The Sunken Lounge – The Comeback

Stop. Right. There. I know exactly what you are thinking! Your mind has gone straight to the 60s or 70s, velvets, shag rugs and the colour of the era- orange (and brown!)!!!

Robinson Beach House by Cera Stribley Architects | Photography by Emily Bartlett

But let me tell you, the sunken lounge of today is one that feels fresh, modern, inviting and plays right into our love of open plan living.

While it’s not a new design feature, actually tracing back to the US in the 1920s, the sunken lounge hit the height of its popularity in the 60s and 70s after Architects like Saarinen and Girard got involved and featured the sunken lounge in their designs while hit TV shows like the Dick Van Dyke Show and the Mary Tyler Moore Show also featured them – if you have no idea what I’m talking about, google it!

Eero Saarinen, JFK Airport | Image via Pinterest

As with most things in life, there are pros and cons to most design features.

A sunken lounge can help a space feel larger given the lack of walls and increased distance from the floor to the ceiling. Sight lines go unhindered yet a sunken lounge also provides for definition of an area which works soooo well in a large area.

A sunken lounge is the perfect space to create a cosy and intimate conversation area with comfortable seating scattered with cushions enhancing family togetherness.

Furniture in this space is usually custom built for purpose so you will get exactly what you want and also works well to create the feeling of openness.

Best of all – including a sunken lounge also gives the home a punch of personality and point of difference. Tick.

SAV Architecture + Design | Image by Fabien Charuau

We’ve talked about how well a sunken lounge can work for a large open plan space, however including it in a smaller space, not so much. Claustrophobia anyone…

And we mentioned how the furniture in a sunken lounge is generally custom made which is great because truly is designed for that area, but this can be costly exercise. Talking cost, the cost to remove the design feature will also come at an expense.

It’s also a good idea to look at who lives here? Who will be using the space? Whether it be young or old, slips, trips and falls can occur so it’s important to factor this in during the design phase.

Brighton House by Techne Architecture + Interior Design | Image Tom Blachford

I think you’ll all agree the sunken lounge, when done well, can be an excellent design feature which instantly injects personality and comfort into a home.

Words by Melissa Bailey for BuildHer Collective

Brighton House by Techne Architecture + Interior Design | Image Tom Blachford

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