How to Choose a Sofa

Selecting a sofa is one of the most important furniture decisions you’ll make. If you consider the amount of time spent relaxing, entertaining friends, napping…it’s a true workhorse! Choosing a sofa can feel a bit daunting, especially with the amount of options on the market today. Before investing in a new piece, check out my tips on selecting the perfect sofa for your home.

Determine Dimension & Orientation

There’s a reason this one’s first on my list, and I cannot stress this enough: measure, then measure again.  You must know the space you’re working with – and this includes doorways & hallways. I can’t tell you how often I’ve had clients fall in love with a piece, only to find that it dwarfs their room – or simply cannot fit inside the front door! This is also the time to figure out which pieces you want and how they’ll be arranged. Will you be placing the sofa against the wall, or will the back be exposed? If you’re leaning toward a sectional, where do you want the corner to be?

Le Berre Vevaud

Consider Your Lifestyle

Spend some time thinking about how you’ll use your sofa. How do you and your family spend your time? If you have a large family, a plush sectional may be for you. If you primarily use the space for entertaining adult guests, perhaps a couple of sleek sofas would be appropriate. Having a firm picture of your needs before you head out shopping will help narrow your choices and prevent distraction.

Choose a Style That Suits Your Home

It’s so easy to get sucked into the latest design trends. And while it’s fun to play with different design elements, a sofa is an investment piece and should be selected with your entire home in mind. Consider your existing furniture pieces as well. For example, if your home is quite traditional, I’d suggest sticking with that overall look. If you’re wanting to update your trad space, choose clean lines and simple style, without veering too much to the ultra sleek and modern. Pay attention to the arm style when mixing styles – it’s an easy way to create continuity. For more tips on blending old with new, check out the mixing styles blog I wrote here:

Via Elle Decor

Find Your Fabric

The upholstery fabric or leather you choose is crucial to your sofa’s longevity and performance. Again, consider your lifestyle. Kids and pets require high performance fabrics. Leather is a great option as it wipes off easily, though pet’s nails can damage it. Pay attention to cleaning codes and maintenance recommendations. Don’t be afraid to upgrade your fabric selection – it’s often not a huge price increase and can add years to your piece.

Colour & Pattern

My favourite part! Here again, I’d advise you to try not to let the current trends sway you from your personal style. And while I’d suggest choosing a colour you won’t tire of, don’t be afraid of skipping the beige/tan/grey selections. I’m a big fan of neutral sofas, but I’m one who considers a rich navy or a deep moss green to be neutrals that are easy to work with. You’ll also need to determine whether a solid or a pattern is for you (a pattern doesn’t have to be busy – just enough movement to differentiate from a solid). Many of my colour-craving clients opt to do a solid or subtle pattern on their larger upholstered pieces, and accent it with bold occasional chairs, cushions and rugs.

Peter Dunham

Seat Cushions

Many of my clients are surprised to learn that seat cushion density can be semi-customized. This allows you to determine whether you want that “sink-right-in” feel of a plush cushion, or the firmness of a structured cushion that keeps it’s shape. (note: if you hate having to “fluff” your cushions back into place – a firm cushion is for you!)

Well, there you have it folks! I hope this helps. I’ll leave you with one last thought…wherever you shop for your sofa, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask about the frame and arm construction, the joinery and the springs. Qualified sellers of furniture should be well-versed in what makes or breaks a good sofa. Their job is to answer your questions and help you find a perfect fit.

Happy shopping my friends! As always, reach out if you have any questions or think you might need some help.



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