Are you happy with your sofa? Choosing a piece of furniture that you’ll spend hours of your life on (The Crown Season 3–I’m looking at you) can be overwhelming, There so many considerations…You want it to be stylish but comfortable. You have kids, pets, and you like red wine. And you still want to be happy with it ten years down the road. So what should you look for?
Shape: I think the best sofas have a classic and tailored shape. For simplicity in this post, we’ll stick with only five common styles: the English roll arm, a track arm, the Lawson, a slipcovered style, and a Midcentury style. You can see that the “style” of the sofa can be influenced by the shape of the arm. Your ideal sofa will be a balance between what appeals to you aesthetically and what suits your lifestyle. You may find that a higher, rounded arm is more comfortable to snuggle in for movie sessions while an English roll arm is perfectly at home in your front living room.
Size: First, assess the size and shape of the room. Draw a room plan or even tape out the dimensions on your floor with painter’s tape. If your room can handle an extra long sofa, go for it! Especially if you like to stretch out. But if your room is small or awkwardly shaped, opt for something a bit smaller with narrow arms. Nothing looks more dated than a hulking sofa, IMO! For comfort, you’ll also want to pay attention to the inside depth, which generally ranges from 22″ – 24″ inches. A 22″ sofa is easy on short legs while a deeper sofa is ideal for larger people. If you like to curl up or lay on your sofa with the dog, deeper is better. If you really like to sleep on your sofa or snuggle up with your partner, 25″ or more is even better.
Fabric: Today there are so many performance fabrics that it’s almost hard to find a reason NOT to use them. If you have your heart set on a fun designer fabric or if your sofa won’t be getting loads of use, of course it’s fine to use something else. But if you’re looking for a fabric that’s easy to clean, stain resistant, and fade resistant, you can’t beat the performance fabrics that are on the market today. Most polyester fabrics also clean up well and prints hide stains better than solid colors. Linens look easy, breezy and casual but may not hold their shape over time.
Comfort: Cushions that are all feathers will feel the most luxurious and comfortable, but over time will become flatter and flatter and need fluffing. A combination of foam and feathers will hold it’s shape longer. Spring down cushions have even more structure and will hold up the best over time. Look for foam or spring core cushions that are wrapped in an “envelope” of feathers for both comfort and structure.
Construction: Look for kiln-dried hardwood or furniture grade engineered wood. The frame should be corner block reinforced. Eight way hand tied springs are the gold standard, although sinuous springs can also make for quality suspension and prevent sagging cushions.
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