How do I choose a sofa for my living room?

livingBuying a sofa can be a big investment and is often the statement piece for your living room. You want to find something that is comfortable enough for lounging and reading, yet maybe also big enough to entertain family and friends. That’s why getting it right is worth a little extra time and research to find the perfect one.

When selecting a sofa, there are a number of things to consider: the size, shape, style and colour will all factor into your decision. All the choices can seem overwhelming, but we’ve put together the following expert advice to make it easier for you to curl up in comfort.

  • Measuring up your space
  • Ensuring ultimate comfort and quality
  • Selecting your sofa style
  • Mixing and matching with your living room furniture

Measuring up your space

Brighton corner sofa, trend accent chair, bridnle side table, brindle large sideboard in large blue living roomBrighton corner sofa / Brindle side table / Brindle large sideboard

The size and scale of your room should be what motivates your choice. For example, do you have enough space for a sprawling corner sofa or would a loveseat and footstool work better? Don’t forget to consider the architectural layout of your home, such as bends, windowsill height and any declining ceilings.

How do I choose a sofa size?

  1. Before you even begin to browse the market, decide the appropriate place for your sofa to live and measure this space carefully. Having a ready set of dimensions means you can choose a sofa length, depth and height that is fit for purpose.
  2. Think about the other furniture that’s already in your living room or that you plan to put there during the redesign process. As well as being able to move around the room, you’ll also need to be able to open sideboard drawers, access the bookcase or manoeuvre around other pieces of furniture or accessories in the space. Measuring up your living space can be a bit tricky, so head over to our sofa sizing guide for more detail or alternatively, for general living room measurement guidance, we’ve highlighted key things to consider here.
  3. A really important measurement that some people can overlook is the doorway height and width. Can you even fit your sofa through the hallway? The diagonal depth of your sofa will help you work out if your sofa will fit through the door. You can turn yours on its side or twist it into the doorway, else split sofas can make delivery easier.

For more on sofa shapes, see our guides to corner sofas and sofas and loveseats.

Ensuring ultimate comfort and quality

Grey leather sofa with throw and cushionsDylan three seater sofa / Lille lamp (@housetohome28)

It should be a given that relaxation is optimised by quality and comfort. Not only do you want a beloved space to cosy up in the evening, but you want the furniture you invest in to stand the test of time, taking everything that life – especially in a busy family – throws at it.

How can you tell if a sofa is good quality?

  1. Make sure to check the frame and joinery
    Cheaper frames tend to be made from plastic, metal or pine which can warp after a few years, meaning your sofa will become worn and old much quicker than you might hope.
    If the frame wobbles or twists when you move it from side to side, or it seems lighter than expected, it’s unlikely to be made from a durable hardwood frame such. Alternatively if you’re unable to go into store, check the item description for details about the materials.
    At Oak Furnitureland, all our sofa frames are made from hardwood, so that you can love it for years to come.
  2. Check the sofa seat construction
    When shopping, ask the experts about seat construction. Rather than using fabric webbing that can stretch and sag, look for seat cushions that are supported by heavy gauge serpentine springs. Supporting seat cushions in this way will help with shape retention and overall comfort.
  3. Check the quality of the fabric
    With laid-back lounging, you shouldn’t have to worry that putting your feet up will damage your sofa. Choosing genuine leather upholstery or a high quality fabric will mean your sofa looks as good as it feels, day after day.
  4. Types of sofa fillings
    The best type of sofa filling depends on preference and aesthetic. Most sofas are made from either foam, feather, fibre or are a mixture of fillings.
    Foam provides firm support and keeps its shape for longer and if you have some mobility issues, you might find a foam sofa easier to get up from.
    If you’re after that ‘sink in’ feeling, then fibre might be your preferred option. It can require a bit more upkeep to keep the fibre preserved but will certainly be nice and comfy. Plus if you have certain allergies or sensitivities, this might be a good option.
    Feather filled is by far the softest option as it moulds to your shape and creates an incredibly plush and relaxing sofa experience. Much like fibre, feather requires regular plumping and some may find a predominantly feather sofa doesn’t provide enough support.
    Often you’ll find a combination of foam and fibre filling as it provides support from the foam but give a layer of softness from the fibre too.

Selecting your sofa style

Grey sofa with yellow throw and patterned cushions

Jensen two seater sofa / Hove nest of tables (@laurie-homeandgarden)

You may be drawn to clean lines and its associated schools of design (Scandi or mid-century, for example), or you have a desire to sink back into a more traditional high-back sofa. Else, the needs of your home might require a versatile, modular pillow-back. While personal taste is, of course, a key factor in your decision making, don’t forget to consider your practical needs and lifestyle choices.

So, what should you think about when choosing your sofa’s style?

1. Choosing a sofa for your sizing needs

Hampstead two seater sofaHampstead two seater sofa (@kitting_out_kintore)

In cosier living rooms, you don’t want your sofa to swallow up your living space. At the same time, you don’t want to sacrifice style either – even if it’s just you and your partner enjoying a movie night, or you have a friend round for a glass of wine. All our sofa ranges come in a variety of sizes so if you’ve fallen in love with a particular three or four seater sofa but don’t have the room or need for it, there’s always a space-saving two seater sofa available for those who seek a more compact size.

Grey corner sofaMorgan modular five seat corner sofa (@thenewbuilddream18)

Choosing a sofa for a family home? Accounting for the number of people in your household, as well as friends and extended members of the family who come to visit is particularly important. For a more customisable look, opt for sofa sets offering space for the whole family. If you love hosting and socialising, then a corner sofa could be for you. At Oak Furnitureland, we understand that every home is different and has its own unique requirements, which is why we also offer modular sofas so that you have the opportunity to personalise one of your home’s most important pieces of furniture.

2. Picking a sofa for your functional needs

When it comes to picking out your sofa, you’ll need to think about the most appropriate upholstery for your lifestyle needs. Whether you’re a parent who is forever mopping up spills, or you like to put your feet up at the end of the day, durable leather that can be easily cleaned may be for you. Quality fabric sofas may offer an alternative, particularly if you’re looking for something a bit more resistant to pets and their tendency to scratch upholstery!

Grey sofa with colourful scatter cushions
Jasmine two seater deluxe sofa bed / Jasmine accent chair / Bevel coffee table / Bevel small bookcase / Novara lamp

For the host with the most, a sofa with dual-functionality – either in the living room or another location in the home such as the bedroom, spare room or office – may be your best choice. Traditionally an unstylish piece of furniture, our sofa beds are designed in-line with our bestselling sofa ranges, so never look out-of-place in your interior design scheme. They’re also equally designed with comfort in mind, providing a great night’s sleep for guests when they come to stay.

3. Selecting a shape for your style

Yellow sofa and grey armchair with colourful cushionsEvie two seater sofa / Evie loveseat (@our_self_build_ni)

If you lack the floorspace for a corner sofa or you wish to create a cohesive look without using just one sofa, a sofa set could be a brilliant option for your home. There are plenty of ways to mix and match living room seating such as by using different pieces from different ranges or different coloured fabric from the same range. Else, create a fully put together look with a selection of matching sofas and armchairs from the same collection. The possibilities are seemingly endless!

Beige sofa and footstool with grey cushions and throws
Gainsborough three seater sofa / Gainsborough storage footstool (@19_insidegemshouse)

Stretching out head-to-toe on a corner sofa is an ultra-comfy option, but sometimes you want a little bit of help to put your feet up. For this, we have two options. The first is the ever-popular recliner sofa. Our electric recliners use the highest quality steel mechanisms and motors. Their space saving design, means the sofas and chairs can be used close to a wall with only a marginal gap needed for clearance. We also have a manual operation for layouts that aren’t close to a power socket.

Alternatively, your personal taste may sway more towards a stylish footstool to be a part of your sofa set. An ultra comfy place to kick back, many of our footstools also contain secret storage compartments to help you organise your space. Who doesn’t love a smart storage option!

Mixing and matching with your living room furniture

Grey 3 seater sofa
Gemma three seater sofa / Kemble coffee table / Kemble small bookcase

Selecting a sofa is a major life decision and you want it to look beautiful in the context of your home design. If you prefer subtle interiors, you may want to opt towards a neutrally coloured upholstery and furniture that matches – for example, grey fabric and a selection of pieces from one of our painted furniture ranges.

As the sofa is the centrepiece you might, however, want to make more of a splash. Statement-making options include richly coloured upholstery, printed geometrics in the soft furnishings and accessorising with accent chairs. Pairing your sofa with bold furniture from painted, hardwood or metal ranges is perfect for creating an on-trend contrast.

Ready to pick out your new sofa? Browse our wide range of sofas now to find the perfect fit for your home. And don’t forget to show us your new looks over on Instagram using #OakFurnitureland!