When purchasing a sofa, it is easy to get confused or frustrated at the sheer range of colors, materials, and styles, not to mention the various levels of quality and pricing. Be careful not to make a decision on impulse or out of frustration. Here are a few tips to make the process simple and ensure that you don’t end up regretting your purchase.

1. Buying a sofa in the wrong size & proportion

It is crucial that you measure your space and work out the ideal size that your sofa needs to be. Think about how many people you need to seat regularly and where the best placement in the room would be (keeping in mind doorways and other furniture pieces). It’s a great idea to measure your current sofa to get an idea or alternatively, measure out on the ground with masking tape or newspaper different sizes. This will help you visualize the item in the room and how you move around it. Secondly, even though it may fit within your required space the overall proportion will impact the look within the room. A sofa with chunkier or heavier overall proportions will appear larger in the room, whilst a sofa that is raised from the floor and has slim arms and seat proportions will appear lighter and visually consume less space. Use this to your advantage, look for heavier styles if you are looking to fill a large room and vice versa, and be aware of the impact the showroom has on the look of the sofa, in general showrooms will be very open and have high ceilings, making all sofas look smaller than they are.

2. Choosing looks over comfort

You may come across the ‘perfect’ sofa – the one you’ve been searching for – but if it is not comfortable, you will wish you went for something cozier. Although it may look great, is it deep enough if you’re tall or too deep so your feet can’t touch the floor? Is it too firm or so soft that you have trouble getting up? If you like to lie down on your sofa, are the arms at a comfortable height? Think about your requirements for the sofa prior to purchasing, if it is for use in the television room buy something that is comfortable for the family, and think about durability if people are going to have their feet on the sofa or it is high use, for a formal living room the look of the sofa will have greater importance, select something that is comfortable to sit on, but it does not necessarily need to be comfortable to lie down on.

3. Purchasing the wrong configuration or style

The style of your sofa should complement the style of your house and your existing furniture. It should also function in a way that suits your lifestyle and functions for you. Buying a low-line, a sleek sofa that looks great in the showroom amongst contemporary furniture is great if you have a modern home. But if you really prefer a comfy, cushioned seat that you can sink into, keep looking for the one that will suit you and your home. For configurations, will a simple 2 or 3 seater work in your space or can it take a larger corner or chaise lounge? Do you move house regularly? Chaise lounges are a great solution for many modern apartments, but if you move around a lot, the chaise is fixed on that side, so it may not work in your next home, a 3 seater & an ottoman would be a better choice. It’s best to decide before hitting the shops and being swayed by what’s on display. In most cases, every sofa design is available in a range of various sizes and configurations to suit your needs.

4. Choosing the wrong color or material

One main decision is whether you are going to go for a leather or a fabric sofa. A few questions to ask yourself are: how much use will this sofa get? What kind of area is it in and therefore what kind of spills is it going to be prone to? If it is a high-use area, leather is durable, easy to clean and non- absorbent for spills and smells. With professional help, minor tears or scratches can be repaired with great results. Fabric, on the other hand, takes a bit more maintenance. It can be protected with a

Scotchgard to protect from spills and can be vacuumed to keep clean. If you have small children and it is going to be used in a busy area, consider a darker color to hide some of the sins and keep your sofa looking pristine for longer. It is generally best to select a neutral color for your sofa then add color in the way of cushions, rugs, and throws, the sofa will be the biggest piece of furniture in the room and can overwhelm everything else if it is a bold color or print. If you would really like a feature piece in a bright color, look to get an ottoman or feature chair, then have some coordinating cushions on the sofa to tie the look together. Remember the sofa will be with you for years, avoid anything too trendy or seasonal, classic modern sofas in fabric or leather will go the distance, and can be updated as needed with new accessories.

5. Ignoring signs of quality & longevity

When you buy a sofa, you expect it to last a number of years. In order for this to happen, you must make sure you are purchasing a good quality product. This will also save you money in the long run as you won’t need to replace parts or the whole sofa. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about a sofa’s quality when shopping. Make sure every part of it (internal and external) has a warranty and that there are no shortcuts such as real leather on the seats but the artificial leather on the back of the sofa. If they are taking shortcuts on the outside, you don’t know what shortcuts they’ve taken on the inside.

Quick Tips for Going Sofa Shopping:

  • – Know the sort of use the sofa will receive, now and in the future.
  • – Measure out space and write your ideal dimensions down, take a tape measure shopping with you.
  • – Know the style you are looking for and what will work with your current furniture
  • – Take samples of the wall/floor colors if you have them, or take some photos with your phone and take them along so you can refer to them whilst looking at color samples.
  • – Expect that the shop most likely will not have your perfect size or color on display, it is not possible to display everything in all the different colors. Do however ask if they have any photos of a sofa in your preferred color, or size, often stores will keep a database of photos from previous orders.
  • – Test out the sofa properly, many people sit on the sofa and judge it from that, but is that how you sit at home? If you mostly lying down, then lie down, the sofas are there to be tested so don’t feel like you can’t lie down or kick your feet up!
  • – The sales assistants can be fantastic resources, often they may have design backgrounds, and at the very least they have sold & seen many sofas, they can recommend styles, colors and sizes for you.

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