A sofa’s size and configuration can make or break the scale, layout and flow of a space. I’ve now gone through this process twice and put my process to the test! If you’re looking for my old Baltimore home details, view this post.
At the end of the post, I’m sharing my specific sofa configurations for those wondering.
Let’s get into all of the factors to consider and steps to take when considering the right sofa for your space!
1. Before Browsing, Measure
This may seem obvious, but it is so important to not get ahead of yourself and just measure once you get home from browsing. This will eliminate options off the bat and help set realistic expectations as you start looking.
Measure all walls in the space. Consider the flow of traffic – where will people come and go? More details on considering space below. Drawing out a floor plan helps immensely!
Also measure your current couch, if you already have one. If not, measure idea length, depth, and height.
Take Depth into Consideration:
Depth is something that tricks people up and is hard to tell when you are in-store. Here is a breakdown:
- 18 Inches Deep: Looks cool and modern, but not the cozy look.
- 22 Inches Deep: Minimum depth for sitting comfortably, but still a modern look.
- 24 Inches Deep: Just deep enough for lying down solo.
- 33 Inches Deep+: The type of the depth that makes you fall asleep on the couch every night.
2. Think about Scale
This is another reason to measure before shopping. Everyone loves a large, 3 piece chaise sectional sofa, but you’ll be full of regret if it’s going to take over a smaller space. This might seem very obvious, but many people still choose sofas that are too big or too small for their space.
A general practice is that your sofa should not occupy the entire length of a wall. If you want a sectional with a chaise, the long chaise portion should hit around halfway across the room. The sofa should also be in scale with your accent furniture.
With that said, a sectional sofa is great for homes with open floor plans because it can help give shape and separation to the space. It can help define the living room against the dining room, for example (like our rowhome). A sofa should never block off any unique architectural features like windows, fireplaces, or built-in shelving. Framing around those pre-existing features and it will help you decide on the right sofa for your space. Sometimes, you have no choice – but considering all these factors before buying is a win!
3. Focus on Function
Think about how the space is used on a regular basis. If it’s more of a formal living room (a styled spot for occasional entertaining), you’re better off with a stand-alone sofa, which has a sleeker, cleaner line. If you mainly watch television, you need to select furniture that fits in the room oriented towards the TV so you can spraw out and binge Netflix without breaking your neck. The last thing to consider is if you enjoy hosting, game nights, and conversation – you may want to account for a coffee table that’s big enough for activities and food, but small enough that you can sit comfortably around it.
4. Contemplate Durability in Fabric Selection
If you have a large family and pets, durability is an essential consideration when choosing any kind of seating. Look for stain-resistant materials, leather sofas with detachable cushion covers OR slipcovers for easy cleaning, and durable fabrics that will stand up to years of use. Leather has a timeless style, is easy to wipe down and develops an attractive patina with age that adds to its look, but it’s not everyone’s style. So, whether you go for a bold color, pattern or a neutral, your choice of upholstery fabric will drive the look of your space. Taking home or ordering fabric samples will help determine factors of durability, texture, tone, and how easy they are to clean.
5. Think beyond the Sofa
I always focus on making home happy and yours. Therefore, thinking beyond the sofa is key! If this is for a new space, take the time to explore and think about your style and how the sofa will drive the furniture and decor surrounding it. Sure, you can easily swap out throw pillows to change up palettes and moods – however, bigger ticket items like end tables and coffee tables are a big decision and visual anchor in a room. For example, being matchy matchy with all wood may come off as rustic, or, all gold may come off as glam. Mixing the two can create a modern farmhouse or cottage look.
Making a design board, or shopping around before you buy at the least, will make you feel more confident in your decisions and prevent you from stressing to rush order options.
6. Try Before You Buy
The process can be rushed for many reasons — you’re moving and have no existing furniture, you’ve damaged your current sofa, or you’re just plain OVER what you have…all of which causes you to panic-order. However, if you have the chance to go-store, do it! See if you really love the depth, the materials inside that make up the cushion, the feel of the fabric, etc. Talking with a staff member about the durability and feedback they get is helpful, too.
Beyond in person, browsing social media for reviews and real photos is beyond helpful. I get at least one message a week about our couch and I am happy to provide an honest review as it is such an investment!
My Sofa Configuration
Our living room is positioned and sized in a way where it makes the most sense for flow, conversation and proportion to have two sofas that face one another. We went ahead and ordered them given all of the issues over the last few years, but actually won’t be furnishing the space fully for a bit. Therefore, wanted to note that we also accounted for accent chairs by the fireplace and the space will be filled more!
Following the process above, our priorities were comfort, a fabric that could handle kids and pets and a timeless look. We had an amazing experience with Interior Define, and am glad to see they are under new ownership to provide that same experience we got. The sofa has been incredible so far, I highly recommend!
My Exact Sofa
Many of you ask what exactly I chose, so here it is! I chose the Alexander 2 Seat Sofa:
- Fabric: Performance Antimicrobial Chenille, Limestone
- Depth: 40.5
- Legs: Tapered Round Wood, Natural Oak
- Seat: 2 Cushion
- Size: 80″
- Cushion Fill: Double Down Blend
Shop My Sofa
Shop the sofa here.
Shop similar options within different budgets and availability windows:
That’s all! If you’re looking for living room inspiration, check out my design boards here. You can also shop my living room here or via the Shop Instagram tab to explore many views of the space. As always, let me know if you have any questions!
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