What to do before you buy a sofa

Measure your space before you buy a sofa

While you don’t want a massive sofa in a tiny space, you do want a sofa that’s roomy enough to relax on. So measure up to ensure the fit is right for both the space and how you live. When it comes to shape, think about the look you’re going for, the design of the room, and how you use a sofa. Do you lie out on it or do you want support? Will it fit the whole family? It’s important to understand how you will use the sofa and match the design aspects to this.


Make sure it's made from quality materials

Sofas are normally filled with foam, fibre or feathers, or a combination of these. While I love feather-filled sofa cushions, they do require regular plumping! The frame of the sofa is really important, so go for the best you can afford. A solid hardwood frame such as beech will last longer than a frame made of pine or metal. Although cheaper, these frames can be a false economy as they’ll need replacing in a few years.

Consider the layout of the room

The space will dictate where to put the sofa. We have a sofa with two armchairs in our living room. I like the way the space is broken up by the chairs alongside the sofa. I’ve noticed that guests often gravitate towards the chairs – I suppose they feel they are encroaching on ‘our’ space less by sitting there! However, if room allowed, I would happily have two sofas facing each other, with a coffee table or ottoman in between, as this creates a cosy set-up that encourages conversation. I am not a fan of pushing sofas up against the walls, I like them to ‘breathe’. Putting your sofa centrally, if space allows, creates a lovely feel in a room. Sometimes, you can use a sofa to create zones in a room: a seating area and a dining area, for example.

Add a pop of colour

I love strong shades for sofas – our sofa is a lime green velvet. On paper, that sounds brave and difficult to work with but, in reality, it provides the room with a wonderful injection of colour that’s actually much easier to work with than you might imagine. It genuinely acts as a neutral (honest!), and provides a great base from which the cushions and homewares in the room can ‘pop’.

More like this

Much like bold colours, patterned fabrics can also pull a space together. Patterns and colours don’t need to match, so you can have fun adding different yet complementary designs into the space through soft furnishings and wallpaper.


Expert tip

Jane Durisova, Company Director Beaumont & Fletcher

Silk velvet is synonymous with luxury, valued in the interiors industry for its lustre and ability to age gracefully. To extend its life, we recommend vacuuming several times a year on a low setting with a fine mesh over the nozzle. Always work carefully in the direction of the nap.' 

Protect your new sofa

Once you’ve decided on your fabric, the next thing to think about is whether to opt for fitted covers or removable slip covers. The latter are great in family homes as they are easier to keep clean. But I’d say that stain protection is essential on all sofa fabrics. We added this at the time of buying our sofa and it has meant that a bottle of red wine spilt over the seat simply washed straight off. A lifesaver!