Sofa Buying Guide

Buying a sofa or a couch is an important process for many people because it is one of the largest pieces of furniture that they will purchase. It is also important because, being so large, it contributes a great deal to setting the style of the room that it’s in.

Of course, the room that it’s in is one of the first considerations. Although commonly found in the living room, sofas may also be found in home offices, guest rooms, rec rooms, family rooms, and—in some households—the kitchen/hearth room.

How the Sofa Functions in the Household

Sofas can be used for a variety of purposes. The whole family, including the toddler, may pile on and watch a movie together. During social gatherings, it may give guests a place to form smaller groups for conversation. Games may be played across a coffee table placed in front of it. “Couch potato” aside, many people do enjoy lounging and/or sleeping on their sofas.

So the sofa should fit the style and purpose of the room and the use it will get. This is true of the sofa’s length, which will determine how many people it can comfortably fit, the depth, which will determine how straight you have to sit and how comfortable you can make yourself, as well as its fabric, which will determine how well it will live up to whatever treatment it receives. Sofas for different rooms may have very different demands made on them.

Planning for a Sofa

A piece of graph paper is a good place to start. Measure and draw all the pieces of furniture in the room, as well as the prospective sofa, using one square of graph paper for each foot and approximating distances that aren’t in even feet. Cut your paper furniture out. On a second piece of identical graph paper, mark the room boundaries, indicating doors (and which way they swing), windows, and any built-in features such as breakfronts, fireplaces, bookshelves, etc.

Now, you can try out furniture arrangements with your prospective sofa, seeing how the size works without having to worry about returning it. Make sure to leave two to three feet (.6 to 1 meter) of space for traffic flow.

This exercise will allow you to discover the constraints imposed by the room. Other constraints may include cost. The color and style of objects already in the room, the formality or informality of the room and its customary use, and/or strong preferences for or against a certain style, fabric, color, etc. that anyone in the household has, are other types of constraints.

home institute 1 Be aware that particular fabrics may elevate the cost of a sofa, and also be sure to allow for shipping and/or moving charges to cover its delivery and installation in the room of your choice. Also consider the value of any stain treatments available in preserving the sofa’s original state.

Written by Mary Elizabeth

Related Home Institute Articles

  • Futon Buying Guide
  • Introduction to Upholstery Fabric
  • Loveseat Buying Guide
  • Introduction to Throw Blankets
  • Introduction to Sofas
  • Introduction to Cushions
  • Introduction to Leather Upholstery
  • Introduction to Upholstered Chairs