The sofa is arguably the most important piece of furniture in the living room.
It's also one that most people get wrong when choosing style, size and fabric. The first thing you must decide is how you are going to use your sofa. Will the sofa be used for entertaining with cocktails, slumbering to watch television or used as an occasional bed for overnight guests? All these questions help define a style that best suits the way you will live with your sofa. The biggest mistake people make when buying a sofa is that they buy the wrong size/scale for the space they are putting it in.
“The rule” for purchasing a sofa is that it should be no longer than two thirds of the width of the room. This means that if you have a 10 foot by 20 foot room, the sofa should be no larger than two thirds of 10 feet (6 feet and 4 inches). By making sure the sofa fits along both walls (the “width” wall and the “length” wall), you’ll be able to move your furniture around more easily. The “two thirds rule” also ensures you will have space for end tables alongside your sofa. I suggest that rather than purchasing a sectional sofa, invest in two. Sectionals typically only fit in one area of a room, whereas two sofas will give you optimum flexibility to move your furniture around.
If you need lots of seating on a smaller-sized sofa, then avoid sofas with large, bulky arms. These arms take up space that could be used for seating. Tight-back sofas are the most space efficient, as opposed to deeper sofas which take up extra space because of their large cushions. If you are trying to make your living room look larger, consider purchasing a sofa that is set up in such a way that you can see underneath it when it is in your living room. An exposed decorative leg style might be better than a skirted base. The ability to see under the sofa will seemingly elongate the room.
If there is a need to have a sleeper sofa, then keep in mind that they are always much deeper in size - the extra depth is used to contain the pull-out mechanisms. Also consider adding an electric blowup mattress on top of the pullout. This is an inexpensive way to give your guests an incredibly comfortable night's sleep.
When choosing upholstery fabrics for your sofa, ask yourself this question: is this the fabric I want to look at for the next 10 years? Will it be elegant, durable, cozy? However you plan to use the sofa should indicate the type of fabric being chosen. For instance, a sofa used in a family room might have a durable ultra-suede or chenille covering whereas one used for a cocktail lounge setting might have a silk damask or finer linen cover.
Got a small space? Keep the depth of your sofa below 38 inches and the length less than 80 inches. This smaller proportion will help make the room feel as grand as possible. Choose a neutral-coloured covering that blends either with the tones of the floor or the walls, which will allow the sofa to be absorbed into the room's decor and not stand out.