In terms of the history of furniture, the Lawson sofa is a relative latecomer. Created for American businessman, author, and tycoon Thomas W. Lawson at the turn of the 20th century, this sofa features a silhouette simpler than any of its predecessors. Reacting to the Rococo Revival insanity of the Victorians (previously seen here), Lawson wanted something simpler, with comfort in mind. But what was revolutionary about this sofa was the fact that it had loose back and seat cushions. This silhouette has remained intact to this day and the Lawson is pretty much the most popular sofa style. The arms which are lower than the back (unlike a Chesterfield, previously seen here) can come in different versions, like a wide or narrow track, or even a traditional rolled arm--but you will never see a pillowed or overstuffed arm on a Lawson.
Since it is so neutral, there are a few details that can make a Lawson sofa stand out. The type of fabric chosen for upholstery can make the sofa seem sleek (fabrics with sheen or metallic thread) and modern (chenille and nubby fabrics in green tones can invoke a Mid-Century Modern feeling) or traditional (pastels or classic English cabbage rose chintz). A skirt at the bottom (which will hide the legs) can lend a more relaxed, cottage feeling. And finally, a nailhead detail can add some interest (shiny chrome nail heads on a black velvet sofa would make a dramatic, dressy statement!).