Written by Sarah Rodrigues
There may be some things that you can improvise with when furnishing a living room - reclaimed objects work fantastically well as everything from coffee tables and TV consoles to shelves and DVD holders, but a sofa made from pallets, or crates? Not so much.
Comfort is, of course, the main reason behind our reluctance to compromise on a sofa - when we’re binge-watching and box-setting like there’s no tomorrow, you don’t want a stiff neck or sore back adding to that tinge of guilt. And, for the aesthetes among us, style and appearance are also an issue - the thing we’re slumped all over has to LOOK good, even if we don’t.
Size, practicality and durability are other factors you need to take into consideration. Oh, and then there’s price… So, since all sofas - REAL sofas that is, not ‘temporary’ ones - are not created equal, what should we look for when choosing one?
Insiders say that we can expect to spend around 17 years of our lives sitting on a sofa - which means that, if yours lasted that long, it would almost be legal for it to soak up that beer that you spilled during an exciting football moment. It also gives us some inkling of how significant a purchase a sofa is!
Sure, we all love to sprawl, and there’s something wonderfully decadent about large sofas but really - how much room do you have? Choosing a sofa that’s too big for your living area will simply make your home look cramped and uncomfortable. Tricks to get around this? Low or no arms appear to minimise the size of your sofa; low to the ground units are also useful in this regard, as they are less disruptive to the eyeline.
Let’s be clear: 17 years is how long we spend sitting on a sofa, not how long one will last for - although, with the right choices and a bit of TLC, this isn’t impossible. Fabric is a big consideration here: do you have small children? Pets? Leather is great for wiping clean; distressed leather has the advantage of looking worn-in even before others in your household get their sticky fingers and eager claws involved. If fabric is your preference, look for removable, washable, replaceable covers.
The frame needs to be examined too - choose something built and made to last. Look for hard wood held together by screws and dowels, rather stapled or glued chipboard.
Cushion the blow
Feather filled cushions sound, feel and are so luxurious, but they will need to be punched and plumped after every sitting. Foam or fibre, on the other hand, tends to lose its shape and firmness. A combination of both may well be the answer - look for feathers in the back cushions to sink into, and foam on the seat cushions to support your bottom!
Up and down
Your height and mobility must also be taken into consideration when choosing a sofa - if you struggle to get up once seated, a high but shallow seat might be more suitable. Tall and long legged? Look for height and depth.
Divide and conquer
L-shaped sofas are brilliant, not only for seating larger groups and families, but also for creating an unobtrusive division in open-plan living areas.