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. Designing a custom sofa for your living room sounds like a way to really get everything you would like out of your couch. That is awesome that you can select everything from the design to the fabric that is used. Comfort level for myself, I would say is something that I would consider most important in getting a custom sofa.

  2. these are very useful tips for getting new sofa.. make sure you watch on everything before making decision to not face any problems later. i spend much time in the living room and comfort is first thing i look.. and for those who need small sectionals i suggest this blog its worth reading

  3. This is an excellent and one of the most useful article on buying the perfect sofa. Basically, one should know the requirement first and then the hunt for the perfect couch can be started. We need to set the budget. Comforts, material quality (fabric), number of people to sit on the sofa are next things to be considered. Oh I forgot sofa type- loveseat/sectional/ sleeper .

    Yes, finding the right sofa needs your time and devotion.

    1. What’s the essential difference between various sofa types? I am planning to have a sofa bed for my living room and is in a dilemma to choose which type.

  4. We are excited to get new furniture in our living room. Thank you for this information about how to choose the right sofa. I like what was said about measuring each piece of furniture and the premises of the room before making the purchases. Another thing that I am looking to find is a couch that is comfortable and will provide happiness.

  5. Hi, i am interested to hear how the RH Cloud couch held up for your client? are they still happy with it a year on? i was thinking about purchasing one but was concerned that it might lose shape and form over time because of the cushions being 100% goose feather, eventually becoming uncomfortable. Any comments on how it has performed for your client would be greatly appreciated – also what fabric did they go with?

  6. I am really excited to watch your interior design. It’s really mind blowing design. I really crushed on it Thanks admin for sharing for us valuable interior design and help us.

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