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How To Shop For Your First Sofa

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A common rite of passage for young adults – fresh out of school, and starting a new career – is moving into their own home or apartment. But cementing your independence in this way also means having to shop for furniture to fill your new home. Bean bags and a few pillows might have worked in your student accommodation, but they’ll definitely not cut it in your own home.

One of the most important pieces – and in many cases, the most expensive – will be a sofa for the heart of any home: the living room. Given the importance of a sofa, it makes sense to take a extra care when shopping for your sofa, rather than just buying the first on that “looks good”. Because looking good isn’t the only factor to consider when looking at new sofas.


How To Shop For Your First Sofa

How Much Space do you Have?

Taking measurements is an all important step; whatever you do, you should never trust your eyes. Record accurate measurements of your living room, doorways, passages, and the entrance to the property: you shouldn’t only be checking what size sofa your living room can accommodate, but also what restrictions doorways and passages may impose. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a sofa, only to find you can’t get it into your living room because of a too narrow doorway.

Once you start looking at sofas, don’t make the mistake of only considering the width in relation to the space you have: depth and height vary from one sofa to the next, and are just as important as width. A sofa that is too deep or high can be a bit overbearing in a smaller living room.

What Type of Sofa will Work Best?

Sofas come a variety of configurations that don’t only suit certain types of rooms, but also particular types of uses. These include:

  • classic sofas (standalone armchairs, 2-seaters, and 3-seaters),
  • compact sofas (great for very small spaces),
  • corner sofas,
  • modular sofas (similar to corner sofas, but much more versatile and customisable),
  • sofa beds

When deciding on the configuration or style, don’t only consider the available space, but also where your TV will be positioned, and whether or not you will want a coffee table or ottoman. A sofa bed and an ottoman with built-in storage are both great choices for small homes and apartments, especially if you occasionally have guests sleeping over.

At the same time, 3-seaters often work best in very large spaces, when paired with another 3-seater, or two armchairs. For a smaller – but not too compact – space, a better configuration might be two 2-seaters facing each other, simulating a conversation circle.

What Type of Fabric is Better?

Suede, velvet, and silk are undoubtedly luxurious fabrics, but they are also delicate, and hard to clean. If you plan on entertaining frequently, or even keeping a pet, look for fabrics with a tight weave, a high thread count, and not too much texture. These fabrics are not only more resilient to frequent use, but also easier to keep clean. Similarly, darker coloured fabrics don’t show dirt easily, but may make fading more noticeable than a lighter colour.

In the end, as with all other furnishings, your choice of sofa is yours to make. The biggest consideration to account for is the amount of available space; everything else is secondary to your personal tastes. A good sofa could last up to 15-years before needing to be replaced, and in that time you will be able to hide wear and tear – or modernise a slightly out-of-date style – with the help of throws and pillows. But you’ll never be able to disguise a sofa that is too big for the space it’s in.



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