FYI: Quick Tips for Choosing the Right Sofa

June 9, 2015

I often get asked about the sofas I use in my designs. “Where did you buy that sofa?”, “How do you determine the size, scale, and fabric and fill?”  My answer is always “I dunno it depends” ha! Ok, I don’t really say that, but the answer to the “how do you pick the right sofa?” question, is that it’s not really such a simple black and white answer. There are a ton of factors to think about. I decided to give you all a little guide and devised a couple of steps on how to pick the right sofa for you.

// STEP 1: Determine how your sofa is going to be used //

If it is a family room sofa that you’ll be using for lounging, it’s likely you’ll want a deeper sofa.  Standard sofa depth ranges anywhere from 36 to 38 inches. If you anticipate using the sofa for curling up and really getting cuddly, or if a family member is particularly tall, opt for a deeper version.  You’ll thank me for this when you’ve plopped down on your sofa watching Netflix for hours on end. We create custom sofas for the majority of our clients, so they receive their perfect comfort level. Typically we use a 40″-42″ depth to get that cozy and cushy vibe.

If the sofa will be used as part of a more occasional sitting area that won’t necessarily be used as your main lounging area, consider a smaller sofa like this loveseat from West Elm.  You can pair it with a few occasional chairs and an ottoman to create a seating area conducive for conversation where people can sit across from one another rather than side by side on a large couch.

Also, consider the logistics of getting the new piece into your space. Be sure that your new purchase is physically able to fit through your home’s doorways, especially if you have an older home. Measure twice to be safe and avoid a big headache! You don’t want to get the perfect sofa home and only be able to get it as far as your front yard! Check with the retailer for delivery and clearance specifications, as it may have a quick reference tool such as Restoration Hardware’s Delivery Brochure. I know this sounds super “formal” and a little over the top “informative” but seriously…I have made this mistake before. It sucks!

Restoration Hardware mesauring guide

+ source +

// STEP 2: Identify Your Personal Style //

Seems like a no brainier, but really Knowing your personal style can help big time when trying to narrow down your quest for the perfect sofa and help you choose a style that reflects your lifestyle. 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, such as West Elm’s Montgomery Sofa pictured below.

west elm sofa+ source +

This style of sofa was perfect in the living room of my client freakin’ fabulous lovelies.

Amber Interiors - Client Freakin Fabulous - Neustadt 2source: Amber Interiors

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. Pottery Barn’s Catalina Slipcovered sofa is a great, classic shape with a nicely tailored slipcover. Check out the Louis sofa that I just started selling over on our very own Shoppe page for another cool slipcover option.

pottery barn sofasource +

This causal cool loveseat was a perfect fit – size and vibe – for this cute master bedroom.


source: Amber Interiors

If you have a large enough space and want a big ol’ sofa, you need to get yo’self a sectional! I love using sectionals in my client’s homes – it really makes the room feel uber comfy and cozy. You can customize or buy a sectional as is like the Restoration Hardware’s cloud cube sectional pictured below.


 Dr. client clients fell in love with this sectional that’s just calling for the whole family to jump on and lounge away!


source: Amber Interiors

In order to provide client freakin’ fabulous with a sectional just as fabulous as them, we created a custom one allowing us to give them exactly what they dreamed of.Amber Interiors - Client Freakin Fabulous - Neustadt 17source: Amber Interiors

// Consider Comfort & Fill //

The sofa’s placement and how it will be used determines the type of fill you want in the piece. Sofas are traditionally made of a dense polyfiber wrapped around a foam core, but many retailers offer upgrades such as down-feather cushions instead, for an additional cost.

Obviously, comfort should always be a consideration, but if you can’t afford upgraded fill in each of your sofas, determine where you’d like to splurge on fill by weighing which room receives more traffic. You will likely want to choose an upgraded fill in a TV room where you and your family spend a majority of your time. A super cozy cushy sofa that is a “go-to” for me is the Donato, which I also now sell through Shoppe!!

// Choose a Color That is appropriate for the Space // 

The fourth consideration when choosing a sofa is determining what color you will choose for the piece. If the piece is intended for the main living space, I usually like to recommend you choose a neutral fabric such as an oatmeal or charcoal gray for a couple reasons. One you won’t get sick of it as you may if you choose a pattern, and  color that is timeless and will fit with any décor style. Then furnish the room with colorful accessories such as pillows, an ottoman and art to add color to the space.

If the sofa is to be used in a more occasional sitting room, you can go bolder with your fabric choice, as these pieces tend to be more aesthetic than your staple sofa in the main living area.  You can go with a bright color or a fun pattern, like this one from Anthropologie or this loveseat from Sundance.

Happy Hunting!


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  1. I appreciate your tip to choose a sofa that is of a color that fits the space you plan to place it in that won’t be too distracting. Since a sofa can be a bit of an investment, it helps to pick one that you won’t get tired of too easily. That way, you will ultimately be more satisfied with your purchase as it will benefit you for a longer period of time than normal.

  2. We are trying to furnish our living room right now. It’s been tough, but choosing the right couches has been the hardest part! For our personal style, the rest of our house looks high-end and elegant, so I guess that’s what we’ll look for.

  3. This blog post is amazing! However most of the links are outdated now and the sofas listed are no longer available… Would love an update! xx

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