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How to choose the right sofa for your space

Interior Design

The very first piece of furniture I ever bought was a sofa. I had just bought my first home, a little one-bed flat in Notting Hill. So I didn’t have much money or space. While I knew I would have to compromise on the size of the sofa I was not prepared to compromise on comfort, and definitely not willing to compromise on style.

It took a while but I found the perfect sofa in the end. It was a two-seater bucket style sofa in a sandy grey fabric by British furniture company Hitch Mylius which we still have today. And this little exercise taught me a valuable lesson. Even cheap sofas cost a lot of money so it’s worth spending a bit more and going for quality. That way it should be with you for many years to come. Here are my tips for choosing a sofa that you’ll be delighted to hang on to.

Set your budget

Sofas are one of the biggest furniture commitments that you will make. As with any significant purchase, it’s important that you establish a clear budget. Prices of sofas vary wildly so by establishing how much you are comfortable spending it will help you to narrow down your search and save you a lot of browsing time.

Plan the layout

Investing in a new sofa is a great opportunity to reassess your existing furniture layout and a wonderful time to get rid of anything you no longer need, want or like. Work out your preferred furniture layout for the room. Include any existing pieces of furniture that you want to keep. This exercise will help you to work out what size and shape sofa will work best in the space.


Decide on the style

Sofas come in a vast variety of styles, from contemporary to traditional and everything in between. When it comes to picking the style of your sofa there are a number of factors that should influence your choice, such as which room you are purchasing the sofa for and where you are planning to put the sofa in the room. For example, if you are planning to place the sofa centrally in the space rather than up against a wall, it will need to look good from all angles.

There are a huge variety of styles to choose from depending on your requirements and personal tastes. Classic shapes such as the Chesterfield are a timeless choice and a more contemporary fabric choice will give a traditional sofa a modern twist. Different stores will cater to different styles so just being clear about your budget will really help to narrow down the choice.

Sit on as many sofas as you can

There are some fabulous online sofa sellers but, I’d strongly encourage you to get out and sit on your chosen sofa before you commit to buying.

It’s important to get all the family involved when shopping for sofas. A sofa that’s great for a tall person might be really uncomfortable for someone smaller! Sit on the sofa and lean back to test the comfort and durability of the cushions, and make sure the dimensions work with your body.

Some furniture brands have clever accessories that allow you to adjust the seat depth or have add-on headrests, which makes the sofa more flexible and suitable to different body types.

If price means you’re leaning towards buying your new sofa online, then make sure you check the returns policy before purchasing.


Measure up

Once you’ve chosen your sofa you’ll need to make sure that it’s going to fit in your space. An easy way to do this is by marking out the size of the sofa with newspaper or masking tape.

This will give you a great idea of how much space the sofa is going to take up in the room. You’ll quickly be able to see whether there is enough room to comfortably walk around the sofa of if your new sofa is going to dwarf the other furniture in the room.

Make sure you measure carefully to ensure that the sofa can fit through any doorways or up stairs in your home. If your doorways, corridors or stairwells are particularly tight you may be able to remove the sofa legs to gain a few extra centimeters of wiggle room. If you suspect you might have a problem, it’s worth spending the extra amount for store delivery, most company’s delivery people will be very experienced at dealing with these kinds of situations.

Choose your fabric wisely

Think practically about your choice of fabric. Leathers are a popular choice for sofas in family rooms where the furniture needs to be durable but don’t be put off by fabric if practicality is your priority. There are some fabulous stain repellant choices on the market and most untreated fabrics can be stain blocked making it much easier to maintain.

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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