Selecting a sofa can be an overwhelming task, especially if you don't know what exactly you are looking for. The following hints and information should at least give you a great starting point to guide you in the right direction.
A really important element is to obviously look at the size of the sofa and if it will suit the space. However also be sure to measure and double check all access points to determine if the sofa can actually get into your home. I have seen so many beautiful sofas made that can't actually fit through the front door! Stairs and corners can also prove to be tricky points, so be sure to check these. If access is limited, you may need to opt for a low-back style, one with removable legs or even a modular that can be delivered in sections.
The sofa is always the starting element in any of my lounge room design concepts. The fabric selection choice can be often leave clients looking like a deer-in-headlights. I always like to stay fairly neutral in colour and then build interest around it. However there are many other factors to take into consideration when choosing fabrics. Linen is a stunning fabric, but may loose its shape and sag a little over time if it's in a high use area. I usually prefer to opt for a blended fabric so you can get the best of both worlds. For those looking at leather sofas, just be sure to determine how much direct sunlight it may be exposed to; nothing will age and fade your leather more than direct sunlight.
What's On The Inside
Remember that what's inside a sofa is just as important as what's used on the outside. Feather-filled cushions are high in comfort but they will need very regular plumping which can quickly become a chore within itself. Whilst foam or fibre fillings may flatten out and lose their shape over time. I personally reommend choosing a combination of feather and foam to get that perfect balance of comfort and support. An ideal seat cushion is a foam base with either a fibre or a feather wrap around. A feather/fibre back cushion will also provide beautiful softness, whilst keeping maintenance to a minimum.
The Seat Depth
The seat depth is one of the biggest factors contributing to comfort level. 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 try out different styles to ensure you get good back support. If you are exceptionally tall family, you could look at deeper sofas, of if you are on the other end, or even prefer a bit more support when sitting, you may like to look at a more narrow depth.
The Sit Test
The last and most valuable hint I can give is the sit test, or really the lay-down-kick-your-shoes-off-get-comfy-test. If you prefer to lay down on your sofa, legs hanging over the back, arms outstretched, then this is how you should test the sofa. It will be of course very embarrassing for all of 5 minutes in the shop, but it will definitely tell you pretty quickly if that is the right sofa for you!
Keeping these above points in mind should help take a little of the overwhelm out of the experience. However if you are still completely confused, it may be time to call in the experts. Hayward & Co can offer one-off consultations and shopping consultations to help ensure you make the right decisions.