Choosing the right sofa is an important decision because it plays an important role in the comfort and appearance of your living space, so your choice should reflect your preferences and needs.
In order to buy the right sofa, you need to consider how you will use it, the style and shape that will best complement your decor, and the ideal size.
Our furniture experts have broken down the five essential things to consider when choosing the right sofa, ensuring you’ll be satisfied with your choice in the long run. By following these tips you can find the best sofa for your space, whether it’s a living room sofa, or an addition to a bedroom or family room.
Basic things to consider to choose the right sofa
As the centerpiece of many living spaces, your choice of sofa is a big investment, so it’s important to do your research to find the perfect sofa for your family.
Choosing the right fabric for your sofa is crucial and should largely be determined by your family’s circumstances. Take into consideration the amount of wear your sofa will be exposed to, the level of maintenance you’re willing to do, the overall aesthetic you’d like to achieve, as well as your lifestyle.
“Research the quality of the type of fabric you’ll be choosing, such as maintenance recommendations and cleaning codes,” recommends Bella Zinti, interior designer at The Homey Space.
If your sofa is likely to undergo a significant amount of wear, you may want to choose durable, stain-resistant fabrics that can withstand daily wear and tear. “For example, choose a selection of performance fabrics if you have small children or pets, which are designed to be durable, stain-resistant and make your sofa easy to clean,” says Bella Zenti.
‘Microfiber fabric is suitable for children and pets, and is often more resistant to scratches and spills. “Leather fabric is easy to clean and durable, and linen fabric is softer but requires more maintenance,” explains Yama Jason, interior designer and founder of House Customize.
If your living space is more formal and your sofa will be used less or more delicately, you may have more flexibility in choosing luxurious but less durable fabrics. This ensures that your sofa not only looks good but also meets your family’s requirements.
Research different materials and choose one that is aesthetically pleasing and will be long-lasting.
Bella Zenti is an artist, interior design graduate and skilled gardener with extensive experience building homes from scratch. She designs modern outdoor and indoor spaces guided by the practice of Feng Shui, as well as helping clients create year-round, sustainable organic gardens that produce their favorite fruits and vegetables. She works at Homey Space.
A leather sofa is a great spill-resistant option for homes with pets and children. Regardless, it can be a stylish and eye-catching addition to any living space.
Amber Lewis for the Anthropologie Bouclé sofa
This ivory sofa would be a beautiful addition to a modern living room, but it wouldn’t be the best choice for a crowded, spill-prone bed.
This sofa comes in four different fabrics, including leather, krypton, linen and velvet, which means you can customize it to your fabric requirements. It also comes in a number of different colours.
2. Style and color
Consider the color and style of the sofa, considering how it will fit with your existing home decor. Whether you prefer a simple, modern look or a classic, traditional style, a sofa should complement the aesthetic of the room and be something you’ll love in the long run. This might mean avoiding sofa trends, sticking to timeless design, and using accessories like pillows for on-trend updates.
“In addition to your home’s existing decor style, you can choose a complementary sofa style, or a bold style and fabric to make your sofa the centerpiece of the living room,” says Yama Jason.
A sofa with a narrow back will work well in a formal setting, while a sofa with a loose seat and back cushions works well in a more relaxed setting.
Likewise, you can choose a color shade that matches well with your interior design and personal taste. Bold colors can create a statement, but neutral colors are more adaptable and easy to accessorize with.
You should also consider how different colors will hold up with wear and over time (a white sofa in a pet-friendly home can be a recipe for disaster).
Top Tip: Certain sofa colors can make a room appear larger.
3. Sofa depth
The depth of the sofa is an important factor to consider when choosing the right model for your space because it can determine how comfortable and supportive the seating is. For example, a sofa that is too shallow may result in an awkward sitting position, making it difficult to relax, while a sofa that is too deep may lack the necessary support.
Consider the primary use of the sofa and the size of the people who will be using it. “You have to think about how you’re going to sit on your sofa,” Bella Zenti explains. “If you’re the type of person who sits upright, with knees at a 90-degree angle, and prefer to have feet touching the floor, you’ll respond well to the depth of the seat that supports your posture.”
A seat depth of 21″ to 22″ is excellent for someone between 5’4″ and 5’10”, providing enough room between the legs and the front edge of the sofa. A seat depth of 23 inches to 25 inches is an excellent choice for someone taller and 20 inches for someone smaller.
“Add a few inches to the above measurements and go deeper if you want to add more accent pillows.”
Ideally, the depth should allow for a comfortable, comfortable sitting position with your feet flat on the floor. We always recommend testing a sofa in person before purchasing it to ensure it meets your comfort requirements and the size of the sofa.
4. Sofa height
The height of the sofa is another important aspect to consider in terms of comfort and aesthetics. To find the best sofa height, consider the overall layout of your living space, the height of other furniture pieces, and whether you prefer something slouchy and low or something taller and straighter.
The height should be proportional to the size of the room and other furniture, ensuring that it complements the space. A sofa that is too long may dominate the space and create a feeling of visual crampedness, while a sofa that is too low may look disproportionate and disappointing.
Additionally, the height of your sofa’s backrest affects the level of support it provides. In general, the rule is that the deeper the seat, the lower the seat height should be, and vice versa.
“Make sure you understand seat height (from the floor to the top of the sofa cushion) and depth (measurement from the edge of the sofa to the back cushion),” says interior designer and founder of Potthast Design, Chelsea Potthast.
For maximum comfort, especially if you’re average height, look for a seat with a seat height of at least 17 inches and a seat depth of 21 to 23 inches (total depth 36 inches). If you are taller, you will need a seat height of 20 inches and a seat depth of at least 30 inches (total depth of 40 inches) to be most comfortable for you.
A well-proportioned sofa enhances the overall visual harmony of the room while providing the right level of comfort and support for those using it.
5. Shape and direction
Choose the direction that best suits the sofa in your living area. Will it be in the center of the room, on the wall, or in the corner? Determining where to place your sofa will help you choose the shape of the sofa.
Think about the style that suits your requirements and living area. The proportion of the room compared to the available space will determine its orientation and shape.
Measure your space and sofa to ensure a good fit, especially if you’re placing it in a limited area or need to navigate through narrow doorways.
L-shaped, U-shaped and curved sofas are ideal for larger rooms, while standard two-seater sofas may be ideal for small living room layouts.
Harmony 3-piece U-shaped chair
Vernon L sectional units
What is the best type of sofa frame?
Made from kiln-dried solid wood, the sofa’s frame is resistant to warping and cracking, making it more durable in the long term.
For comfort and durability, you should also consider the quality of the sofa frame and cushion fillings. Test your sofa for comfort and make sure it complements the aesthetic and mood of your room.