an english rolled arm sofa

The English Rolled Arm Sofa

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Rachel Stone

Hello, friends!

Today I’m extra excited to be sharing this post on the English rolled-arm sofa! As many of you know we remodeled our living room at the beginning of last year to reflect a more English country style. To the surprise (and chagrin) of many, we replaced the teal loveseat, but not the big brown couch.

Our approach to remodeling/improving our home is a bit more British than American… we not only prefer to take our time and allow the rooms and design plans to simmer, but we also are a two-man crew with a limited budget. Even if we wanted to “do” a room in one big stroke that wouldn’t be possible.

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This sofa was given to us a few years into our marriage and since it has a hide-away bed inside it is extremely comfortable. It is truly ugly… We’ve compared it to an oversized, overbaked potato and a sunscorched walrus. The blue ocean wallpaper with a blue and mauve rose border and dated paneling don’t help either. So, we saved and I dreamed of moving our living room closer in style to a charming English snug.

Our first step was to remove the wallpaper then, paint the wall and wainscotting a neutral from Sherwin Williams called “Urban Jungle.” The brown sofa still carries a hulking sloppy presence, but we were moving in the right direction in losing the wallpaper! Sometimes in this process, it is good to remind yourself that you are going for good, better, and sometimes best depending on the time and cash you have to work with. Since this phase of the living room remodel, I had time to think about what we did and did not want in a sofa. I was hoping for some version of the English rolled-arm sofa that I had seen in design books and images online. Here are the specifics I was looking for:

~ Comfortable & long enough for Matt to nap on

~ The classic English rolled arm

~ A tight upholstered back for longevity. Sewn on cushions rip over time…

~ Turned wooden legs with brass casters

~ Preferrably a single bench cushion, but not critical

~ Not upholstered in a floral (I have so much floral going on already!).

After over a year of watching Marketplace this lovely English rolled-arm sofa popped up! Yes, I immediately got excited and messaged the seller! And, yes, I kept checking repeatedly to see if they responded…

By the time I had come across this post, the original price had dropped from $150 to $100. One tip worth noting for buying on Marketplace is that if a post has been up for a while the seller may be open to negotiating. This is not always the case, but it doesn’t hurt to ask! I sent the seller an offer of $85 and he readily accepted. The butterflies set in and I could hardly wait to see how the sofa looked in our living room! Sometimes in the dark, dinky little picture, an item doesn’t look anything like you imagined when you get it home!

I can’t believe how perfectly the sofa fits in the space much less how it looks right at home! In thinking through the feeling and function of this space I was hoping to lift and lighten the room visually. With the lighter colored plaid and the sofa being up on legs both these goals were met! The tan, dark olive, and red houndstooth are an ideal juxtaposition for the larger scale florals of the other upholstery. Plus it gives a firm, masculine feeling which helps ground the room.

The lightness of this sofa does some visual trickery in making this new sofa seem smaller than the old couch. It is a little shorter, but with the streamlined armrests not only is Matt able to fully stretch out, but there is room now on both sides of the sofa for a table and lamp! I’m really glad about this as the function of the last sofa was limited to one table which meant that people only ever sat on one side to have somewhere to put their drink, or read. This also meant more shopping… Back to Marketplace!

This table/lamp combo popped up for $50. It looked to be the perfect size and in good condition. I love the faux bamboo frame, the slightly flared legs, the burl wood tabletop, and the brass accents. The shade is high quality with metal ribs and a nice lining. Why does the lining matter, you ask? Oh, I just might have a lovely fabric in mind for recovering the shade…

What a difference this English rolled-arm sofa makes! I’ve added a throw blanket and two pillows for comfort and style. The equestrian pillow was thrifted last year for about $5, and the needlepoint terrier pillow was found on Etsy. Even though we had to make do with the well-loved, big brown sofa for longer than we wanted, the wait was worth it in terms of budget savings and in getting the style that was best for the look we were going for.

I hope you found this sofa story to be one of encouragement and contentment. You really can find what you’re looking for (and you can afford it) if you patiently wait and diligently hunt! Thank you all for being here and taking such a keen interest in this journey. happy homemaking in whatever part you’re working on!

Warmly,

Rachel

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Author: Rachel Stone
Rachel is passionate about creating a comfortable and beautiful home for her family. She also loves to share the lessons she is learning with her wonderful audience both on this blog and her YouTube channel.

23 thoughts on “The English Rolled Arm Sofa”

  1. What a wonderful sofa….it looks fabulous in your living room beneath the mirror…you have such a gift for decorating and putting all the right items together perfectly….thank you for sharing..All the best..Melanie Fay

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  2. Your patience paid off! The sofa looks great in your living room. The houndstooth fabric is a great choice with the florals in the room and really lightens up the space. Congratulations!

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  3. Let us hear how you came out on selling the big brown sofa. I love the new one! I am shopping for fabric to cover two lampshades and wish you were here to help!

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    • Haha! Well, that old brown sofa had seen it’s last day and wasn’t fit to donate.
      I’d love to help with the lampshades! I personally think a lampshade pleating party with tea, coffee and shortbread sounds fabulous!

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  4. Rachel – I love the new sofa – and how much work you and your hubby have put into your home over the last couple of years. I am a country primitive styler, but I can definitely appreciate other styles. I immediately thought of Ralph Lauren when I saw the plaid and it works really well. I enjoy your YouTube videos as well.

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    • Thank you, Miss Traci!
      I also enjoy aspects of other styles (including primitive), it’s the mix that makes it unique and fun. I hadn’t thought of the houndstooth being Ralph Lauren-ish, but you and a few others pointed it our and you’re right! Thank you for sharing!

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  5. I’m a recent subscriber to your blog and YouTube channel. I appreciate your encouragement to dream and wait until budget allows. Often we feel that our homes need to be “magazine perfect” before we can enjoy them. It is often the journey and the stories behind each piece of the puzzle that make our homes unique. I love your content and presentation.

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    • Welcome to the Stone Cottage Home family, Miss Carrie!
      You’ve got it, our home don’t have to be perfect EVER to be enjoyed! The stories are what make it “ours.” Thank you for sharing!

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  6. I am so happy for you! You have the patience of a saint to have waited so long for this spectacular find. I have been hoping you would replace the sofa and you couldn’t have done a better job! Nicely done!

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  7. You are spot on with that sofa! Great patience coupled with a thrifty mind is a superpower, in my opinion! Good job!

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  8. This is exactly what your room was waiting for. The old sofa was just so big and dark and overwhelmed the space.
    Love the small pattern which seems like a neutral . I do love the bamboo table. The style and accents are really classic looking. Although, to my eye…. I would swap the tables with each other. I feel the heavier table on the outside would anchor the sofa better. Just thinking out loud. I am just so darn happy the sofa is here!!!! I know now you must walk into that room and feel …. this is what I was envisioning.

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  9. This new sofa is just what your living room needed. We have lives with somewhat ugly furniture, too. Somehow the wait for the right price/ right piece makes your find all the better. You are an inspiration to all of us budget minded folks.

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    • You’re right, Miss Mary Beth!
      Waiting makes the find that much better, plus you have a story to go with it!

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  10. Hello miss Rachel! Love your sofa! So worth the wait. So happy for you. You and Matt are achieving such a beautiful, high end home by choosing carefully.
    Thank you for sharing yet another piece of your journey!
    Love, Janina from Ontario, Canada 🇨🇦

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  11. Rachel, you couldn’t have found a sofa more perfect!!! Thank you for sharing not only your beautiful home, but also your beautiful self! Godliness with contentment is great gain I Timothy 6:6

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    • That’s exactly right, Miss Robin!
      If you can’t be happy with what you have now, you won’t be happy with what you get next!

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  12. Oh my goodness Rachel, patience really paid off! The new sofa and table/lamp look sooo fantastic!! I just love watching your channel and seeing what you’re up to!

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    • Patience does pay off ~ although sometimes we can begin to wonder when! Thank you for following along, Miss Kimberly!

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  13. The new sofa is beautiful! It goes so well with your other furniture and decor! You home keeps getting better and better. I want to live there!

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