Looking for a new sofa? The good news is that you have plenty of options. The bad news is that…you have plenty of options. It can be quite confusing to know which one to buy, especially when there’s a salesman hovering over your shoulder. And if you make a mistake and change your mind, it’s not like you can pack it up and bring it back to the store on the way to work.
Here are some things to help you narrow down your choices and choose a sofa that fits your room, your needs, and your taste.
Measure the floor space
Sofas look much smaller in showrooms than they really are. You may bring home a piece and find out that you’ve filled up 80% of the living room. Don’t trust your eye. Measure the floor space so you have an idea of the maximum dimensions of your sofa. Also remember that if you’re placing it against a wall, there should be enough room at the sides for end tables.
Knowing where you want to put your sofa also helps you narrow down what kind of style you want. A sofa that will be positioned against a wall needs to have a flat back. A sofa in the middle of the room should look good from all sides. If you notice it’s going to be a tight fit – especially if you factor in the end tables – avoid anything that has bulky rolled arms.
If you live in a very small apartment or condo unit, our article on buying furniture for small spaces can help.
Think about the activities
Are you placing the sofa in front of the TV? Then you probably want something big and cushy to lie own on, so you can veg out while watching your favorite show. Or do you use the room primarily for entertaining guests? You’ll need something firmer, so your guests don’t sink uncomfortably into the seats.
Also consider your family lifestyle. Families with young kids need sofas with a durable, washable fabric in a darker color—chocolate fingerprints really don’t work on white! Maybe you have a pet that sheds a lot of hair, or you just have a habit of eating on the sofa.
Check for quality
You’ll be using the sofa for years so buy the best you can afford. One way to check for quality is to lift the sofa. The heavier it is, the sturdier the frames. Listen for any squeaking noise when you sit down: the best ones won’t make a sound because the springs are hand tied and set with heavy steel wire into the frame. Check if you feel the wood through the padded arms. Then plop on one side of the sofa to see if the other side pops up, or if your side sags.
Look at the details
Neutral colored sofas are more versatile since you can update the color by adding pillows or throws. If you want a modern look pick a sofa with exposed legs or metal legs and square corners; skirted legs and rounded corners work better in a cozy, country theme.
Photo from wishlist.nu