Picking a sofa for a new living room

When you move into a house, there are things that fit, things that need to be replaced and holes to fill. 

In this case, it was a sofa. I’m helping one of my dear friends pick out a sofa for her new home. To give you an idea about her style, here are some inspirational images for the type of vibe she likes:

Photo courtesy of Cup of Joy

Photo courtesy of Cup of Joy

Photo courtesy of 79 Ideas

Photo courtesy of 79 Ideas

Photo courtesy of Design Files

Photo courtesy of Design Files

Here is the room we will be working our magic on. It's connected to the dining room so the layout can go a couple of ways. 

I love that the dog is our model in this photo :) 

I love that the dog is our model in this photo :) 

IMG_6821.JPG

Don't you love her rug?! There are lots of great pieces in this room and so pulling together the design won't take a lot of work. However, this is what she needed in a sofa:

  • Comfortable
  • Family Friendly (she has two dogs, a 3yr. old and one on the way!)
  • Affordable (but something that will last long enough to get through the baby years)
  • Less than 85" wide (the room can't take a sofa bigger than that with our layout)
  • Eclectic enough to go with both the traditional, contemporary and mid-century pieces

After looking at several sources, I ended up picking out two that were simple with clean lines and two that had some detail to them. I wanted to give her some variety in the both shape and color.

We would actually switch out the legs on this sofa for the legs shown below. 

We would actually switch out the legs on this sofa for the legs shown below. 

Photo courtesy of Flint Alley Furniture

Photo courtesy of Flint Alley Furniture

There is a lot to think about when you are hunting for sofas. However, I think there are three key things (besides your budget!) to focus on:

  1. Size: The size of your space dictates the size of the sofa. If you’re trying to figure out what would fit, I recommend putting pieces of tape on the ground to give you an idea of how much room it will take up. A rule of thumb is you need about 30”-40” of space to circulate in a room (for instance, you need that much space to walk from the doorway to the sofa- not between the coffee table and the sofa). As long as you have that amount of space to walk, you can pick any sofa.

  2. Shape: The shape of a sofa is really related to what type of style you want. If you don’t know your style, then pull together 10-15 images of rooms with sofas you like. Out of all those images, look for commonalities between them. Sofas come in a lot of styles and for the most part, these styles will be around a loonng time. So don’t be scared to buy one that is a different look than what you previously had. On that note, if the style you want is really different than the rest of the room, you have to decide if you want the rest of the room to change as well. If you do, then be confident in your purchase knowing that the rest of the room will become that style too. However, if you aren't going to replace the rest of the room I would recommend finding a sofa that would fit with what you have (it will still look and feel updated- I promise!). 

  3. Color/ Fabric: The color of the sofa can go a variety of directions. You can pick the color based on an accent color in the rug/art. You can also make it a neutral and let everything else bring in the color. Both options look great. For fabric, the most durable is a chenille, leather or velvet. Everything else is fine (although linen stretches out, so it might not hold up as well over time). Here’s an insider tip: There is something called a “double-rub” in the industry that indicates how strong something is after you put it through a specific test. If a fabric has more than 30,000 double rubs, it’s going to hold up with regular use (If you won’t use your sofa as much, it’s okay to use a fabric that has a number less than that). In general, you want something above 30,000 double rubs (no matter where you purchase your sofa, they should be able to provide this info.)

I didn’t mention quality, but we know that there is a difference. In general, if you spend more on something, it should hold up longer (unless you get a great deal!). I like to think there are two different camps for a sofa's "shelf life". There is the 2-5 year shelf life, and then the 5-10 year shelf life (this also depends on how much you sit on them). The 5-10 year sofa will probably be able to be reupholstered later on, where as the 2-5 year sofa won't be worth the cost. Either option is perfect for different seasons and different needs. The reason I pointed it out, is because I never want anyone to be surprised or disappointed with anything they buy. I believe in full disclosure when you buy something and I want you to be completely confident that the sofa you buy is the right fit for what you want and need. 

Choosing a sofa can be challenging- especially when you want to make sure you pick the right one. I know exactly how you feel because I went through this myself recently. However, I want to encourage you to focus on the three key components. Start from there and I know you’ll make the right decision.

Which sofa did my friend pick? I'll tell you which one and how the room will fit together next time!

    Which sofa do you like best? What do you look for in a sofa?