Guide to Buying a New Sofa Online in the UK

The sofa is the largest seating furniture piece you will buy for your home and will be one of the main features of any living room. It’s therefore important to select the right sofa for your needs, tastes and interior decor style. There are a number of factors to consider before buying a sofa online and this comprehensive guide will help you come to the right decision for your own personal requirements, both in a functional and decorative sense. You’ll then be ready to browse through the sofa choices on offer and choose one which will become a much loved permanent fixture in the family home.

The Different Types of Sofa You Can Find

When we think of a sofa, most of us will automatically think of the conventional 3-seater leather or fabric settee/couch with a back, armrests and copious amounts of padding. These are of course very popular and widely found but there are also more types you might not have considered before. Let’s go through each one briefly.

Loveseat – A loveseat is a smaller sofa which sits just two people and is a popular choice for people living in small homes. As the name suggests, the loveseat can be ideal for two newlyweds or cohabiting boyfriend and girlfriend who like to be intimate and/or cannot necessarily afford a larger and more expensive sofa. These types of sofa can also be placed in other rooms such as a bedroom, home office or even on a spacious landing area.

Sectional Sofa – If you have a large living room and want to seat many people, then a sectional sofa is going to be the ideal choice for your needs. Sectional sofas can be found in a wide range of different lengths and the main benefit they bring is their ability to fit into corners. The main sofa area might face one way, whilst another smaller section will face inwards at a 90 degree angle. For big families, these are the best sofa choice.

Futon Sofa – The futon sofa is based on a Japanese floor mattress design but with the addition of a wooden or metal sofa frame. It holds a duel use purpose which consists of a bed for the night and a sofa for the daytime. They are especially popular due to their simplicity and are very easy to fold back and forth as required. Futon sofas are great for small flats or as an item of furniture in a guest room.

Sofa Beds – These are in many ways similar to the futon sofa but with a more permanent and sofa-like quality. They also tend to be bigger and can hold two people comfortably. The sofa bed can be situated in the main living room and act as the primary sofa for most of the time but when visiting friends and family arrive, it can be transformed into a secure and attractive bed.

Chaise Longue – This sofa’s name is derived from the French meaning ‘long chair’. As the name partially suggests, the chaise longue looks much like an elongated chair that has transformed into a sofa. This type of sofa is basically a recliner for comfortable napping, chatting, reading or television watching. They were originally very popular with the French aristocracy but they might not be ideal as main sofas for a modern living room. However, they will be perfect as a secondary sofa or for a bedroom, home library or even a large dining room.

Wicker and Rattan Sofas – The origins of these types of sofas are based in India. They are ideal for use in conservatories, garden summer houses and perhaps large windowed kitchens. The material they are made from does not lend itself to long-term comfort so they are suitable for just short periods of reading a newspaper, drinking tea or chatting with a friend over a glass of wine in the summer. They can also be moved out onto a patio or lawn.

The Various Aspects of Sofa Designs

Sofa Back and Seat – These two parts of the sofa are important aspects to get right because they contribute greatly to the comfort level of your sitting experience and indeed, to the health of your muscles and bones. Some sofas have deep seats which stretch back quite away. These add a bed-like comfort to the furniture piece but can become uncomfortable after a while and in the long-term lead to muscle damage. You’ll need to contemplate the height of the average family member and compare it to the sofa dimensions to ensure that a comfortable fit will be achieved.

Feet – The sofa’s feet, not your feet. These feet come in an array of designs from the very simple as seen in most contemporary furniture to the extremely ornate, largely found in older and more classical designs.

Skirt – Sofa skirts have been used for centuries to hide the legs and to reduce the black empty space beneath the bottom of a sofa. Some are casual, others are more formal.

Arms – Most sofas have arms and these vary in size, type and look. Some are covered with fabrics whilst others are just bare wood, even when the rest of the sofa has decorative upholstery. The shape of the arms can often be complimented with existing décor in the interior.

Cushions – Many sofas come with their own cushions. These usually match with the color, style and shape of the sofa and are ideal for added decorative arrangement. You can of course add more cushions and throw pillows to the furniture piece in order to get the right look.

The Size of the Sofa in Relation to the Interior

Buying a new sofa is an exciting prospect and after seeing an advert on television or coming across a delightful sofa online or in a store, it can be tempting to buy there and then on the spot. However, it is wise to consider the space of the interior where the sofa is to be positioned in relation to the sofa dimensions. One will also need to think about the number of people who will sit on the sofa at any given time.

A big sectional sofa is capable of holding up to 6 people, whilst a loveseat can hold just two people who are on intimate terms. You might think about buying one big sofa and just having an extra armchair or alternatively, two smaller sofas instead of one big one. The possibilities are many and varied.

Room size will impact on the sofa you choose in more ways than you imagine. There’s also the task of bringing the new sofa into the room in the first place and so space is required to manoeuvre the furniture piece in.

For more information on this see: Guide to Measuring a Room for the Placement of Furniture.