When my partner and I moved into our Brooklyn apartment a couple of years ago, we had a dining table, a bed, and a few other pieces of foundational furniture—but not a sofa.
We had a few requirements: The sofa had to be comfortable enough for binge-watching (not too soft nor too firm), roomy enough for group hangs, and it had to look good.
Armed with these goals, we set out into the wilds of Manhattan’s furniture showrooms. We felt we’d graduated from Ikea (does anyone, really?), at least for this purchase. But we didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg. I quickly came to terms with the fact that my dream pick—the Mayor Sofa by Arne Jacobsen, recently re-issued by &Tradition—wasn’t going to happen; a $7,299 place to park our butts was hilariously outside our budget. We were willing to spend a seventh of that, max.
We settled on a sofa from Room & Board’s Murphy line. We felt we’d gamed the system: We snagged a show-floor model, and got a steep discount for our willingness to take home a sofa that had been sat on by Manhattan’s weary shopping hordes. It came in a supple emerald-green velvet upholstery that was, to my surprise, the default color-and-fabric combination. We were triumphant.
It’s almost laughable now, because emerald green velvet sofas are absolutely everywhere—on Pinterest, on Instagram, on the Bachelorette (so I’ve been told)—but at the time we felt very original. Sofas, by and large, come in shades of blue and greige, all too ready to play supporting player to some showy rug’s colorful, charismatic featured actor. Not this sofa. It may be against a wall, but it’s no wallflower.
Aside from my—yes, ridiculous—sense of pride about being ahead of a trend that exploded in 2016, the sofa itself is a real gem. Guests, likely assuming that it’s all good looks but functions like a box of rocks, always note how comfortable the sofa is. It’s supportive without being too firm (you know the type); its curved back and sides, wide stance, and splayed legs are a firm rebuke to the boxy shapes we knew and loved in the ’90s and early aughts. In short, it’s rad—whether on trend or not.
That said, it isn’t quite perfect: Two and a half years in, the cushions are starting to give a bit, especially in the sections we most often occupy. I’m chalking this up to the sofa’s past on the showroom floor—but perhaps it’s R&B’s foam.
Fast-forward three years and—plot twist!—emerald-green is no longer the default for the Murphy sofa, despite the color’s über-trendiness. (Now, you can custom order emerald-green velvet upholstery, but it’ll cost you: A 59-inch sofa with the upholstery du jour costs just shy of $2,100. We paid a little over $1,000 with shipping.)
I still love my sofa (and lavish it with attention on Instagram), but the field is more crowded these days. No bother—it was worth it.