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7 things you need to consider when buying a sofa

Posted on 19 March 2017

There are some big-ticket items in our home that we just cannot live without, like a bed, a dining table and of course a sofa; and when it comes to choosing the right ones for our homes, it takes A LOT of thought.

Making the wrong decision is the worst, who wants to end up couch they just cannot get comfortable on? So we asked our design experts Kirsty Wilson and Katie Sargent what to think about when choosing a sofa just to make that choice that little bit easier.


Katie: I like to identify big-ticket items when purchasing new furniture, lighting or accessories. Big-ticket items are those you really shouldn't scrimp on and your sofa is most certainly such a piece. Everyone will have their own budget or threshold that they can stretch to, but when it comes to your sofa, try and buy the best you can. It will save you money in the long run.

Kirsty: Consider lifestyle and the use of the sofa. Is the sofa for an informal space, to be used for lounging and watching movies etc? Make sure its long/ and deep enough to comfortably lay out on! The average sofa is around 2 metres long but you may want something longer. For couples a large L shaped sofa is great. For families consider modular sofa pieces with footstools that allow various configurations and flexibility, such as U shaped. If the sofa is for a more formal sitting area, you will probably want to opt for something firmer, shallower, and with better back support for sitting up. A tufted sofa would look beautiful in a more formal setting, but avoid if you have young children...tufting is a great gathering place for crumbs of all shapes and sizes!!!

Katie: Sofa's have different fillings; they may be made of feather or down, or foam, or a mix. The firmness of the filling will affect the comfort and the look. For example, feather fill is exquisite to sink into, it really is a luxury, but you may be allergic to down, and you will need to always be plumping up the cushions! However it will give you a luscious, plump and inviting look. However, for a more structured, formal style sofa, this may not be appropriate.


the design files - Sofa - Pop & Scott

Kirsty: I agree with Katie here, choosing the right filling for your sofa cushions is crucial. Generally speaking, foam gives a neater appearance and is more resilient, springing back into shape easily. Feathers definitely give a more relaxed look and require more maintenance – as Katie mentioned, you will have to plump the cushions regularly to maintain shape. You can try a mix of foam and feathers, this will strike a balance as you will still get the feel of the sumptuous sit but with less maintenance than 100% feather. 

Kirsty: You need to get the size right. Consider the use of the space; do people have to walk through the space and past the sofa regularly? How much room is needed for this? As a general rule of thumb, allow 75 - 90 cm of space for this where possible. Grab a tape measure and measure out rough dimensions of the sofas you have your eye on to get an idea. And if you find it difficult to visualise this way, you can cut out the shape of the sofa to size on brown paper and lay it out in your room. Or you could get some string and measure the sofa to the size and shape to get a good idea of how it will work with your space.


Glitz Sofa available from domu - check out our full range of sofas here

Katie: It is important to also think carefully about the surrounding furniture. If you are purchasing other furniture items at the same time as your sofa - for example armchairs, a coffee table and side tables, you can coordinate heights at the same time so it is less of an issue. But if you have a stunning side table that you will placing the new sofa next to, make sure it is high enough to easily place you coffee or wine glass on without having to clamber over high sofa arms! The relationship between heights of sofa cushions, coffee tables and side tables may sound basic but it really does impact the functionality of each piece and how they work harmoniously (or not!) together.

Kirsty: In general, sofas are one place where I almost always advise clients to spend a good portion of their budget. But - this is a personal thing depending on you and your situation, so there is no hard and fast rule on how to play this. Just a few considerations - If you have very young children you can either opt for a cheaper sofa in the exact style and colour you like that you wont mind getting wrecked with bits of jam/paint or colouring pen over the next few years, before replacing it with a more expensive higher quality sofa at the right time OR you may prefer to invest in a really good quality sofa from the start, and opt for a style you like but in either a dark colour or a loud pattern, both of which will help to disguise any mishaps by little hands! And that hopefully won’t require replacing for many years! With either option, you could always use a large throw when the children are around. There are plenty of inexpensive sofa's out there that are stylish and look great, and give a decent comfort level too. The same considering can be used for those who change their minds/style/taste regularly (or who, like my mother, just want to decorate every 12 months!) - you may decide that you want to buy cheaper sofas that are 'of the moment' that can easily be replaced regularly for little cost. *Tip - to check quality of a sofa frame, get the sofa by the leg/corner on one side, and lift it up around 7 inches. If the other side also lifts up then the frame is a good one! If it doesn' is less sturdy. 

Hopefully this gives you all some good food for thought when choosing your next sofa.

katie-sargent kirsty-wilson

Thanks to Katie & Kirsty for answering this weeks subscriber question.

If there is something you are struggling with at the moment and want some advice, make sure you send your questions to


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