Size it up
Before you start scouring furniture showrooms, look at your room’s proportions to ensure you get the best size for the space you have. For example, a large, sumptuous piece with a high back can swamp a compact room. If the sofa is for a casual living area, choose one with generous depth and, if it’s a modular unit, team it with built-in bookcases or shelves.
Touch and feel
The colour palette needs to work with your overall design scheme. Before you commit to an upholstery material, take home fabric swatches to see how they look in different lights and at different times of the day.
There are many options available, ranging from leather to hemp, polycotton or twill. Also consider linen, which had a revival at this year’s international furniture fairs, or quality leather products. Go for full-grain aniline leather over the inferior product, corrected-grain.
Foundation and filling
The heart of any sofa is the framework and internal supports. More-expensive ranges use structures of hardwood or steel, whereas less-expensive models are usually made of pine or plywood.
There are two main types of seat support – webbing and spring. Spring offers superior support and its tension levels can be finetuned to suit. When choosing cushion filling, go for a mix of foam and feather: softness and structure.
Be mindful of the sofa’s position in a room and move them away from windows and direct sunlight. Maintain your sofa with a weekly vacuum or for leather upholstery, condition the surface twice a year with a leather cream.
By Kerryn Ramsey