IELTS® Listening Practice 108

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(Section 2: You will hear a radio presenter talking about interior design. First, you will have some time to look at questions 11 to 21 [20 seconds]. Listen carefully and answer questions 11 to 21.)

Radio presenter: 

Hello and welcome to today's show. Today, we are talking about sofas as part of our series on interior design. Now, as the focal point of most sitting rooms, there's a terrible pressure to find a type of sofa that satisfies all requirements. Just like a bed, it will be one of the most frequently used pieces of furniture in your home, so it needs to tick all the boxes. But with so many styles of sofa available, how do you choose the right one? 

The two main factors that need to be considered when shopping for a sofa are form and function, each of which has an impact on the other. Firstly, think about how you use your sofa; do you tend to use it for sitting up straight or for total relaxation? Will it be used frequently, or sparingly as a decorative piece? After deciding your sofa's purpose, it's simply a case of eliminating the styles that aren't suitable, leaving you with the perfect sofa for your home.

Of course, there are many variations on each sofa design – different legs, arms, backs and so forth – but here we focus on the seven most common styles of sofa and what they are best for. 

First of all, let's look at the Club sofa. There's no need to sacrifice comfort for style with a classic Club sofa. A generous rolled back and deep seat cushions make this a sofa to sink down into at the end of a busy day, but the turned legs on castors and gently rounded arms give a nod to tradition. This is a sofa that's designed for both comfort and style.

The Camelback sofa is a very formal sofa with gently scrolling arms, exposed wooden legs and a tight, humped back that arches in the middle - hence the name. Fashionable in the 18th century, the feminine silhouette of the Camelback sofa would look wonderfully elegant in an entrance hall and would also work as an alternative to a chaise longue in a dressing room. The Camelback sofa is designed for a soft yet formal look.

Probably the most famous style of sofa, the Chesterfield is often associated with old-fashioned living rooms. Traditionally upholstered in hard-wearing brown leather, this iconic sofa features a low, deep-buttoned back (also known as 'tufted') with high scrolling arms, plus a deep seat and exposed wooden feet. The quilted design and elegantly curved lines make this a smart sofa that will never go out of fashion. This is a sofa that's designed for versatility.

The Knole sofa is a classic sofa that was often a feature in English country houses, based on a design used in the mid-17th century. Its distinguishing features are a straight, high back, traditionally made with adjustable angled arms that can be opened out for a more relaxed look, or positioned upright to keep out drafts. A contemporary update of the Knole sofa has the arms and back fixed and lowered, and the lines softened to suit present-day interiors. This sofa is best for making a statement.

The Mid-Century Modern sofa is a contemporary sofa defined by its linear back, square arms and low square legs. Straight lines and leather upholstery make it stand out from the crowd, but the deep cushioned seat means it's also extremely comfortable. A modern classic that will stand the test of time, and designed for a minimalist look.

A Sectional sofa is the perfect choice for the modern home. Whether you choose to opt for an L-shaped corner sofa or a U-shaped configuration, a sectional sofa allows for a bespoke arrangement. Offering the ultimate in flexibility you can combine the separate units, such as armless sofas, armless chairs, and corner pieces to fit the layout of the room. This sofa is made for socialising.

Finally, we come to the Tuxedo sofa. Smart and sophisticated, a Tuxedo sofa can be identified by the height of the arms, which are the same height as the back of the sofa. This makes it an ideal sofa for reading, and although not specifically designed for relaxation, an abundance of cushions can transform a Tuxedo-style sofa into a very snug seat. In short, it's best for a contemporary look.

Well, that's all on sofa styles. Hopefully that will have helped you come to some conclusions about the best type of sofa for your room and your lifestyle… 

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