Sofa Buying Guide: Everything You Ever Needed To Know
Shopping for your forever sofa? It’s a decision not to be taken lightly. Recent research discovers consumers own their sofa for more than 10 years – so it’s worth getting it right.
It’s the place where you relax and unwind at the end of the day, it’s the focal part of your living room and it’s one of the most used and loved pieces of furniture in your home.
As the largest furniture shop in Jersey we know a thing or two when it comes to sofas.
Your sofa is more than a place to sit on, it’s a long term relationship.
How long exactly? A member survey conducted by consumer website Which? discovered buyers owned their previous sofas for more than 10 years. So it’s safe to say, buying a sofa is worth your careful consideration and investment.
But what factors do you need to consider? If you have no idea how to choose a sofa, we’ve taken away the stress with this sofa buying guide. We’ll cover why it’s important to contemplate style, functionality, fabric, shape and size. As well as exploring the best sofa colours and discussing the most important questions to ask when buying a sofa.
By the end of this post, we’re confident you’ll be armed with enough knowledge to help you find your dream sofa. Grab your pen and notepad and let’s get going!
What to Consider When Buying a Sofa
So you’ve found your fantasy couch. It looks AMAZING. But wait…
Don’t just choose what you like the look of.
Maybe not. Chris Carroll, TV presenter and director of TLC Interiors, says this is the first mistake people make when figuring out how to choose a sofa. Make sure the sofa matches your home decor. Ask yourself: does it match your rug, coffee table, artwork, colour scheme?
And don’t forget about VIBE – are you looking for calm and cosy? Fun and exciting? Or maybe your living room has a specific theme such as mid-century modern or boho? All these things need to be deliberated.
Thought about it? Great. So what sofa styles are there? Let’s explore:
- Mid-century: One of the most popular themes for living rooms according to Chris, mid-century decor epitomises modern-retro. A sofa channelling this style has clean lines, a boxy, streamlined shape, wooden angled legs and low arms.
- Chesterfield: A British quintessential, Chesterfield sofas are usually crafted from leather with deep, pinched button detailing and a rolled back and arms.
- Contemporary: A clean, modern aesthetic, this sofa style usually sports loose back cushions and straight arms.
- Traditional: Just under half (45%) of Which? members surveyed have a traditional-style sofa. Common styles include the ‘Lawson’ or ‘Howard’ with recognisable features such as plump cushions, boxy design and rounded arms that are lower in height than the back.
- Country: Alternatively known as a ‘Bridgewater’, these classic sofas are renowned for their valances to cover the feat, low armrests and removable seat and back cushions.
Style is the fun part, but now it’s time to get serious. Functionality can be boring, we know. But impulse buying that sublime, pink velvet sofa because it got your pulse racing won’t be such a great idea when your children get their grubby hands on it. Plus, it kind of hurts your back…
Ask yourself: what is the sofa for?
Is it for lounging on? Is it a statement piece for formal sitting rooms? Will you be eating your tea on it or sipping cocktails? Are children and pets allowed?
If it’s a family chill-out sofa then comfort and durability are key. Choose designs you can sink into with hardy materials. Formal, statement sofas can be structured with more delicate and plush materials. That velvet pink number would work great here.
As mentioned in the previous section, functionality will dictate fabric when it comes to figuring out how to choose a sofa. Let’s have a look at some popular sofa fabric choices, as voted by Which? consumers:
- Leather (32%)
- Cotton blend (18%)
- Cotton/linen (11%)
- Wool blend (7%)
- Synthetic (7%)
We can understand why leather is the winner. It’s durable, easy to clean and stylish. However, a leather sofa can be sticky in hot weather and cold in winter. This can be solved by the addition of a couple of velvet cushions and luxurious fur throws to warm the fabric up during cold weather, or cotton cushions and fine knitted blankets in summer.
Bear in mind, manmade fabrics offer durability and are easy to care for, making them a sensible choice if you have children or pets. Natural fibres such as wool blends are beautiful and comfortable, however, bobbling and pilling can occur. So work out how much patience you have to maintain your sofa and go from there.
Before you even consider how the shape and size of your sofa will fit inside your living room – make sure it fits through your front door. Sounds obvious? According to Pippa James – interior stylist of Pippa Jameson Interiors, art director, consultant and TV designer – 90% of returns are due to people not being able to fit their sofa through the first hurdle. Don’t make that mistake – measure up first!
Now you’re confident your sofa will fit through your front door, hallway and into your living room, consider how the scale of the design will sit in the space. Home renovation and design website, Houzz suggests marking the sofa’s outline on the floor with string. Make sure there’s space to walk around it and ensure the size complements any accompanying furniture.
Try Before You Buy
You’re going to be sprawling on your sofa for the best part of 10 years – many relationships don’t even last that long. Make sure your sofa is your soul mate before you part with your dosh. Head to showrooms to have a lounge, bounce and feel. Can you imagine yourself reclining on this particular design for years to come?
Tip: Ask for fabric swatches. Take them home, place them against your carpet and walls, stroke them, caress them – do they match the texture of your home, do they feel nice on your skin? How well do they clean?
How to Choose a Sofa Colour
Style, function, shape, size, fabric – sorted. You’ve almost found your dream sofa – but how do you know which are the best sofa colours? Popular sofa colours tend to fall into two camps: neutral and bold.
Houzz website suggests opting for a neutral sofa colouring if you desire a timeless style. Neutral colours are beautifully versatile and can work with a range of trends, patterns and colour schemes. Keep your sofa colouring classic and accessorise with cushions, throws and rugs to channel the changing trends.
What type of neutrals though? The best sofa colours for warm decors are beige, mushroom or cream; whilst popular sofa colours for cool living rooms include grey, charcoal or white.
Maybe you don’t want to play it safe. You’re not alone – according to Home and Gardens website popular sofa colours for 2021 include warm and bold hues such as paprika and orange. These colours radiate positivity, joy and hope – something we all need after 2020.
Inspiration sources such as Pinterest and Instagram are also giving homeowners the confidence to experiment with adventurous colours. These sites are bursting with vibrant and bold coloured sofas coupled with ideas on how to style. Get pinning today!
Tip: Houzz website suggests choosing a sofa colour in a block shade that will be easier to adapt to changing trends. Avoid OTT patterns and overly trendy styles that will date fast.
Questions to Ask When Buying a Sofa
So you’ve considered all the advice in our sofa buying guide and you’ve found your forever sofa. Great! But wait… before you part with your cash, there are just a few more important questions you need to ask your retailer or manufacturer.
- What’s going on under the upholstery? Houzz website stresses the filling and construction of your sofa will indicate its level of quality and craftsmanship. From its frame and springs to cushion fillings, your sofa’s insides will affect longevity, support and comfort.
- What customisation features are available? Found your dream sofa… almost? If only it came in a dusky blue shade… ask the manufacturer if customisation is available – you’ll be surprised how willing they are to accommodate you.
- How do you deliver and how long will it take? Check delivery timescales and enquire about delivery prices. Delivery cost can be anything from complementary to an extra hefty cost – some retailers may even expect you to pick it up yourself.
- What guarantees do you have? This is paramount. You and your sofa will be together for a long time so the manufacturer must give you legal peace of mind it will last. Ask exactly what the guarantee covers and make sure you have it in writing.
Has our sofa buying guide helped you? Did you find your forever sofa? Let us know in the comments below – we’d love to see your photos! Alternatively, if you have any more questions – be sure to give us a shout and we will do our best to answer them!