The Expert's Guide to Choosing a Sofa |
The Expert’s Guide to Choosing a Sofa

The Expert’s Guide to Choosing a Sofa

Making the Right Choice for Your Space

Written by – Team
on June 29th 2018
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Impeccable interior design is the cornerstone of a truly comfortable home. We all want our furniture choices to reflect our style and personality, so choosing the right sofa is critical to truly enjoying your space.


Finding the right sofa is sometimes easier said than done and if your interior design experience is limited, the task can even be a little frustrating. To help you make the right choice, with the help of interior designer Francis Toumbakaris of Francis Interiors, we have put together an expert’s guide to getting the couch right.

Expert's guide to choosing the right sofa |

Measure the Space

“When choosing a sofa, the first thing to consider is measurements,” explains Toumbakaris. Many homeowners make the mistake of choosing a sofa that is much too large for their space. Measure the space for a sofa before going to the furniture store and always keep those numbers in mind when choosing a sofa.


“When you decide where you want to place the sofa, measure the space. Not just the space where the sofa is going, but —and this is true especially if you live in an apartment building— measure to make sure it will fit in the elevator, through the stairs and doorway of the apartment.”

Bachelor pad living room in New York City, designed by Francis Interiors |

Balance Style and Structure

“Always remember there is a fine balance between style and comfort,” advises Toumbakaris. The look of a sofa is important, but the materials used inside the couch can prove to be far more important.


“Modern-style sofas tend to be less comfortable. In order to achieve clean and straight lines associated with modern design, the materials must be more rigid. On the other hand, when you sit on a plush and comfortable sofa, the sofa doesn’t always return to its original shape.”


There are many thoughts on the best configuration. Some feather sofas may seem like a comfortable choice, but in reality, feathers will flatten making the sofa potentially lumpy or uncomfortable over time. Are you the type of person who doesn’t mind fluffing the pillows each time you get up? Maybe you’d prefer a good mix of feather-filled pillows along with the main structural support of foam.

“What’s important to the person buying the sofa is how comfortable they want the sofa versus how they want the sofa to look.”

Italian style sofa and coffee table, room designed by Francis Interiors |

A Strong Foundation

When looking for your perfect sofa, many different styles will come to mind, but one thing every sofa will have in common is their foundation. Investing in a quality-built foundation is essential to true couch happiness. The foundation holds the springs, cushions, and fabric in place and must be a stable support structure throughout the life of the furniture.


So find out if the frame is made from solid wood, or particle board. Investigate and look for sturdy bolts and a tight fitting structure. “If you’re able to physically see the sofa, just grab it and shake it. Feel whether it’s sturdy,” recommends Toumbakaris. “It’s easy to recognize a cheap quality sofa just like you’d recognize the fake Gucci purse.”


Investing a little more for a quality-built sofa means that it will last for many years to come.

Consider Spills and Stains

Your brand new sofa will look wonderful on the showroom floor, but you should ideally think about what will work with your routine in the long term.


Toumbakaris highlights the importance of considering where and how you plan to use your sofa. “In terms of materials and color, it comes down to your living habits and how you want to use the sofa. If you love red wine and want to drink it on that sofa, I would think twice about getting a white linen or velvet sofa. Light color sofas show all the stains.”


Busy lives and families can lead to spills and other messes on the sofa. Additionally, consider that some natural materials will fade from merely being in direct sunlight. You may turn to fabrics upholstered in Sunbrella, Crypton or Perennials Fabrics for durability.


Another approach is ensure that the couch chosen is easier to clean with removable covers, or at least fabrics that are easy to steam clean with a household steam cleaner. You may want to avoid fabrics and instead choose leather comparable materials as these do not soak up odors and can be wiped clean much easier.

What will the sofa be used for? Expert's guide to buy a sofa |


A bright red sofa might call your name in the furniture store, but if the rest of the colors in your home don’t work with this new red, the couch will never look right in the space. Consider whether your color scheme is more classic or traditional, requiring more of an earthy or neutral color scheme.


On the other hand, that red sofa could be the finishing touch to your pad. Toumbakaris suggests that “since a sofa can be a grounding piece for a room, it can be the accent color of the room. For example, if you have a white or beige interior, the sofa can be a bold color that becomes the accent piece in the room.”

Blue and white room, with barely there sofa can double as bed | Design by Francis Interiors |

Sit a While

Many attributes of a quality sofa can be recognized from an online image, such as its color, specifications, and style. But there are things you can’t always tell; how firm or soft the sofa is, what the stitching is like, and how it feels to sit in it.


What is comfortable for you may be different to someone else, so it is always best to shop for sofas in a brick-and-mortar store.

Love and Bullets interior design concept by Francis Interiors |

Choosing a sofa can be a lot of fun, but there are so many considerations about what you want from the design! Not everyone is an expert interior designer, but with these tips, you will get the couch right!


One final tip from Toumbakaris is that “a sofa, just like any other piece of furniture, should be considered a living piece of art. This means that if you’re the kind of person who enjoys design, it’s a very good investment to get a classic piece as an investment. You will feel like a king sitting on a piece of art for many years to come.”

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