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How to choose the right sofa

How to choose the right sofa

Think about it for a second. A sofa is one of the most important, and expensive purchases we make for our home. So it’s obvious, we need to give our sofa purchase some serious consideration. Especially, as your sofa is going to be part of your home for many years to come. It needs to be practical, fit the ambience of the room, and be durable. But let’s be honest, it’s the ambience that matters because if the sofa is hideous, we’re not going to buy, no matter how comfortable or durable it is.

 

I can’t offer any advice as to the style of the sofa because it depends on your personal preference, budget and style of the rest of the room. But what I can do is get some advice to help you with your decision with thanks to Dandelion Interiors. 

1 – Choosing the right colour of sofa: Where to start

For your living space, the sofa is a focal point. So it’s logical. If you’re starting from scratch, and completely redecorating the entire room, start with the sofa first. Pick it’s style, colour and location, then decorate around it. When your sofa is a focal point of the room, we often go with vibrant colour, if we can, a luxury fabric. Or perhaps a colourful print.

If, on the other hand, your room is already decorated and you’re adding or changing your sofa, or you’d prefer your sofa to be part of the “supporting cast” rather than take centre stage, then choosing the colour becomes more complex and more important.

When choosing the colour of a sofa to fit into the style of a room, the first decision you have to make is whether you want to the sofa to be neutral to the existing colour palette or whether it will take an accented role.

Some designers, make a clear and easy choice. They prefer the sofa to match the colour on the walls of the room. They feel it unifies the room and gives a sense of space, making the room feel larger. This works well but can get a little complicated when it comes time change the colour of the walls, especially if you’re using a vivid colour rather than a variation of off-white. It’s probably why neutral sofas are the most popular colour.

2 – Going to the dark or the light side

Cow print sofa

How fab is this from Dandelion Interiors?

Once the decision has been made on whether you’re going to pick a neutral colour or an accented colour, then the next big decision is whether to go for a light or dark coloured sofa. This decision is going to be influenced by your flooring. Is it going to be floating on a sea of dark wood, or is it going to be nestled into a thick, coloured carpet?

Sofas are large and upholstered, and in most cases, the upholstery will absorb the light which can have the effect of darkening a room considerably. One trick, used by designers, when looking at which sofa to purchase, is to find a piece of material, a sheet or blanket perhaps, that is the same colour of the potentially new sofa, put it over the existing sofa and you can see how it works with the room. Does it absorb the light and darken the room? Give it a couple of days, and you’ll get a real sense of what to expect if you purchased the sofa.

The general rule of thumb. If you’re putting a dark sofa on a dark floor, wooden or carpeted, the sofar is going to disappear into the room. If that’s your preference, then try looking for a sofa with metal or wooden legs. They’ll help to visualise the space between the sofa and the floor, stopping it disappearing.  I see a lot of designers using a light coloured rug in front of the legs of the sofa, again to bring out the colour of the sofa instead of losing it.  Finally, if they’re not ideas that stirs your imagination, try a light wood or metal coffee table that will help to define the sofa and help the eye differentiate it from the floor.

If you’re a considering a light colour sofa, you’re going to have different challenges. The obvious ones are keeping it clean and tidy. Light sofas show wear and tear easily, and stains are very difficult to hide. There are a lot of visual advantages to a light coloured sofa, it helps to make the room feel spacious and light, but you need to think functionally first. For example, unless your dog is well trained, a light coloured sofa and a dog who sees it as a big doggie bed, is a recipe for disaster.

 

3 – What you need to know when picking colours.

You’ve done most of the hard work. You’ve made your choice between dark and light, about neutral or accented, you’re ready to pick an actual colour. If you’re not making your sofa a centrepiece for the room, then you’re likely to be picking a more neutral colour choice. It’s a good decision because they’re easy to decorate around and easy to redesign as the style of your room changes. After all, you don’t want to be married to just one style, trends and fashions change.

Using the right neutrals can be quietly stylish and attractive, and complement your room. These include beige, grey, taupe, and cream. No sofa is an island. A matte beige sofa is often dull but textured beige, on the other hand, with some monochromatic colour can be interesting and add something to the room. Don’t be afraid of the right tones of grey. It’s a colour that offers you a lot. It can be sophisticated, comfortable, cool or crisp, depending on the rest of the room.

You can incorporate the colour into your room regardless of its colour. It’s about the details. If you add accessories, prints, different materials around the room, little pops of colour, it will balance out the room nicely and make the sofa feel integrated. And these days, there are plenty of options to accessorise your sofa, regardless of your budget.

 

Note: Thanks to Dandelion Interiors for their fab advice this week.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Louisa October 30, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Great advice here. We are looking for a new sofa and colour is proving to be an issue. I want a really bold wall colour so think a pale sofa will work best but a pale sofa and a black dog are not a good mix!! #thelistlinky

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