The low Manhattan sofa by Baker is $6,930. Photograph courtesy of Kohler Co.
With gas prices rising, more people are spending their money to create cozy retreats in their homes. “My clients want a haven from the outside world,” says DC interior designer Liz Levin. “People want relaxed, more casual spaces.” In addition to comfortable couches and chairs, designers say clients are investing in fine linens and towels that give their bedroom and bath a spa-like feel.
To find the stores on this list, we asked top interior designers where they shop for comfortable furniture, good-quality bedding, and plush linens. Then we tested those recommendations, plopping down on sofas and feeling linens in stores across the area. The undertaking was inevitably somewhat subjective: Couches and chairs were test-driven by a five-foot-six woman looking for comfort and style—including deep seats, padded armrests, and soft pillows that hold their shape.
If you’re looking for seating with lots of support, talk to the store about firmer cushion options and upgrades. The best way to judge comfort is to try these options yourself—you may never want to leave the couch.
COUCHES AND CHAIRS
3330 M St., NW; 202-342-7080
This upscale furniture store is packed with sleek couches and chairs, but the Manhattan sofa ($6,950) ticks all the boxes: low, deep, comfortable.
Crate & Barrel
Multiple area locations
Crate & Barrel uses recycled-steel frames and soy- and corn-based foam and fibers in many of its chairs and sofas. The eco-friendly Aris and Portico lines—especially the swivel glider chair—are particularly comfortable.
Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams
1526 14th St., NW; 202-332-3433
This contemporary furniture store is the biggest supplier to such retailers as Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn. We like the Dr. Pitt sectional ($6,000 to $10,000). The catalog calls it a “modern interpretation of a disco-era classic,” but with its many configurations, we call it a whimsical conversation pit and comfortable sectional for grownups.
Multiple area locations
The original PB Comfort Slipcovered Sofa ($999 to $2,099) is still the store’s bestseller. With deep seats and three layers of padding on the arms and back, this sofa comes in four upholstery grades, 80 fabric options, and two pillow choices: down blend (firmer) and double-loft padding (softer).
Room & Board
1840 14th St., NW; 202-729-8300
In a former Ford showroom, this store has four floors of contemporary furniture and accessories. We like the Metro sectional ($2,398 to $3,497) and the York sectional ($1,998 to $3,996), both of which are available in multiple configurations. The engulfing York chair ($799) is a wonderful place to get lost in a book.
Washington Design Center
300 D St., SW; 202-646-6100
Once accessible only to the trade, WDC now opens its doors to consumers through a free program called Entrée, in which designers provide a one-hour consultation and you get access to all of the showrooms. In addition to luxury furnishings, fabric, carpet, and accessories, WDC is a good place to find comfortable sofas. At Edward Ferrell & Lewis Mittman (ef-lm.com), all upholstered goods are “eight-way hand-tied,” meaning the cushions retain their shape. We especially like the Saddlebag lounge chair ($2,890) and the Kennedy sofa ($4,990). The Jupiter chaise ($9,300) at Holly Hunt (hollyhunt.com) is a pillow-strewn excuse never to leave the reclining position, while the pillow-back Cricket Sofa sings a siren song of comfort. Modern Italian designer Poliform (poliform-dc.com) carries an array of sofas and chairs with wide and soft proportions.
LINENS AND TOWELS
Tysons Corner Center, McLean, 703-556-4600; White Flint Mall, Kensington, 301-984-4600; 5300 Western Ave., Chevy Chase, 240-744-3700
It turns out your mother was right: Bloomingdale’s is the place to go for bedding and bath needs. The department store offers one-stop shopping for such designer lines as Lauren, Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenburg, and Vera Wang. With competitive prices and a large selection, what’s not to love?
Emissary Fine Linens
5300 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-363-1760; Tysons Galleria, McLean, 703-714-9390
In addition to high-quality European and domestic linens, this store stocks towels, shower curtains, and bath accessories.
1245 Wisconsin Ave., NW, 202-965-0905; 5471-A Wisconsin Ave., Chevy Chase, 301-718-4223; Tysons Galleria, McLean, 703-356-3017
This shop carries the brand’s Ralph Lauren label, an upscale line of high-thread-count sheets and plush towels that’s not available in department stores. Check out the cabled terrycloth Beachcomber Towel ($75) and the ultra-soft Palmer Robe ($150).
Timothy Paul Bedding & Home
1529-A 14th St., NW; 202-234-2020
The hardest part of shopping at this interior-designer favorite is deciding what to buy. You’ll find upscale bedding and throw pillows from such designer lines as Sferra, Matteo, and John Robshaw.
111 Church St., NW, Suite 201, Vienna; 703-242-1790
Catering to the trade and open to the public, this shop is a haven for fine linens and bath towels. Designers are available to show you how to layer bedding colors and textures.
3320 Cady’s Alley, NW, 202-965-1500; 10301-A Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda, 301-897-5009; 6651-A Old Dominion Dr., McLean, 703-356-3085
This French linen maker has been in business more than 150 years. The Athena line, a crisp 500-thread-count percale, is the store’s most popular seller, and it doesn’t come cheap: One queen flat sheet alone is $255. There are also thick, plush towels ($65 and up) and soft, fluffy robes ($300 and up).
This article appears in the August 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.