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Totally Tubular: The Design Style That’s Back

Photo: Sean Davidson
Design: Ian Felton

The 70s and 80s gave birth to some rather unfortunate moments in design (We’re talking about you avocado appliances and acid wash.) They did, however, also produce some truly inspiring styles. One that’s have a major moment now is Tubular Design. 

As you may have figured out, tubular design refers to a style involving tube like designs, chunky shapes and rounded corners in furniture, lighting and accessories. It got its start in the 70s, with sofas (like the De Sede Snake and Terrazza) chrome tube lighting, rounded leg plastic chairs and countless others. The style continued throughout the 70s into the 80s and is seen in accessories, artwork, and mirrors as well. These pieces have now inspired a whole new generation of designers, and there is a definite wave of tubular pieces everywhere you look.

While this style is back in a big way, we’re hesitant to call tubular a trend. The pieces mentioned above have been popular since they were first introduced, and the use of tubular elements in design has never gone away. So let’s just say tubular is an un-trend.

Ready to get to the good stuff? We’ve went ahead and put together some great examples of contemporary tubular design and selected furniture, lighting and accessories to help you incorporate the style in your space. So go ahead, get totally tubular!

Looking for more design info and inspiration? Check out our posts on Sculptural Modern Living Rooms and 15 Bedroom Furniture Pairings That Work.

Photo: Elisa Watson
Design: Simone Haag
Design: Ago
Design: Tiffany Howell

There’s a variety of traits that define tubular style furniture. Channel tufting and soft corners on sofas, armchairs and headboards is probably the most common characteristic of this style. Ottomans can have the same style upholstery, with horizontal channels that resemble stacked, round discs. For tables and side chairs, you’ll see chunky, rounded legs, arms and backs. Tables with elongated “pill” shape tops and thick, round bases also speak to this design style.

Splendora Tufted Ottoman | Josef Console | Velvet Horizontal Channel Headboard | Juri Sofa | Hera Side Table | Bold Chair | Hide Side Table | Forte Charcoal Channeled Velvet Sofa | Eversole Ottoman | Airy Coffee Table | Cloud Club Chair | Cypher Black Marble Dining Table

Photo: Sean Davidson
Design: Ian Felton

Tubular accessories and lighting are equally diverse, from soft goods like pillows to vases, table lamps and mirrors. Vases and planters mimic the same channel style seen in upholstered pieces, but in ceramic and glass. Any lighting with an elongated, tube design or arch shape fits the bill. Pillows could be bolster, knotted tubes, printed designs or channel tufted. Artwork also has arch or curved shape motifs.


Mid Century Modern Gold Poster | Arched Votive | Medium Cloud Vase | Knot Velvet Throw Pillow | Tall Glass Vase | Sabine Velvet Bolster Pillow | Retro Glass Table Lamp | Stacking Planter | Terracotta Paster Art Print | Westbury Wall Mirror | Faux Fur Bronze Decorative Pillow | Cacti Glow Brass Table Lamp

  1. It’s hard to come by knowledgeable people for this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    1. Thanks love. Glad you enjoyed our story on Tubular Design! xx -B