First you need to figure out how much space you want your new sofa to take up. In general, the bigger the room, the bigger the sofa. Love seats and chaises are great for tiny living rooms — and a stylish step-up from futons. Bigger spaces can handle “apartment size” or three-seater sofas.
Measure the length as well as the width. You don’t want seating that’s so deep, you can’t get around it. Generally, having two feet of space between the sofa and any other furniture is plenty of room to move around comfortably.
Know the size of any doors you need to get the sofa through — you don’t want it to get stuck. Give yourself a few extra inches if you want to be sure to fit through your doorways (you might want to consult a professional on this).
Choose a shape that suits the room’s layout. If your living room is small or just for show, a couch with standard seating is probably your best bet. If you’re looking to divide up a large room, try an L-shaped couch or sectional. For those who love to entertain, or if you’re trying to make a cold space cozier, opt for a curved sofa that feels inclusive.
Pinpoint the style of your room’s decor. You don’t want to pick a couch that sticks out like a sore thumb. A modern living room begs for a simple couch with sleek lines. Decor that’s already upscale with a vintage edge can handle a sofa with carved arms and legs. On the flip side, a laid back living room needs a piece with soft edges that gives off a relaxed vibe. Love the eclectic look? Pick a piece that combines several styles.
Choosing a fabric isn’t just about looks, it’s also about what’s conducive to your lifestyle. You may have fantasies of owning a white couch, but if you have kids or a messy spouse, pick a dark colored piece in a stain resistant or easy-to-clean fabric like microfiber. Those who live in hot climates want to stay away from sweat-inducing materials like leather or velvet.
Dark living rooms should go for lighter colored couches; while large, bright spaces need a darker shade to make them feel warm and cozy.
If you choose a couch in a bright color or a bold pattern, be prepared for it to be the star of the show. An attention garnering piece works best when it’s the anchor and the rest of the decor is chosen around it.
No matter what the style, size or fabric, at the end of the day you want a comfortable couch that withstands the test of time. Hardwood frames are going to put up with wear and tear much better than plywood or pine. Don’t be afraid to test the frame’s durability by wiggling the arms — a wiggly frame is a weak frame. Make sure the frame has “double dowel” or “corner blocked” joints — they’ll prevent the piece from twisting out of shape.
Look for cushions that are not only comfortable to sit on, but contain high-resiliency foam. Quality foam will retain its shape and doesn’t disintegrate over time. This means your kids can jump all over it and the couch won’t be destroyed.
Choosing a couch is a big decision. However, scoring a piece that’s cozy, comfy and fits with your decor, is worth its weight in gold. So take the time to explore eieihome’s directory of home furniture stores.
By Megan Mostyn-Brown