What is a Tuxedo Sofa?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2019
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The tuxedo sofa is thought to have first been invented in the 1920s, and derives its name from the same place as does the tuxedo, from the classy town of Tuxedo Park in New York. Along with other pieces of furniture, the tuxedo sofa is often thought of as one of the pieces that heralded the modern era in furniture. Still, many who own such a sofa or couch wouldn’t know to call it a tuxedo sofa, even though the style remains a popular one.

The basic requirements of any tuxedo sofa are that the arms of the sofa are the same height as its back. This usually means that back pillows, and sometimes side pillows rise above the height of both back and arms. Pillows may be attached or loose depending upon the individual sofa; more often they are loose. Early versions of the tuxedo sofa often had arms that curved outward, and you may find this in modern variants. Probably the most modern look, though, is a very straight, streamlined arm that is upholstered and may feature a slight amount of padding.


When searching for furniture, you can find vintage tuxedo sofa styles that will cost a pretty penny if they’re in good shape, or new pieces that are interpretations of the vintage style. Cost may depend on a variety of factors, type of materials used, brand name, and individual store pricing. Since the definition of this sofa depends most on the equal height of back and arms, any sofa that fits this definition is a tuxedo sofa. Length, width, and fabric choices have little to do with whether or not a sofa falls into this class.

Therefore you will find plenty of varieties to choose from if you like the style, even sofa beds. As with any loose back pillow style, many people cite the loose pillows make the sofa easier to care for. If a single pillow gets stained it can be cleaned much more easily than can a padded high sofa back. Others do complain that pressure on the pillows above the back of the sofa can cause them to become misshapen. If you regularly rotate the pillows, and they’re of good quality, they’re likely to stay fresh and plump. Removing pillows from the back or sides further gives you the advantage of being able to vacuum the sofa more thoroughly.

One complaint that seems to go hand in hand with the tuxedo sofa is they may be a little more difficult to cover than standard high back couches or couches with attached pillows. Since the back is shorter, covers may be too long, and ordering custom covers can be pricey. If you’re planning on covering individual pillows too, you’ll have to buy pillow covers separately, or you can save a little money by making your own shams.


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Post 1

This article was very helpful. Could you give the dimensions of a tuxedo sofa. How high are the sides and back? Thanks. Jennie

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