The Wesley-Barrell guide to English sofa styles

Before you go shopping for an English sofa, review our checklist to help you consider both function and form. Establish those and you’ll be able to easily eliminate the sofa styles that aren’t suitable, and choose the style that’s best for you and most suited to your home.


Wesley-Barrell have been designing and creating handmade English sofas since 1895. Over the years, we’ve not only been able to demonstrate our expertise at making beautiful furniture, but we’ve also been able to transfer these skills into other areas, such as interior design. When it comes to English sofa styles, we have never had so much choice. It is easy to visit a showroom and be overwhelmed by the many different shapes, sizes and fabrics for you to choose from. In addition, our bespoke options such as seat depth, leg finish and cushion interior add another host of decisions for you to make.  

Which room is the sofa for?

It’s important to consider which English sofa styles will be most appropriate to your room. If the room is open plan and needs dividing, then we advise opting for a Burleigh modular sofa. On the other hand, if the sofa is to be positioned within an alcove – choose a Clanfield sofa. Furthermore, if you are planning to include an armchair, footstool and side table in the room you must consider spacing and whether all of the extra furniture will fit comfortably. Paper templates can help you to visualise where each piece will sit and how much liveable space you are left with.

Clanfield sofa in Zoffany Curzon, plum
fabric options

Who is going to use it?

Consider who will be using the sofa carefully, for example, if you have small children and pets then a luxurious velvet may not be the wisest choice. Jacquard weaves and damasks score highly on the rub test which measures durability of a fabric before showing signs of wear. By choosing one of these fabric options, you’ll be able to ensure your sofa looks as good as new for as long as possible. 



How will it be used?

When choosing the right sofa, how it will be used will be a key deciding factor on your choice of cushion filling. Duck feather, for example, offers that ‘sink in’ feeling, which is ideal for curling up on. Feather and fibre, however, is slightly firmer and requires less maintenance. For further support, you may want to consider sprung-backed models such as the Marlborough and Aldsworth. These provide exceptional back support which may be better suited for formal seating.


What is the level of quality?

Quality is essential if you want your furniture to be durable and long lasting. All our frames are screwed and glued and meet the BS4875 standard. A combination of both hard and soft woods ensure strength, as well as flexibility. The high quality furniture manufactured by Wesley-Barrell comes with a 15 year structural guarantee, which is substantially higher than other furniture manufacturers, meaning you can be secure in the knowledge that you’re buying an English sofa of the highest quality. 


Which sofa style is right for you?

If form takes precedence over function and you’re basing your sofa style on the look of your interior scheme than below is a good starting point as to how English sofas from Wesley-Barrell can fit seamlessly into your design.

We’ve compiled a few of our English sofa styles to help you decide which sofa might be best for you to create the look you’re aiming for. 


Contemporary English sofa styles

Simple and streamlined sofa styles such as the Burleigh are best suited for ‘understated’ lifestyles. A contemporary English sofa style is perhaps more effectively utilised in rooms with a minimalistic feel, or homes that are driven by the latest design styles.


Classic English sofa styles

Classic English sofa styles have the ability to work well in both traditional and contemporary interiors, comprising the best of both styles and producing a timeless appeal.  The Hinton, Hazelton and Cokethorpe are prime examples of design developing over the ages, whilst staying true to traditional roots.


Informal English sofa styles

A casual, relaxed English sofa style can work incredibly well in smaller, cosier rooms and can be complemented by soft lighting. The ‘recline and sprawl’ characteristics of the Campden and Hensington range, are perfect for those wanting to create a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere in their home.




Traditional English sofa styles

A traditional English sofa captures the essence of ornate design and compact proportions. These sofa styles often feature a high back, offering good lumber support and a comfortable seating experience. The Kingham and Spelsbury range of sofas are a fantastic example of traditional English sofa designs.



Period English sofa styles

Take a step back in time with a period English sofa style. These styles capture a blend of classic, vintage design with the very best, luxurious materials. The Wesley-Barrell Knole and Marlborough range are both stately and elegant.

Burleigh sofa in Linwood Aarran Weave, tan
Hinton sofa in Draycott, duckegg
Campden sofa in Burhill, oyster
Spelsbury sofa in Sanderson Clementine
Knole sofa in Linara, chinchilla