We run through some of the most important things to consider when buying a new sofa.

Madecom Green Velvet Sofa Living Room

Image: Made.com

Purchasing a sofa is a major investment, so before you start, think carefully about what its purpose is going to be. Are you looking for a sleek, contemporary model for occasional use, or a big, squishy one to fit the whole family on?

Read on to find out what you should consider when buying a new sofa for your home.


Have you a pokey living room you find difficult to kit out? Make sure you measure your space precisely and take into consideration doorways, awkward layouts and nooks and crannies. Made.com say: 

"To measure for your new sofa, clear the space in your room where your new sofa or sofa bed will go. Measure the maximum width and length of this space to give you an idea of the biggest sofa you can fit. You might also want to lay out card or paper in the shape of your new sofa before buying it – that way, you'll get an idea of how it'll look with your other furniture, and highlight any problems you might have moving around it."

"If you've got a small living room, there are a few design tricks you can use to create the illusion of space. A sofa that has a low back or taller legs will allow more light to flow around it, which will make your living room feel more spacious. For really small living rooms, consider getting a sofa bed – it's likely that your whole home's on the smaller side, and a sofa bed kills two functions with one furnishing."

Expert tip: Cut out a paper template so you can visuakise how much space a sofa wil take up, and allow the enough leg room between it and other pieces of furniture in your scheme. 

For small rooms, choose sofas rasied on legs and make sure coffee tables are placed around 45cm away from sofas - too little space and it will feel cramped, while too much distance will feel disjointed. 

Type of sofa 

  • Modular:  Modular models enable you to create your own sofa set-up and provide the most flexibility. They can be positioned in different configurations, are easy to move around and ideal for getting in through narrow doors or up stairs.
  • Sofa bed: Sofabeds come in many forms, with various mattress options. Threefold designs usually have foam mattresses that are fine for occasional use. Consider a two-fold option that allows for a more comfortable, deeper, base for sleeping on if it is going to be used on a regular basis.
  • Corner sofa: Corner styles are good for large households and for defining living spaces in an open-plan scheme. They are available in left- and right-hand chaise configurations.
  • Chaise sofa:  Chaise-style sofas are perfect for stretching out on. Look for designs that include much-needed storage space.


Fallen for a light-hued sofa and dream of keeping it pristine without grubby hands and suspect stains? Alas, for a lot of us a sofa in a light colour just isn't practical.

If the sofa is for everyday in your main living area, we recommend choosing a darker tone, like grey, charcoal or brown, which you can brighten up with colours in the form of cushions and throws.


While it is important to look at the quality of the upholstery, check the frame as well. Hardwood is more durable than soft timber such as pine. You could also find out how it is joined together: wooden dowels, corner blocks or metal screws and brackets are the most solid fixings.

Upholstery-wise, foam filling is usually supportive and provides a more tailored appearance than feather or bre-stu ed cushions that give a softer look but require regular plumping.

Fabrics fade in direct sunlight, so think about where you position your sofa and consider that leather, while durable, can crack if it is too near a radiator. 


It sounds obvious, but try before you buy to make sure a design is comfortable as well as stylish – and remember if you’re shopping online this may not be an option.

Invest in a chaise style or corner sofa for extra seating for multi functional open plan spaces and opt for darker colours to minimise its bulkier appearance.


Have you any tips for choosing a new sofa? Tweet us @goodhomesmag or posting on our Facebook page.



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