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How To Buy The Right Sofa (and a Roundup of Some of Our Favorites)

Photo: Alwill

Sofas… we all have one, but they are not all created equal. From size, to style, to level of comfort, sofas are an investment piece you want to make sure you get right.

So today, we are breaking down all our tips to making sure you don’t have buyer’s remorse.

Your sofa is one of the places that you will spend quite a lot of time in. It’s a makeshift bed, a place to hang out with family, an inviting spot for your pet (and the perfect place to binge watch the newest season on Queer Eye).

But… picking a sofa is not quite as luxurious and relaxing as the activities that you will use it for. So we wanted to take a bit of the guesswork out of it for you. Let’s start with the basics – there are a few different types of sofas, all which serve their own purpose and work for different spaces. Keep scrolling to see us break them down.


Design: Atelier Creative Varsovie
Photo: Luc Rémond

The “traditional” sofa

This is the type that we are all used to seeing. It is a 3 seater sofa, typically 84″ wide x 35″ deep. It will have 1-3 cushions depending on the style and can vary a few inches in length or depth depending on the manufacturer. For all intents and purposes this is the type of sofa that the majority of us have in our living rooms.



The slightly shorter version of the “traditional” sofa – a loveseat is around 60″ x 35″ deep



This can come both in the traditional size as well as the loveseat size and will feature a sofa with a chaise (or extended cusion) coming out from one side creating an L-shaped piece.


Sectional Sofa

Coming in many sizes, shapes, and orientations the sectional sofa is what most of you will find in larger living and family rooms and is optimal for lounging and relaxing in.



Design: Fredericia
Photo: The Audo

Now that we have the basics down, let’s get into the main things to keep in mind when selecting a sofa:


1. Size

There is nothing worse then heading to the store to pick out your next sofa, falling in love with something, making the purchase and then getting it home only to find out that it doesn’t fit. Before heading out to purchase anything measure your space to find out what will work best for you. As mentioned before a “traditional” size sofa will work best for most rooms and people, but it’s always best practice to measure out your space to figure out which size sofa will work best in there.


2. Comfort

Sounds obvious enough – but make sure you take a seat in the sofa that you are interested in buying if you can. If it is an online purchase then look for key phrases like “down fill” or “foam fill”. Down fill is something that you can fluff over and over again whereas foam can deteriorate over time and start breaking down.


3. Cushion

You be asking, what is the difference between comfort and cushion. Well, have you ever been the person that has to sit on the seam of a sofa resulting in you perched right in between the two cushions? Take note of how many cushions there are on the sofa. No one wants to sit in a seam so consider how you intend to use the sofa. There are options that feature one cushion that stretches all the way across the sofa vs a 2 or 3 cushion option.

Photo: Decor8
Design: Anette Nilsson

4. Frame

A sofa is only as good as the bones AKA frame that is inside of it. You can have the most comfortable sofa but if the frame isn’t made well then you’ll end up with a broken sofa. Cheaper sofas are typically made with partical board, whereas high-quality sofas are made with hardwood preferrable “kiln-dried” which means that it has been dried so that it does not warp over time. You can even look for a FSC badge on the sofa which means that the company has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council which sets standards on forest products, along with certifying and labeling them as eco-friendly. A good sofa that is also good for the forests, it’s a win-win.


5. Upholstery

How do you plan to use the sofa? Is it going to live in a space where you are just sitting in it without food or drink? Or is it going to be that sofa you can jump into at any given time, takeout in hand, and veg out with your favorite show .. cough.. Queer Eye. If you plan to do the latter then look for a sofa that has a darker fabric which will help to hide stains. Even better you can opt for a fabric like performance velvet, ultra-suede or microfiber which helps repel stains. There are some manufacturers that also can customize sofas with stain repellant options like Crypton, Sunbrella or Perennial.

And because we couldn’t just give you all the tips without actually recommending some of our favorites – here is a roundup of some of our very favorite sofas right now. If you’re on a phone, swipe through to scroll through, and if you’re on your computer click the arrow to see them all.

To check out all of our recommendations head over to our SHOPPING section where we have everything from furniture, to decor, to gifts, to fashion.

Good luck and let us know if you have any questions.

  1. This is really helpful. Definitely saving this for the next time I need a new sofa!!

  2. Do you have any recommendations for more sustainable, healthy options that use more organic, natural products that are non-toxic? Thanks!

  3. Any recommendation for the most pet friendly material?

  4. We just moved to a townhouse in MD! These rooms are inspiring & just marvelous!

  5. When it comes to the frame, will the kiln dried wood hold up in hot/humid weather? Or is there a specific material that would hold up and not warp with the humidity?


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  7. I found it helpful when you said that down fill is a sofa you can fluff over and over again. As part of our living room renovations this summer, I want to buy a new couch that is more comfortable than our current one. Not only that, but I also want to find one online that looks more stylish as well.