So by now you have probably seen on my instagram feed or twitter or facebook, THAT canary yellow velvet sofa. How wonderful to come to a point in life where a canary velvet sofa becomes a good idea. Of course I’ve not yet reached that pinnacle of maturity for the aforementioned golden seat belongs to my Mum. It’s an integral part of her new home, new life and new chapter in her exciting interior design journey. It makes her squeal with joy, like she’s just had 60 years knocked off her. Sofas can do that you know. But only if they’re a cheeky bright hue.
When buying a new sofa it’s essential that you try before you buy. Here’s Mum road testing in the Sofa.com Chelsea showroom
So buying a sofa feels like a big purchase right. First of all it’ll take up a big part of the budget. Next up is comfort, because if you’re anything like me you spend a lot of time curled up on it with the purpose of feeling totally relaxed. But in terms of the visual, I think its a great opportunity to have some fun creatively. We designed Mum’s annex interior space in a very muted grey to help enhance the feeling of oodles of natural light and open space. So a bright jewel coloured number, positioned center stage, really fitted in with the otherwise all grey scheme.
So with the colour in mind we did a little research on the internet and the shape and comfort of the Sofa.com models really appealed. And I have already owned two sofa.com sofas and have am a very happy customer. I’m a fan of their brand, their customer service, price range and their designs and I love the choice of fabric offerings. So it seemed the obvious place to shop. With a couple of models in mind we headed up to the London showroom in Chelsea to try them out. I couldn’t ever buy a piece of furniture that I’m going to sit on without trying it first- even if you are going to order it online afterwards.
Mum plumped for the Holly sofa. She liked the upright seating position it offered as she’s not a one for curling up and slouching like me. The depth of the seat on the Holly is too shallow for me but that’s why its so important you try these things out. We also liked the Holly because it looks so good from all angles, and as it was going to be placed in the center of the open plan room we needed to consider how it would be viewed from all sides. Finally on the stylistic front we just loved the cute little legs. It was a nod to the mid century modern, that Mum’s keen on incorporating in the new design. I also love sofas that are raised off the floor on legs, as they enhance the sense of space in a room, as you can see more floor. Its a great little visual trick.
So here are my ten tips on buying a sofa
Try before you buy. Ideally you’ll want to have sat in the sofa first to make sure it suits your posture. For example I love to sit on a sofa with my feet curled up so a deep seat is essential for me, where as my Mum preferred a more shallow seat with back support.
Check out if the company your buying from offer a no quibble return policy. Sofa.com do and I think when your spending such a large investment its important that you can return it if its not right when it arrives in the room. (I’ve done this too!)
Measure up your space. Its really important that you measure up where the sofa will be situated so you can check you have enough room for it, so include space for side tables if you intend to have them. But also measure your access area, like door width and turning circles in the stair ways. Many large sofa designs come apart in modules to help with this problem.
If you have pets and young children, consider going for a loose cover option, so its easy to wash out spills and marks. You can get brilliant custom made loose covers for any Ikea sofa from Bemz which is well worth checking out. Or leather is very forgiving and wipe-able down-able. Terrible at supporting scatter cushions though- they just tend to slip off, so that’s a now from be obvs!
A sofa raised on legs will help a room feel larger. A sofa that sits on the floor might have more springs and hence more comfort.
You’ll want to think of quality. Often the price reflects this. A soft wood frame will have a shorter shelf life but this is what most affordable high street sofas, are made from. Rule of thumb I’d expect them to look good for around 5 years depending on how hard you use them. (I had a habitat sofa in one of my holiday lets but it got broken by an over exuberant hen party!) Next up you have hardwood frames like beech which will be warp resistant and longer lasting. I’ve had my beech frame sofa for 7 years and with hard wear (sofa jumping kids) its still going string. Finally you have designer brands like Minotti that are often enhanced with metal frames which makes them close to indestructible.
Think about the cushions. Foam seat cushions give more support and look sharper and suit modern styles. Feather filled is a rounder and softer look, but be prepared to regularly plump. Or go for a combination of the two. Foam seat cushions with feather back cushions is a winner.
Don’t discount buying a vintage sofa. They are often structurally well made – and then you can have fun covering them in your choice of fabric. Note you’ll need around 10 meters of upholstery grade fabric and around £500+ for the upholsterer, (depending in the style and condition of the sofa), so its not a budget option but you’ll have an heirloom to keep. A good upholsterer will let you know if the sofa you are recovering is worth the investment.
Do make your sofa an integral part of the colour scheme. The safe thing to do is invest in a neutral coloured sofa- this way you’ll be able to change your scheme over time easily without having to change the sofa. But who wants safe! The trend right now is very much for sofas in moth-watering jewel like colours like yellow, emerald green or deep blue. So I urge you to go for it. If you’re going to spend all that money, it might as well be on something that makes your heart beat faster!
If you’ve missed out on the whole story- you can watch the renovation of her annex build over on my YouTube channel.