Sofa, couch, settee – whatever you call it, it’s the focal point of your living room and the place you'll relax and unwind – so it’s worth getting right.
Buying a sofa takes time and consideration. You need to pick a style that suits your living space, a colour you love, a material that lasts and – after all that – it has to actually fit through the front door. Get to grips with the various sizes, fillings and finishes before you part with your cash. A new sofa doesn’t have to be expensive, but while there are some things you can skimp on, there are other areas in which it will pay to splash out. This back-to-basics guide focuses on:
Ordering sofa swatches
Before you decide on a colour and fabric, order several swatches of a variety of fabrics you’re interested in. More than half of all Which? members surveyed owned their previous sofas for more than 10 years, so it's definitely worth taking the time to choose a colour you like. Swatches are usually free, so it's best to get hold of a range of different options. Seeing a picture of your chosen fabric just isn't the same as touching it yourself and looking at it in different lights.
Choosing a sofa fabric
Whether you go for soft leather or a relaxed-look linen, the fabric your sofa is upholstered in will set the tone for your living room. For everyday seating in a room you use a lot, you might prefer a hard-wearing man-made fabric with stain protection treatment. Good-quality leather is also a durable choice. Man-made fibres tend to be the most durable – textured flat weaves in particular are among the most hard-wearing and family friendly, as they’re more forgiving of stains and less likely to snag.
Choosing a sofa shape – from corner sofas to sofa beds Once you've ordered a few samples and narrowed down your fabrics. It's time to work out what size and shape sofa will fit and suit your space. From elegant chaises longues to practical sofabeds, sofas come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Whether you get to enjoy your sofa all to yourself, have to fight for the best spot with a large household or share it with a beloved pet, how you use it will influence the size you choose. But to get it looking just right in your room, you'll need to be realistic about the space available,too. A small sofa looks out of place in a large room, while a large sofa squashed into a tight space will feel claustrophobic.
It might seem obvious, but always measure the space where your sofa is going to go carefully. There’s nothing more annoying that going through the process of choosing a sofa, having it delivered and then finding it doesn't fit. If it's being delivered pre-assembled, make sure you measure up your door frames too, and allow for any tight angles. If it doesn't fit through the front door, you'll be heading back to the drawing board. A quarter of our survey respondents who had sofa delivery problems had trouble getting their sofa through the front door. So measure, measure and measure again!
Consider the filling The stuffing of a sofa is often overlooked in favour of shape and size when it comes to buying a new sofa. Picking colours, patterns and shapes is far more fun than thinking about what's inside!
However, it's very important to think about the filling. Ultimately, you'll be sitting on your sofa for many hours, days and years to come, so getting the filling just right will impact how comfy you find your sofa to snuggle up on. The main three sofa fillings are fibre, foam and feathers.
Try before you buy
With more of us shopping online for anything from groceries to holidays, it might seem natural to buy a sofa online too. However, it’s still worth testing the sofa out for comfort and quality in store before you type in your credit card details. As beautiful as a sofa might look, if the arms are too low or the sofa cushions are too firm, you’ll regret your purchase. Spend time trying different sofas out, even designs you might not obviously like, as you might be surprised by what you find comfortable. It's a good idea to try out sofas in several shops to compare and contrast price and quality. Head over to reviews of the best and worst sofa shops to find out the best places to buy a sofa. We recommend visiting homebtb sofa.