Choosing the perfect couch is more than just eyeballing one that looks nice in a furniture warehouse and pointing to it. If you want it to work in your space, and be comfortable and long lasting, there are a few things you’ll want to consider.
The right size for the room
Buying a couch that’s too large or too small for your space can mess with the proportions of the room and make the whole thing feel off. But, buy a couch that’s too short, and you can forget about comfortable napping.
A little preparation can give you the peace of mind to pull the trigger when you find the couch you want. Make a template out of butcher paper and tape it to the floor to get a feel for the scale. If you need dimension to really be able to visualize the room, a half dozen or so empty moving boxes stacked side by side can help. Remember also that if your couch will be facing a TV, you’ll want proper distance for prime viewing. CRUTCHFIELD has a handy guide based on the size and of your TV and definition of the screen.
FYIThe right shape for the room
You might have your heart set on a sectional with a great big chaise on one end, but will that work in your space? If a sectional blocks a door or walkway, it’s probably not right for the room.
Take solace in the fact that sectionals come in a variety of sizes and configurations. Modular versions and those that can be customized to fit right and left angles increase the likelihood that you can find a sectional for your room.
The right depth
Many standard couches come in a depth of 36″ or 38″. But will that provide the comfort level you’re looking for? Interior designer Windsor Smith doesn’t think so. “I don’t own a sofa that isn’t at least 40″ deep, so I can curl up,” she told House Beautiful. “Anything shallower feels like it belongs in a dentist’s office.”
The right color
The golden rule when it comes to choosing a color for your couch is to go neutral. That way you can inject color and pattern into accessories instead of tying yourself to a bolder hue on a larger, more expensive piece. “Color is an extension of style, but deserves separate consideration,” said Bob Vila. “If you like to continually reinvent your living room – trying new accent pillows, rugs, and curtains on a whim – sticking with a neutral-colored sofa will give you more room to play.”
But, “neutral” means different things to different people. Instead of beige, how about gray, olive, green, or navy blue. These indigo sofas provide the standout color in the room, but could just as easily work with deeper hues on the walls, other pops of color from neutrals to jewel tones, and layered patterns.
DecoistThe right fabric for your lifestyle
Mohair. Leather, Linen. Corduroy. Silk. Velvet. These are just a few of the options available for couch fabric. So how do you choose? It depends on what you’re looking for.
“I don’t love delicate silks – sometimes the more expensive fabric you get, the more expensive and harder it is” to maintain, said designer Noa Santos on the Wall Street Journal. “Velvet feels more luxurious because of the way it reflects light. It sort of disperses it, giving the room a nice glow. Leather can give you a harsher reflection.”
For those with kids and/or pets, microfiber is a favorite choice. Not only is it durable, but it’s also easy to clean.
GRID FurnishingsThe right style
Do you want contemporary lines or a more traditional feel? Tailoring or a casual look?
“If you lean toward the more formal and fancy, or have a ‘traditional’ design aesthetic, a sofa with tufting or a tailored upholstered piece with exposed legs may be a good option,” said Amber Interior Design. “If you tend to be more casual, a slipcover sofa makes a less formal statement and is especially perfect for high-traffic areas or families with small children because you can quickly throw the slipcovers in the wash.”
You’ll also want to think about your lifestyle when choosing your style of couch.
“If you’re someone who enjoys movie nights in, then having a pillow-back sofa is much more comfortable,” said the Wall Street Journal. “If you like having cocktail parties, then you want something cool, sexy and easy to clean.
Nail down the details
Rolled arms, square arms, no arms? Attached pillows, throw pillows, curved back, straight back? Heed a few tips from the Denver Post when choosing your details:
“More than almost any other feature, a sofa’s arms declare its style. Stuffed rounded (called sock arms) work in laid-back casual interiors, such as cottages or country homes. Structured, rectangular arms work well in transitional or modern spaces. Curved arms lean traditional. Clean-lined wooden arms look mid-century.”
Stanton Home FurnishingsWhen it comes to choosing cushions, they recommend pillow backs “for crashing and lounging. (They) are most comfortable. They’re also the most traditional.” For a more tailored and formal look, go with “tight-backed sofas. Tufted backs are handsome, but are not the best choice for everyday use. When selecting a tufted back, know that the wider apart the tufts, the plusher the padding. Smaller tufting creates a tighter, more rigid back.”