How to find the right sofa for your home

February 6, 2013 3:03:39 PM PST
Tips from the Avondale Design Studio team on finding the right sofa for your home:

  1. Sofa Usage. Determining usage before you buy will help you select all the other features of your sofa. How will you use your sofa? Will it primarily be used for everyday activities such as relaxing, reading, or watching TV, or will it be used only occasionally in a formal setting? Who will be using it? Pay attention to any special considerations if you want your sofa to be a good fit. Use deep seating for a very tall person. For someone with bad knees, shallow seating and a tight back make it easier to get up.
  2. Sofa Shape. Once you've determined how it's going to be used, pick a shape that best serves that purpose. A sofa that will be used for relaxation can be deep and cushy with loose pillows. A Lawson sofa, with arms lower than the back, is a versatile choice for both formal and informal settings. A rolled arm sofa is a also a good choice. A camelback sofa has a curvilinear shape, shallow seating, and a tight back. It is better in a formal and traditional setting. Sectionals come in many configurations and profiles, and are good in cozy, conversational settings. For added comfort you can have reclining sectionals as well.
  3. Sofa Size. The size of your room is a good guide for the size of your sofa. Make sure its size doesn't overpower the room or impede the flow of traffic. Measure the entire room, especially the wall against which you will place it, before you go shopping. A tight back sofa works well in a tiny space because of its low profile. A sectional might be perfect for a larger area.
  4. Number of Cushions. How many seat cushions would you like? One cushion offers a clean modern look while two or three are traditional. When you sit on the cushions, do they stay in place or do the corners flare up? Are they attached to the frame with a clip to hold them down?
  5. Arm Style. Choose an arm style for your new sofa. You can choose from armless, traditional rolled arm, curved English arm, or a straight Parsons style. The rolled arm has a flat front panel and is often outlined in cording. English style is rounded at the front, with fabric formed into sunburst-type pleats. Straight arm sofas are most often seen in contemporary settings.
  6. Skirted Sofa or Bare Legs. Do you want a skirted sofa or one with the visible legs? A skirted sofa is classic, but in a small space, an unskirted sofa will look bigger in a small space because it allows light under the sofa. Choose from leg styles that vary from heavy square chunks and wide bun feet to more delicate tapered legs or carved and curved formal versions. Legs are usually available in a number of finishes as well.
  7. Sofa Upholstery Fabric. To keep your sofa looking its best, it is important to select the right fabric. Use high maintenance fabrics, such as silk, only in areas that are used infrequently. Microfibers are great in heavy usage areas, look attractive, and are easy to clean. Textured fabrics show less wear and tear than smooth ones. Leather is a good option if you are looking for longevity. There is now a large selection of colors and textures, so you are no longer confined to tans and blacks.
  8. Sofa Color and Patterns. To select a sofa color, or fabric pattern, always take into consideration any preexisting colors or patterns in the room. Neutrals work best in most rooms, especially small ones, but you can dress up your sofa by using more vibrant colors and patterns in the pillows, or adding throws. A patterned fabric works well in heavy usage areas as it can hide minor stains. Go with a strong color if you want to make a bold statement, but if you do so, consider buying a sofa with simpler lines.
  9. Sofa Quality. The real quality of a sofa comes from how it is put together on the inside. A good quality sofa is heavier because of its sturdy frame which is constructed of kiln-dried hardwood that is free from knots. The legs will be part of the frame and not screwed on. The cushion should retain its shape when you sit down, and not curve up. A combination of down and dense foam will let the seat maintain its shape for a long time. You shouldn't be able to feel the frame through the padding. When you check the back, make sure it doesn't feel hollow, as that is a sign of inferior construction.
  10. Sofa Budget. You can expect to pay anywhere from $750 to $5000 for a basic sofa. If you're on a tight budget, visit clearance centers or ask for floor models. Sometimes, you can find good values at special sale events. Make sure to buy the best quality you can afford, as you'll live with your purchase for a long time. A sofa can last you anywhere from ten to fifteen years.

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