Somewhere to relax at the end of the day, binge watch your favourite show, chat with friends and even work – the sofa is easily the hardest-working piece of furniture in your home. Chances are it’s also one of the more expensive homeware purchases you’ll make so it pays to choose carefully.
Here are our top tips for selecting the right style for your home.
It is often one of the largest pieces of furniture in your home so it’s important to select a style and upholstery finish that complements your interior décor. Seen here a striking white sofa complements the monochrome palette of the Sorrento Grand Retreat.
Choose a suitable shape
You’ll find no shortage of styles on offer – take your pick from generous L-shape modular sofas, sleek tailored styles, curvaceous low-slung sofas you can sink into and more.
The first step to choosing the right style is to consider the room it’s going into. A large, open-plan living room in a family home might benefit from a generous, modular design that offers space for everyone to stretch out; a formal lounge will suit a classic sofa set-up, such as a pair of tailored sofas facing each other; while a smaller room such as a study or the corner of a parents’ retreat might benefit from a compact sofa on legs with slender arms.
You’ll also want to consider how many people will be using the sofa and the style of the room. A traditional sofa style piled high with cushions will suit a classic or Hamptons interior, a sofa with clean lines and minimal detailing is ideal for a contemporary or modern Scandi aesthetic; while a curvy, low-slung sofa will sit comfortably in a coastal-style home.
The formal lounge in the Clovelly is perfectly suited to a classic sofa set-up with a pair of tailored sofas facing each other.
Select a colour and fabric
For design flexibility, a neutral sofa such as pale grey or cream is the way to go. It will blend harmoniously into a neutral colour scheme and can be updated seasonally with cushions and throws.
Or, make a statement with a brightly coloured or patterned sofa. A style like this will be a feature of a room and is best balanced with softer colours elsewhere. A darker-toned sofa, such as navy or charcoal, is a forgiving choice if you have children or pets as it won’t show every mark.
When it comes to fabric type, think about who will be using the sofa. Washable, removable covers in a hardy poly-cotton mix are a boon in a family home, while luxe fabrics such as linen and velvet are better suited to grown-up spaces such as formal living rooms. A leather sofa will cope with the odd scuff and a slightly worn-in look will only add to its character, but it will need regular conditioning.
If you expect your fabric-covered sofa to get heavy use or it’s going into a sunny room, choose a fabric with a high rub rating and light resistance that won’t fade or wear prematurely.
The study and rumpus area in the Canterbury is furnished with a modular sofa in a hard wearing neutral fabric to provide ample space for relaxing, watching movies or playing games.
So you’ve fallen in love with a design, only to find that it doesn’t fit through the front door/ overwhelms your living room/ requires you to wriggle past the coffee table every time you get up. You can prevent all of these scenarios by measuring up properly.
Before you head in-store, draw up a plan with measurements of the room the sofa is going into, including size and position of existing furniture and doorways. As a guide, leave around 900 millimetres of space around the sofa going into the middle of a room for a comfortable flow of traffic. Alternatively there are a host of apps available that can help you draw and plan the layout of your space.
Also consider access; measure the width of the front door and any stairwells or elevators your new sofa will need to pass through when it’s delivered.
Bold geometric upholstery detailing and metallic cushions perfectly complements the interior styling of the Sanctuary
Assess frame and fillings
No-one likes sofa sag, and this is where a quality frame comes into play. Frames in engineered steel and solid hardwood will give you the best back and seat support and provide ongoing comfort. Plywood and engineered timber frames are less expensive, but can lose their shape over time.
Foam-filled cushions are the most common and affordable option; feather-filled cushions provide sink-in comfort but need plumping to retain their shape; while premium high-resilience foam cushions with a feather or down wrap give you the best of both worlds (shape and softness) for a premium price.
The classic silhouette of this elegant L-shaped sofa creates a tranquil space to relax at the Sorrento Grand Retreat.
Test for comfort
Finally, make sure the sofa you’ve chosen provides the level of comfort you’re after. Before you hand over the credit card, sit on it for several minutes, checking that your back and neck are supported, your arms sit comfortably on the armrest and your feet rest flat on the floor, and you can get in and out with ease.
Need some sofa inspiration? Pick up ideas and see the latest interior trends in action at our Carlisle Homes Display Homes, where our expert interior trends have created stunning, contemporary schemes for every room of the home. Book a virtual tour here.