What to consider when purchasing a sofa

20 Feb



With all the options out there, it is very overwhelming so choose the right piece of furniture for you and your space. A sofa, in particular, is a big decision that can make or break a room and a budget. I wanted to share my thoughts on how to choose the right sofa for you. Hopefully it will help you purchase just the right piece and keep you from making a costly mistake. 

 The very first thing to consider when choosing a sofa is; what are you going to be using the sofa for. Are you going to be lounging comfortably with a book, watching a movie, entertaining, hosting a book club, is the sofa in the “formal room” mostly for looks and the occasional party. This one bit of information can influence most other decision about which sofa to choose. Here’s why.

1: The dimensions of the sofa can be determined by what you are using the sofa for. For example, if you said your sofa will be for comfortable relaxation with a book or movie watching, you want to curl up in the corner with a blanket, etc… Then you will want a deep sofa that allows you to pull your feet up, a sofa with a high arm to create a deep corner. You should also consider if the sofa will be just for you to relax in, or will there be multiple people using it for this same purpose. A wider sofa can allow two people to stretch out comfortably; a sectional with multiple corners will accommodate even more persons comfortably (note: people only use the corners of a sofa for relaxation, do not count the middle seat in this situation. You may consider getting multiple sofas or comfy chairs if your family has a lot of relaxers).

 A great example of a comfy, deep sofa

A great example of a comfy, deep sofa

2: On the same thought, if your sofa is going to be used in a more formal situation, people sitting upright with feet on the floor, the sofa should not be too deep. Yourself and your guest backs should rest comfortbly on the back of the sofa, while feet still rest on the floor. Obviously people’s heights differ, so consider an average person in this case. If you have ever been the awkward one in the room, with your feet sticking straight out, you know what I am talking about. If you don’t know what I am talking about, just trust me and don’t do that to your friends.


3: The use of the sofa can also determine the height of the sofa. A sofa with a high back can create a formal look. If your sofa is meant for a formal room you may consider this. Tufted and tight backs also tend to create a formal look.


4: A sofa with a lower profile opens a room up and creates a more casual appeal. Also loose cushions (particularly down-filled) can looked lived in and inviting.  


5: Of course the width of the sofa, most of the time, is determined by the amount of space you have to put it. Don’t make the mistake of not measuring.


One more tip about sofa dimensions. If your room is small, choose a sofa that is not too overstuffed and with a low back. If you have a large room, don’t try to fill it with just one setting. Try creating multiple seating arrangements.


Ok, so now that the correct size has been chosen, the all important fabric must be selected. So do you go neutral and safe, or for a color? Do you pick a pattern or a solid? Velvet? Linen? Cotton? Well this decision can depend on your wallet. If you have enough money to change your sofa as often as you change your taste (for me this is often) then pick a great print that can really make a statement in the room. If you want a sofa you can keep as you change the room around it, go for a neutral with a nice texture. The texture creates interest, yet the neutral tone can transition with the trends.



This sofa is a great neutral taupe with can go with any color!



The color on this sofa is beautiful, and makes a great focal point!


I love to see a casual room mix it up a little with an elegant texture, like a velvet. I guess my advice here would be, don’t get locked into one idea, a casual room can have class and an elegant room can have a great worn look.

What am I seeing the most in sofa trends right now? White, white, white! White slipcovers, white linens, white on white prints…it is all about white. Can you do white? Of course! Even with kids and pets, nowdays anyone can have white. I look for an outdoor fabric (Schumacher just came out with a great outdoor line by Trina Turk!). These fabric can be scrubbed and are made to resist stains. They are surprising soft and luxurious now too.




One last thought; I don’t like rules to live by, just rules to guide by. Any of these rules can be changed with the right creativity. I never like to hinder a creative mind with rules. So use this tips as you wish, but also open your mind to other ideas that will help you create a unique room for you.



One Response to “What to consider when purchasing a sofa”

  1. Willow Decor February 20, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    What a great post!I love the tufted sofa- an you are right so important to measure twice!!

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