James Tre­ble talks size and style, com­fort and prac­ti­cal­ity.


Choose a sofa by ex­pert James Tre­ble.

BUY­ING A SOFA IS A BIG in­vest­ment: it’s usu­ally the one place where we re­lax, spend time with fam­ily and friends, and put our feet up with a good mag­a­zine (like this one!). Here are four tips to help you choose the right sofa for your home and fam­ily needs.


I of­ten visit clients who have so­fas that are too large for the space, or some­times so small they feel like kids’ fur­ni­ture! The size of a sofa should re­late to the size of the room; there should be enough seat­ing for the whole fam­ily but not so much it feels like a doc­tor’s wait­ing room; and big rooms don’t al­ways need big so­fas.

Con­sider the di­men­sions of your room and where the sofa will sit. Al­low enough space for a side ta­ble and, of course, make sure you can eas­ily walk into and around the room with­out the sofa dom­i­nat­ing the space. I usu­ally place the main sofa on the long­est wall of the room and the TV unit along the short­est, to bal­ance the room. If you are rent­ing or mov­ing soon, opt for two smaller so­fas that can fit in dif­fer­ent con­fig­u­ra­tions rather than a fourseater, which will be hard to trans­port and may not fit in the next house.


I know – those huge so­fas with big, fat arms feel like you’re sit­ting on a cloud – but get up and walk away, and see what they re­ally look like. Over­sized so­fas of­ten look dated and heavy, fill­ing up the whole room, which is not prac­ti­cal or good look­ing. In­stead, con­sider a sofa that feels comfy but is also more mod­ern. Add stylish cush­ions for com­fort with­out chang­ing the vol­ume of the sofa it­self. You need to feel re­laxed and en­joy sit­ting on the sofa, but also con­sider how the piece ac­tu­ally looks: this is a high-ticket item so you want it to date well and look just as good in a few years’ time.


When it comes to style, de­cide on the “look” you’re try­ing to achieve. Pay at­ten­tion to the arms on the sofa, the height of the back­rest and the legs – do you want a full-look­ing piece or one raised up on legs? A great tip is to play on Google and pop­u­lar sites like Pin­ter­est, search for the theme or style you like, and then look at the so­fas in the images. A Hamp­tons-style sofa with a linen fab­ric cover will look very dif­fer­ent to a sleek, low-lying leather lounge with chrome legs! Re­mem­ber, a lit­tle time spent re­search­ing now will save you a lot of time and money later!


Do you have young chil­dren or pets? A sofa with a re­mov­able and wash­able cover is not only a prac­ti­cal

“Get a sofa to suit your needs, in a style that will work into the fu­ture.”

choice but also one that will keep the sofa look­ing like new for longer. There are many styles and de­signs to choose from: some have re­mov­able cush­ions cov­ers and arm­rests, mak­ing them easy to in­ter­change, or you can flip the base cush­ion over if, by chance, your bud­ding-artist child cov­ers it with Texta! Spend a lit­tle time re­search­ing th­ese op­tions – it will let you en­joy the sofa for longer, rather than freak­ing out when the dog runs in the back door.

Cov­ered up Slip­cov­ered so­fas are so easy to clean.

ROOM FOR ALL! Soder­hamn 3-seat sofa and chaise longue in Ise­fall Light Turquoise, $1138, from Ikea.

SLEEP ON THE COUCH Maddox sofa bed, $999, from Early Set­tler.

Good as new Re­uphol­ster the cush­ions on an op-shop couch.

Shiny style Chrome legs give any couch a mod­ern feel.

Movie night A mod­u­lar sofa is great for fam­i­lies.

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