We appreciate that buying a designer sofa is one of the biggest purchases you will make for your home, so we have put together a handy guide to help you choose the contemporary sofa that is right for you.
Our sofa buying guide provides you with all the inspiration and essential hints and tips you’ll need when considering one of the biggest purchases for your home.
We spend a massive amount of time lounging, surfing online, watching TV, eating, playing games and reading on the sofa, so it’s important to get it right. Consider how much living space you have, how you use it, the light within the room and ultimately the style that’s right for you. Do you have an open-plan living area which could accommodate a modular sofa, or is your space more restrictive, suggesting something more compact would work best? Think about who uses the space too. If it’s your main family room the colour and materials you choose are more important. On the other hand, if you entertain regularly then maybe a corner sofa is what you need!
Think carefully about how many people you need to seat and make sure that your sofa and armchairs will comfortably accommodate the number of people you want to seat at any one time. It can easily slip your mind, but don’t forget to measure carefully before you buy, calculate the biggest sofa your room can take and double-check the access into your home to make sure it will fit. Consider the space around your access route; will stair bannisters, low ceilings or a narrow hallway get in the way? Does the route have any tight corners and is there plenty of space either side of doorways to turn? The diagonal measurement between the bottom rear corner of your sofa and the point where the arm meets the rear cushion is crucial, as this represents the minimum width of the doorway that the item will fit through.
Style & Comfort
From traditional to classic, to simple and compact, to cool and contemporary to vintage and retro we’ve got it covered.
Look out for special details such as the large buttons, contrasting fabrics, external stitching, deep buttoning, retro curves and versatile solutions. If your room is small, narrower sofa arms or no arms at all give the illusion of a more compact piece. High backed sofas tend to look best in rooms with higher ceilings. Sofas with lower backs can give the illusion of more space in more confined rooms and can also be used effectively in open-plan rooms to further enhance the spaciousness. Modular sofas work brilliantly in open-plan spaces and large airy rooms and can also help in smaller spaces too because of their flexibility.
Your sofa not only needs to look good, it has to be comfortable too. If you need extra support for your back, you may want to consider more formal shapes with high back cushions. Or sofas that offer true versatility and have reclining headrests. If you like to lie on your sofa, check that it is the right length for you and it has low arms and lots of cushions.
Clockwise from top left: Fredericia Spine Lounge Sofa, Normann Copenhagen Onkel Three Seater Sofa, Vitra Polder Compact Sofa Night Blue, Cassina LC3 Three Seater Sofa and Ercol Originals Studio Couch with Back Cushions
Fabric or Leather?
If you want your sofa to blend into your space, consider a neutral finish – but if you want the sofa to be the focus of your room, opt for an eye-catching colour.
Fabric sofas usually offer you with a bigger range of colour options. Tightly woven fabrics will wear the best. Wool is springy and resilient, with a natural stain resistance. However, linen is cool and one of the most durable fabrics for sofas. Leather is robust, cool in summer and warm in winter and if it’s well maintained it can last a lifetime. Leather will age with use adding character and stands up to wear and tear very well.
To keep fabric looking fresh, brush down with a soft bristled brush and give it a gentle vacuum once a week. To keep leather looking its best, dust weekly with a clean cloth. If you do spill something, use a clean, damp cloth to mop up any excess. Try not to rub and don’t use too much water as it can stain. Remember just like fabric, leather is not immune to the fading effects of sunlight. Keep leather sofas at least 30cm away from direct heat sources to prevent it drying out and cracking.
Foam upholstery will feel firm and supportive and lends a more tailored appearance to a sofa. It will recover well and all you’ll need to do is turn the cushions occasionally to allow even wear. Over the years, the foam will compact and lose a little volume, though this process is much slower with high resilience foam. Fibre or foam with a fibre wrap, will give a softer look and feel to sofas and chairs. Just plump and turn cushions occasionally to maintain comfort and wear. Feather-filled upholstery will have a more relaxed, casual look and a softer sit – ideal if you like to curl up on the sofa. You’ll need to plump up cushions daily.