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My Ultimate Guide To Choosing the Perfect Sofa

Styling Aug 22, 2019

One of the most often asked questions from you guys, is where to start when you’re planning a space. For me, it pays to first think about the biggest pieces of furniture that you’ll need in the room, because so many decisions depend on that.

In the living room, that piece of furniture is undoubtedly the sofa. Not only is it where you Netflix and chill, but it’s also a large piece that has quite a big effect on the overall style of the room. So yep, when you’re decorating a living room, think first about the sofa. But what do you need to think about? I thought it would be useful to create a little cheat sheet for you!

Below is an outline of the steps to consider when buying a sofa. Scroll down for more info. Above is the Hampton 3 Seat Sofa from Lounge Lovers.

Consider design style

The first place to start when buying a new sofa is to work out what the overall style of your living room is going to be. This will differ depending on whether you’re working with a blank canvas or you already have a defined aesthetic and you’re looking to continue that with. Because your upholstery is somewhat permanent, it’s useful to choose carefully to ensure it fits with your long term vision for the room.

To do this, I like to make a moodboard of the space as I see it in my head, and then translate that into the fabric and design choice. Consider if you want the sofa to be the feature, in a bold fabric or print, or if you would like it to play more of a simple supporting role. I find the latter can sometimes be easier, and then you can update with cushions and decor as the mood strikes you.

Choose the right Size 

When measuring a sofa for your room,  it’s not just about the space in which it will sit. It’s also about the space that you will need to bring the sofa through (doorways, stairwells etc). Consider a modular design if it’s a tight fit. If you have low ceilings, you’ll want a low sofa, which gives the impression that the ceiling is taller than it is.  If you space is small, consider going for a light and bright fabric choice.

Think about practicality 

One of the biggest deciding factors when buying a sofa is how practical it is for your lifestyle. So think about how much stress the sofa will come under when you make your fabric and design choices. Pets, kids and other factors will be something to consider. It’s particularly important in a busy family home, and if you have a dog or cat, to opt for a fabric that’s easy to spot clean. Loose covers are worth considering, as they can be removed for cleaning and some are washable.

Try it yourself 

Buying online is common these days, but if you can, try the sofa yourself in store, because different frames, fabrics and fillings will feel different to sit on. When you’re choosing a sofa in store, ask for a piece of fabric larger than the usual swatch if possible. Once you’re home, place the fabric where the sofa will live and view it in different lights – both daylight and artificial lighting. You’ll be able to see how well the colour works in your space.  I’d also recommend more than one person sitting on the sofa in the showroom, to see how it holds up.

Comfort above all 

What’s inside a sofa is just as important as what’s used on the outside. Feather-filled cushions are high on comfort but they will need regular plumping, while foam or fibre fillings may flatten out and lose their shape over time. Cushion quality is very important as it’s the part of the sofa you interact with the most, whether you’re looking for a squishy sofa to curl up on (which will need regular cushion fluffing), or a firmer design (which could look flat over time if you buy a foam filled sofa). The ideal balance is to combine the two, with foam seat cushions alongside feather back cushions. 

Consider durability 

The build and quality of a sofa is paramount, which is why you not only need to consider how good it will look but you also need to carefully choose the frame. Spend as much as you can afford on a quality frame – it will see you through many years of lounging. And take note of the guarantee before you commit, some manufacturers are so confident about their frames that they offer a lifetime guarantee. A solid hardwood frame is a good option, but be wary of a particleboard or metal construction. Finally, consider where the sun will hit it. Natural materials may fade in strong sunlight so go for a synthetic fabric if the sofa will be near a window. 

See here for our sofa.

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