Reality check: Choosing the perfect sofa

Kimberley Seldon gives us a step-by-step guide to all the factors you'll want to consider before making this important purchase.

Choosing the perfect sofa isn’t as easy as it sounds. Here’s a step-by-step guide to all the factors you’ll want to consider before making this important purchase.

Step 1: Function first. Is your new sofa destined for a busy family room or a sophisticated living room? For maximum curl-up comfort, aim for a seat depth of at least 42″. To accommodate an adult conversation zone, then a standard seat depth of 36-38″ and a seat height of 18” facilitate ease of sitting and standing. Is this a favourite spot for napping? If yes, you’ll want arms that are relatively low with a nice curved surface.

Step 2: Size matters. Before you shop, draft a room plan to determine the optimum length, width and depth your new sofa requires. In small spaces, avoid wide arms, which eat up available seating. For this step, you may want to hire a professional to draft the plans so you’ll get proportion and scale accurate.

Step 3: Comfort zone. Feather, foam, down, or Dacron? It’s as critical to understand what’s on the inside of a sofa as it is to love what the outside looks like. A combination of feather and down gives a soft, cloud-like feel to back cushions and decorative toss pillows. Foam and Dacron provide firmness to seats. Designers often choose a “sandwich wrap” using a combination of foam wrapped in feather and down to create comfort and shape retention.

Step 4: Fabric selection. Movie nights, sleepovers and cushion forts require fabric to stand the test of time. For extra durability look for polyester blends, wool, or even an outdoor fabric. Choose linen, velvet, rayon or silk blends for rooms with lower traffic and less action.

Step 5: Measure twice. Avoid tight squeezes and potential disappointment by measuring ceiling heights, stair widths and corners prior to ordering. Large pieces of furniture require extra care during delivery, whether you live in a house or condo. Speaking of condos, make sure to measure the interior of the elevator.

Step 6: Cushion control. In general, a single bench style seat creates a more modern look. But it can be difficult to turn and fluff a large seat cushion. Do adjust seat widths to accommodate specific needs.

Step 7: Details. Decorative piping, nail heads and a wood base typically provide traditional styling. Looking for something more modern? Add topstitching, metal legs and boxed cushions. Be creative and confident when selecting finishing details to create a custom sofa perfectly suited to your design needs.

Step 8: Ready to enjoy. Whether you’re popping popcorn, cuddling beneath covers or relaxing with the Sunday paper, a well-made sofa is an investment as versatile as your favourite sweater.

Courtesy Kimberley Seldon


Join the conversation

What do you think?


Please read our commenting policies

Hide the conversation