There are many things to consider when choosing a new sofa
Buying a new sofa is a big investment for most, and while color, pattern and size may be at the forefront of mind, there are other design elements to consider.
“A sofa shouldn’t be an emotional purchase,” says Gemma Jacks, visual design lead at The Lounge Co.
“Trends come and go, but you have to live with a sofa for 10-15 years. Always choose a sofa that you love and don’t be swayed by what your neighbor just bought or the latest ‘thing’.”
Here, we go through some of the important dos and don’ts of buying a new sofa.
Try before you buy
There is little standardization across sofas, and so seat depth or armrest height may vary between models. Some sofas provide ample back support, while others are designed to sit on the floor to encourage lounging. Trying a sofa before buying is the only way to really make sure its dimensions are right for you.
“A sofa is an investment, so do your research and we’d always recommend that you do a ‘seat test’ before making any decisions,” says Gemma. “If you can’t visit a store, most companies now offer ‘virtual consultations’ where they’ll show you around on a live call and answer any questions you may have. Always read reviews from real customers to see what kind of service and product quality you can expect. .”
Don’t compromise on quality
“If you plan on wearing the same pair of shoes every day for the next twenty years, you better buy some decent shoes! The same goes for a sofa,” says Gemma. “Something cheap and cheerful may seem like a good idea at the time, but when it falls apart or isn’t comfortable, you’ll want to invest in well-made furniture. Check what the frame is made of, and always have one before you buy it. Ask about the guarantee on the sofa.”
It is recommended to go for manufacturers who offer at least a 15-year guarantee.
Do…future-proof your new sofa
“There’s nothing better than a box-fresh sofa,” says Gemma. “But modern family life means it probably won’t stay that way for long.”
The quality of both the frame and upholstery will contribute to the longevity of your sofa. A solid hardwood frame is your safest bet, but beware of a particleboard or metal construction as both can lose integrity over time.
“Look for family or pet-friendly fabrics, which make it easy to get rid of everyday stains with just soap and water,” says Gemma.
Remember that natural materials can fade when exposed to strong sunlight, so choose a synthetic fabric if your sofa is placed under a window. Fabrics like velvet, leather, and canvas are good options for busy families with children and pets because they’re easy to clean, and a hard-wearing knit is more forgiving of stains. Loose covers are worth investigating, as they can be removed for cleaning and some are washable.
Don’t forget to measure
“There’s nothing worse than getting a beautiful new sofa delivered and not being able to get it through the door,” says Gemma “Our advice is to measure, measure and measure again!
“It’s not just a case of making sure the sofa will fit in the room you want – will you be able to get it there in the first place? Consider access to your property, potential obstacles and whether you’ll need to take your new sofa up the stairs or lift. ”
Do…order the swatch
Without a physical sample of your sofa upholstery, it can be difficult to judge the scale of the pattern or how the natural and artificial light in your living room will affect the color or brightness of the fabric.
Most retailers will offer free or low-cost swatches, and if you’re redesigning your entire living room, they can be collected alongside paint swatches or wallpaper samples on a moodboard.
If you’re more digitally minded, there are plenty of great design apps or websites (Pinterest or Canva are good choices), which can help you organize your design scheme.
Don’t overlook additional features
Sofas can be with you for a decade or more, so it’s wise to future-proof your choice wherever you can. Extra features like a matching ottoman or storage are always handy and modern sofa beds are such that you hardly realize their hidden mechanisms.
“You might want to consider a modular or sectional sofa, which as the name suggests comes in separate units. A great option if you have an awkward space to fill or if you’re planning to move house or grow your family. Just add , for you. Move or rearrange the modules to create the perfect bespoke sofa.”
“Most sofa cushions will come with a choice of fillings, so it’s always good to know what you like. Feathers or fibers are soft and squishy but require daily maintenance to keep them looking shipshape,” says Gemma. “If you’re after something a little more supportive, foam is a good option that bounces back after you sit on it.”