The Knole Sofa

May 17, 2017

By Tab Byrum

One of my favorite sofas is the Knole Sofa, named for Knole House in Sevenoaks, Kent, England. Originally the Knole Sofa was meant to be a throne type chair that a monarch would sit on when receiving guests. The sofa often has adjustable high arms and very deep seating, often there are finials on top of the arms where tassels are hung off the finials and are used to adjust the arms of the sofa. You’ve probably seen Knole sofas used in movies and television shows, think the Downton Abbey library, and didn’t know it. I had always noticed these sofas on TV and in movies and the first time I saw one in person was at an open house of a new home that a designer I was working for had decorated. Knole sofas are usually covered in heavier fabrics such as velvet, chenille, or a tapestry print but over the years some people have covered them in less formal fabrics which I love. Knole sofas aren’t small by any means and would be hard to use in a smaller home or apartment, I’ve gathered images of several different Knole Sofas done in different types of fabrics to give you an idea of their look and how to use them. Enjoy!!! (above image via)

Here we see a Knole Sofa in a more formal and traditional setting. (via)

Sometimes no color or pattern is just as dramatic having lots of color and pattern, notice the nailhead trim. (via)

This Knole Sofa looks very at home in the library of this home. (via)


Here you can see how the finials and tassels are used to adjust the arms of the Knole Sofa. (via)

A peek inside the library at Highclere Castle, also known as Downton Abbey, notice the red velvet Knole Sofa in the lower left corner. (via)

Gloria Vanderbilt is known for her use of Knole Sofas. (via)

Here you have Vanderbilt and her family on the same Knole Sofa, now covered in a casual gingham check. (via)

I included this picture to show how you can use a more contemporary fabric with a traditional fringe and tassels for a beautiful look. Notice the brass hinges that allow the arms to raise and lower. (via)

Knole Sofas are at home also in more contemporary settings as seen here in an all white room with lots of traditional touches. (via)

Words are my own.

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