Which couch are you? Leather or fabric? High or low? Soft or structured? Neutral or neon? So many choices, so few hours to lie down……so stay there and school up on how to choose the best (and best-looking) sofa for your laidback lounging life.
When buying diamonds (as if we do it every day) we all know to pay attention to the four C’s. When buying sofas it’s a tad harder to remember – there’s the two S’s and the M, F and C. Not quite as catchy but don’t fret, it’s all spelled out for you here (that’s just the kind of people we are).
Size is almost everything when it comes to sofa selection. The simplest rule is to remember to buy as large as your lifestyle (living space + budget) allows – unless it’s a petite purchase for a bedroom, guest room, home office. But if it’s the main event, go big or go home and squish up on your too-small settee. Actually, don’t. Mark out your space with masking tape to determine the most generous sofa (or sofa combination) you can accommodate and make that your starting point.
Large spaces (lucky duck) provide options aplenty. Pick an oversized stand-alone sectional or sofa to pair with a couple of armchairs or plant two big beauties opposite one another to create a sizeable square or L-shape for maximum lounging pleasure.
Small spaces are best suited to a two-seater and armchair or ottoman combo, or a single L-shaped sectional to make use of a tight corner.
Don’t overlook depth, especially if you love to curl up your legs or have two people lying together. Sit or lay (the way you do) on the floor and measure out how much space you need to ensure you don’t buy too shallow….then regret it every evening for years to come.
Finally, consider the width and number of cushions under your tush. Nobody wants to play a game of ‘mind the crack’ every night. Three people seated across two cushions is always awkward. Two works for two. Three works for three….and so on. Bench-seat cushions eliminate gaps and cracks altogether – and are a stellar solution for multiple bums on seats.
Angular, architectural, streamlined, contemporary, traditional, retro….shape is the key determinant of your sofa’s style.
Modular and L-shaped options maximise use of space, solve tricky corner design dilemmas, work well around coffee tables, help divide large open areas, minimise the number of stand-alone pieces required and deliver flexibility and function in one comfy package.
Curved sofas scream retro, are fab for socialising, suit small spaces and work wonders in bedrooms, media rooms, and longer shaped living rooms.
Sofas with chaise options are uber popular – with good reason. Perfect for nappers and those who love to pop their feet up, all chaises are not created equal. With left and right-hand options, short and longer lengths and the flexibility to add, combine and separate pieces according to your daily needs, we’re totally on board with chaise longue love.
Freestanding sofas with low backs create an uninterrupted line of sight and lend an illusion of space. Sofas sitting proudly on narrow legs are ideal for showing off a rad rug underneath and adding an airy feel, while more stout, low-profile styles are suited to traditional, industrial interiors. When it comes to your sofa’s arms, you can pick from high, low or no, slim or substantial, depending whether you like to lean, lie or live without.
Myths abound when it comes to sofa materials, so let’s clear a few things up.
White suede, children, red wine and dogs are a catastrophic combination, sure. Leather, on the other hand, is surprisingly durable, forgiving, flat-mate and family-friendly….and always in fashion. It’s not cold and clinical, but warm and buttery, and it improves with age – so long as it’s high quality – which ideally means top grain, semi-aniline and sourced from Italy (don’t be afraid to ask).
Fabric sofas can also be lifestyle-friendly so long as they’re made with premium, highly-resistant upholstery materials….including luminous new-age velvets – and save that silk, satin or 100% linen sofa you can’t live without for your bedroom or another low-traffic area.
For a sofa with substance look for hardwood or solid metal legs, hardwood or stainless steel frames and the same material on the front, back and arms of the sofa – not just on top. Sit on it, pick up the corner, play with it. A superior sofa should be sturdy, with no loose threads or wobbly bits.
We’ll keep this one short and sweet. If you buy poor quality filling, you’ll pay for it. Instead of plump and plush, you’ll be looking at a deflated and daggy in no time. Seek out webbed suspension and high-density foam and down-filled cushions as a hallmark of quality, durability and ultimate comfort.
Finally, the fun bit. Flex your interior decorating muscle with a brave sofa choice. Opt for multi-coloured buttoning, patterned textiles, jewel-toned velvet or citrus summer brights for a playful living room that packs a pretty punch.
For those keen to walk a little less on the wild side (or not quite ready to fully commit to your current colour crush), use a small sofa to experiment with colour, or stick with a timeless neutral palette and pick seasonal accessories to express your inner rainbow child.
And, just to be Captain Obvious, lighter colours = higher maintenance. Just saying.