Decorating & Design

March 13, 2015

Shopping For A Sofa

Need a new sofa? Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when shopping for this investment piece:

1. Measure your space. Where is the sofa going? Will you want to fit end tables as well? You want to find out how much room your new sofa can take up. If you have an existing sofa that you’re replacing, why are you replacing it? Do you want something smaller, larger, or the same size? Resist the urge to buy a sofa on a whim without measuring it first — unless you’re sure you can return it. We come across many too-large sofas that were the result of a size misjudgment, and it can throw a room’s whole look off.

2. Know your delivery route. This step is often forgotten and can cause problems come delivery time. Imagine your future sofa is being delivered: which route will it take from the delivery truck to its spot in your home? Are there any tight corners to go around, stairs to climb, or narrow doorways to squeeze through? Sofas are large pieces of furniture, and you should be aware of any narrow spaces it will have to travel through to end up where you want it. Know the particulars of these possible trouble spaces and have measurements on hand, that way you can consult with your sales person on appropriate sofa sizes or styles. (You may need removable legs or a lower seat back.)

3. Finally, go shopping! Keep your focus on the style and dimensions of the sofa rather than the colour or fabric. Most often, you will have a choice of fabrics. Sit in everything, even if the style doesn’t appeal to you — you may learn something that you do or don’t like (firmness, arm height, back height, seat depth). Any knowledge you gain regarding your personal comfort, likes and dislikes will help you be a more informed shopper and narrow down the choices. Bring along other members of the household that will be sitting on the sofa too. Your body dimensions are likely different, so you’ll find different sofa proportions more or less comfortable — the trick is to find a happy medium. Lay down, cross your legs, sling a leg over the arm! If you find something that’s comfortable to sit in and meets your other requirements (style, size, price), don’t forget to test it like you would use it at home. Sitting straight up is a perfect first test, but if that isn’t the way you always sit or lay, make sure to test out your favourite relaxing, movie watching, laptop using positions.

See our photo gallery of Budget-Friendly Sofas for more tips.

Author: Jennifer Koper & Gwen Matsell

Michael Graydon


Sofa, G. Romano; sofa and throw pillow fabrics, Robert Allen; pillow sewing, Tonic Living; armchairs, LH Imports; stool, floor lamp, Hollace Cluny; bench, Elte; shutters, Canada Custom Shutters.


House & Home February 2014 issue


Sarah Hartill