How To Choose A Good Sofa
Guide to Buying a Good Sofa
With so many choices of sofa in the market, it is sometimes hard to make a good decision. Lack of choices and being flooded with choices are equally challenging. This is especially true in a market where majority of products are made “not to last”. There is a tendency for factories to make something with 20% of the quality in the past, and vendors then sell them at 50% of the price in the past. So beware that whilst you get a 50% discount, you may be getting 20% of what you used to get in terms of quality, durability and enjoyment.
Here is a useful guide with simple to follow steps for you to make the wise choice for your sofa.
- Know the available space
Give your space a good measure. People generally make the mistake of buying a sofa too small for their space because they are afraid to cramp up their living room. Most designers will tell you, “small sofa makes your place look smaller than it really it”. So try to buy one that is big enough; the likelihood is that it will never be too big if it fits into the space.
- Understand your style
Everybody is talking about being riveted by Downton Abbey. You realize that it is because of the backdrop of every scene, the landscape and the interior, which is filled with style of the glorious past that resonates with your heart – Chesterfield, Knole sofas, nail head trims etc. You have to find what appeals to your inner voice – perhaps it is a plush, nature-soft genuine leather, or black-and-white stripes, or an coming-to-trend gray Chesterfield, or an elegant silver New York style tufted sofa. Whatever it is, avoid run-of-the-mills sofas without an appealing design.
- Keep an open mind on colour
Some well intention advice mongers tell us “always choose a neutral color” i.e. beige, because it goes with anything. Whilst in some cases, beige can be the perfect choice for a certain frame, a certain look in your living room etc, in many other cases, it simply means it will be boring or inconspicuous. Consider midnight blue, red, black-and-white, gray, black, blue, silver etc Striking color brings out the vibrancy in an otherwise lethagic setting – so you could feel lively even whilst you are snoozing on the couch!
- What is a good choice of sofa fabrics?
Choosing your sofa fabrics is different from choosing your bed linens. Whilst silk is a perfect choice for bed linens, designers typically prefer fabrics with a high polyester content; yes, polyester. This is because it is more durable. To have a sofa look elegant, for some fabrics, a small amount of cotton, linen or viscose is used. But the polyester constitution allows your sofa to be “evergreen”; too much of other materials such as linen or cotton may make it age prematurely.
If you minded to choose leather – and there is no reason you cannot afford it – buy only leather couches which are imported from places such as Italy or at least somewhere in the EU – as many leather sofas use synthetic, engineered leather that makes it look like genuine leather, or passing of lower quality leather as top grain leather. Leather is expensive and there is no escaping from it – so if a leather sofa is cheap, then likelihood is that it is not made of genuine top grain leather.
- Pay attention to the sofa frame
This is simple – but often mistaken by people who after all buy a sofa once in say five to six years or even ten years. If the frame is very light, it is likely not made of solid wood – try using your palm to push the sofa backward, and if the sofa can be tilted by such a simple action, then avoid it like a plague. Have you not heard furniture that are too light falling on toddlers or pets with serious injuries? However, some sofas are so heavy that you can hardly move it – this is equally bad because it is likely it is made of engineered wood (i.e. wood pulp bonded together chemically), rather than solid wood. The problem with engineered wood is that they are very heavy – but they can given way one day without any warning. Solid wood frame is what you should go for.
- Seat cushions of the sofa are important
This is somewhat a personal choice. Designers generally prefer “not to soft, not too hard” – so a medium firm is usually a good choice – you can sit comfortably on it, and you can use it as a daybed at the same time. Feathers or downs are great – but because they are highly costly, most couches that come with feather seat cushions are not sufficiently padded, and very quickly you will find they are not comfortable to sit on or sleep in. So medium firm is ideal, best is if it has some pocketed springs, of course.
- Depth of the sofa
A sofa is often not just something to sit on, but a place to take a nap. So it is almost unforgivable to have a couch that looks like one you find in a dentist’s clinic that you cannot even put your whole butt on. Always make sure the sofa is at least 82cm deep; but ideally it is more than 90cm.
- Buying “a sofa set” or “mix and match”
In the market, many sofas are sold as a set i.e. you get a three-seater, a two-seater, and perhaps even an armchair. This may seem like a bargain – but often it is not what you need, and yet you have paid for them all. It is far better to get a good three-seater for $2,000 than to pay the same for three-piece set which tend to be of lower quality. Most apartments really only need one good three-seater and perhaps an armchair. If yours is bigger than that, then you are one of the fortunate souls – and you can well afford splurging to “mix and match” a three-seater, with some beautiful accent pieces. Always consider a lovers seat!
Enjoy your shopping spree!