A sofa is one of the largest and most expensive pieces of furniture that most of us will ever buy. It often acts as an anchor point for the whole decorating scheme, and it’s somewhere we spend a lot of our precious downtime. So how do you make sure you choose the right design?
I’ve teamed up with The Lounge Co, a newly launched collection of 24 British-made sofas and armchairs that are available in a huge array of colours and coverings, to share a few handy tips, together with some examples from the range.
Analyse the space
Size is of course a major consideration when choosing a sofa, as you need make sure it fits into the space available. But it’s not just a case of measuring dimensions; you also need to look at the proportions of the room as a whole. For example, a low-slung sofa might get lost in a high-ceilinged space, whereas a tall sofa could dominate a room with lower ceilings. If your room is an awkward shape, consider buying a smaller love-seat style such as the ‘Georgia snuggler‘ shown here, or an L-shaped sofa which can slot into a corner.
Think about how you sit
How you sit will affect what kind of design works best for you. Do you want low arm rests (as shown on the ‘Rosie‘ sofa below) which are comfortable when lying out, or higher ones that you can lean against? Seat depth also has a big impact – a larger depth is ideal for curling up in comfort, whereas a smaller depth works well for those who sit in a more upright position and like to be within easy reach of a coffee table.
I tend to lean to the side when lounging around, whereas Chris prefers to flop backwards and rest his head against the sofa. We therefore need a design with a high-ish back rest for him, and chunky arm rests for me – the ‘Holly‘ sofa below would be perfect.
Consider style and appearance
So many things influence the appearance of a sofa – shape, colour, fabric, whether or not it has feet, any details such as buttons or piping. To find the best look, think not only about the style of your room, but whether you want the sofa to stand out and act as a focal point (such as the teal-coloured ‘Poppy‘ below) or blend into the overall scheme.
It’s also worth considering how your tastes might evolve over time – if you like to change the look of your home regularly, you might prefer a more neutral option such as this grey-covered ‘Mallory‘ sofa, which can easily be dressed with different accessories.
Look at materials and construction methods
Materials and construction methods have a major impact on the quality and lifespan of a sofa. When looking at potential choices, check what the frame is made of and how it’s built (the most durable are glued and screwed together). Consider the filling, too – fibre fillings, as used for this canary-yellow ‘Phoebe‘ sofa, are sink-into comfy but will need occasional plumping; foam, which fills the brown ‘Florence‘ design, can feel a littler firmer but keeps its shape for longer.
Don’t forget practicalities
Do you need to choose a covering which can be wiped clean, such as the pale leather used on the ‘Georgia‘ sofa shown here, or a darker colour that will hide marks? As a general rule, tightly woven fabrics are more resistant to wear and tear, whereas velvet and damask are more delicate. If you have children or pets, you might want to consider a sofa with removable covers that can be washed or replaced as needed.
Finally, check it will fit through the door!
I know, I know: it sounds obvious. But when buying a sofa for our previous flat, Chris and I completely forget to take into account the narrow communal hallway leading to our front door. Come delivery, we were faced with a sofa that wouldn’t fit into the building, and we ended up having to lift it over the side gate and take the back door off its hinges in order to get it inside. If you have a tricky doorway or hall to contend with, consider a modular sofa such as the ‘Lola‘ below, which can be assembled once in the room.
If you need more help finding the right sofa, The Lounge Co has a useful list of recommendations for different situations. You can buy online, head to its flagship Chiswick shop, or visit 21 ‘galleries’ dotted around the UK. These are Lounge Co installations within wider furniture stores, where you can try out its designs first-hand and play around on interactive mood boards to find the right shape, colour and fabric for you. There are more than 15,000 possible combinations (you can even choose the material for the feet), together with a variety of footstools and cushions, all designed and manufactured in the UK.
This is a collaborative post with The Lounge Co, but as ever all words and opinions are my own.
All photography via The Lounge Co