How to Buy the Perfect Couch

‘Couch time’ is good time. It is the green light for having nowhere to go and nothing to do… and who doesn’t love that? Follow these expert tips to ensure your sofa selection combines comfort, current trends and an ultimate place to curl up.

“When people are looking for a sofa, I find their number one desire is comfort,” Brendan Nash, Assistant Visual Manager at West Elm explains. “After all, it's a place where we spend a lot of time; whether that be watching TV, relaxing with family, reading a book, or having a nap on a Saturday afternoon.”

Brendan notes that even though most people prioritize function over form when selecting a couch, these days you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. “There are plenty of options on the market that fit both a beautiful aesthetic and meet everyone's needs for comfort.”

Think of couches as you would cars. Not only do you spend a heck of a lot of (stationary) time in them, you will realistically start out with a beaten up old pre-loved version in your youth and work your way up to a humdinger model, as you get older. Your couch budget – and size – will no doubt grow with you and your expanding family, or living space so budget for a few hundred to spend on a two-seater, through to five figures for bigger, bolder couches.

The right sofa can turn a house into a home, says Brendan. Determining whether you want your couch to create an enclave to escape it all, or to provide a central heart for the family to congregate and communicate is key when choosing a couch. “Whether it be coming together for movie night, or a friend popping over for coffee, your sofa choice can really depict how you use your space and the feeling you have within it,” notes Brendan.

Trends in textures and tones include linens, quality natural fabrics and classic pattern play, notes Brendan. “I always recommend people go quite neutral on the big pieces. Think whites, off whites, grays and taupe's,” he says. If you are craving a hit of pattern or splash of colour, bring those elements in through your cushions, rug underneath or throw rug over the armrest. “If you get sick of fire engine red, it's a lot cheaper to swap out a few cushions than invest in a new sofa!” assures Brendan.

Big bulky sofas that swallow you, your family, your dog, any leftover popcorn or unsorted laundry up are OUT! Instead, refined and streamlined simple silhouettes prove chicest. There is a trend towards tufting, contrasting piping, clean simple lines, slim profiles and classic tailoring too.

The ‘Get Good Couch’ Guide:

  • It’s all about scale so measure your space before heading into store to determine the maximum and minimum size you can have your sofa be. “Get out the tape measure and some masking tape and space out the floor plan in your home,” to visualize the maximum – or minimal – space it will devour.
  • Got three teenage sons? Or a toddler with a penchant for mashed pumpkin? Then a crisp white linen sofa may not be for you! Leather is very durable and ages so beautifully as an option, or go for a darker tone that will be a little more forgiving for footy boots.
  • When it comes to cushions, go odds before even, says Brendan. “Odd numbers always look a lot better than even ones, so five cushions looks a lot more effortless than a symmetrical four.”
  • Clash colours with a selection of soft accessories that work back with the couch in colour or pattern – but not both! And if you’ve got a beautiful plain couch, use it as a canvas for your artistic interior designing inspiration by playing up your cushions or art around it. You can easily change these each season to reflect the moodiness of winter or the incandescence of spring.
  • Splash out on a throw rug. “A luxurious throw can be the perfect thing to add warmth and quality to you space,” says Brendan. It can save dollars investing in a new couch when you get bored of your old one, and also reduce heating costs when you’re in that favored curled-up position!

Foot Note:
“A room with a sofa with feet will always seem bigger than a room with a sofa that sits flat on the ground; the more of the floor under the sofa you can see, the larger the room will seem,” advises Brendan. “A sofa that sits flat on the floor will always appear more visually heavy. I always suggest too that the legs on your sofa should work well with any other finishes of furniture adjacent to it. They don't need to be the same, just work well together.”

Want more? We thought you might like this video.

Like this artice? Subscribe to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered striaght to your inbox.

By registering you agree to our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Privacy Notice


Sign Out

Join the Conversation

Please note, LifeStyle cannot respond to all comments posted in our comments feed. If you have a comment or query you would like LifeStyle to respond to, please use our feedback form.