Buying a new sofa can be a daunting prospect. There’s an endless number of styles and brands to choose from, not to mention an array of features and options. But we believe shopping for your home should be fun. So to help you navigate the complex world of sofa shopping, we’ve created the Nest.co.uk Sofa Buying Guide.

We’ll take you through all the practical factors you need to consider, such as size and filling so that when it comes to finding your own forever design, you’ll have the confidence to select the one that’s right for you.

What space do you have?

Sofas are often the largest item in a room, so before you begin browsing it’s handy to know what space you have available.

Carefully measure the area where you want your new sofa to sit, including the length and depth, and be sure to stick to this. If you’re not sure where you want your sofa to go, try marking out areas with masking tape or newspaper sheets to get a feel for how it could look in certain positions.

HAY Mags Sofa and Petite Friture Grid SofaThe Hay Mags Sofa and Petite Friture Grid Sofa are the perfect choice for smaller spaces

If you have a small room, it can be tempting to squeeze in the largest sofa that will fit, but this can make your space feel smaller than it actually is. Similarly, a regular-sized sofa in a large room could make your room feel sparse. Choosing a sofa that’s proportionate to your room is not only a smart choice but one that will pay off in the long run.

When it comes to delivering your new sofa, your access route is just as important as the room it will end up in. After all, no one wants to be disappointed on the delivery day.

Have a quick walk around your home and note any areas that might be problematic, like narrow hallways, low ceilings, tight corners or unforgiving staircases. The diagonal measurement between the bottom rear corner of your sofa and the top of the arm is crucial, as this represents the minimum width of the doorway that the sofa will fit through. Be sure to check these dimensions against your access route before purchasing.

How many people do you need to seat?

Think carefully about how you’d like to use your new sofa, and how many people it will need to seat, as this will determine the type of sofa that’s right for you.

Do you like to put your feet up and stretch out? Will it need to accommodate guests? Your new sofa will be with you for many years to come, so it’s worth spending the time now to firm up your requirements.

Sofa types

Of course, every sofa is different and each comes with its own benefits. We take you through some of the most popular types available to help you find the one that best meets your needs.

Two-seater sofas – the small space solution
Compact but perfectly formed, two-seater sofas are ideal for smaller spaces, like small living rooms, bedrooms and snugs. They can come with either one long or two seat cushions.

Three-seater sofas – a popular and versatile choice
Three-seater sofas are our most popular sofa type. They’re spacious, have plenty of room to get comfortable, and come with either two or three seat cushions.

Muuto Outline Three Seater Sofa LeatherThe Muuto Outline Sofa is a simple and well-considered design which maximises the area available for sitting

Modular sofas – complete flexibility
Modular sofas offer complete flexibility. You can create a combination that works for you, then adapt it as your needs change. Modular sofas tend to be larger than three-seater sofas so are a great choice for open-plan areas.

Muuto Connect Modular SofaConnect is a modular sofa with a modern, yet timeless Scandinavian aesthetic

Corner sofas – perfect for lounging
Corner sofas make relaxing easy. They’re roomy enough for two people to put their feet up, or can accommodate a number of guests. They make a great choice for social spaces as the corner formation encourages conversation.

Zanotta 1242 Kilt Modular Corner SofaThe Zanotta Kilt Modular sofa is a large and comfortable corner sofa composition

Sofa beds – ideal for guests
Sofa beds look and act like a normal sofa during the day, but transform into a bed at night. They’re ideal if you have lots of guests, or if your home doesn’t have a spare bedroom.

Softline Meghan Sofa Bed in blush pinkThe Softline Meghan Sofa Bed can be used as a comfortable couch during the day and a bed for two at night

Find your style

Now that you know what type of sofa you’re looking for, it’s time to explore a range of styles. Our fabulous collection includes everything from contemporary pieces to design classics!

Relaxed vibes
Sofas that have low backs, arms and feet – or even no feet at all – lend a casual feel to a room. Ideal for day-to-day activities like lounging, reading, napping and working, they are incredibly versatile and are ideal for busy family life.

Case Furniture Kelston Three Seater SofaThe Case Kelston Sofa features a unique articulated backrest which adds an extra level of individual comfort

A formal feel
If you’re after something slightly more formal, then choose a high-backed sofa. These sofas also tend to have high arms and tall feet and have an elegant and graceful appearance.

STUA Costura Two Seater Sofa LeatherThe STUA Costura Sofa features super-slim armrests which allow it's generous and comfortable seating area to take centre stage

Mid-century icons
Mid-century sofas speak for themselves. They have a retro look that’ll simply never date.

Knoll Florence Knoll Three Seater Sofa LeatherThe Florence Knoll Sofa is widely regarded as the ultimate mid-century modern sofa design

It’s all in the detail
Our range includes designs that have special details like large buttons, contrasting fabrics, external stitching, deep buttoning and stylish curves – whatever you’re looking for, you’ll be able to find it at Nest.co.uk.

Moroso My Beautiful Backside SofaMy Beautiful Backside is a unique sofa design which is composed of floating cushions in celebratory colours and shapes

Comfort is key

Soft and squishy, or firm and supportive? Every sofa should be comfortable, but what that means can vary wildly from one person to the next.

Vitra Mariposa 2.5 Seater SofaThe Vitra Mariposa Sofa has side and backrest elements which can be individually adapted for various sitting or reclining positions

If you like to feel supported when sitting, consider choosing a sofa with a high back and arms. However, if you like to sink into something soft and pillowy at the end of a long day, have a look at our deep-seated, feather-filled sofas. Also, if the ability to lie-down and nap on your sofa is important to you, be sure to choose one that’s not only big enough for you to do so but one that has low arms so that you can rest your head comfortably.

Material and colour

The key to ensuring your new sofa fits seamlessly into your home and lifestyle is the material you choose. We’ve both fabric and leather sofas, each of which comes with a range of benefits.

Fabric
Fabric sofas are supremely inviting. They are soft to the touch and come in a spectrum of colours. They can be made of wool, which is springy and has a natural stain resistance, or a wool and synthetic blend, which is highly durable.

Normann Copenhagen Swell Sofa fabric detailsThe soft, curved shapes of the Normann Copenhagen Swell Sofa (available in two and three seater options) is upholstered in Gabriel Medley fabric

Leather
Leather has a luxurious look and feel and is exceptionally resilient. Over time it will soften, whilst still retaining its shape and strength, and develop a gorgeous patina that will keep getting better with age. Well maintained, a leather sofa can last a lifetime.

Colour
While colour is a hugely personal choice, certain shades work better than others in specific situations. Neutral is the way to go if you like to change your décor regularly, while dark colours are great for busy, high-traffic areas that are at a greater risk of spills and spillages.

Filling

How your sofa is filled will not only impact how comfortable it is, but how it looks too.

Foam
Foam sofas feel firm and supportive and have a tailored appearance. Over the years, the foam will naturally compact and lose a little of its volume, but this process is much slower with a high resilience foam. To ensure even wear, turn cushions occasionally.

Fibre
Fibre-filled sofas have a softer, more relaxed look and feel. They’re exceptionally comfortable but require maintenance to keep them looking their best. Turn and plump cushions on a regular basis to maintain comfort and even wear.

Feather
Feather-filled sofas have a casual look and a softer sit – ideal if you like to sink into your sofa. You’ll need to plump up cushions daily.

How to care for your new sofa

Once you’ve welcomed your dream sofa into your home, you’ll want to keep it looking and feeling its best. The following suggestions are recommended for general care, but for more specific instructions, please always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Caring for fabric sofas
Direct sunlight or heat can cause minor fading to your upholstery, especially when it comes to materials such as cotton and linen. We all love to bask in the sun but ensuring that your sofa isn’t exposed to sunlight when unnecessary is definitely well-worthwhile. To avoid ingrained stains or dulling, we recommend that you lightly brush or vacuum your sofa weekly. If you do accidentally stain the upholstery, then most materials can be wiped clean with a soft damp cloth, with the exception of delicate materials like 100% soft wool.

Fritz Hansen Favn SofaDesigner Jaime Hayon wanted to create a sofa that embraces you and something really organic with the Fritz Hansen Favn Sofa

Caring for leather sofas
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, but try not to rub and don’t use too much water as it can stain. Remove light scratches by gently buffing with a slightly damp cloth. And 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.

Zanotta 1330 William Three Seater SofaUpholstered in pure aniline leather, the Zanotta William sofa will develop an elegant patina over time

We hope our guide will give you all the confidence you need to find your dream sofa, but if you need a little help, then please explore our top 10 sofas or get in touch. Email info@nest.co.uk, call 0044 114 243 3000 or catch us on Live Chat.