Choosing the right sofa...

If you're someone who feels completely overwhelmed at the thought of replacing or upgrading your couch, then join the club. There are literally thousands of sofas on the market, but how do you know if its the right one for you without trawling store to store, weekend after weekend and planting your behind on as many cushy couches as humanly possible.

Here's my tips for narrowing down your sofa options - which can be done (funnily enough) from the comfort of your couch.


FABRIC V LEATHER

First decision - fabric vs leather. There are pros and cons to both. Think about how you use the couch (lounge around or siting upright), how you want to feel when using it (Summer vs Winter - a cooling retreat vs warm and snug), who uses the couch (acrobatic kids, business professionals, retirees or purring pets) and your surrounding decor (are there hard surfaces that need softening - or do you want a splash of sophistication in the space). Pretty quickly you're going to come to a conclusion on what will work best for you. Don't forget there are other options such as outdoor and stain resistant fabrics that can be considered in the mix.



CONFIGURATION & SIZE

What's the best configuration for your room? Think again about how you want to use the space. And how many people will be using it. If the primary function is for watching telly, the couch should be oriented around the screen and you should consider including a chaise or deeper cushions to allow for lounging for long periods.

If the primary function is to sit around and chat by a fireplace, then face to face seating may be more appropriate. Would two couches work best - or one plus a couple of armchairs? And if you like to entertain, look for creative ways to include additional seating that can be called upon when you've got a few extra bums to seat - like ottomans and occasional chairs. Remember, most people don't like to sit side by side when engaging in conversation. So a 4-seater sofa or sectional sofa might be fine for a family watching the latest episode of "Survivor" but won't necessarily suit a post dinner party retreat for card games and charades or sitting around with the ladies for a book club gathering.


Importantly, your couch should not overtake the room or block the flow within the space. So choosing the right size is critical. A handy way to do this is clear the room and use masking tape to map out a few different configurations. That way by the time you head into a store, you have an exact idea of what's going to work within your space. Its important to consider how many people are going to use it and the scale and proportion. A small slimline couch in a large room will look out of place and conversely a large bulky couch in a small room will make the room feel cramped and cluttered. Likewise, a low backed sofa may look lost in a room with 5m high ceilings. And finally, before you hand over that credit card, make sure that the size of the couch will fit through your front door or up the staircase! If this space is restricted you may need to consider modular furniture or more individual pieces.


STYLE

Now the tricky part - what style of sofa should you go for? Its likely that this will be a hero piece within your room so therefore its important that it connects with your overall design aesthetic. It also needs to work with other elements within the room that you intend on keeping for the long term. If you're unsure, take a photo of your room and use a virtual decorating app to get an idea of how your space will come together. Styles vary greatly and are a personal preference but ultimately ask yourself "do I love it?". If you that answers is "meh", keep looking!




QUALITY

Your couch will likely be a significant investment so its wise to look for quality. Good bones - a sturdy solid timber frame is best - and then consider the cushioning. Feather filled is great for comfort levels but require regular plumping. Foam and fibre may loose their shape over time. So a combination of these might be best. Aim for the best quality you can afford and take the time to check the manufacturers warranty period.


And if all of that sounds just too hard or time consuming. Engage a decorating professional to help!

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