Choosing the Perfect Couch

8 Tips For Selecting the Perfect Couch

By Gene Wright

Choosing the couch that's just right is more than just eyeballing one that feels nice and pointing to it while you're at a furniture warehouse. If you want it to work out with your space, and belong lasting and comfortable, there are a few things you should consider.

1. The Size That's Right for Your Room Buying a couch that's too small or too large to fit in the space can intefer with the proportions of your room and make the whole arrangement feel off. But, choose a couch that's not long enough, and you can forget about those comfortable naps. A little bit of preparation can give you peace of mind to make the right choice when you find just the couch you want. Make a template and tape it to the floor to get the feeling for the scale. If you really need dimension and be able to visualize the room with a couch, a half dozen or more empty moving boxes stacked together can help. Also remember that if your couch is going to be facing a TV, you'll want the correct distance for viewing. 

Oversized Couches

2. The perfect shape and size for the room
You might could your heart set on getting a sectional with a huge chaise on one end, but will properly fit in your space? When a sectional blocks a door or path, it's probably not right for the room. Take some solace in the fact that most sectionals come in a wide array of configurations and sizes. Modular versions along with those that can be customized to fit the angles increase the possibility that you can find the right sectional for your room.

3. The Perfect Depth
Several standard couches come in depths of 36" or 38". But will that deliver the comfort level you desire? Windsor Smith, interior designer, doesn't think so. "I don't have a sofa that isn't at least 40" deep, which lets me curl up," she told House Beautiful. "Anything more shallow feels like it belongs in a doctor's office."

4. The Perfect Color
The golden rule for choosing a color for your sofa is to go neutral. That way you can interject pattern and color into accessories instead of misleading yourself to a stronger hue on a more expensive, larger piece. "Color is an extension of style, and deserves independent consideration," said Bob Vila. "If you like to frequently reinvent your living room - trying new rugs, accent pillows and curtains on a whim - staying with a neutral-color couch will give you added room to play." But, "neutral" can mean different things to different people. Instead of just beige, how about olive, gray, green, or navy. These indigo sofas provide the preeminent color in the room, although could just as easily work with more intense hues on your walls, other pops of color ranging from jewel tones to neutrals, and layered patterns.

Navy blue sofas are as cool and refined as any couch with neutral shades

5. The correct fabric for your lifestyle
Leather, Mohair, Silk, Linen. Corduroy. Velvet. These are just a few of the choices possible for sofa fabrics. So how do you make the right choice? It depends on what you're trying to accomplish. "I don't care for delicate silks - sometimes the more expensive the fabric, the more costly and difficult it is" to maintain, said Noa Santos designer from the Wall Street Journal. "Velvet has a sensation of being more luxurious because its light reflecting qualities. It sort of breaks it up, giving a nice glow to the room. Leather can give you a colder reflection." For those with pets and children, microfiber is a great choice. It is not only durable, but also easy to clean.

GRID Furnishings photo

6. The Correct Style
Do you prefer a traditional feel or more contemporary? Casual or Tailored look? "If you prefer the more formal and fancy look, or have a ‘traditional' design aesthetic, a couch with a tailored or tufted upholster, or a piece featuring exposed legs could be a good choice," said Amber Interior Design. "If you lean to more casual, a slipcover couch makes a less formal proclamation and is particularly perfect for families with small children or high-traffic areas because you can often throw the slipcovers in the wash." You also should think about your lifestyle when choosing your sofa style.

"If you enjoy movie nights in, then owning a pillow-back sofa provides way more comfort," said the Wall Street Journal. "If you often have cocktail parties, then you'll want something easy to clean, cool and sexy.

7. Check on Those Details
Square arms, rolled arms, no arms? Throw pillows, attached pillows, straight back, curved back? Pay attention a few tips provided by the Denver Post when choosing details: "More than almost any other feature, a couch's arms profess its style. Stuffed rounded (often called sock arms) work in casual roomss, such as country homes or cottages. Structured, rectangular arms work well in modern or transitional areas. Curved arms tend to be traditional. Clean-lined wooden arms seem mid-century. "

Stanton Home Furnishings photo

8. Cushions
When it comes down to selecting cushions, they pillow backs are recommended "for crashing and lounging. (They) provide the most comfort. They're also the most traditional." For a more formal and tailored feel, go with "tight-backed couches. Tufted backs are becoming, but are not the best selection for everyday use. When choosing a tufted back, know that the further apart the tufts, the plusher the padding will be. Smaller tufting creates a tighter, more rigid back."

Suggested Reading

New Article March 1, 2016