Thursday, January 21, 2010

How to Buy a Quality Sofa


When it comes to selecting a sofa, the choices are endless. Fabric, leather, or a combination of both … every possibility is available to create stylish seating in your living space.

But before you get carried away with finishes or features, there are a few basic considerations and decisions that will ensure you will be sitting comfortably with your new purchase.

Sofa Check List
Examine the space – Each room has a natural location for the main seating. Generally this will be parallel to the fireplace or perpindicular to the television. Check that there is enough access to other features in the room, make sure that doorways are not obstructed and power points are accessible. Is there suitable floor space to place a coffee table and lamps?

Measuring Up – An effective way of judging what size of sofa, apartment sofa, Love Seat or Setee will suit the space is to place a large piece of paper matching the sofa's footprint on the floor. This 'map' will give you a feel for the maximum dimensions available and how the sofa will work with existing furniture.

If you are good with a computer, many websites have floor planners where you can draw the room and rearrange furniture to your hearts content.

Make sure you can get the sofa in the room! Get the tape measure out to take a note of the dimensions of the doorways – both into the living space and through the main access point. The last thing you want is to have to remove doors to make way for your new purchase! Many larger designs (such as the corner groups) come as modular units which can un-click for this very reason.

Usage – As with any other practical feature of your home, your new sofa must reflect your lifestyle. Do you have young children or pets? Do you eat in this room? Do you entertain regularly? Is there access to the garden from the living space? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, a sturdy frame and an easy-to-clean surface are essential. There is little point setting your heart on the beautifully upholstered cream chaise, only to have it soiled or damaged in a short space of time. Function must follow form.

Time to Buy
With your check list examined it is time to make more decisions!

Dynamic shapes work to great effect in modern settings. Once considered a luxury item, leather sofas are now widely available and affordable. The considerable advantage of leather is its longevity. A great choice for families with youngsters or pets, this hardy material is easy to clean and will better with age. However, the price tag will relate to the 'grade' of leather and the more you spend, generally, the better the quality. If you plan not to change the seating for several years, avoid leather look-a-likes. Always check stitching and the quality of the cushion's zips.

Upholstered sofas are enjoying a renaissance in popularity, with plush fabrics and exquisite patterns extensively available. Previously only accessible from bespoke furniture upholsterers, great quality fabric sofas with professional finishes are available from many High Street retailers. However, it is important to be mindful of existing furnishings to ensure the patterns work together.

Fillings – What is inside your sofa is probably the last consideration on your mind, but it will affect the look, feel and comfort of your seating. There are three main categories: foam, fibre or feather-filled. If the seating is not used a great deal, foam is an adequate and cheaper choice. Fibre has a softer feel and is less expensive than feather filling. The latter is the most luxurious, moulding to your form. Plumping of cushions is required to maintain shape.

Style and Shape – Contemporary or classic; angular or curved? High back or low roll-back? There are a bewildering number of style choices, but having identified the practical considerations in our check list, you will now know the best type of sofa for you and your home. The style will be denoted by your preference of furnishings. A modern home will provide the best setting for a stunning angular sofa with minimalist styling. A period home will therefore be home to traditional forms, such as Chesterfields, button back details and carved legs.

By doing your homework before you begin searching, you will be able to identify the perfect sofa, and avoid costly mistakes.