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How to Choose a Sofa

How to Choose a Sofa

Choosing a piece of upholstered furniture can certainly be a challenge.  Finding a quality piece, in a style you like, and in the right fabric can seem to be a never-ending quest!  Read on for some things to think about before you buy your next sofa…

Whether you call it a sofa, a couch or (my personal fave) a davenport, you likely have one somewhere in your home.  Before you go shopping, remember these tips and selecting a new one won’t be quite so confusing.

Beyond finding a quality piece of furniture, there are other considerations you should make when you are in the market for a new couch.

mid-century modern sofa


One thing you need to think about is how many seat cushions your sofa will have.  While you may not immediately notice this element, it can be important.  Some sofas, like the one above from Room and Board, have 2 cushions.  Others have three cushions, while a few just have one long seat cushion.  No one – guest or family member – likes to sit on the “seam” where the cushions come together.  No one.  So, depending on the size of each seat cushion, you may only seat one person per cushion (except, obviously, on one-cushion sofas).  Consider the number of people you wish to seat in your room, and the number on your current couch, when looking at the number of cushions your sofa has.

While the overall size of your couch is also important, so it fits properly in the space, you should also look at the seating are of the sofa.  Take a look at the size and style of the arms.  Are they big, round and flare into the room?  Or, are they petite and square as in the photo above?  Overstuffed arms means less seating area on the couch, so be aware of the arm style when you buy your couch!

Do you like your sofa to show its legs or hide them behind a skirt?  Sofas without a skirt, and especially those with long, slender legs as shown above, tend to look lighter and airier than those with a skirt.  This may be desirable in your space, or you may prefer the more traditional look of a skirt.

Sam Moore Furniture

Photo courtesy: Sam Moore

Do the back cushions come off the sofa, or are they attached?  While most seat cushions are removable (although, not all are – be sure to check before you buy!), back cushions come with options.  Removable cushions are nice for cleaning purposes, but they also tend to become elements for forts built by small children.  They can also move out of place, making them look more casual and sometimes messy.  Semi-attached cushions are loose on the top, but actually connected to the couch.  This keeps them from looking “slouchy” over time, and keeps them from leaving the couch – which is great if you are over 10-years-old.  A tightly-upholstered back has no cushions at all; instead, the back is upholstered to the couch itself.  This is the tidiest, and often most contemporary, look.

Quality, warranty, maintenance, function and style are all important elements when you shop for new furniture.  Consider the furniture you have now, furniture you have had in the past and what your favorite elements are before you shop.  You can’t go wrong when you buy what you like.

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