Inside Out (Australia)
Find your perfect match.
Follow our four simple steps to sofa satisfaction
1. finalise furniture layout
Your layout will dictate the sofa’s size and may help with your style choice. “Ideally, place your sofa facing the view or a TV, but also consider the space’s flow,” says interior designer Romy Alwill of Alwill Interiors (alwill.com.au). “Unless your sofa has a particularly pretty back or you have room for a sofa table to sit behind it, it’s not ideal to walk into a room and see the back of a sofa. It blocks the spatial flow and cuts off the room. Entering the room viewing the side or front is nicer.”
2. get size wise
Before you fall in love with a style, shape or model, measure up to ensure you’re shopping in the right size bracket. “I wouldn’t go anything less than 2400mm long for a family,” says Romy. “That’s a good size for three people to sit comfortably on and, assuming you have other seating in the living room, you’ve got the family covered.” Don’t forget to consider the depth of your sofa – it’s a dimension that is variable but also has a big impact on comfort. The other key measurement to make is your doorway or access point.
3. find your style
There are endless variations of shape and style, so select something that’s comfortable and compatible with the rest of your home. “If you are looking for something timeless, steer clear of a leg or arm style that’s very specific to ‘now’,” says Romy. “Your sofa style should complement your other furniture, like your feature armchair or coffee table, rather than ‘fight’ with them. My motto is always ‘keep it simple’.”
The L-shape, with a chaise at one end for stretching out, is popular for family rooms and media rooms, but Romy has a warning. “If you want your sofa to last for 10 years or so, consider if you’ll move houses in that time,” she says. “It’s Murphy’s law that the configuration you need will be different in your next house!”
4. check the materials
Your sofa’s frame will usually be made of either metal or timber. Look out for hardwood, as it’s stronger than soft varieties such as pine and is more durable. “A great sofa starts with the frame,” says Roger Wei, upholstery buyer at Freedom (freedom.com.au). “Look for a combination of kiln-dried hardwoods and engineered wood. Be cautious of frames made exclusively with particle board or MDF as they’re likely to be weaker.” Cushion fill options vary in comfort level and price. “Most cushions have a high-resilience foam core,” says Roger. “This comes in different densities that can make a sofa feel more firm or soft. For a premium, sink-in feel, look for foam wrapped in a layer of feather and fibre.”