Sofa Buying Guide
Your sofa will be a significant investment and one which should serve you well for many years. You will probably use your sofa almost every day and so it is a piece of furniture which will have an enormous influence on your lifestyle and the aesthetics of your home. So, it is vital that you find the right one!
Choosing a new sofa should be great fun but can be daunting when there is so much to think about! You must find a sofa which fulfils all of your needs and there are several factors to consider. The EZ Living range features a fabulous collection of stylish sofas with something to suit all tastes and every home. Our buying guide will help you to discover the perfect sofa, one which will enhance your lifestyle and the look of your room.
It is incredible how often you find yourself sitting on your sofa and how many functions this piece of furniture must fulfil. Think carefully about how you will use your sofa and choose a design which will fit seamlessly into your day to day life. Your sofa should solve your problems not create them!
Your new sofa will be the place where you relax in front of the television or where you sit down to read. If you are likely to spend a great deal of time relaxing, then comfort is key and should be a primary consideration when selecting your furniture. You should consider investing in a recliner to maximise your comfort, especially if you enjoy a snooze and if you like to put your feet up, look for a sofa with a matching footstool.
Do you enjoy entertaining? When family and friends visit your home, they will need somewhere to sit! Choose a seating arrangement which will enable you to accommodate your regular visitors.
When family or friends are staying overnight, you may not have the convenience of a spare bedroom to call on. A sofa bed is the versatile choice and will enable you to offer your guests a comfortable place to sleep.
Before you allow yourself to fall in love with a particular sofa, there are a few practicalities to consider. Your chic sofa won’t be any good to you if you can’t fit it through your front door! It is vital that your furniture can be manoeuvred into position and that it can be accommodated in your room.
Before buying a sofa, purchase a tape measure! Check the dimensions of your doorways and compare these to the quoted dimensions of the furniture you are interested in. Think about any narrow corridors in your home and whether it will be necessary to traverse these with the sofa. Are there any tight corners to negotiate with the furniture and would it be easier to bring it in through the back door or patio doors?
If access is an issue, look for smaller styles, sofas with removable arms or modular furniture which can be broken down into smaller elements.
So, your sofa will fit through your front door, but will it suit the size of your room? Your furniture should complement your interior and not overly dominate the space but it can be hard to visualise exactly what it will look like. This is where your tape measure will come in handy again!
To establish whether your sofa will fit comfortably into your room, decide where you would like to position it and then use your tape measure to mark out an area on the floor which is the same size as the sofa. Simply place small objects on the floor to represent the four corners of the sofa. Alternatively, use paper or cardboard to create a template and place this on the floor.
When measuring your space, remember that leather sofas should be positioned at least 30cms away from a radiator to prevent the heat drying out the leather. You should also ensure that there is sufficient room for recliners and sofa beds to be fully extended.
It’s time to ask yourself a few more questions regarding the practicality of your furniture. How many people do you need to provide seating for? How many sofas and chairs would you ideally like to feature in your room? What is the most beneficial way to arrange your seating to enable you to make the best use of the available space?
You should first think about how many people there are in your family as, at a minimum, you will require seating for everyone who lives in the house. Don’t forget your pets if they enjoy curling up with you and consider whether or not your family is likely to grow in the near future. Are there any regular visitors that you will need to accommodate?
When you know how many people you need to seat, you can then decide which size of sofa you require and whether you must invest in more than one. We offer two, three and four seater sofas together with armchairs and modular corner sofas in a variety of sizes. Your final choice will probably be dictated by the size and shape of your room. It is worth remembering that whilst corner units can look large, they are often a good option for smaller rooms as they make excellent use of the space.
Style and Shape
The practical qualities of your sofa are important but style matters too. The right furniture will enhance your interior and personalise your space whilst creating a valuable focal point. In addition, the shape of your furniture could have practical implications and will certainly influence your use of space.
Sofas are available in a wide variety of shapes and styles and so the sheer number of options may seem overwhelming. It might help if you consider each aspect of sofa design in turn to establish exactly what you need. You will find a sofa in our collection which ticks every box!
This type of sofa boasts a back which is sprung and upholstered rather than having separate cushions. The resulting look is clean, simple and formal. Fixed back sofas deliver firm seating and are easy to care for.
You will probably be familiar with the cushion back look. Here, two or more cushions of an equal size are positioned across the back of the sofa. These will be loose on some styles enabling you to turn them to ensure even wear. However, the cushions of some sofas are fixed to prevent slippage.
Here the frame of the sofa is hidden by a pleasing arrangement of loose cushions. The number of cushions varies and the look is a little less formal than that of a cushion back or fixed back. The scatter cushions could all be fashioned from the same fabric or may feature a variety of coordinating fabrics.
When you are visualising how your sofa will look, don’t forget to consider how the furniture’s height will impact your space. High backs are most appropriate for large rooms and rooms with high ceilings as they will help to create a sense of proportion. On the other hand, a low back will prevent your sofa from overly dominating a smaller room. However, low backs can also be fabulous features for open plan spaces as they create the illusion of greater width.
Once you have decided which style of back best suits your needs, you are able to turn your attention to your choice of seat. There are two basic styles to think about:
Here the seat of the sofa is sprung and upholstered. Just as with a fixed back, this look delivers clean lines, a tailored appearance and a formal feel. There are no cushions to turn or plump but wear can occur at the points where people regularly sit. This should not prove to be a problem if you select fabric which is durable and does not stretch.
Cushions are a more conventional choice and are usually reversible to even out wear. They may be filled with a variety of materials and the softer the cushion the more maintenance it will generally require.
A sofa’s arms are often its defining feature. Large arms create visual impact but will mean that the sofa offers less seating room relative to its overall size. If space is at a premium and you need to seat several people, compact arms would be a sensible choice. You should also think about whether you intend to lie down and lean your head against those arms! If you like to lounge lying down then soft, comfy arms could make all the difference.
When it comes to style, there are four basic looks to consider:
Often a feature of classic and period pieces, scroll arms add drama to your furniture. For a traditional feel choose arms with pleating, insert panels and stud details. Plainer designs with cleaner lines provide a more contemporary look.
A period look of great elegance, Howard arms are low and finish before the front of the sofa. The furniture will normally incorporate a T shaped seat cushion.
Available in many shapes and sizes, flared arms slope outwards from their bases. The resulting look is welcoming but does mean that the sofa takes up more space in your room.
A stylish feature of many contemporary sofas, square arms are available in a variety of widths to suit your space.
Legs are usually made of wood and you will see a variety of styles and colours. Your furniture may be delivered without the legs attached to prevent damage and to make it easier to manoeuvre through doors. But some sofas have fixed legs which cannot be removed and this could impact whether or not the design can be incorporated into your home.
Here are the styles of legs which you will encounter:
With glides there are no visible feet. Glides are designed to make the sofa easier to manoeuvre. They are incorporated into the design and are often concealed by a valance.
Bun feet are round in shape and shallow. They offer a simple and discreet look for both traditional and contemporary furniture.
Turned wooden legs create visual impact and are an attractive feature of classical designs.
Wooden and curved, sabre legs provide a simple yet elegant finishing touch to a sofa. The legs flare outwards for visual appeal and stability.
You may see sofas which have been designed to appear as if they are sitting on a platform or plinth. This is a striking, simple and modern look.
Construction and Fillings
Style may be uppermost in your mind when choosing your new sofa. However, you will spend a great deal of time sitting on your new furniture so it is essential that it provides the level of comfort and support that you are looking for. The construction of the furniture and the fillings used will be the defining factors.
Our Sofas are all build to last and feature robust frames which benefit from a free 10-year guarantee for your peace of mind. The fillings and suspensions vary and so here’s everything you need to know:
Your choice of filling will determine the level of support that your sofa delivers but will also dictate the level of maintenance required.
High density foam feels firm and supportive and creates a pleasing tailored appearance. The foam recovers well after it has been sat on and all you will need to do is turn the cushions occasionally to maintain your sofa’s appearance.
Fibre or Feather Upholstery
These fillings offer a more relaxed look and softer seating. But fibre and feather cushions will need to be plumped regularly and turned to prevent uneven wear.
Foam with a Fibre Wrap
Here, soft polyester fibre is wrapped around a firmer foam core to provide a supportive cushion with a softer top layer. The overall look is softer and less formal than that of foam-filled upholstery. This variety of cushion requires occasional turning and plumping.
Our furniture features a variety of different suspensions, each with its own advantages. No form of suspension is necessarily superior to another, but the suspension will influence the nature of the seating offered by your sofa.
This form of suspension incorporates a series of linked, coiled springs, similar to those found in mattresses. Coil springs offer excellent support and a good level of comfort.
Similar to coil springs but individually pocketed in fabric sleeves, pocket springs offer the maximum support together with even weight distribution and durability.
Zig Zag Springs
These S-shaped or serpentine springs offer slightly firmer and more supportive seating than coils.
This is the oldest way to support upholstery and involves thick elasticated bands of webbing which run front to back and side to side. Webbing is often utilised with metal frames.
You will be searching for a sofa which complements your interior décor and suits your personal taste. There are many fabrics and colours to choose from but you can be assured that all of our sofas are upholstered with high-quality materials.
All of our fabrics are suitable for domestic use and will withstand the rigours of family life. However, do bear in mind that colours will fade a little when placed in direct sunlight and so strong colours may prove to be unsuitable for sunny rooms. Cushions which can be turned will help to minimise the effects of fading.
Chenille is a wonderfully soft yarn which will flatten over time, especially on the most used areas such as the seat cushions. This will mean that the fabric develops a shaded appearance. The furniture becomes more homely and individual over time.
Woven Stripes & Jacquards
Here you have an almost unlimited choice! Stripes, florals, damasks and a variety of contemporary patterns can be used to create interest and a unique look. Woven fabrics are resistant to wear.
Velvet lends a touch of luxury to your furnishings but is best suited to occasional furniture as the pile will flatten over time. Crushed velvets create a particularly opulent look which can be a striking feature of any room.
Wool, Cotton and Blends
Wool and cotton are both fibres which are naturally insulating and breathable and so offer exceptional levels of comfort. Ideal for adding texture and a tailored look to your spaces, wool and cotton fabrics are a wonderful choice. You may also consider fabrics which offer blends of cotton or wool with man-made fibres to enhance durability.
Plain fabrics are the versatile choice and can make your task easier when you are choosing a look to match your existing décor. You have a range of colours and textures to consider and there is sure to be an amazing fabric to suit your interior.
There’s nothing quite like the natural beauty of leather! Being a natural material, leather will vary in texture and colour from piece to piece but will always look and feel luxurious. Your furniture will develop character as it ages and so becomes ever more unique over time. Leather is easy to care for but is not immune to fading in bright sunlight. Remember that leather sofas should always be positioned at least 30cm from direct heat sources to prevent the hide from drying out.
Leather varies greatly and can boast a variety of textures depending on the quality of the hide and the finishing processes used. You may prefer a distressed look to create the illusion of age. Perhaps a cleaner, contemporary finish is more suitable for your modern home. Maybe you would like to create a wonderful focal point with striking red leather. The choice is yours!
Hopefully you are now able to choose a wonderful sofa for your home! But even the perfect sofa can be enhanced with a few finishing touches and flourishes to make it truly yours. Cushions and throws will enable you to include your favourite accent colours and will enhance the texture of your interior. These attractive accessories will also help to tie your decorative scheme together, making it easier for you to incorporate your furniture seamlessly into your room.
Your interior may also benefit from a matching armchair or armchairs to provide additional seating and a footstool will enable you to put your feet up in style.