms that are more recessed and compact than those of similarly-sized sofas.