by Trevor Wilson, Interior Designer at BEAUFORT
The sofa has been described as “the foundation of any scheme”, and for many people, this is the first piece of furniture they choose when they are kitting out a new home. Key items to consider when investing in your new purchase include:
The primary function of a sofa is to be comfortable, so ensure you test out which sofa fits you best – and don’t just sit upright with two feet on the floor either – sit in it as you would if it was already yours, even try half lying down, like in the picture! This way you will be able to determine the structure of the sofa – if it has a sprung base, shaped foam, feather cushion inners….all of which will have an impact on the general comfort of the sofa, as well as how deep or upright the seating position.
Reminder as it is the foundation of your scheme, and if it is the first thing you buy for your living room, it will set the tone for your interior style. So, do you want something casual and relaxed or something elegant and sophisticated. Do you have a taste for a period-specific home or prefer to be out on the edge with something unique?
Almost every sofa on the market is available in a range of sizes, some can even be manufactured to an exact bespoke size. Many are available in a range of seating compositions as well, including corner-groups and peninsulas, and some sofas are in all sorts of asymmetrical organic shapes or come with a host of options including moving and adjustable elements. If you are buying from a retailer that has an interior design service, or if you are using a freelance designer, they will be able to offer advice on the sizing of your sofa. A scale drawing of your floorplan will help you visualise the flow of the room and how your seating solution will work, most interior design services can easily provide you with a two dimensional CAD layout or why not just mark out the dimensions of the sofa on your floor using tape to check it doesn’t dominate your room.
Pretty much any sofa, settee, couch, banquette can be covered in a range of fabrics, leathers and other materials; either those that can be supplied by the manufacturer, or COM (customer’s own material) which may be something you select from your retailer’s sample library. Usually there will be a choice for the supports: wooden legs, metal sliders, bun feet, castors, valences, etc. If you have kids or pets (or if you frequently host raucous parties), consider the durability and stain-resistance of the material, and of course the price: changing the cover fabric from the display-model can half or double the price of the sofa.
I would recommend you select a sofa you really love right from the start, don’t make do by buying a tide-you-over for a while product that you intend to replace in a year or two.