In the past year, sofas have become the most frequently purchased items in Homewings clients’ shopping lists and it’s easy to see why. They are the focal points of our living rooms, serving as the unofficial sponsors of movie nights and cosy Sunday afternoons everywhere. But buying the perfect sofa is a nail biting experience – especially online. How do you know whether you are buying your forever sofa or wasting money on a throw-away?
Saving on your sofa may cost you big in the long run, so we’ve gathered our clients’ most frequently asked questions and asked our expert designers for their advice to bring you the ultimate guide to shopping the perfect sofa:
The Good Stuff(ing)
One of the most important things our designers keep in mind is what’s inside the sofa, and you should too. It’s easy to be swayed by lower priced foam stuffed alternatives, but their appealing price tag comes at a cost. Foam cushions rapidly lose their shape, taking their comfort with it and leaving you sitting on what feels like a wooden bench. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are the decadent feather cushioned sofas. Although these offer long-lasting plump comfort, they require a lot of care and frequent fluffing to keep their shape. For the perfect in-between, our designers suggest high density foam-based cushions wrapped in feather down. They will keep both their shape and their comfort.
Top designer pick: The Hendricks sofa from Habitat.
The Fabric of a Forever Sofa
The key to a sofa that will last decades? Long lasting and hard wearing fabrics. High quality velvet or leather sofas may be pricier in the moment, but their timelessness makes them well worth the money. Leather, for instance, will only get better over time while never going out of style, especially if you opt for darker shades. However, if ‘low-maintenance’ is at the top of your forever sofa wish list, be aware that good quality leather will need some TLC in the form of conditioning treatments at least once a year.
As a general tip, always opt for tightly woven or heavy fabrics. These will withstand the test of time, and often come with the added benefit of higher comfort. Our designers suggest velvet and pattern weaved fabrics. The criss-crossing of the fibres will make for a sturdier and more resilient textile.
Colour me Timeless
When it comes to choosing a colour for your couch, the simpler the better. If you are looking for that perfect sofa that will never go out of style, opt for neutral colours like cream, beige or charcoal grey if your forever sofa needs to be child-resistant.
“If you’re yearning for a splash of colour, stick to light or dark shades of block colour. For instance, if blue is your colour of choice, opt for dusty light blue or deep navy – steering clear of the cobalt and electric blue sections of the colour wheel” advises Homewings designer Charlie Thomas. “This will allow your sofa to stay timeless, letting the soft furnishings, scatter cushions and throws do the work of staying on-trend.” An emerald green velvet number can work wonders to focus a modern space and lasts for years.
Mind the Construction
Make sure you know how your frame is secured and constructed. Opt for a wooden based sofa, ideally in a strong timber but pine and plywood frames should be avoided in most cases - and steer clear of anything secured with staples and glue. These cheaper alternatives will be tempting in the moment due to the lower price tags, but you will end up paying for them again and again.
Top designer picks: Sofa.com offers great value for money and a lifetime guarantee on their sofas’ frames.
Don’t Turn Your Back on Your Sofa
Choosing the wrong sofa back is easy when you don’t know your options. Thankfully, we are a little couch-obsessed here at Homewings. There are 3 types of sofa backs: loose cushion, semi attached and tight backs. Loose cushion backs are best for sofas that will be used for relaxing and curling up, with the individual cushions wrapping around you more comfortably. The down side? They require a fair bit of repositioning and re-fluffing. On semi attached back sofas, the cushions are attached to the backing of the panel, keeping them from moving around. The semi attached back is a favourite for mid-century styles and parents who want the look and comfort of detached cushions, without having to dismantle pillow-forts on a regular basis. Finally, tight backs offer a super clean and structured look which often provides more support. However, this comes at the cost of cushion-y comfort and may require a small army of scatter cushions to up the comfort level.
Top designer picks: If you’re looking for wow-factor tight back sofas, Swoon Editions is definitely the way to go.
Make Your Sofa Work With the Whole Room
The most amazing high quality sofa may seem out of place if you don’t consider the layout and colour scheme of the room holistically. Homewings designer Anna points out that her customers “often need help to configure layouts after selecting a sofa without taking into account the space they have in their home.” Interior designers can help by preselecting the perfect suppliers and fabrics to match your sofa requirements, but most importantly, to make the whole room work around your new statement piece so that you can just sit back and relax.