Take a Seat - The Ultimate Sofa and Couch Buying Guide

Take a Seat - The Ultimate Sofa and Couch Buying Guide

Selecting the right couch or sofa for your living space is something of an artform. Whether it’s binge-watching our favourite shows, gathering for a gossip with pals or just hanging out with the family, most of us spend quite a bit of time with our bottoms parked on this central piece of furniture. So, it makes sense to put some thought and research into finding the perfect couch or sofa for your situation.

Feeling daunted? Don’t fret — we’re here to guide you through everything you should consider before making your next couch or sofa purchase.

The essentials

First things first — are you a solo dweller, an entertainer, a big family or one half of a couple? Taking into account how many people you’ll have to fit on your couch day to day, combined with how much space you have, are the first two crucial pieces of the puzzle. The next thing to address is your lifestyle and preferences. Those fond of a midday nap or long reading sessions might prioritise a plush seat, while people with kids or furry friends are likely to seek something easy to clean. 

Remember: you can love the look of a certain sofa, but that doesn’t make it right for your circumstances.

Getting deep

The depth of your sofa’s seats is different from its overall depth — the seat depth is essentially the space you take up when seated, and can be determined by measuring the distance between the front and back of your seat cushion. At a base level, you should be able to sit comfortably on your couch without any additional cushions, have ample support for your thighs and enough room for your knees to sit at about 90 degrees when your legs hang off. A more shallow or standard seat is ideal for those who sit up straight, while a deeper seat allows more room for lounging and getting cosy.

The long and short of it

From a practical standpoint, the length of your sofa is a key element to consider when planning your overall floorplan. For singles, couples or those lacking space, a 2-seater sofa or loveseat will do just nicely — you can even add an ottoman to your set-up so there’s an extra seating option for guests! A 3-seater couch is an ideal option in this scenario if you have the room, as it allows room to really spread out and relax. Speaking of relaxing, reclining sofas add another dimension of comfort to your living room, but can still work in a smaller space — you just need to make sure any coffee tables are out of the footrest zone.

For families and frequent entertainers with more room to spare, there are a bevy of other sofa and lounge options. Modular sofas, sectional sofas and chaises have the benefit of versatility on their size as well as being able to accommodate more bodies. These types of lounges give you the opportunity to play with different layouts and configurations, which is great for adding structure to open-plan spaces. 

High and mighty

The back height of your sofa (from the floor to the top of your seat cushions) plays a big role in both comfort and aesthetics. The softness of your cushions and the depth of the seat will also play in to your final sitting height — for example, squishy cushions will bring you closer to the ground, thus making it more of an effort to get up. Depending on your own height, a deep seat might mean your feet can’t touch the ground, which can also make for an uncomfortable arrangement. 

As far as looks go, couch with a super-tall seat that’s placed in the middle of a room may end up stunting the overall space. However, if your seat height is too short, you run the risk of not having enough neck and back support. Take into account your torso height, how you like to sit on your sofa and its overall position in your house before you make any decisions.

Celebrate your style

Now is the fun part — finding a sofa or couch that suits your style! Whether you want something clean and contemporary, mid-century inspired, charmingly retro or even Hamptons-esque, there are endless options to choose from. Just be mindful of your existing decor and any colour themes you’d like to stick to. Alternatively, you can throw the rulebook out the window and get a statement couch that can become the focal point of your living room!

What it’s made of 

The two main materials that sofas come in are fabric and leather. Each has its pros and cons, but your decision should always come back to your lifestyle first. Leather couches are like a fine wine — they get better with age and soften over time, cultivating a unique finish. They are also easy to wipe down in case of spills. Leather upholstery does still require care and maintenance, and can crack if left in direct sunlight long-term. On the other hand, fabric sofas are cost-effective, comfortable and versatile, but can be trickier to clean and prone to fading and thinning with age.

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