From watching TV to snoozing and snacking, Britons are the ultimate couch potatoes. So much so, a 2008 study revealed we spend a staggering 17 years sitting on the sofa!
With figures like these, it’s clearly worth investing in a good quality sofa. An essential item for any home, it’s not a purchase to make lightly, or without considered thought.
There are five keys points to assess when choosing in a sofa: size, style, comfort, longevity and practicality. Ignore these criteria, and the result is a sofa that simply isn’t suited to your needs.
To avoid such an outcome, Dovetail have compiled a step-by-step guide to choosing a sofa, following the key points mentioned above. Follow our advice and you’ll find your perfect sofa in no time!
Step 1 | Size
Be honest with yourself: do you really have the space for a massive sofa? If your room is small, an oversized sofa will make it look more cramped than it actually is. Those short on living space should instead opt for a sofa with low or no arms, as this will create the illusion of a larger room.
On the other hand, should you have a relatively large living room, don’t go overboard on size. Remember that other furniture items, such as TV stands, coffee tables and perhaps other chairs, still need to fit in comfortably.
Step 2 | Style
Think about the intention of your space. Do you envision a formal living room, or a stylish spot for occasional entertaining? A stand-alone sofa presents a sleeker, cleaner line. A sectional sofa is far more roomy and inviting, creating a more casual space that’s perfect for watching TV or snoozing!
Step 3 | Comfort
How do you sit on your sofa? It may seem like a stupid question, but everyone lounges differently.
It’s really important to consider seat depth. You may prefer to slouch into your cushions rather than sit upright when watching TV; therefore, if you choose a sofa with too shallow a seat, you will shift awkwardly as you try to find a comfortable position. Your sofa is now a wasted investment!
Here is a quick overview of sofa seat depths. 18 inches is a sleek, modern look, but very upright and uncomfortable to sit on. 22 inches is the minimum for a comfortable seat, but still presents a sleek design. 24 inches is just deep enough to lie across, while 33 inches has the ultimate “snuggle factor”.
Step 4 | Longevity
Different fabrics ware better than others over time. For example, chenille, while soft and silky, stretches and warps over time. Likewise, vinyl is a cheaper alternative to leather, but tends to be less comfortable and cracks with age.
Meanwhile, ensure your sofa has a hardwood frame. This could be oak, teak, beech or mahogany, but avoid softwoods such as pine or spruce. Furthermore, check it is held together with screws and dowels rather than glued and stapled chipboard; these can easily break and will not last as long.
Step 5 | Practicality
Do you have young children or pets? Then be sensible with your choice of fabric. Cotton-velvet is a family favourite; it’s plush, wears well, and comes in a variety of patterns and shades that can help camouflage any unwanted stains!
Leather is another popular choice for families; it’s wipe-clean, so any spills or stains can easily be erased. However, it’s susceptible to scratches, so is best avoided by pet owners, as well as wool, satin and velvet. Instead, invest in more pet-friendly fabrics, such as distressed leather and microfibre.
A hub of activity, be it coffee mornings, book clubs or family parties, your living room needs to be the perfect place for socialising. Therefore, it’s important that you don’t simply throw your furniture together. It takes time, effort, and a little bit of science to create a warm and welcoming living space.
Don’t know where to start? Read Dovetail’s advice to find out how to organise your living room. Our step by step guide makes the whole feat a lot easier. So what are you waiting for? Get reading!
Step 1: Don’t be glued to the walls!
One of the most common sights in a living room is having all the seating pushed to the edges of the room. This is a big mistake – especially if your lounge is a social hub. Nothing is worse than trying to have a chat with someone stuck against the opposite wall! Instead, push your seating together for a friendly, comfortable atmosphere.
Step 2: Find your point of interest
But where should you position your seating? Find your focal point. This could be your television, coffee table or fireplace. It could even be a set of bay windows. Once you’ve decided, position your furniture towards this point.
If you regularly entertain, we recommend creating a “conversation circle”. You can do this by adding cushions or stools around your arrangement. Now you’ve created a comfortable, engaging space for your gatherings.
Step 3: Allow for ease of access
It’s all well and good making your living room look good, but why bother if no one can access it? Make sure your layout is practical and comfortable. For example, leave enough space between your seating for people to easily navigate the room. Don’t have furniture corners facing one other, resulting in narrow walk-ways and bruised limbs!
Also, it seems silly, but make sure everyone has a drink rest in reach. This could be an ottoman, coffee table or even a nearby shelf. Don’t make them have to walk across the room every time they want to take a sip of coffee!
Step 4: Clever design tricks
This step is full of hints and tips to make the most of your living space. For example, do you have toys and games for your kids that you want to hide? Imagine a line that begins at your doors and travels straight to your furniture. This will clearly direct people across your room, blocking off corners where you can sneakily store your odd bits.
Do you have a large living-come-dining room? Divide the space into two distinct areas by facing your sofa away from the dining room. This defines a clear conversation zone and that differs from the rest of the open plan.
If you want to create a unified seating area, use a large rug. This will create a welcoming communal area and draw all your items of furniture together. Also, have your seating facing one another or in a circle so your guests are face-to-face when having a conversation.
We hope that reading our guide has provided you with some layout inspiration.
Why not start organising your furniture today? If you’re looking for a new sofa for your new look living room, pop down to Dovetail. We have a wide selection of upholstery for you to choose from (click here) at our Norwich showroom. If you have an questions, give us a call on 01603 488082.
Dovetail have a wide range of sofas in our showroom.
But with so many different styles, colours and fabrics on show, the choice can be overwhelming. There’s no need to worry, however. Dovetail has compiled an easy step-by-step guide for choosing the best sofa for your home. Sofa shopping has never been so easy!
Step One: Size
Let’s start with the easiest decision: size. You need to think about where you will place your sofa and how much space is on offer. There’s no point splashing the cash on a reclining three-seater if it’s going to be cramped in a corner of a room! If you have a small living space, a compact design will be more suitable. L-shaped sofas are a great way to work around minimal space: they can easily slot in the corner of your room. Those who are lucky enough to have a large amount of space, feel free to experiment with a variety of shapes and designs.
Also, it’s important to consider who will spending time on the sofa. If you have a large family (or sofa-hogging pets), three- to four-seater sofas provide ample room. No one wants to squashed while trying to watch the telly!
Step Two: Shape
We’ve already touched on this, so it’s our logical next step. The shape of your sofa can help enhance your living space if chosen correctly. Do you have a kitchen-come-living room? An L-shaped sofa for a perfect room divider. If you have a small living space, round sofas are brilliant at opening up the area. They are also suitable for gathering areas, such as a TV room or conservatory, due to their open, welcoming design. Which leads us to our next step…
Step Three: Function
How will you spend the majority of your time on your sofa? Sounds like a stupid question (sitting, of course!) but it helps you to pick a sofa best suited to your needs. If your living room is a relaxing space where you watch TV and read books, a comfortable sofa with multiple cushions is the perfect choice. You could even be decadent and treat yourself to a recliner!
Maybe socialising is more your thing? If you love coffee mornings and having a natter with friends, an L-shaped sofa is a great choice as it can easily fit around a coffee table. Do your friends often find themselves staying the night? You could consider purchasing a futon or day-bed.
Step Four: Ergonomics
Do you suffer from a bad back? Lack of suitable back support will only make things worse. Did you know we spend eight years and ten months of our lives watching TV? Well, with so much time spent sitting on our sofas, it’s important your sofa has substantial back support. Firm cushions and upright backs are good choices. However, if your back pain is so bad you have issues getting out your chair, you could consider a reclining sofa. This provides additional support and prevents you from straining your back when you try to get up.
Step Five: Material
We’ve already written a whole blog post about this step. Why not check it out? Make sure you come back and finish reading this blog once you’re done though!
Step Six: Design
So you’ve reached the final (and most fun!) step of choosing the best sofa for your home: the design. It’s important to pick a design that compliments your home’s aesthetic. If it’s quite traditional, a neutral design will stay classic for years to come; if it’s modern or minimalist, clean and sleek lines are a great choice. A sofa will a funky print is perfect for a home experimenting with a variety of styles and colours!
Now you’ve read our step-by-step guide, it’s time for you to get sofa shopping!
Have a look at the upholstery collections available at the Dovetail showroom. With so many shapes, sizes and materials on offer, you will be sure to find the perfect design for your home.
Shopping on a budget? Don’t worry – Dovetail have a wide range of sofas on sale. Click here to have a browse. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Give us a call on 01603 488082 to find out more.
With so many choices available on the market, it can often be overwhelming when it comes to finding your perfect sofa.
There are so many questions to consider. Fixed cushions? Lose cushions? High or low back? While these are all important factors, one question often overshadows all others: Fabric or leather upholstery?
To help you make the right decision, Dovetail have compiled a list of advantages and disadvantages for both choices. Now you can finally determine which style is best suited to you: fabric or leather?
Advantages of Fabric:
► Fabric sofas tend to provide greater comfort than leather. Traditionally, fabric is softer and more cosy than leather, which is often firm to the touch. While fabric upholstery maintains the same level of comfort year round, leather can become sticky and uncomfortable in the Summer heat and cold to the touch in Winter.
► Variety of colour and design is far greater. Leather is often restricted to a set range of colours, but fabric is unlimited in choice of pattern and design. Looking for a sofa to match your existing decor? Fabric sofas will make your search far easier!
► Fabric is not as susceptible to damage as leather. While leather can easily become scratched or dented, fabric can withstand pet claws or studs on jeans for far longer. Leather also needs to be regularly cleaned and conditioned every few months or else it will harden and crack. Fabric, meanwhile, has a far easier maintenance routine! A quick vacuum or steam-clean every couple of months will keep your sofa fresh and clean.
Disdvantages of Fabric:
► Stains and spills can prove lethal. Yes, fabric is unlikely to scratch as easily as leather, but a simple spill could stain your upholstery forever! Unless your fabric sofa has a stain-resistant finish, stains (such as mud, ink or tomato sauce) may never fully disappear. Leather, however, can typically be wiped clean – perfect for families will young children!
► Those with allergies, beware! Dust, pet dander and other allergens can easily be harbored in fabric. Leather, meanwhile, is hypoallergenic and can easily be wiped clean of dust or other irritants.
Advantages of Leather:
► It smells good! This may seem a stupid reason, but leather has an iconic smell that is immensely satisfying. After all, everyone loves a “new car” smell. Fabric, however, is porous. Therefore, it is more likely to absorb smells, be it food odour, take-away curry or a pet toilet emergency. We’d take a “new car” smell any day!
► The appearance of leather is timeless, classic and sophisticated. From a fashionable jacket to expensive car upholstery, leather suggests money, and plenty of it! Fabric, meanwhile, can be perceived as plain and practical. Timeless, yet modern, classic, yet contemporary, leather upholstery is a statement piece.
Disadvantages of Leather:
► Money, money, money! As with everything, quality fabric can be expensive, but leather will always be more expensive. While this is because you are paying for quality, not everybody has the money to spare. If you are on a budget, fabric is bar far the best option.
► As mentioned before, leather can be uncomfortable, especially in the Summer. Fabric is far more forgiving and soft for higher levels of comfort. However, leather may provide more support for those who suffer with back problems, so it’s rigidity is not always a negative.
Dovetail sell a wide range of leather and fabric upholstery. Now you have read the advantages and disadvantages of each material, visit our Norwich showroom and choose the perfect sofa.