Choosing the perfect sofa

I am currently sourcing a sofa for clients who are renovating their home. They have a formal lounge room in the front of the house but are adding a family living area that will open to the outside terrace and pool.

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Like most things today, there are just so many choices when it comes to sofas. Finding one that suits the purpose can be a slow, time consuming task. However, the sofa in the family living room could be THE most used piece of furniture in the entire home so getting it right is paramount. This sofa will be a place for family to gather after a busy day. It will be a place to watch countless hours of television and movies. It will see numerous conversations of friends and family. With a family of five, the sofa needs to be large enough to accomodate everyone at one time and yet be comfy for just one or two.

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I thought I’d share a few things I consider when choosing a sofa for my clients. The first step is to establish the size of the space the sofa is going into. A sofa may look fabulous in the showroom but how will it look in your living room? Mark out the space in your living room with cushions or boxes to give the full impression of the bulk of the sofa.

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Next comes the style. There are sofas with arms, without arms, modular that wrap arounds corners, chaise so you can stretch out, removable cushions or upholstered backs, metal legs, timber legs, hidden glides…..the options are endless. The right decision depends entirely on how the sofa will get used. If it’s mostly for watching television, choose a style with deeper seat cushions so you can stretch out in comfort. In rooms designated for entertaining, choose styles with narrower seat cushions, which will facilitate conversation as your guests sit forward. It’s also wise to opt for a longer sofa keeping in mind that people rarely like to sit too close to each other on a lounge. Small areas call for a couple of two-seaters rather than one large three-seater.

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For a sofa that will last, you need to invest in a quality frame and suspension. The most durable are made from either steel or kiln-dried hardwood or at least have hardwood on the joins. Test out the sofa in store. If you can easily lift it at the corner, less hardy wood has been used. A good-quality sofa will feel heavy and solid.

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Fabric choice can make or break a sofa too. Colour, texture, fabric composition, durability will all depend on how the sofa will be used, the colour scheme of the room and the style of the room or home.

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A good manufacturer should have a model on display to show you which materials have been used for the frame and how they work. For the seat, coil springs or steel-sprung suspension give superior support, while the best cushions are usually made from a dense, high-quality foam with a fibre wrap. Feather-filled cushions give that luxurious softness but can be hard to look after because you’ll continually have to re-fluff them.

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Work out how the sofa will be used and take the time to test it out in the store. Buying a sofa can be a bit like buying a bed, you need to sit or stretch out in it the way you would at home and stay there for an extended period, just as if you were watching a movie or entertaining.

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Here’s my tips to choosing the perfect sofa.

  • Ask yourself how your sofa will be used – watching TV, entertaining big crowds?
  • Who will use the sofa – adults, small children?
  • What kind of warranty is being offered?
  • Will your sofa be in direct sunlight? Choose a lighter fabric to hide fading.
  • Get all the measurements of the sofa you are considering and check how it will work in your space. Don’t forget to check that will fit through your doors or up your stairwell.
  • Will it be easy to clean? Should you have it stain proofed?
  • Is it high enough to support your back?
  • Is the padding sufficient?
  • Does it need a lumbar cushion added for support?
  • Is the back sloped or straight enough?
  • Is the padding sufficient, is it too soft or too firm?
  • Is it easy to get on and off?
  • Is the sofa too low?
  • Is there the right amount of height for your legs?
  • Is the depth comfortable, is it too deep or too shallow?

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Happy sofa shopping!

If you are confused by the myriad of choices in sofas or other furniture, contact us for an on-line or in-person consultation.

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  1. […] The biggest piece of furniture you will probably buy for your living room, is your sofa. It’s usually the piece I advise clients to purchase first. There are so many things to consider when purchasing a sofa that it can sometimes be overwhelming. I wrote a post about it here. […]

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