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Sofa buying guide

With hundreds of designs, configurations and features to choose from, buying a sofa can be a daunting task. To make your shopping experience smoother and more enjoyable, here is a simple guide to everything you need to know when selecting a sofa for your home.

Measure Your Space

It’s important to make sure that your new sofa will fit your living space. But before that, you will need to get it into the lift and through your door. These are the measurements you will need to have on hand when making a purchase:

     

      Height and width of the area you wish to place your sofa.

     

      Narrowest width of any hallways and room doors that the sofa must pass through, making sure that the width is greater than the height of your sofa.

      Height and width of your front door, allowing some wiggle room either side.

      Height, width and depth of the lift, with excess room all round to maneuver the sofa.

      If your ideal sofa is too big to fit into the lift, it will have to be carried up the stairs. Measure the width of the staircase and its door. 

     

Check the Sofa’s Measurements

Look out for the product specifications and compare the length, height and width of your chosen sofa against the measurements listed above.

Sofa sizes

Decide on the Sofa Configuration that Suits Your Home

Make sure that your sofa doesn't take up too much space in the room or that the room doesn't swallow your sofa. The size of your family will also determine the number of seats you need.

Sofa chair

Accent Chair / Armchair

Seats 1 person

Loveseat

2-Seater (also known as Loveseats)

Seats 2 people

3-seater

3-Seater

Seats 3 people and good for lounging without taking up space

L-shaped

L-shaped

Seats 3-5 people and can be used as a divider for the room


Look into the material of the frame and how it is assembled

Frame Materials

Most sofa frames are made out of wood, but some have metal frames. Here's a run-down of the most common frame types used in sofas.

Particle board

Particle Board

  • Made of composite wood materials.
  • Inexpensive and light but fragile. 
Hard wood

Hard Wood

  • Made from Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Beech, Rubber, or Meranti.
  • More durable than particle board.
kiln dried hardwood

Kiln Dried Hardwood

  • The wood is dried in big ovens as a finishing process.
  • Strongest, most durable, and least likely to warp or snap.
metal

Metal

  • Hardest frame material.
  • Will not snap but can bend over time. 

Frame Assembly

Here are the two most common ways of joining the frame.

Frame assembly

Stapled Frame Assembly

Heavy-duty staples hold the different pieces of wood together like a picture frame. It is the least expensive but is not as durable and sturdy as its double doweled counterpart.

Double Doweled Frame Assembly

Double Doweled Frame Assembly

The joints are put together with dowels (round pieces of wood), usually with glue and screws. It is the most solid and durable frame to have, but comes with a higher cost.


Consider the Seat and Back Cushioning

The filling of the cushions will determine how soft or firm the seat cushions will be. 

Low density foam

Low Density Foam

  • Softer seats
  • Most likely to flatten and dimple
  • Wears faster
High density foam

High Density Foam

  • Firmer seats
  • Long lasting
down cushion

Down Cushions

  • Filled with goose down
  • Softest and most comfortable
  • Needs to be fluffed every 2-3 weeks
  • Not suitable for people with feather allergies

Different types of back cushions may affect the sofa’s lifespan. These are the two most common forms of back cushions to consider.

Pillow Back: Removable cushions along the back

  • Easy removal for sleeping or cleaning
  • Shape of cushions may distort over time

Tight Back: Cushions are sewn onto the frame

  • Back cushions will not shift around
  • Harder to clean and can wear over time
  • Can't flip the cushions over or around

Pick an Upholstery that Compliments Your Space

Upholstery can be linen, leather, polyester, or any kind of materials. Here are some typical materials that sofas come in. Pick a material and colour that works with the overall design aesthetic of your home.

top grain leather

Top Grain Leather

  • Made of cow hide
  • Highly durable
  • Soft to the touch
  • Can be difficult to clean
simulated leather

Simulated Leather

  • Also known as PVC
  • Great versatility

Imitates the look and feel of leather without the hefty price tag

fabric

Fabric

  • Can be cotton, linen, polyester, nylon or rayon
  • More colour options
  • Durable and soft
  • Stains easily and can be hard to maintain

Match the Function to Your Lifestyle

Modern sofas come with multiple features for enhanced convenience. Especially for smaller homes, these are some hybrid sofa options that can maximise your space.

recliner

Recliner

One or more seats can be reclined either manually or electronically.

storage sofa

Storage Sofa

Sofa frame can be lifted to double as additional storage space.

sofa bed

Sofabed

Sofa converts into a bed for guest sleepovers.