A beautiful, well-suited, well-proportioned sofa can make or break a living room scheme. It’s the focal point and centrepiece of a space, around which everything else is evolved. It’s also an investment buy that’s used and enjoyed day in day out, so it’s important to get it right from the beginning and ensure it suits both the style of your home and your lifestyle. Choose well and you’ll end up with a sofa that can endure as well as adapt with you.
My current sofa looks the part, but it isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. I wish I had spent more time researching sofa designs and a little more money, so I’ve teamed up with Darlings of Chelsea to share some tips for choosing a sofa.
1. Measure up
Make sure you measure both the size of your living room and the size of your doorways (including your front door!) to ensure your new sofa is right for your space and goes with the rest of your furniture. ‘This is so important, both to make sure that the sofa will look good in your room and the delivery team will be able to fit the sofa into your home,’ says John Darling, owner of Darlings of Chelsea.
It may seem a bit obvious but the amount of times I’ve ordered something, though ‘that will fit’ then it appears and suddenly it looks too big/too small/too long. One of the little tricks I do is measure the size of the furniture out with masking tape on the floor, so I can step back and get a rough idea of how it will impact the room. Is there enough space to get around the sofa? Will there be enough leg room when it’s positioned with the coffee table or other furniture? Which orientation in the room will be the most space efficient?
2. Consider your lifestyle
We all fall for the looks of a sofa, but there’s no point in getting a stunning, spotless white sofa for instance if there’s kids or four-legged friends about. To get the best out of a design, think about how the sofa will be used and by whom.
If you’re a couple who like to watch a lot of box sets, how about a L-shaped sofa, like the Amy chaise sofa, so you can both stretch out? If the sofa’s for a family room and it’s likely to get a lot of wear and tear, consider a design with a hard-wearing material and removable covers. If you like entertaining and gathering friends around, then make sure there’s a seat for everyone.
3. Comfort is key!
Do a bit of research and head to the shops to test out designs and find out what you like. Get your bums on seats! When it comes to sofas I think it’s so important to try before you buy and get the comfort level and snuggle factor spot on. Lean back and consider the height of the back, does it support your neck and head? How do the armrests feel? Take the whole family with you, can you all sit on it comfortably without feeling like sardines??
It’s also a good idea to think about materials, not only how the sofa fabric feels to touch but the filling too, whether duck feather filled or a firmer foam, especially if anyone in your family has allergies. Says Darling, ‘This will be the place you presumably spend a lot of your down time, you need to make sure the filling and cushion firmness / shape suit your comfort preferences.’
4. Devils in the detail
As well as the whole picture and the look of the space, think about the little details too. Sofa feet for example come in all shapes and sizes – sleek metal legs and minimal feet suit contemporary spaces, while chunkier, wooden legs will ground a more traditional scheme.
Sofas, such as the Rocco sofa above, raised off the floor are great for small spaces, seeing the floor running underneath them will give the illusion of a light, airy space. If lack of storage is an issue, you might want to consider something like the Marco 4 seater sofabed, the sofa cushions can be lifted up to hide away extra cushions or childrens’ toys.
Think about the overall look and feel of the room you’re trying to create, whether it’s Scandi, boho or country style, or anything and everything in between. Bear in mind the other pieces of furniture in the room, will the colours clash? What is the overriding theme you’re going for? Consider taking swatches of paint colours or a favourite cushion to a showroom to try out with sofa designs or visa versa, taking fabric samples home to match with items you’ve already got.
Personalise your space and experiment with designs – Darlings of Chelsea offer a wide range of sofa styles handcrafted in the UK, with the option of customising upholstery, and modular designs where different units can be combined in multiple ways. Clean lines and minimal shapes with simple details are perfect for creating fuss-free, contemporary spaces, while more traditional shapes such as chesterfields are ideal for more eclectic tastes.
But what are the sofa trends this year? John Darling says he’s seeing, ‘bold jewel tones, especially in velvet. Modern corner sofas and velvet sofas are popular at the moment. We have recently seen orders for peacock, teal and royal purples. People are moving away from the neutral grey look of 2016 and back into bold, fun colours.’ Although I don’t think grey will ever go out of fashion (not on my watch!), there are some great alternative to neutrals out there, such as the dusty pink Paisley sofa below.
I think there’s something here for everyone, whether you’re a traditionalist or a minimalist, whether you’re a sucker for a grey sofa or love a dash of colour. And the good news – all of these designs are in the sale!
Do any of these designs catch your eye? Have you got any tips for choosing a sofa?
All images courtesy Darlings of Chelsea. This is a sponsored post written in collaboration with Darlings of Chelsea