I was on the precipice of buying a new sofa a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t have been closer to hitting the ‘buy it’ button. Jules then caught sight of what I was doing and gave me a good talking to and I had to admit he had a point that we do have a lot of big costs at the moment and our current sofa, though ruined by Otto, will do for another few months. Boring!
To get to that point though, I had gone through a thorough decision making process to ensure I had chosen the right sofa for us so I’d like to share my top tips here today.
Firstly, you need to know where to look for your perfect sofa. I have recently discovered Darlings of Chelsea, which is a great place to start as you will find such a wide range of different styles. Find your nearest store and you MUST try out your sofa before you buy.
1. How will you use the sofa?
This is the first thing I thought about when considering what style of sofa to buy. I know that our main use for a sofa is full-on lounging. I always like to have my feet up and usually lie on the sofa whilst watching TV. Both of us (as well as Otto) like to be on the sofa at the same, too. Therefore, I was looking for a long sofa, at least 2m long and with a good seat depth. Ideally, I wanted a chaise sofa so that we could both be on it at the same time and lie down but we don’t have enough space for that.
Some things you may need to think about: how do you sit on a sofa? Do you need a sofa bed for guests? How many people need to be able to sit on it at the same time?
2. Seat depth
If you want an occasional ‘seat’ rather than a ‘loungey’ sofa you need to pay particular attention to the seat depth. A seat depth of anything less than 1m is more a seat rather than somewhere to put up your feet and sink into. I would never buy a sofa with a seat depth of less than 1m otherwise you can’t lie down comfortably.
3. Cushion type
Again, depending on what you want from your sofa, you need to pay attention to the type of cushions on the seat and back of the sofa. If you want ultimate comfort I think it’s best to get fibre wrapped feather filled cushions, which don’t require plumping. From my experience, don’t be fooled into thinking 100% feather filled cushions are wonderful because they are not; they are hard, solid and require daily, if not hourly, plumping. Be mindful about a hard backed sofa, with no back cushions, as this feels very different.
Have a good look at the feet of your chosen sofa as these can affect the whole look and style of the sofa. Think about whether you want a skirt or feet. Personally, I prefer feet as I think this has a positive impact on how spacious a room feels. I currently have a sofa that is basically a big block and has no feet so it feels heavy and bulky. Just be careful that the feet match or complement the style of your room.
5. Style of room
I know it may seem obvious but it is important not to get swept away by the beautiful design of a sofa even though it doesn’t work in your living room. You don’t want to end up having to completely overhaul your decor to work wth the sofa (although that sounds quite fun to me!).
6. Height of sofa
My mum made a huge mistake when she bought her sofa, which is a very cool retro leather low sofa. It is fine when she wants to sink into it and watch TV but she entertains a lot and none of her guests can get in or out of the sofa as it is so low. They all avoid it and end up with nowhere to sit! When deciding on the height of your sofa also think about the heght of your ceiling. A room with a high ceiling needs a high sofa and a room with a low ceiling benefits from a lower sofa to achieve balance.
Think about the arms of your sofa as these can really affect how comfortable it is. Do you want large, square arms useful for resting books/remote/delicately balanced drinks on? Or do you want low arms, which are better for lying out on? High arms can make the sofa feel more imposing, which is better for larger rooms.
8. Fabric choice
And lastly, once you have decided on the style of your sofa you can think about the fabric choice. This is going to depend on who you live with (children? pets?) and the style of your room. When I chose my sofa, that I didn’t end up buying, I ordered a sample of the fabric and not just a teeny, tiny square, a whole metre. Small squares are never representative of what the fabric will look like and it is really important to lay it out on your sofa and watch how it changes in the different light throughout the day and evening. I also put the fabric on Otto’s bed (I took the whole sofa buying thing really seriosuly!!) and let him sleep on it. This helped me figure out how it would cope with his fur and drool (gross, sorry!). My point is don’t choose fabric on the spot, you need to consider it seriously as it will make a big difference to your room whether it be a pattern, light, dark, leather, wool, cotton, velvet. From my own experince of a velvet loveseat, be very mindful that velvet marks like you wouldn’t believe. It is the one piece of furniture in our home that Otto is not allowed anywhere near. However, it still has marks all over it from friends’ babies who have drooled over it.
Hope these tips are helpful – do you have any good ones? I’m just going to go back to dreaming about the sofa of my dreams…
*This post was written in collaboration with Darlings of Chelsea