A recent survey we conducted revealed that people spend a surprisingly large amount of their day on the sofa. Not just a place to sit and relax on an evening, the sofa has become the new dining room, bedroom and office all rolled into one.
Our findings show that while relaxing and watching TV are still the most popular sofa activities with 80% of people doing this on a regular basis, a huge 63% of participants also eat and drink on their sofas too. On top of this, a sofa needs to be suitable for work and play, with 55% of people socialising and 19% of people working on their sofa. And it seems that a lot of people like to take a sofa nap, with our survey revealing that 35% of people use their sofa for sleeping.
After your bed, the sofa is probably the piece of furniture where you spend the most time. So, it’s important to choose the perfect sofa that’s comfy enough for an afternoon snooze, supportive enough when you’re working from home and stylish enough to impress your guests.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to sofa shapes, sizes, styles and fabric options, make yourself comfortable and delve into our handy sofa guide.
Find the right fit
When investing in a new sofa, one of the key considerations is size and shape – which sofa will fit in your room and provide enough space for everyone to sit comfortably? The size and shape of your sofa will dictate the whole look and feel of your living room, so it’s important to get this part right.
The most common sofa sizes and shapes are as follows:
A snuggler (or cuddler) is larger than a standard armchair but smaller than a two-seater sofa. It’s perfect for one person to get comfy, or a cosy option for two.
Often known as a loveseat, a two-seater sofa is a compact and space-saving option for a couple. Two seaters also work well as additional seating alongside a larger sofa.
A three seater sofa is the most common sofa size. It works well in most spaces and can seat three people comfortably.
Got a large room with a little extra space? A four seater sofa offers a spacious and accommodating option for up to four people, or room to stretch for two.
Corner sofas are ideal for large families or homes with frequent guests. Their ‘L’ shape gives them a relaxed and stylish look with loads of flexible seating space.
Recliner sofas come in a range of sizes and feature an extending footrest and a tilting back. Recliners are perfect for putting your feet up in front of the TV.
The sofa you choose will depend on the size and shape of your room. A large living room can probably accommodate a spacious corner sofa whereas a two seater may be the best option for a smaller room. To start, measure your space carefully then plan out your configuration options on paper to decide what will fit and what won’t. Think about:
- Not just the width of the sofa but the depth too
- How many people do you need to seat?
- How much space will be left to move around?
- Will there be enough room to open doors and cupboards?
- How will your new sofa fit with your existing living room furniture?
- The distance between your sofa and your TV stand
You’ll also need to think about getting the sofa into your home. Does your property have any restrictions or awkward spaces that may hamper delivery? Split sofas are a great option if you’re worried about this, as they can be broken down into two parts and manoeuvred separately.
Fabric or leather?
There are two main material options available when looking for a new sofa; fabric and leather. So which should you go for? Both materials have their own advantages, so the decision comes down to your own tastes and lifestyle.
A leather sofa makes a statement and in general sets a more sophisticated tone to a room. It can have a contemporary or rustic look depending on the finish and colour.
By its nature, leather is generally more durable than fabric and will last on average at least five years longer. And whilst fabric sofas can come with a stain repellent treatment, leather is easy to clean with just a quick wipe.
Fabric is generally thought to be comfier than leather. On warm days leather can absorb heat and become hot and sticky. And when it’s cold, it can be uncomfortably chilly too. A fabric sofa offers a soft and comfortable sit whatever the weather.
Fabric sofas offer more possibilities in terms of style, as they come in an array of colours, prints and materials, from neutral checked wool to bright blue velvet.
Find out more in our blog post Fabric of Leather Sofas: Which is Best?
Struggling to decide between them? Then look for a mixed fabric sofa that combines the comfort of fabric and the durability of leather. Perfect!
Whatever material you opt for, it is always a good idea to order fabric swatches before you commit to a purchase. A fabric swatch is the best way to judge the look and feel of a fabric and to see how it looks in different light.
What’s inside counts
Many people choose their sofa based on style, colour and size but don’t give much thought to what’s inside. Actually, the filling is one of the most important considerations when buying a new sofa! That’s because the type of filling determines comfort and longevity.
There are three different main varieties of filling that are commonly used in sofas: foam, fibre and feather. Let’s look at the advantages of each.
Fibre cushions are made from polyester strands. This gives a sofa a plump appearance but a soft sit, as the strands compress under pressure. Many people find the soft squishiness of fibre the most comfortable option.
Foam cushions are the firmest of all types and offer a more supportive sit. Their robust constriction looks better for longer and doesn’t require as much plumping as fibre or feather. Additionally, foam cushions tend to appear smoother and wrinkle-free.
Feather filled cushions offer a similar feel to fibre and are perfect if you want a sofa to sink into. To avoid clumping, feathers are often mixed with fibre.
Choose your style
So you’ve worked out which sofa will fit, whether you prefer a soft or supportive fit and chosen between leather or fabric. Now comes the fun part – deciding on your dream sofa style!
Sofas come in an array of styles ranging from contemporary to traditional and the right sofa can make or break the look and feel of your room. Here’s are a few popular styles to consider.
If you love simple and minimalist style, a contemporary sofa will fit perfectly with your décor. A great choice for modern homes and sleek city apartments, this style incorporates clean lines, block colours and bold geometric prints. Contemporary sofas with legs are a great choice for small homes as the area underneath gives the impression of space.
Classic design never gets old and a classic sofa is a winning option for traditional Victorian homes or country cottages. Look for heritage-inspired design such as scroll arms, button back detailing and floral or checked prints.
Retro style is making a huge come back in the world of interiors, whether it’s art deco glam or mid century modern. A sofa with vintage appeal can work well in both modern and traditional homes, adding a unique twist. Look for curved shapes and angled wooden legs, both signature elements of the retro-inspired sofa.
The chesterfield is one of the most iconic sofa styles around and will add timeless style to your living room. Featuring a traditional buttoned design that’s instantly recognisable, chesterfield sofas are available in both leather and fabric finishes.
With our expert information at hand, searching for your dream sofa couldn’t be simpler! Once you’ve decided on the right size and style for your home, browse our range of sofas to find your perfect match. Whether it’s a cosy fabric corner sofa or a luxurious velvet sofa, you can be sure of only the best quality when you buy from Barker and Stonehouse.