Buy Sofa Guide – 8 Steps To Choosing A New Sofa

Buy Sofa Guide – 8 Steps To Choosing A New Sofa

Buying a sofa is one of the most important investments you’re likely to make for your home. In the living room it’s a piece for lounging, reading, eating, entertaining, watching TV, and even napping, so it makes sense that we take the time to invest in one that’s going to last for years to come.

From taking measurements to choosing the best frame and collecting fabric swatches, these are eight things you should consider before buying a new sofa.


You know when you’re on the hunt for a new mattress and you do the age-old bottom test? The same theory applies to a sofa. The average sofa has a seat depth of at least 60cm, which gives plenty of room to manoeuvre if you have long legs, and allows you to tuck them under if you’re shorter. But seat depths do vary, so definitely try out different styles to ensure you get good back support. When it comes to seat height, most designs are between 45cm and 50cm high. There’s no right or wrong height, so again, try before you buy to make sure it suits you.

Sarah Humphreys, Senior Buyer at DFS, says it’s important to consider how you like to lounge. ‘For example, if there are two of you and you both like to sit with your legs up, then check that the sofa is deep enough to accommodate you both. Or consider a chaise end or recliner sofa, if you have the space to accommodate one.

‘If you prefer to lie down on your sofa, make sure that it’s long enough for you to stretch out. Taller people may also like to consider a sofa with a higher back to offer extra support.’

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Spend as much as you can afford on a quality frame – it will see you through many years of lounging. A solid hardwood frame is a good option, but be wary of a particleboard or metal construction. Also, take note of the guarantee before you commit – always opt for manufacturers who offer at least a 15-year guarantee.

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Seeing physical samples of a sofa in your living room can make all the difference. Without swatches, it can be difficult to judge the scale of a pattern repeat, or how the light in your living room affects the colour or sheen of a fabric.

Most retailers will offer free or low-cost swatches that can be gathered alongside paint swatches or wallpaper samples if you’re redesigning your whole space. We would always recommend a physical moodboard, but if you’re more digitally minded, there are plenty of great design apps or websites (from Pinterest to Canva) that can help you organise your design scheme.

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House Beautiful


Remember that what’s inside a sofa is just as important as what’s used on the outside. When it comes to the sofa back and seat, feather-filled cushions are high on comfort but they will need regular plumping, while foam or fibre fillings may flatten out and lose their shape over time.

The perfect solution? The team at recommend choosing a combination of feather and foam as ‘feathers give the squish while the foam provides structure’. Back cushions filled with feathers and seat cushions filled with foam or fibre works well.

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Photography: Rachel Whiting, Styling: Hannah Deacon, Direction: Sarah Keady


Whether you go for a bold colour, pattern, or a neutral, your choice of upholstery fabric will have a huge impact on the room, so choose carefully to ensure it fits with your scheme. Natural materials may fade in strong sunlight so go for a synthetic fabric if the sofa will be near a window.

It’s particularly important in a busy family home, and if you have a dog or cat, opt for a fabric that’s easy to spot clean. Leather, microfibre, velvet, and canvas are all good options in this case, whilst textured weaves are hard-wearing and more forgiving of stains. Loose cover sofas are worth investigating, as they can be removed for cleaning and some are washable too.

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Photographer: Polly Wreford | Stylist: Jen Haslam | Production: Sarah Keady


‘As a rule, you should always invest in pieces you will use the most. So, if you’re someone who loves to relax in front of the TV, setting aside a larger budget for your new sofa is a must,’ says Anne Haimes, Design Director and Founder of Anne Haimes Interiors.

‘However, you should be wary of splurging on a sofa that is too trendy if you want your investment to go the mile. Velvet, bouclé and curved sofas have dominated social media in recent years, but you should think long and hard before making a big purchase on something that could fall out of fashion quickly or doesn’t truly suit your lifestyle.

‘Instead, I’d recommend putting money behind classic styles and fabrics which are timeless and will suit most décor styles years down the line. To get the most out of your furniture, choose durable fabrics such as leather, canvas or cotton that can withstand wear and tear.’

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There is nothing worse than buying furniture that doesn’t fit your space (remember Ross Geller’s iconic ‘PIVOT’ sofa scene in Friends?), so before you do anything, measure up. Get out the tape measure and make sure you’re certain of the maximum sofa dimensions that will fit, and suit, your space.

According to Sarah at DFS, it’s important to note both the width (the measurement across the back of the sofa) and the depth (the measurement from the back of the sofa to the front.) ‘Pay attention to the depth of the sofa if you’re buying for a smaller room, as the depth of the seat rarely changes from the larger to smaller size sofas,’ she says. ‘And consider the height of the sofa, particularly if your room has radiators or shelving.’

One tip for making sure that your sofa will fit in your space is to cut out the shape of your sofa from newspaper and place it on the floor in the room. Sarah says: ‘This allows you to check that you have enough space to walk around it with ease and that you’ve left enough room for shelves, radiators and other pieces of furniture, as well as the opening of cupboards, doors and windows.’

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Finally, check the dimensions of any doors and stairways the sofa will have to pass through on delivery – your unscuffed walls will thank you.

If access is limited, you may need to opt for a low-back style, one with removable legs or even a modular sofa that can be delivered in sections. Or if you have a small room, consider a two-seater or a loveseat. You might have your dream sofa in sights but you have to be practical too. The good news is that it’s never been easier to customise a sofa to make it really work for you and your space.


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Gone are the days when opting for extra functional features in a sofa – like a sofa bed or a recliner – meant compromising on style. Consider features beyond a standard two or three-seater. Would you benefit from an integrated footstool? Would a sofa bed do away with the need for a guest bedroom? Do you need a loose cover that you can clean regularly?

Consider its adaptability too. Modular sofas, for instance, are a total gift because they are adaptable to your needs – it’s common to break up your modular sofa when you have company, placing a coffee table in between units to make your living space more conducive to socialising. Your sofa can work harder for you if you invest in the right model from the get go.

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Best loveseat 2023 – the sofa in a box

Swyft Model 05 Loveseat, Pink Linen

Swyft Model 05 Loveseat, Pink Linen

This loveseat works perfectly as an elegant addition to a neutral space, or as an on-trend accessory to liven up a living area. This sofa in a box offers easy assembly within minutes with the Swyft-fix lock system, and with this softer, muted pink hue, you can tap into the ‘Posh Pink’ colour trend in an instant.

Best loveseat 2023 – the sustainable one

Allora Loveseat by Heal's

Allora Loveseat by Heal’s

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Credit: Heal’s

With a slim shape, plump cushions, and a lightweight frame, this loveseat could become the most comfortable seat in your home. The sprung base with Quallofil® Blue – a new polyester fibre for sustainable sofa cushions – is made from recycled bottles. It’s available in a choice of colours in velvet, wool, linen, cotton and more.

Best loveseat 2023 – the beige one

Hampshire Loveseat - Beige

Hampshire Loveseat – Beige

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Credit: Dusk

This is a timeless design that will see you through all interior styles. Perfect for those who are partial to neutral hues, this beige loveseat in a textured weave fabric offers plenty of style.

Best loveseat 2023 – the high back

Hayle Range

Hayle Range
Credit: Darlings of Chelsea

This is one to admire from afar, and of course, whilst sitting on it. The high back is a welcome feature here, as is the natural slant of the chair frame, making it perfect for curling up in. Pictured here is the Easy Clean Plush Velvet in Wedgewood – it’s a wonderful blue hue that will bring a calming touch to your interiors.

Best loveseat 2023 – the velvet one

Darcy Cuddler Sofa

House Beautiful Darcy Cuddler Sofa
Credit: DFS

This plush velvet fabric loveseat, from the House Beautiful collection at DFS, is perfect for contemporary homes. Available in 10 colours and shown here in Mauve, the Darcy cuddler sofa is chic, sophisticated and oh-so Instagrammable. For the perfect finishing touch, customise the feet with either Brushed Brass or Brushed Nickel.

Shop the House Beautiful range of sofas at DFS here.

Best loveseat 2023 – the chesterfield

John Lewis Cromwell Chesterfield Snuggler

John Lewis Cromwell Chesterfield Snuggler
Credit: John Lewis & Partners

In a classic chesterfield style, the rolled arms and deep buttoned back are strong features of this compact loveseat. The aged effect on this particular design would suit vintage-inspired interiors or those who have an eclectic decorating style.

Best loveseat 2023 – the stain resistant one


Credit: Marks & Spencer

A modern take on the traditional loveseat, this low-profile design has sleek lines and elegantly curved arms. This is great for a busy family home as it comes with a stain-resistant finish for protection from everyday spills.

Best loveseat 2023 – the cotton one

Southwold Cotton Love Seat

Southwold Cotton Love Seat
Credit: The White Company

This contemporary, deep, feather-wrapped seat offers all-round comfort, whether you’re reading your favourite magazine (House Beautiful, of course) or streaming back-to-back episodes of a new series on Netflix. The solid hardwood frame is covered with a soft, brushed-cotton cover.

Best loveseat 2023 – the luxe one

Boone Velvet Chair

Boone Velvet Chair

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Credit: Barker and Stonehouse

This ultra inviting loveseat will surely get top marks for comfort thanks to all-round plump cushioning. It’s contemporary, sleek, and luxe (hello, velvet!) and the slim metal legs completes this statement look.

Best loveseat 2023 – the elegant one

Lily Love Seat

Lily Love Seat
Credit: Rose & Grey

Definitely worth swooning over, this curved velvet loveseat is the ultimate style statement. With a nod to the much-loved chesterfield sofa, this loveseat is both contemporary and elegant. It’s soft and squishy too, so no doubt it’ll become your new favourite spot in the home.

Best loveseat 2023 -the curved one

Radley Loveseat, Honey Velvet

John Lewis + Swoon Radley Loveseat, Honey Velvet
Credit: John Lewis & Partners

Designed by Swoon and made by John Lewis, this beautiful mustard yellow loveseat features pleated button tufting and a wonderfully curved back. More colours available.

Best loveseat 2023 – the country one

Cosy Loveseat

Cosy Loveseat
Credit: Cox & Cox

We love the curve of this elegant, deep-seat loveseat sofa with classic turned legs. It has a smart country house style that makes for a laidback look. It can be upholstered in a range of colourways in either velvet or linen cotton blend.

Best loveseat 2023 – the grey one

Devon Loveseat

Heal’s Devon Loveseat

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Credit: Heal’s

With its versatile silhouette and rounded arms, this grey loveseat is perfect to suit neutral interiors. Layer up with tactile textures and a colourful throw or contrasting cushions, and it’ll soon become your new favourite spot.

Best loveseat 2023 – the deep seat



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Credit: Sofas & Stuff

Celebrate organic curves with Sofa & Stugg’s gorgeous Helmsley loveseat. This one offers sink-in comfort for slouchy lounging. As pictured here, it’ll look wonderful in front of a bay window but would work equally well in the corner of a living room or home office.

Best loveseat 2023 – the statement one

Velvet Duck Egg Blue Loveseat

Velvet Duck Egg Blue Loveseat
Credit: Oliver Bonas

If you want to go luxe, always opt for velvet upholstery on a loveseat. And if you’re partial to duck egg blue, then you can’t go wrong with this contemporary design from Oliver Bonas.

Best loveseat 2023 – the relaxed one

Hampstead Loveseat

Hampstead Loveseat

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Credit: Heal’s

Great for a family home, there’s a lovely relaxed look to this loveseat thanks to its plump cushioning with sharply tailored upholstery. It’s ideal for both classic and contemporary interiors and we’re loving this smart velvet ocean colourway.

Best loveseat 2023 – the plush one

Edes Love Seat

Edes Love Seat
Credit: Swoon

With a super soft filling and purposeful recline, the Edes cuddle chair is ideal for relaxing in comfort. From velvet to linen to cord, you can also choose boucle (pictured) among the choice of materials.

Best loveseat 2023 – the snuggle one

Martha Vintage Velvet Snuggle Chair

New Martha Vintage Velvet Snuggle Chair
Credit: Dunelm

It’s called a snuggle chair for a reason. Snuggle in, cosy up, and relax in utter comfort in this luxe vintage velvet loveseat, that is unsurprisingly soft to the touch.

Best loveseat 2023 – the fabric one

Layla Cuddler Sofa

House Beautiful Layla Cuddler Sofa
Credit: DFS

Snuggle up with the Layla cuddler sofa from the House Beautiful collection at DFS. With soft upholstery, a comfy fabric design and foam-filled seat cushions, it’s a chic addition to your living space.

Best loveseat 2023 – the leather one

Hendricks Leather Loveseat

John Lewis & Partners Hendricks Leather Loveseat
Credit: John Lewis & Partners

Hendricks is a beautifully crafted leather loveseat with an exposed oak frame and mid-century style, which complements many interiors.

Best loveseat 2023 – the chesterfield one

Patrick Loveseat in Lagoon Brushed Linen Cotton

Patrick Loveseat in Lagoon Brushed Linen Cotton

Taking inspiration from the classic chesterfield sofa, this snug loveseat is the ideal choice for a reading nook in the home. The buttoned and pleated back is an extra design detail to be admired.

Best loveseat 2023 – the mid century modern one

Abrego 2 Seater Loveseat Sofa

George Oliver Abrego 2 Seater Loveseat Sofa

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Credit: Wayfair

This wide velvet loveseat will comfortably seat two people and it works well for contemporary spaces or those who have a penchant for mid-century modern furniture. We love the tufted backrest and tapered solid wood legs. Available in a teal blue or this gorgeous forest green shade, this design comes packaged as a sofa in a box.

Best loveseat 2023 – the retro one

May Loveseat

May Loveseat
Credit: Swoon

This sleek half-moon shaped, retro-style loveseat is a real scene-stealer. With a medium-firm feel, padded back, and scatter cushions, it provides ultimate support and comfort. You can choose from easy velvet, smart wool and soft wool in a range of colours.

Best loveseat 2023 – the charcoal one

Habitat Swift Velvet Cuddle Chair - Dark Grey

Habitat Swift Velvet Cuddle Chair – Dark Grey
Credit: Habitat

With its curved arms and deep seated cushions, this dark grey velvet loveseat contrasts wonderfully with oak legs for a contemporary finish.

Best loveseat 2023 – traditional style



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Credit: Sofas & Stuff

Alwinton is one of Sofas & Stuff’s first designed sofas, and this classic snuggler ticks all the style boxes. More colours and fabrics are available.