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The sofa has reigned supreme since the day the television came to everyone's living rooms back in the 1950’s. Now more than ever, the most common past-time for many of us is sitting down in front of our favourite TV show or settling in for a movie night with a loved one.
It also doubles up as an area for hosting friends and wider family, so the importance of the once sparingly used sofa has increased exponentially. This has led to the market being flooded with thousands of different options, in all shapes and sizes, meaning it is overwhelming when choosing the right sofa for your space.
Do you go for style over comfort? Or is the ability to sink in for hours on end the most important factor? What colour goes well with the recently fitted carpets? And is it easy to clean velvet?
There are so many things to think of when choosing a sofa - luckily here at Home Detail we make things just a little bit easier for you with our “Top 10 Tips for choosing the Perfect Sofa”
Define Your Needs
As with anything, you want to have a clear understanding of how you will use your new Sofa. Are you the kind of person who spends 6 hours an evening on it, eating in front of the news - or perhaps you barely catch an hour a day, and that’s mainly just to keep on top of your evening dose of Eastenders or Corrie.
Based on this, you should get a good understanding of if you need to prioritise comfort, or if really you just need something that fills the space, but is good enough to relax on when needed.
Consider Room Size
Once you know how you utilise your sofa, you’ll want to get an understanding of the size, and shape, of the sofa that will help you pick the right choice. This can often be the most difficult part, as people often try to go for ‘the biggest they can fit’, though this isn’t always the best strategy, it often leads to the room looking overcrowded and feeling a little cramped.
Many times, it’s better to get a 2 seater and an armchair, rather than a 3 seater, or a 3 seater and a 2 seater, rather than a corner sofa arrangement. One of the biggest regrets when buying a sofa is actually getting it too big - not leaving enough space around it for a coffee table or floor space for walkways or areas for kids to play.
We would suggest checking out some of the sofa sizes you may like from our range - then tape along the floor (underneath your current setup if needed), to get a feel for what they would be like in your space. You may get a few funny looks from a partner or housemate, so definitely consult them on what you’re doing so they can chip in their opinion too!
Style may be massively important to you, or you may not really care about the look, but it’s an important decision when you’re buying something that you’re going to own for a long time.
Some like the Sofa setup to be the focal point of the room and design around that, others match it into carpets, rugs, curtains or artwork so need to consider how it all pulls together. Initially you’ll likely fall into two categories: Bold statement or Blends in.
We’ll talk material and colour shortly, but it’s important to know which of these you fall into to narrow the search - from the traditional style sofas like our Thomas Velvet Fabric 2 Seater Sofa, to the more out there styles like our best seller Dakota 2 Seater Grey Tartan Fabric Sofa
Whichever you fall into, understanding your sofa style is key for the next two points on our list in choosing your perfect sofa!
Materials are plentiful nowadays, and whilst the look and feel is key, most people also need to consider how well they last, what they are like to clean and how they hold up in different temperatures (think leather sofas on a hot summer's day!)
You can probably imagine what the main pros and cons of fabric types are:
- Leather cleans well, but isn’t as comfortable and soft.
- Fabric feels nice, but can often absorb stains (fabric dependant)
- Velvet gives a nice sheen, but takes a knack to clean properly
Definitely consider what is most important to you overall, and know that you may have to give with one hand and take with the other when settling on the material for your sofa. There is no perfect option, it’s all down to what is most important to you now and into the near future.
Probably the most visually important decision you’ll have to make in choosing the right sofa for your space is the colour. If you’re a bold, make a statement type of shopper then bright yellows, oranges and turquoise may be right up your street. If however, you’re looking for something that blends right into your space the more neutral colours are likely to be up your street.
Of course, if you’ve got three kids under 5, then you probably want a darker colour that won’t visibly show all those annoying little stains that will inevitably be there the moment you leave them all alone together. Though, if you do want a lighter colour, you can always accessorise with a throw or cushions that will be able to take some of the stain damage without the inability to shove it in the washing machine.
If colourful sofas you feel are too restrictive, and don’t allow you to change the style of the room much, then we would recommend more subdued and add the colour pop with cushions and pillows in order to bring the room together with some colour.
Comfort is Key
You probably got this point from the introduction, or from the way we have put this content together, but we are firm believers that regardless of your requirements - comfort is key!
Whilst we all spend varying amounts of time on our sofas, ensuring that the time we do spend there is one that we enjoy makes a massive difference when knowing that you’ve made the right sofa choice.
Comfort is much more complex than “how soft” the sofa is. You’ll need to consider things like seat depth and back support, as well as arm height and firmness in order to know that you have truly considered all angles of comfort.
Of course this can be really difficult to know from pictures, but this is where measurements come in handy as you can compare this to your current sofa setup, and see where you feel the most comfort can be gained.
Whilst we are online only (which is how we have the best prices!), if you’re really stuck at this point we would recommend going into a local sofa store (more expensive the better) and test out different variations of seat depth, back support, arm height, back height, arm firmness, cushion firmness etc. as you’ll quite quickly find out that there is a right mix for you. Then simply head back home and order online from us with the great prices that you know and love!
When you buy things you want them to last, and that is especially the case with something like a sofa. One thing that is almost always a common misconception is that the more expensive something is, the better the quality is. Whilst this often holds true when looking across all price ranges, say £200-£20,000, within price ranges there is little to no correlation. So just because one sofa costs £1,000, doesn’t mean it is of better build than a £600 equivalent.
Getting that out the way, we can now look at understanding why quality is so important in making a decision on your next sofa. You’ll likely own around 7-10 sofas in your life, so a small increase in quality can make a big difference in your need to replace them, and help save on costs over time as well. Though you will want to strike the balance between build quality and how long the fabric may last.
If your sofas get a lot of use, with pets and kids around, you may find that the build quality under the fabric is less important, because the fabric will go before the structure, at which point it’s often you’ll replace rather than refurb. If however, you’re a light user of the sofa, and it’s unlikely to get that spoiled over the years, build quality is going to be important.
Functionality and Features
Often an afterthought, and often the first thought - what else can my sofa do apart from being the standard sofa? Would you like it to recline so you can have an afternoon snooze after lunch? Or perhaps you would appreciate the ability to have some level of built in storage, or it doubles up as a bed.
If your space is small, we would advise against a recliner unless absolutely necessary, as the sofa will need more space both behind and in front of it to maximise the reclining features, it also makes it difficult to put the back up against the wall.
There are many other gimmicks and gizmos that can come with some more modern sofas - USB ports, cup holders, Wireless charging etc. though in our opinion these are things that come and go with trends and that it is better to choose the sofa based on core features, to avoid making a regretful purchase based on these alone.
All the above is of course constrained by the budget that you have to buy your new sofa. Luckily here at Home Detail we have the best prices you’ll find anywhere and if you sign up to our newsletter you’ll even get exclusive offers and deals! But we know this is as important as it gets when deciding on a sofa.
For us, it’s all about striking a balance between all the above factors and the price you are willing to pay. We’ve personally had customers spend under £500 on a sofa set and have lasted well over a decade with no complaints so you needn’t sacrifice all if you’re on a tight budget with big ideas!
We would advise understanding your non-negotiables, your non-importants and the nice to haves, then assessing how many of these you can tick off at different budget levels. If you find a sofa that ticks all the boxes, like our amazing Jaguar Velvet Fabric 3 Seater Sofa Suite Chesterfield at only £699.00, then happy days, but if that is out of your budget, then start working out some of the nice to haves until you find the perfect fit for you from our range.
Go with your gut
No amount of planning and ruminating will ensure that you have left no stone left unturned, so focus on getting to a good level of confidence and take the plunge. You will always have the opportunity to make a change down the line or return your goods, with the chance of this being the case so small, spending another couple of weeks and hours of your evenings just isn’t worth the marginal gains.
Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and make the purchase.
If you’ve got this far then hopefully you have a much clearer idea of how you might be able to choose the perfect sofa for your space. We’ve talked through everything you could possibly consider to make a well informed decision, and also give our opinion on some of the things that are important (or less so) when deciding on a sofa.
So what are you waiting for - your brand new sofa is just a few clicks away!