How to Choose the Perfect Sofa for Your Lifestyle

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How to choose the perfect sofa for your lifestyle. Brown suede sofa on wooden floor with artwork behind and mirror to the right.

Kalvados sofa

Today’s post is all about finding the perfect sofa for your lifestyle. Since becoming a homeowner there are lots of life lessons that I have learnt that would never have occurred to me when I was younger. One of those lessons is just how much time and effort you should put into choosing beds and sofas. Considering how much time we spend in bed and sat on the sofa (one study estimated that Brits spend 44 whole days every year sat on the sofa), it really is common sense that we should do our research and think carefully about what we are investing our money in.

I myself have made the mistake of not considering a sofa purchase well enough and I can tell you it is a rather inconvenient and costly mistake to make. So, in partnership with Houzzera, I have put together this post to help you navigate the process of purchasing a sofa and ensure that whatever you opt for, it will be the perfect sofa for your lifestyle. So here are seven things to consider.

1. Layout and location

How to choose the perfect sofa for your lifestyle.  Modular pink sofa in anfront of an exposed brick wall with plants hung on the wall and a large window to the right.

Karat Lux Modular Corner Sofa Bed

The first thing you need to do is decide which room your sofa is destined for and where you are going to position it. When sofas are used in the main living room, there may be very different requirements to a sofa that will be in the bedroom or the playroom for example.

Once you know the room, you need to consider the configuration. Will you choose two sofas opposite one another, two sofas at a right angle, two sofas and two chairs, one sofa and two chairs, one sofa and one chair or a corner sofa?

Next, you need to think about where in the room you will be positioning the sofa and its orientation. Will it be placed against a wall or in the centre of the room? Will it be facing or beneath a window? In this case, you’ll need to give serious thought to the fabric you choose to make sure your sofa doesn’t fade in bright sunlight. But we’ll come onto fabric later.

Figuring out all these details will really need you to examine how you will be using the space so that you can choose the perfect sofa for your lifestyle.

The final thing to consider with regards to location is accessibility. You really need to make sure that the sofa you settle on can get through any doors or stairwells on the way to its destination. (Remember that episode of friends with Ross shouting “Pivot” as he and Chandler desperately tried to push the sofa up the stairs?) The last thing you want is to go through this whole process only to fall at the last hurdle and not be able to get it into the room once it arrives.

2. Select the size and shape

Left: Dixon 3-seater sofa bed | Right: Torador sofa bed

Now that you know how you want the sofas to be positioned and where they will be located, you need to give some serious thought to the size and shape of the sofas. When we were looking for our last sofa we saw plenty online that we loved and had shortlisted. When we went to the shop to see them in the flesh we realised that they were far too big for our living room.

I’d always recommend trying out a sofa in person if at all possible, but if you do fall in love with a sofa from an online-only retailer there is a way around this. I suggest using tape or paper to mark out the size of the sofa in the room. That way you will know for sure if it will fit where you need it. Pay particular attention to the depth as this can cause problems in smaller rooms.

Also, think about how many people will use the sofa at any given time. This will help to dictate the size of the sofa you opt for. It may be that if you have teenagers who rarely want to spend time watching Netflix with you, you can opt for something smaller. But if you have tiny kids who can’t bear to be more than a few feet away from you, a more roomy sofa may be preferable.

3. Single out the style

How to choose the perfect sofa for your lifestyle.  Sofa and chair arranged around a rug with coffee table on top.

Como sofa and armchair

The next consideration when choosing the perfect sofa for your lifestyle is the style. You want to make sure that the sofa you choose will work with the rest of the furniture in your room. So if you have an industrial-style living room, you won’t want an ornate looking camelback sofa. Don’t be afraid to choose something a little less obvious, just make sure the final look is cohesive and the sofa doesn’t look completely out of place.

4. Focus on fabric

How to choose the perfect sofa for your lifestyle.  Beige Corduroy sofa in middle of room with geometric light suspended above

Plaza sofa bed

Now, this is a huge consideration. If your sofa is going to be for use in the guest bedroom or an occasional room, you have a lot more flexibility when it comes to fabric choice. A sofa that doesn’t get much use won’t need as much consideration.

However, if you have kids or pets in your busy family home, the sofa will get lots of wear and tear. You will want to make sure the upholstery is hard-wearing and can handle the amount of abuse it will inevitably have to withstand.

There are lots of fabric options to use from and when we are looking for the perfect sofa for your lifestyle, it’s important to choose the right one. Whether it’s leather, cotton, linen, velvet, corduroy, chenille, wool or microfibre, each one has its own advantages and disadvantges.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s easy to clean. Some fabrics like leather can be wiped cleaned, others can be spot cleaned. If your sofa is likely to get very dirty, consider loose covers that can easily be removed, washed and replaced if necessary. You can also get sofas treated with special coatings that protect the fabric from stains. Think longevity when choosing fabric for your sofa.

5. Choose colour carefully

How to choose the perfect sofa for your lifestyle. Pink sofa bed in front of floor to ceiling shelving

Nord sofa / sofa bed

This is probably the consideration that people stress over most. Should you get something neutral that will blend in and is easy to decorate around? Or should you go all out and choose a real statement piece that stands out? Should you choose something plain or opt for an exciting and eyecatching pattern?

There really is no right or wrong answer here. Try not to focus too much on current trends though as a sofa is a big purchase and you won’t be switching it out when new trends come along. Instead, opt for something you know you’ll love for years to come.

If you do have kids or pets, you’re probably better off choosing a darker colour or something that is highly patterned as this will help to disguise any grubby finger marks or stains.

6. Pick for practicality

Teal ssofa in front of panelled wall.

Lima sofa bed

This is an important factor in choosing the perfect sofa for your lifestyle. Yes, you want something the right size, shape, and colour that fits in the room, matches your style and is easy to look after. But what we don’t want to do is compromise comfort for style. It’s all very well having a great looking sofa, but if it’s so uncomfortable that nobody wants to sit on it, what’s the point?

Think about what you will mostly be using the sofa for. Will it be for occasional entertaining? Is it in a family room where you will have snuggles with your little ones? Will it be in the bedroom and mostly used for reading before bed? Is it in the kitchen where you have coffee with friends? Or is it somewhere you like to lie down, watch Netflix and nap? How you plan to use the sofa will determine the comfort level you need. So think wisely.

A lot of the comfort will come down to the cushion filling. Feather-filled cushions are generally cosier but they do need a lot of plumping and fluffing to keep them looking nice. Foam or fibre filling is slightly firmer and provides more structure, but they do go flat after a while and may lose their shape. In many cases, a feather-foam-combo may be a good compromise.

Think about the sofa arm style too. This is often overlooked when thinking about the perfect sofa for your lifestyle, but it’s a really important consideration. There are endless options from pleated, ruched and sock to track, modern English and modern Tuxedo. You want arms that are sturdy and firm but also comfortable and suitable for how you intend to use the sofa.

7. Consider the cost

Small grey sofa with brass legs in front of grey panelled wall with plants either side in brass pots

Sofa ZW-93002 BG

The final thing you need to think about is cost. As I said at the beginning, you want to make a wise investment when it comes to the sofa as you will be using it for many years to come. Good quality doesn’t come cheap so bear this in mind. You may be able to cut costs if it’s an occasional sofa that rarely gets used, but when buying your main sofa that will get lots of use every day, remember that you get what you pay for.

So what do you think? Helpful tips to guide you in the right direction when sofa shopping? Anything I’ve missed or tips you’d like to add?

Don’t forget to pin this image so you can refer back next time you need to replace your sofa.

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  • Our last sofa purchase was all about location and price. It needed to fit the room and our budget, having just moved house. If we’d had a bit more cash I’d have definitely been factoring in a few other elements, like the fabric. I’ll have that 44 days in mind next time we buy!

  • I’d never thought about the arm style of any sofa I’ve looked at specifically before – such a helpful tip, thank you!