How to Choose the Right Sofa – 7 Quick and Easy Designer Tips


When designing any space I tend to start with the big decisions (the costly ones) and work from there.  In your living room that means thinking about your sofa or couch selection and using that to anchor the design for the rest of the room.  A good quality sofa, like the one in the above image from The Sofa and Chair Company, can be expensive but it is worth the investment of time and money if you get it right.  Ideally a great sofa should last you 10 or 12 years if you pick the right one.  Here are 7 quick tips to help you choose the right sofa for your living room:

1. Function

Always start with the function of your space.  What do you and your family want this space to be, what will you do in here?  Do you want a formal polished sitting room for guests or a cozy place to play games and watch movies?  It’s important to allow these preferences to weigh in on the decision to maximize your enjoyment of the space.  The right sofa will complement your lifestyle not frustrate it.

tips to choose the right sofa

via Freshome

Pro Tip: Choose a sofa with a solid, single cushion seat to maximize comfort and seating.  That way no one has to sit on the crack between the cushions.

tips to choose the right sofa

via Home Trends

2. Arrangement

Once you have decided how this room will be used, start to think about how you want the room to flow.  What is the optimal furniture layout for this room that will work best for you?  Consider things like points of entry and traffic flow, ease of movement through the space and orientation of the users.  Maybe you want the furnishings to create a subtle division in an open space from other areas.  Furniture placement will not only influence the use of the space but also the transition between spaces.

tips to choose the right sofa


Pro Tip: Find a focal point in the space and centre your furniture arrangement around it.

tips to choose the right sofa


3. Style

When choosing the right sofa, the styles and possibilities are endless!  Narrow your focus by choosing a sofa style that complements the existing or desired style of your home.  Generally speaking the more rounded the arms of the sofa, the more traditional its style.  If you want a sleek modern look than look for a sofa with clean lines and a tailored look.  Transitional sofas are a great way to bridge a style gap.  Transitional furniture incorporates both curved and straight lines and creates a balanced contemporary look.  It doesn’t have ornate decoration which keeps the focus of the design on its simplicity.

tips to choose the right sofa

via Made by Mood

Pro Tip: Try to stick to something more classic and emphasize your style with other pieces in the room.  It will be easier to adjust your style over time if your sofa isn’t too polarized within your design niche.

tips to choose the right sofa

via Home Portfolio

4. Size

It’s important to consider the scale and proportion of the sofa prior to putting it in your space.  Not only do you need to consider the size of the room and the space to fill but the dimensions of the piece itself.  Measure your room first, use some masking tape on the floor to outline the potential sofa to get a feel for it in your space.  Should it be bigger or smaller than your existing one?

Also think about seat size and depth when you’re choosing your sofa.  Shallower seating (18″ to 20″) tends to be more modern and formal buy less cozy.  Deep seating (33″ to 36″) tends to be more casual, allowing you to sink into it.  I would suggest starting at a depth around 22″ to 24″ and adjust from there to suit your personal preference.

tips to choose the right sofa

via Homeje

Pro Tip:  Don’t forget to think about the delivery and installation of the sofa.  Do you have the space outside of the room to manipulate it through doorways and hallways?  Make sure it fit through your openings and be able to move into place.

tips to choose the right sofa

via rosedealmeida

5. Shape

The layout of your room itself will have an influence on the shape of the right sofa for you.  Can you accommodate a straight sofa only?  You could flank it with a couple of occasional chairs.  Do you prefer the conversational space enhanced by a curved sofa? Maybe you have a corner in your room that would fit a sectional beautifully.  Revisit the function of your living room to make sure that the shape of sofa you choose is meeting your needs in the space.

tips to choose the right sofa

via Bassett Furniture

Pro Tip: Don’t just buy the matching 3 piece set because it’s on sale!  Get the designer look by mixing and matching to create your own personalized arrangement.

tips to choose the right sofa

via Babywatchome

6. Material

Aesthetics are important but function is the key to choosing the right sofa.  Take lifestyle into consideration when choosing the right sofa material.  Do you have pets, small children or husbands sharing the space?  Don’t set yourself up for constant frustration by choosing the light coloured chenille sofa even though it’s beautiful.  Stick to stain-camouflaging patterns in darker colours to help hide life’s mistreatment.  Leather can also be a great timeless choice as it wears well and is easy to clean.

tips to choose the right sofa

via Beautiful Decor Design

Pro Tip:  Make the investment in a stain guard if it is backed by a warranty through the retailer.  This will ease your mind when life happens, despite your best efforts.

tips to choose the right sofa

via Jane Lockhart

7. Colour

Choosing a pattern or a colour can really add a personal touch to your living room.  It can be a bit risky though so you’ll want to choose something that is as timeless and long lasting as possible.  Try sticking with a neutral or solid colour that will fit in with any decor.  Remember you can add throw pillows and accessories to punch up the colour in your space.  If you really want that splash of colour, try it in a softer tone of your favourite bold colour to keep it in check.

tips to choose the right sofa

via billielourd

Pro Tip: If you want to add a bit pizzazz to your space, maybe try a bolder pattern or colour on an ottoman or an occasional chair to play it safe.

tips to choose the right sofa

via Photo Rozali

For more great living room inspirations, follow me on Pinterest!

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