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Your Sofa Buying Guide: Read This Before You Shop

21 Jul 2021

There can’t be that much involved in picking out the best sofa – or settee, or couch, if you prefer to call it that. Surely, as long as you find one that looks good and seems comfortable to lounge on, your sofa shopping is more-or-less done? 

Alas, the process isn’t quite as simple as that – and we aren’t just referring to the need to ensure your new acquisition also fits through the door. Your new sofa, after all, will be a huge focal point in your home. Your family will be routinely relaxing, eating and drinking on it. You’ll slump down on it after many a stressful workday. Oh, and it’ll need to be tough enough to stand up against any liquid spills, scratches or knocks it sustains over time. 

Sofa shopping, then, isn’t the work of a moment. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide on how to separate the most suitable and best UK sofas from those that just won’t work well in your space. 

Get The Dimensions Right

We touched on it in our introduction, so let’s also start with it here! It’s a seemingly obvious and unglamorous tip, but presuming you already know where you intend to place your sofa, you need to carefully measure up the space. And if the sofa will be arriving already assembled, you’ll also need to make sure you’ll be able to negotiate it into your home. That means measuring up the door frames and accounting for any awkward angles. 

If you’re doing your sofa shopping online with Arighi Bianchi, every product page of ours includes size and specification information. Remember that ‘width’ refers to the measurement across the back of the sofa, while the ‘depth’ is the measurement from the front of the sofa to the back. All of our sofas come assembled with our £59 premium delivery service, but if you mention a small hallway or tight doorways on your delivery notes, we may be able to bring it in parts and assemble it indoors.   

Choose The Sofa Fabric That Is Both Good-Looking And Practical

It wouldn’t be too revelatory for us to suggest that the colour or pattern will be one of the key factors especially drawing you towards a particular sofa. And why not? It will be integral in ensuring the sofa you pick fits in with your broader home décor scheme. Whether you opt for something with a more understated aesthetic like the Collins and Hayes Maple Pillow Back Grand Sofa, or relatively vibrant such as the Orla Kiely Fern Large Sofa, it’s always important to make sure you get the right look. 

No less crucial, however, is carefully considering the fabric. No two fabrics are entirely the same – natural materials, for instance, can sometimes be prone to fading over time due to sunlight exposure. This might make a manmade material the wiser choice if the sofa will be positioned close to the window. 

An especially popular sofa fabric is leather – think something like the Parker Knoll Burghley 2-Seater Sofa or Tetrad Harris Tweed Dalmore Midi Sofa – and the reasons for that are clear. It’s a strong and durable material that stands up well to everyday use, and even the creases, marks and scuffs it will almost inevitably accumulate over time will simply enhance its character. 

Decide On The Most Suitable Sofa Shape

The best UK sofas come in a dizzying range of shapes and sizes; in the Arighi Bianchi range, you’ll find everything from two seaters and corner sofas to opulent four-seat sofas and grand sofas. 

The shape of the sofa you choose won’t depend purely on how you intend to use it, as aesthetics will play a part too. A small sofa in a large room, for example, will appear somewhat isolated, while a large sofa in a small room may seem a little overwhelming. 

Nonetheless, you’ll also need to take into account practical factors, such as how many people will be routinely using the sofa at any one time, and how they will typically position themselves on it. If you expect to spend a lot of time lying on the sofa, will it be sufficiently long to allow you to stretch out comfortably? For buyers seeking a longer sofa, something like the Chelsea Extra Large Sofa or Spink & Edgar Lamour Grand Sofa could be just the purchase. 

The height of the people using the sofa will also be crucial. Taller people may require a sofa with a higher back for greater support, while if you are shorter, you should check that you’ll be able to comfortably tuck your feet under whatever model you’re considering. 

Check The Filling, Too

Given that you don’t see what your sofa’s stuffed with, it might be barely an afterthought for you when you’re looking for the best sofa. But that shouldn’t be the case! After all, the sofa filling is effectively what you will be sitting on for years, so it’s worth being aware of the qualities of the different stuffing options out there. 

A fibre filling, for example, consists of manmade polyester hollow strands that – when you sit on them – compress and expel air. Sofas with fibre fillings are soft and relaxing to sit on, but it’s important to frequently plump and turn the cushions to help keep them looking good. 

When the priority is to provide a more structured look and firmer support, a foam filling is a common choice. It needs hardly any maintenance over time, and foam cushions tend to spring back into shape as soon as the sitter rises. As for feather-filled sofas, these don’t appear as structured as their foam-filled counterparts, but they’re definitely luxurious sofas that practically beckon you to sit down and sink into them! 

Remember that it isn’t always a case of choosing directly between a fibre, foam or feather-filled sofa. You might be entranced by a desirable item like the handcrafted Alexander & James Vivienne Midi Sofa, for instance, which expertly combines all three! 

It doesn’t have to be the most intimidating process to make sure you buy the best sofa for your home. Get the above fundamentals right, and you’ll be well on your way to purchasing a sofa that graces your abode and impresses your guests for years to come. 

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