From laid-back loungers to comfy couches and corner units, whatever you’re into House and Home brings you the ultimate guide to selecting your sofa.
Buying a Sofa
Deciding which sofa to share your newspaper, beer can and slobbering dog with can be a tough decision. Here are some pointers for sofa buying.
- Autumn is the busiest time for sofa buying so get in before the rush.
- Remember your measurements when you’re out looking at sofas, use masking tape to mark out the sofa shape on the floor, that way you can see if you have sufficient space.
- Choose the style that you want before you choose the fabric. Once you’ve secured the high back that you need for your posture or the low arm that you would like to sleep on, you can then play around with the fabrics to make the sofa as firm or as soft as you like.
- When picking a colour, it’s best to opt for a neutral colour which can be brightened up with a throw or scatter cushions in contrasting fabric and colours.
- Get colour samples of the fabrics or leathers you’re interested in. Colours can look different when you get them home and out into natural lighting.
- When buying a sofa, ask the sales assistant to explain the grade of the fabric. Every fabric has a martindale on it, which measures how strong the fabric is.
- If you have a small living room keep the sofa simple with clean lines and choose a design that is raised off the floor to enhance the sense of space.
- Plain simple designs with sharp, almost art deco features and low and extra deep seating are selling a storm this season. Curves and puffy cushions are a definite ‘no, no’.
- Warm grey is the hotest new colour but rich reds are also still
- In leather, black and beige sofas are selling best.
- Corner and L-shaped seating, which maximise small spaces, is very en vogue as are stylish L shaped feet in a chrome finish.
- Texture is big news with soft fabrics in boucle, felt or teddy bear fabric all the rage. Mixing fabric and leather has become very trendy .A base and front of leather and a back and seat of fabric allow different textures on the same piece.
- Leather sofas are expensive and need to be treated with some degree of care.
- Practical high protection leathers are treated during the tanning process making them resistant to liquids, sunlight, and wear and tear, ideal for families with sticky fingered toddlers or hyperactive pets.
- Real leather will always bear the marks of its natural origin, variation in grain, shading, brand marks, healed scars, insect bites, blemishes and stretch marks. These ‘flaws’ are the hallmarks of authentic leather.
- It’s a good idea to consider your lifestyle when choosing a suite. If you have a busy household with children and pets then it’s advisable to select a leather that offers increased resistance such as a high protection/corrected grain leather.
- If you buy a light-coloured leather beware of continuous contact with non-fast colourfast clothing, such as denim, as the dye can permanently stain your suite. Denim is a very abrasive material and tends to have buckles and rivets that can scratch or tear leather. Newsprint also leaves traces of ink that can permanently discolour leather so never leave newspapers sitting on your sofa or under seat cushions.
- Never use aerosols, chemical polishes, detergents, saddle soap, wax soap or any cleaner with a solvent-based carrier. If you’re finding it difficult to remove a stubborn stain, seek professional advice.
The structure of your sofa is crucial to your comfort and its longevity. Before buying make sure to:
- Ask what the frame of the sofa is made of. 100% beech wood kiln dried frames tend to be the hardest and will give the sofa extra strength so that it won’t break, beech wood and boxwood combined frames will be weaker, boxwood is actually the wood that orange boxes are made of.
- Look for good woods such as pine, mahogany and beech or a metal frame. Avoid frames made of chipboard.
- Sit on the arm and feel the back of the sofa, You shouldn’t feel the wood frame underneath the upholstery and padding – hard edges will cause fabrics to wear quickly.
- Check what the sofa is made of. If cushions are loose remember to check the type of filling. Plain foam does not keep its shape for long. Interior fillings vary hugely – duck feature and laytex foams are ideal so select the comfort level you enjoy most. Do try to avoid a feather filling if puffing up the cushions everyday is not for you.
- Comfort depends on your own personal taste, however sofa experts advise that you plump for a firmer model as it will be better for your posture, less maintenance and sofas do soften with use. That said, the final word is up to you – if fluffy feather and down is your idea of heaven, then sit back and relax.