10 Tips on Selecting a Sofa

In Interior Design by Evelyn3 Comments

A sofa is one of the hardest working pieces of furniture you have in your home. It has to be comfortable, durable, stylish and affordable based on your budget.

The correct sofa will make your space more functional, it will set the tone for  your ‘look’, it can be the jumping off point for your entire decor direction. Do not make the choice of the kind of sofa you purchase lightly.

Having said that, budget is the biggest hurdle as usual, but especially in the sofa selection process. Here are 10 tips to make it a bit easier for you.

1. Measure your space, make sure you size your sofa to your room dimensions and needs. There are some basic sizes, 54″ , 72″,  84″.  Depths are deceiving as well….we all know of people who bought a sofa on a whim because it was on sale and realized that 44″ deep is too large for their space and does not suit their 5’4″ stature!

2. Inquire on the structure of the sofa. The guts of this piece of furniture is the key to your comfort and the longevity. Take a look at the photo below from Avery Boardman which illustrates the various options. The way the cushions are manufactured will determine the comfort level which suits you.


How a cushion is made will determine its comfort and longevity (image from Avery Boardman)

3. The more you pay for your sofa, the more customization you will have to make it ‘yours’. Details like legs, arm styles and amount of cushions all play into the style of the sofa.

Leg options from Avery Boardman show you how many different types of looks you can have by just changing the leg style.

4. The sofa arm style is an instant give-away to the ‘style’ of the sofa. A curvy and rounded arm will generally look traditional and an angular straight arm will look contemporary.

This William Birch style sofa is a classic and suits a traditional look.


A boxy arm with a tight seat and boxy legs makes this sofa quite contemporary

5.  ‘Show-wood frames’ add to the price of a sofa, however, it truly adds to the style and elegance of a sofa. Whether traditional or contemporary, this is a nice way to upgrade the look of your sofa.

A 'show-wood' contemporary sofa...this one is gorgeous and timeless.

6. Consider a slipcover for either a dated sofa or buy a new one and allow yourself the luxury of a summer and winter look. Have a professional look at your sofa to determine whether the style of your sofa suits a slipcover and how it should be created to suit the sofa design.

Slipcover sofas do not have to be shabby and messy. It is a great option allowing you to have one sofa many looks.

7. Decorative items such as nail-heads will give your sofa a touch of sparkle and higher end detailing. Most sofas can have nailheads added to them by an Upholsterer. You could purchase a sofa and simply add this detail to give it a different look.

Nail-heads give this sofa a masculine and handsome look. The faxct that it is a single cushion sofa gives it a clean and stately look.

8. Consider the back cushions, do you want attached cushions which will not move , do you want semi attached cushions which look like they are loose but are attached discreetly, do you want loose pillows, or neither, just a tight back??? All these questions will be determined by the style of the sofa, your desire for maintaining the look of your sofa and also comfort.

Many loose cushions on the sofa look great only when all the cushions are in place.


These are loose cushions, but very tailored, you can flip them and they generally look great at all times.

9. The fabric of the sofa is the skin which will give it the aesthetic appeal as well as comfort. I generally prefer a solid colour with accent cushions in order to give longevity to this investment.


This tight back sofa is pretty and a bold statement for sure.

10. As a rule, DO NOT purchase a 3 piece set. Measure your room and then determine what your functional needs are for sitting. 2 sofas, 4 chairs, 2 loveseats, a sofa and 2 chairs….be open minded and don’t think that just because the showroom shows 3 pieces, you have to purchase the ‘set’.

This contemporary sofa sits very comfortably in the traditional decor. Notice the single seat...this is what makes it so chic.

Two sofas facing each other is one of my favourite arrangements...great for conversation, napping, reading...

This straight armed sofa is the one style which truly suits any decor..from traditional to contemporary, all you need to do is accessorize accordingly

Images are from;

Leeindustries, Architectural Digest and Houzz.com




  1. Jeff B

    These tips are phenomenal. I always wanted a quick guideline for finding the right sofa as I don’t know much about them but use them all the time 🙂

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