4 Tips for Choosing the Right Sofa for your Lifestyle
PUBLISHED: 16:00 27 February 2015 | UPDATED: 17:20 13 May 2015
DesignerSofas4U, the UK’s largest manufacturer of Chesterfield sofas, offer their take on picking the perfect sofa.
Choosing your brand new sofa can be both exciting and frustrating at the same time. On the one hand you’re shopping for a new piece of furniture that will define your living space for years to come, and on the other you’re whittling down the competition until you’re left with a winner that you’re happy to spend your hard-earned money on.
To help you in these trying times, the DesignerSofas4U team has put together a list of things to consider when you just can’t make that final decision.
1. Consider its purpose.
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how often thinking about what your new sofa will actually be used for is overlooked. Customers tend to lead with their personal preference over practicality, leading to complications down the line.
Your living room is likely to be the hub of social activity in your home since this is where everyone gravitates to when it’s time to relax – well, almost everyone;
sometimes it really is best to just leave teenagers to their privacy. If you’re buying a sofa for a busy living room then you need to consider a piece of furniture with a sturdy, resilient frame and upholstery that can withstand years of torture. The arms are likely to be sat on, contrary to our frequent advice, and there will always be that one person sat on the floor leaning against the bottom of the sofa even if there’s actually room to sit on it. In these situations we’d recommend something like a large leather or wool settee; both these materials are highly durable and easy to clean.
If you’re actually buying a piece of furniture for a lesser used room, like the conservatory or the guest bedroom then durably against family onslaught is less of a concern, but other factors come into play. For example, we don’t usually recommend leather upholstery for conservatories since these rooms tend to be more at the mercy of the elements than any other in the house. Think about those times you’ve sat on a leather sofa during the depths of winter or in the midst of a sweaty summer afternoon; the seat was either ice cold or warm and sticky, and very uncomfortable at the best of times. Wool on the other hand has naturally occurring thermal insulating properties that adapt to changing temperatures, making it warm during winter and cool during summer – perfect for a conservatory.
2. Consider your family.
And by family, we don’t just mean your spouse and children, though these are likely to influence your decision too. Your family includes your parents, grandparents, grandchildren and maybe even great grandchildren. And the pets.
Accessibility is always something to keep in mind for the older and younger generations. Will the elderly be able to sit down comfortably and, more importantly, stand back up without pushing their bodies to the limit? Will your younger children be able to safely climb up, down and around your new sofa without risk of injury? These are important questions you should be asking because they’re likely to be using your furniture whether you’ve given them consideration or not.
Pets can be just as loveable and just as frustrating as our human family members, and whether they’re allowed to or not they’re likely to get some use out of the sofa you choose too. Goldfish and terrapins and the like can likely be overlooked, but anything with teeth and claws can cause some serious damage to your expensive furniture in a matter of seconds. Aged leather looks refined and mature, but aged leather full of scratches from cat claws can appear shabby and poorly maintained. For buyers with pets we’ve always recommended fabric sofas because of this – yes, sometimes fabric can absorb unsavory odor from animals but proper maintenance of you sofa will prevent this.
3. Consider your comfort.
Comfort is always subjective; what’s just right for one person could be too high, too deep or too firm for the next. Every sofa frame is different, and cushions can be filled with anything from down to high-density foam.
If you want a really soft seat then you should definitely consider a down filling. Unfortunately, down is considered a premium choice of filling, so they’ll have a larger price tag to match. Down can also be quite difficult to maintain; you’ll be plumping them up on a daily basis, and cushions without down proof ticking under the upholstery fabric will see feathers poking through. Down can be used in combination with high-density foams, though these too can be quite expensive.
A good option for your filling would a combination of pads comprising down and polyester fibre and springs. The springs form the core, giving your seat a firm and resilient structure, and are wrapped in high-density foam and finally covered with the pads. The result is a seat that’s both soft and firm, and the cushion won’t lose its shape very easily.
The most common form of filling is high-density polyurethane, and the higher the density the firmer the seat. Sometimes it’s wrapped in other materials, like polyester or cotton, to make cushion softer to sit on, but not always. These types of fillings are usually the cheapest.
As with everything in life, quality fillings don’t come cheap – prices scale as the quality increases and we always advise our customers to buy the best quality they can afford because this heightened quality will see a sofa stay comfortable and retain its shape for longer.
4. Consider your taste.
Finally we come to the point that most buyers consider their main priority. We urge customers to buy a sofa that suits their taste and style, but first you should always whittle down the competition to just a few choices using the tips above.
Think about it; you might buy a sofa based on how it looks, but once you’ve got it home used it for a week you can’t then return it because it’s too deep, or too soft, or you’ve realized the material isn’t right.
You’re also going to be looking for a sofa that fits into the theme of the room it’s intended to be used in; yes, that modern, angular red leather sofa looks gorgeous but it’s not going to look right in a small cottage living room decorated in antique tones of tan and cream is it? But that Old-English leather Chesterfield would look stunning!
Taste is by far the most important thing you’ll come to consider during your sofa selection adventure but it should always be considered last, once you have a list of suitable candidates that meet all the criteria you expect from you lovely new piece of furniture.
Some find it gruelling, but hunting for a new sofa should be exciting; it’s a new addition to the family that will share in the memories made in your home. We love engaging our customers and working with them to find the best possible solution to their seating needs, so if you’re ever in need of a friendly chat then contact us and we’ll do our very best to help you.