Buying a sofa is one of the most important investments you're likely to make for your home. In the living room it's a piece of furniture where we lounge, read, eat and drink, entertain family and friends, watch TV and, even sleep, so it makes sense that we take the time to invest in one that's going to last for years to come, right? From taking measurements to choosing a good frame, these are 5 things you should consider before buying a new sofa.
1. TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
You know when you're on the hunt for a new mattress and you do the age-old bottom test? Well, the same theory applies to a sofa. The average sofa has a seat depth of at least 60cm, which gives plenty of room to man-oeuvre if you have long legs, and allows you to tuck them under if you're shorter. But seat depths do vary, so definitely try out different styles to ensure you get good back support. When it comes to seat height, most designs are between 45cm and 50cm high. There's no right or wrong height, so again, try before you buy to make sure it suits the whole family. And finally, check the total width, excluding armrests, if you like to stretch out.
2. INVEST IN A GOOD FRAME
Spend as much as you can afford on a quality frame – it will see you through many years of lounging. A solid hardwood frame is a good option, but be wary of a particleboard or metal construction. Also, take note of the guarantee before you commit – always opt for manufacturers who offer at least a 15-year guarantee.
3. CHECK THE CUSHIONS
Remember that what's inside a sofa is just as important as what's used on the outside. When it comes to the sofa back and seat, feather-filled cushions are high on comfort but they will need regular plumping, while foam or fiber fillings may flatten out and lose their shape over time. The perfect solution? The team at Sofa.com recommend choosing a combination of feather and foam as 'feathers give the squish while the foam provides structure'. Back cushions filled with feathers and seat cushions filled with foam or fiber works well.
4. FOCUS ON FABRIC
Whether you go for a bold color, pattern or a neutral, your choice of upholstery fabric will have a huge impact on the room, so choose carefully to ensure it fits with your scheme. Natural materials may fade in strong sunlight so go for a synthetic fabric if the sofa will be near a window. It's particularly important in a busy family home, and if you have a dog or cat, opt for a fabric that's easy to spot clean. In this case, loose covers are worth investigating, as they can be removed for cleaning and some are washable too.
5. MEASURE UP
There is honestly nothing worse than buying furniture that doesn't fit into your home (remember Ross Geller's iconic 'PIVOT' sofa scene in Friends?), so before you do anything, measure up. Get out the tape measure and make sure you're certain of the maximum sofa dimensions that will fit, and suit, your space. Also, check the dimensions of any doors and stairways the sofa will have to pass through on delivery – your unscuffed walls will thank you.