So first off, I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who commented on the blog and on social media about my new pretty dining table! I’m so pleased you all seem to love it as much as I do! And while it was certainly an investment piece, I know that I’ll have it for many years to come. And that is the thing about investment pieces. Yes, you may very well spend a little more on it but I’m often reminded of the words of the designer icon, Miles Redd who said, ‘Buy the best and you’ll only cry once.’
I think the same can be applied to the purchase of a sofa. Another investment piece for sure but one that, if well cared for and well built, could last a decade or more. While I can understand when you are first getting your home in order, buying whatever you can afford or receiving a second-hand piece from a friend or relative to tide you over for a while, once it’s time to invest in a sofa – what should you be looking for? How do you actually choose a good quality sofa that will not only last but be your pride and joy for many years to come?
As we are working away on the man cave, my thoughts, of course, turn to the future. Eventually, I’d love to replace the small futon we have down there. It was chosen for its tiny footprint and the fact that it fit down the narrow stairs to the cellar! In our next house, I’d love to have a separate snug with a wonderfully comfy sofa to really spread out on. So today, I’m teaming up with Darlings of Chelsea to give you some insider knowledge on what to consider when choosing your perfect sofa.
This is a question that only you can answer because taste is so subjective and a sofa I love you may hate and vice versa. However, one of the things you’ll want to consider is what you’ll be using your sofa for. Do you like to take naps on it? Make sure it’s long enough to accommodate your full height. I tend to sit on my sofa with my legs curled underneath me whilst watching TV. This means looking out for a deeper seat. What about that back of the sofa? Do you want something higher to accommodate resting your head against it? Do you like straight contemporary styled arms or do you prefer a soft roll arm to rest against?
Generally, angular shapes with strong lines tend to suit more contemporary and minimalist styles. If you love a country look, then pillow back sofas will suit your style nicely. If you crave a traditional look in your home, then go for simple classic lines and rounded corners. Me? Well, I will always be a fan of velvet and tufting which suits my eclectic glam style.
How big is the room your sofa will be going and how much of the room do you want to fill? It’s important to remember that you may want a second sofa as well or perhaps a couple of armchairs, plus a coffee table, somewhere for the TV to sit and so on. Will the sofa you choose fit your space?
Normally, you’ll want to take cues from the scale of your room. Generally speaking, a smaller room will look best with a smaller or medium-sized sofa and a larger sofa will suit a larger space. Want to play with scale a bit? Consider oversizing your accessories, art or lighting rather than your furniture. Be sure to take measurements before you start your search so you can discount those that are not the right fit and be sure to measure the door frames it will need to fit through! I’ve found in the past that the easiest way to see if a sofa will fit your room is by masking out the size of the sofa in the room it’s going to go to get an idea of the scale of the piece.
If you have a smaller space, you may want to consider a sofa with straight arms as opposed to larger arms to maximise your space or you may want to consider an L-shaped sofa to provide room to stretch out if you have a wider space to fill.
Of course, aesthetics are important but alas, practicality must also come into play. You’ll have to consider your home life in all of this! Do you have young children or pets? That dream white sofa may need to stay a dream for a little while longer! Perhaps an easier-to-maintain leather sofa will be a better fit. I’ve found velvet to be great for cats as mine have never scratched the fabric but not as great for a mucky dog who doesn’t care he’s just been rolling around in the garden! So be aware of the finishes that you choose – will they adapt well to your lifestyle?
If you are happy to take extra care in your living room, then that wonderful pale grey woven fabric is going to look lovely – just be sure you are happy to accept that a pale fabric will mean a little more attention is required to keep it looking its best. Considering a pattern fabric? If you are someone who falls in and out of love with trends, perhaps steering clear of a statement sofa and considering something with a more neutral backdrop will have more longevity.
How much time are you planning to spend sitting on your sofa? If you love a 6 hour long Netflix marathon on a lazy Sunday, this will dictate the level of comfort you’ll require from your sofa. It’s normally best to simply give it the “seat test” when in the showroom and sit on a few to see how well they mould to your body. Ask yourself: How is the depth of the seat? Does it hug you at your knees? Do your feet touch the floor? Stretch out and recline in a few different positions to really get a feel for the comfort level.
Remember that a straight-back sofa will mean sitting more upright whilst a big L-shaped sofa means you can fully stretch out. Whether you prefer a firmer sit or a softer sit will be a choice you’ll have to make but it’ll help narrow down your choices to find your perfect sofa.
Quality can be a difficult thing to determine as while you might sit on the sofa in the showroom, how do you really know how long it’s going to last? Dumping a couple grand on a sofa is not a decision that most will take lightly so you really want to be sure you’re buying the best you can afford. For this question, I’ve turned to the experts. John Darling, the owner of Darlings of Chelsea knows a thing or two about good quality sofas as they’ve been building their award-winning range for more than a decade. Here are a few things that John told me to look out for when choosing your sofa.
- A good quality frame that will last a long time should be made from hardwood and glued, screwed and dowelled ideally.
- The cushions should look and feel plump and supportive when you sit in them. Fillings can be made from many things and depend on comfort but should respond well to plumping and feel full.
- Seams should be hidden and not pull when you sit down, stitching should be invisible unless they are a feature of the sofa.
- Fabric and leather should not look loose or saggy, covers should fit cushions and frames snug and smooth.
- The internal suspension on a quality sofa can include serpentine springs, industrial strength webbing, and coil springs
- A top quality sofa producer such as Duresta will also be able to pattern match your fabric so your chosen fabric pattern will be aligned across the entire sofa.
What do you look for when purchasing your perfect sofa? Have you ever regretted purchasing a sofa? Do let me know in the comments!
Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with Darlings of Chelsea and images are used with kind permission. All words and opinions my own. I only work with companies I really like and think you will too! Thanks for supporting the businesses that support Swoon Worthy!