Choosing a new sofa is a big decision – it’s a large piece of furniture, you’ll probably sit on it daily, and its style will play a big part in defining the space it’s in. Here are a few tips to help you find one that makes you happy and serves you well for years to come.
1. Figure out where the sofa will go
The size of the room should dictate the size of the sofa. Larger areas can easily fit a sofa and loveseat or recliner, or even a sectional, while smaller spaces are better suited to more compact models. If you’re in a tiny apartment, a loveseat might be the best choice.
Also, pay attention to the flow of the room and how people move through it, and avoid buying furniture that disrupts that flow or proves difficult to move around. Even if a sofa technically fits in a space, it might not really fit in the space. Note the proportions of other furniture in the room and let those help dictate size too – it would look silly to have a coffee table that’s bigger than your sofa!
A last consideration with size? Make sure your new sofa will fit through your door and around any tight corners on the way to its designated spot. Here’s a handy measuring guide to help.
2. Figure out how the sofa will be used
If you plan to lay down on the sofa or nap there, look for a deeper seat that will give you room to curl up. For instance, the Cloud sofa has a 46” depth that will give you lots of space to get cozy.
If the sofa will actually serve as a bed for houseguests, consider models with pull-out mattresses, or “sofa sleepers”. Today’s pull-out sofas are a far cry from the saggy and lumpy cots of yesteryear, and buying one is a great way to get the functionality of a guest room when you don’t actually have a guest room.
3. Figure out who will use the sofa
At Belfort Furniture, you can customize your new sofa by choosing from nearly 1,500 different fabrics. That might sound like a lot, but knowing who will use the sofa will quickly narrow your choices.
For a sofa that will serve the whole family (read messy kids and messy pets), a stain-resistant performance fabric like Sunbrella is a smart choice. Some sofas come standard with slipcovers that can be zipped off and washed when they become overwhelmingly dirty. Even if you don’t choose a stain-resistant fabric, different fabrics are easier to clean than others. Linen, for instance, is generally difficult to wash, while microfiber is fairly easy to spot-clean.
The user consideration also applies to color. If you have a black dog, for goodness’ sake DO NOT get a white sofa unless you’re looking to make lint-rolling a regular hobby. Have a white cat? A lighter color won’t show fur. Also, note that certain patterns will hide spills from exuberant offspring better than others.
If the sofa will sit in a formal room that only adults will use, let the feel of the fabric and your inclinations about color be your guide – anything goes.*Unless you’re clumsy and drink a lot of red wine ;)
4. Figure out your style
If you already have a room set up and the only thing you’re getting is a new sofa, let existing furnishings inform your decision. Do you have a clean, sparsely decorated space that would be a perfect setting for a mid-century-style sofa, or more traditional vibe that would suit a bulkier sofa with scrolling arms and luxuriant lines? Will the simplicity of a contemporary sofa complement your effortless set-up, or will a cottage-style sofa lend your rustic room just the right amount of homey charm? Regardless of what you’re working with, paying attention to what you already have going on will make your new piece look like it belongs there.
If, on the other hand, your sofa is the first step in a redesign or redecoration, you should feel free to explore. As you look around, think about other pieces or decorations that might complement each sofa that catches your eye. Does one you really love suggest a certain color palette? Would it go perfectly with the antique end tables you’ve been keeping in the basement? A certain style might jump out at you but if you can’t think of what else you would put around it, it might not be the best choice.
5. Test it out
Browsing on the internet is all well and good, but buying a sofa without ever testing it out is a recipe for disaster – you can’t judge comfort by looking at pictures. Whether you like a firm seat or a plush, sink-into-comfort kind of feeling, only an in-person test will reveal how a particular sofa feels.
When you’re ready to test out a sofa, make a trip to Washington, DC’s largest furniture showroom, Belfort Furniture. Locally owned, Belfort has the area’s largest selection of sofas: over 300 on display in one location. You’ll find modern sofas, traditional, casual, leather sofas, sleep sofas, sectionals, reclining sofas with power motion options that offer unlimited seating positions.