It may not seem like a big decision but choosing a sofa takes more thought than at first believed. From the size that it will occupy to the style and coverings there’s quite a lot to consider. And with the price of some sofas running into four figure sums, it’s a decision that you should take a little time to think about first. Here we look at some of the things you’ll want to consider.
Style is most likely the thing that comes first. If you don’t like the look of a sofa of course, you’ll never buy it. You want a sofa that reflects your personal style. So, do you want something minimalist to match a minimalist living room? Or do you want something soft that reflects cosy nights in, a place to stretch out? High quality sofas run into the thousands of pounds so if you’ve spent a large sum of money you’ll want something you can live with and look at for a long time to come.
And then there’s the all important matter of practicality. How many people have found their ideal crushed velvet sofa in striking 70s retro aquamarine, then looked round at their young children with a huge sigh? Plenty. In reality getting the sofa you truly want may have to wait until real life has moved on slightly. As good as the sofa will look, you don’t want to be constantly worrying about marks left by the dog or the children.
Sometimes it can be just one or two subtle changes that can transform the style of a sofa too. For example changing sofa legs or adding a throw can make a dramatic difference and really add that personal touch.
The problem with showrooms is that they are deceiving. You find that perfect sofa and get it home to discover that it won’t fit through the door or half of it is propped up against the wall because it’s too large… sitting sideways makes things tricky. The easy way round this issue is the tape measure. You can also mark out the space where your sofa is going to go and see how much space it really takes up.
You might also like to look at sofas that are different to the standard three-seater type. For example:
2-seater – the smaller brother of the standard three seater.
Corner sofa – fits neatly against walls, freeing up space in the room.
Modular sofa – ideal if you want to switch things around.
Chaise longue – these often look stunning but not necessarily practical for families
It’s a good idea to get creative with the space that’s available to you. High backs look good in rooms with high ceilings, low back furniture creates light and space. Also consider if you’ll be placing any table against the side of the sofa, and the extra space you’ll need for this.
Quality and Comfort
A good sofa costs money and the price of something that perfectly blends the style you want with the comfort you require can be thousands. The higher costs come from the materials used – for example a solid wood, such as Beech, frame with proper joints is sturdier and better than something that has been stapled together.
You are likely to be owning the sofa for at least ten years so it might be worth ordering swatches of material before you decide to purchase the main item. You can even put the swatches through the ringer to get a feel for how well they hold up after having food and drink spilled on them or pets making their mark.
Real leather is hardwearing and looks great even after years of wear. Actually the scuffs and scratches that leather accumulates over time just add more character. It’s easy to clean too.
- Cotton and Cotton Blends
Easy to care for, cotton is a great covering that comes in a wide range of colours and patterns. Cotton linen has a relaxed look to it, but can look slightly worn over time.
That velvety swathe looks great on a sofa and you’ll see some of the most stylish sofas decked in velvet. But remember, velvet takes no prisoners when it comes to stains and spillages so you’ll need to look after it. And the velvet can get worn over time, leading to a flattened appearance.
Cushions and Seating
There’s a range of fillings for sofas, each with its own unique feel and characteristics.
- Foam gives you the most support and comes in a range of densities. It also keeps its shape well.
- Feathers are the best choice for sinking into but require lots of maintenance to keep their shape.
- A blend of foam and feathers is a popular option
If you take some time to get it right your sofa can be the centrepiece of the room. Match it with a footstool or other accessories like small tables, picture frames and rugs to create a matching theme and transform a room.