What you need to know:
- Buy your sofa first because everything else in your living room will be styled around it.
- Layer your sofa up with textured accessories to give it visual interest and tactile appeal.
Is there such a thing as the perfect sofa? I believe there is. The perfect sofa is comfortable, roomy, sturdy, stylish and with a personality that matches the homeowner. Sofas are the most expensive piece of furniture in your living room. A good one should serve you at least 20 years and more.
There are so many styles to choose from, but whichever style you settle on, here is what you need to create the perfect one for your home:
When to buy your sofa
Buy before you buy any other piece of furniture for your living room. This is important. Buy your sofa first because everything else in your living room will be styled around it. That is, your rug, accent chairs, TV console, gallery and feature wall, shelving accessories, indoor plants, window treatments, floor lamp and whatnot.
You don’t want to get this wrong because it will cost you thousands of shillings – your sofa, after all, is the most expensive and more permanent piece of furniture in your living room. Let the less-expensive, impermanent and complimentary pieces draw inspiration from your sofa. Let it inform your styling palette.
Some homeowners will argue that since the sofa is the most expensive, then it should come last because you have to save longer to buy it. No no. That logic is flawed and costly. You would rather use plastic chairs in your living room as you shop for your perfect sofa rather than buy something offhand and cheap to use right away.
Dimensions to customise your sofa to
The only standard dimension your sofa should adopt is its height – the height from the floor up to where you sit is usually one foot, five inches high. Customise all other dimensions to your space. Customise the length to the longest wall in your living room, where the sofa will be positioned.
Make sure to measure the wall so you can scale your sofa to your space. A big sofa in a small living room will look like an elephant in a mouse cage. A small sofa in a big living room will look ridiculous.
Also customise the depth. This is a crucial dimension to factor in. You want a sofa that is deep enough to be comfortable while offering back support. You also want room to curl up your feet and cosy up with a cup of hot chocolate and a blanket, maybe to read a book, watch some TV maybe or cosy up with your children.
A deep sofa gives you room to accessorise it with throw cushions that double up as functional pillows.
Shallow sofas are uncomfortable and impractical for the home, never mind how stylish they look. A very deep sofa looks like a bed. Consider a perfect depth of at least two feet, three inches.
Here is a summary of the dimensions:
Length: Custom to your space.
Height: Standard one foot, five inches.
Depth: Custom to two feet, three inches.
Select a sofa in a colour you love – it is really that simple. Play around with your favourite colour tone based on your family’s needs. Darker tones are better for a home that has children and pets because it will not show stains.
Also play around with the colours of the set. Have the main sofa in your favourite colour and accent chairs matching in a complimentary colour. Having your sets in one matching colour is boring, this is not 1987.
What about quality of upholstery fabric?
Ensure that the fabric you select is high-quality upholstery fabric. Your sofa will be exposed to a lot of activity, the fabric needs to hold its own.
You can tell the quality of the fabric from the manufacturer’s specifications. Most upholstery fabrics are a cotton-polyester blend with a higher percentage going to the cotton (cotton is a tough natural fabric that cleans relatively well).
Also check the weight. Weight is measured in grams per square meter (gsm) – the higher the gsm the stronger the fabrics, the longer it will serve you. Width is another specification. Most upholstery fabric is between 54 inches (137 cm) and 60 inches (152 cm). Lastly, check for a specification called rubs. The rubs tell you how resistant the fabric is to abrasion. Heavy duty fabrics that are ideal for the family home have a rub of 15,000 and above.
A meter of upholstery fabric costs at least Sh1,200 per metre. Depending on the size, a sofa needs about 20 metres.
What cushion filler should I use?
The density of the cushion filler is what determines the comfort of your sofa. Feather or down fillers are the most expensive and softest, it’s like sitting on a cloud. Polyester filling is inexpensive but it flattens out after a while. Foam offers the best features of both fillers. It looks like a sponge.
I suggest you go for medium-density foam cushions that are wrapped inside with a layer of a fibre-like material called Dacron. Dacron softens the foam for more comfort. Medium-density filler bounces back into shape.
Low-density foam is quite soft but loses shape after some years. High-density foam will make you feel as though you are sitting stiffly on a wooden classroom chair.
What to accessorise it with
Layer your sofa up with textured accessories to give it visual interest and tactile appeal. A throw blanket draped over the back of the sofa is a must. Your home will instantly feel cosy, inviting and lived in.
My personal styling tip is to have a decorative throw blanket then a couple of other blankets that the family can use to cover themselves as they cosy up for family time. Fold these functional throw blankets in a neat pile that you store in a hand-woven sisal basket or papyrus box, within reach. (No plastic, please, they look tacky.)
Also accessorise your sofa with throw pillows. Mix and match the pillow cover based on your sofa’s colour and style. Have some lumbar pillows, square pillows and European pillows that you arrange in ascending order from the largest one going out. Be careful not to go gung-ho and clutter your sofa, though. Switch out the pillow covers often to refresh your look.
@_craftit, [email protected]