When considering the purchase of a sofa, there are many factors to research. What is your family's lifestyle? What is the size of the space where the sofa will be placed? What kind of fabric, filling, frame, style are you planning to purchase? What is the color scheme of the room? How big are the doorway openings? Does the room have a high or low ceiling?
Decorators often masking tape the outline of the space on the floor where the sofa may be placed. Extra space needs to be allowed for a reclining section.
A general rule is to purchase a high back sofa if the room has a high ceiling and a regular or low back sofa for a room with a low ceiling.
Presently, bold colors and patterned fabric are popular. You would be wise to order fabric swatches to place around the room where the sofa will sit to see if the colors blend properly. It is always a safe bet to choose a neutral fabric and jazz it up with throw pillows. Leather is the most durable material, especially around children, but not if you have dog(s) or cat (s) since their nails could puncture the leather. You will find the largest selection of colors and patterns in cotton, linen, and synthetic fabrics. These fabrics can also be stain guarded and cleaned. Quilted and tufted fabrics will need vacuumed often and will be harder to clean.
When choose a sofa frame, select the hardest woods, not pine. To check the sofa's strength and stability, lift the front right sofa leg at least 6 inches off the floor, the left leg should follow without the sofa bowing.
If the room is large enough, a sectional corner sofa allows flexibility and multiple seating areas. Styles such as mid-century sofas have exposed legs. Chesterfield sofas have low backs and quilting. Camel-back sofas have high backs which descend to the arms and also may have exposed legs and wood framing. Lawson-style sofas have separate cushions on the seat and back. Bridgewater sofas have high backs with roll or scroll arms. A love seat accommodates two people and can come in any of the above styles.
Natalie A. Gauci
Licensed Interior Designer working in the Tampa Bay, Florida area.