More than just necessary seating, a sofa is arguably the most important element in a room. It’s an anchor for all other objects and can make or break a room! There are rooms where the sofa is more neutral in color and style and monochromatically plays well with other furniture. Other rooms will showcase bold, bright sofas to make a point, and everything else is supporting. Being the most-used piece in the room, it’s generally easier to start with the sofa and build from there. Here are some great tips to accomplish that…
Textiles with a subtle, textured weave hold up from a design standpoint and are comfortable, which is important, given how much you’ll be sitting on it. Even 100% natural fibers can withstand heavier use with hemp, linen, flax, and wool, proving they can last.
If color scares you, go for neutral tones as the foundation for the room. There are many grays and browns with interesting weaves and warm tones that offer depth. Generally, solids and textures are great for bigger pieces, use accent pillows, throws and other smaller pieces in bold colors or prints.
Think about depth, recline and support. Do you prefer a formal sit with more support? Or, do you want to have that deep, sink-in comfort?
The size of your sofa is dependent both on the layout of your room and the function you want it to serve. The number of people your sofa can comfortably fit depends on the length and the number of seat cushions. Typically, you should allocate one cushion per person.
Order swatches first and test them against your most common spills, like coffee or red wine, to see the stain resistance. And look at them a few different times of day. Keep in mind that lighter materials will reflect bold colors on the wall. For example, if you’re painting your walls a rich navy, blue undertones in upholstery fabric will pop more. Likewise, if your walls are an optic white, the contrast between bright white walls and a light fabric with creamy undertones will appear more dramatic.
Decide on Style
The material, shape, size and makeup of the sofa are very important. Some people want to sink into their sofa and others want a firmer feel. Know the depth that you need to be comfortable.
It should either vibe with your home’s style or contrast it. If you live in a historic Victorian home with original moldings and tall ceilings, a sleek couch can feel like a piece of art. Conversely, if you live in a contemporary space with minimal moldings and history, curves and extra stuffing will feel inviting.
If the sofa has tufting on the back or lots of detail, a solid fabric can really be beautiful and enhance the silhouette. If the sofa is lacking character or personality, a wild pattern can change the piece and the space.
Scale to the Room Size
Choosing a sofa style can be a great way to dictate the vibe of your space. If you’re looking for a sofa to live in a more formal sitting room, opt for a tufted back with rolled arms. If you’re looking for a sofa to live in a family living room, opt for a sofa with loose back cushions and a deeper seat to curl up in.
If you’re a family with kids, a pet lover or have a penchant for red wine, consider a performance fabric. These are more durable than a standard linen or twill and are made to withstand life’s everyday messes. If your sofa is in a low traffic space, go for the designer print you’ve been eying or a beautiful vintage velvet.
If you’re having a hard time visualizing the size of the piece in your space, use painter’s tape to mark off the dimensions of the sofa on your floor. This allows you the chance to visualize the overall scale and check that all walkways are clear and don’t feel too tight.
As the couch is usually the most substantial item in the room, choose it first. The coffee table and the elements facing the couch can be considered afterwards.
In planning consider a French-inspired straight couch for an entertaining room and an Italian 70s-inspired model for relaxing. There is a big revival for L-shaped pieces.
Velvets or silk velvets play with light and add some glamour. For more understated elegance, mixed fabrics composed of wools and linens can be chic and comfy. An ivory bouclé is never a mistake with a wider palette of greens, pinks or terracotta shades.
Cushion with Care
A well-styled sofa can really make or break a room. For a more formal room, where you will be entertaining others, choose a conversation sofa that has a shallower depth for sitting upright and is easier to get in and out.
For smaller rooms, a bench seat can work well for fitting more bodies on a sofa that isn’t large enough for three cushions.