Choosing the Right Sofa

Choosing a sofa can be a pretty daunting experience. This costly piece of furniture lasts for ten years or more, and serves as a visual anchor in the room. It’s something you really want to love and not get tired of quickly. Adding to the experience is the pure tyranny of choice when it comes to color, shape, fabric, etc. So how do you pick one?

You’re in luck. Here are some trusty guidelines to narrow down those choices, helping you arrive at the perfect couch for your room and your style.

Budget: Sticking to your budget will naturally eliminate dozens of choices. So how much do you have to work with? A few notes: be wary of extremely inexpensive couches… you almost always get what you pay for. Also, be willing to go a little over budget if you really, really like the couch and it meets all other criteria.

Size: Measure the space you have to work with. Don’t forget doorways, hallways and corners you will need to negotiate to get the sofa to the place you want it. Ask yourself: is this a large or small room? Is the room cozy? grand? something in between? You want the couch to not just fit the space physically, but to also match the feel of the room. If it’s a small room, avoid oversized/overstuffed sofas, as they will make the room look smaller. If it’s a large room, go for a high-backed sofa that will help define the space.

Color, Style, Fabric: This can be the hard part. If you already have a strong idea of what you want, you’re ahead of the game. If not, here are some tips. You don’t want the sofa to look “dated” in a couple years, so avoid trendy patterns, bold florals or large stripes. Instead, choose from a neutral palette, natural fabrics or subtle design. Think of your sofa as a blank canvas on which you can display unique or colorful pillows and throws—ones that can change easily with your style.
Also, life happens. Wine spills, dogs shed, kids get out of hand with crayons. Don’t choose fabric you’ll have to fuss over. If your sofa does need special cleaning, though, contact professional upholstery cleaners to preserve the life of your furniture.
Durability: Be a savvy buyer. You want something that lasts, so make a thorough inspection, and ask the dealer as many questions you can think of. Pick it up from one end. If it feels unexpectedly light, makes creaking noises or jiggles, just move on.
Comfort: This is the fun part! Make sure to sit and lounge on prospective couches before you decide. It should be comfortable enough to sleep on.
A good sofa is a soft landing pad after a hard day’s work; it’s a place to enjoy a beer, have heartfelt conversations, curl up for a nap, watch the big game, and so much else. When you think about it, a lot of life happens on your sofa — so a pick a good one!

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