What to Look for When Shopping for a Sofa

When it comes time to purchase a new sofa, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options. From the size of the sofa to the style of the piece, there are numerous factors to consider.

Not only that, but you’ll need to choose from an array of materials, colors, and prices. Because your sofa is often the focal point of your living space, you want to make sure you pick one you’ll love for many years to come.

To help make the process less stressful, we’re here to help you select the best among top-quality sofas. From tips on choosing a sofa to comparisons between materials, this is your ultimate sofa-buying guide!

How to Choose a Sofa

As you browse popular sofas and compare the options from good-quality sofa brands, you’ll be faced with numerous decisions. Do you need a large, oversized sectional? Should you opt for a small loveseat? How much can you afford to spend on new furniture?

Sofas and couches vary dramatically in their features, which is why we suggest breaking down this important choice into the following factors:

  • Size: One easy way to narrow down your choices is to think about the space where you want to put your sofa. Consider the scale of the room, the other furniture that will accompany your sofa, and how much space will be left for walking around. Grab the measuring tape and determine the estimated size that will fill your living space without overwhelming it.
  • Price: Similar to size, the amount you have budgeted for a new sofa will dictate a lot of your options. Create an estimated amount you wish to spend and narrow your search by price.
  • Quality: Shop around to compare materials and construction. Opt for a trusted brand with a good reputation for producing quality sofas.
  • Durability: If you have a busy home with kids or pets, you might want to opt for an extremely sturdy couch that’s upholstered in an easy-to-maintain material. If your sofa will be sitting in a guest room that is rarely used, a decorative piece could be a better pick.
  • Style: Make sure to think about the overall design of your room and look for a sofa that will complement the space. For example, if you have a modern, sleek living room, a rustic oversized sectional might look out of place.
  • Functional features: Do you need your sofa to recline? Are you searching for a sofa with a built-in sleeper? Make sure to make a list of must-have features and narrow your search based on those needs.

Best Types of Sofas and Couches

Now that you have a better idea of what type of sofa will fit your space and budget, you might wonder, “What’s the best type of sofa for me?” Sofa styles vary greatly, and which one is the “best” has more to do with your personal taste than anything else. Our primer on sofa types can help you compare features as you look for a new couch:

  • A reclining sofa: This is the perfect choice for creating a relaxing environment. Often, reclining sofas feature one-touch power controls that make adjusting your seating simple.
  • A sectional: These oversized couches are great for families and large living areas. The extra seating space makes sure everyone can get cozy on movie night.
  • A loveseat: A smaller style of sofa, a loveseat is a couch designed for two. This is a wonderful choice when space is limited.
  • Sleeper sofas: Often chosen for vacation rentals and guest bedrooms, a sleeper sofa multitasks as a place to sit and a place to sleep. By pulling out the sleeper bed, you can quickly transform any space into an overnight guest room.

What Sofa Material Is Best for You?

When selecting among good-quality sofas, one of the biggest choices you’ll need to make is what type of material you want your sofa to be covered in. As you compare the look and feel you desire, consider the benefits of these common sofa material types:

  • Leather: With an elegant, classic, and high-end look, this material is surprisingly durable and comfortable. However, leather sofas tend to be more expensive and can feel cold in cool weather while causing the skin to stick to the surface in hot, humid climes. Additionally, for homes with pets, paws and claws can lead to scratches on leather.
  • Fabric: Available in countless colors and patterns, fabric couches tend to be more affordable than leather. They are extremely breathable, making them excellent for warm climates. When choosing a fabric couch, the key is to find a durable material. Tightly woven fabric will hold up better in the long run.
  • Velvet: For a sumptuous, vintage feel, you cannot beat a velvet sofa. They are beloved for their luxurious look and are a great choice for cold climates as they provide cozy, sumptuous warmth. They are not recommended for homes with pets or kids, as the pile of velvet can quickly become crushed.
  • Microfiber: An extremely durable option, microfiber is stain-resistant and easy to clean. It’s an affordable material and an excellent choice for homes with kids and pets.

As you compare sofa materials, it is important to consider not only the appearance of the couch but also the long-term durability and level of care it requires.

Pros & Cons of Choosing a Sofa vs. a Loveseat Set

Two popular styles of couches are sofas and loveseats. To compare the two, consider these pros and cons:

Pros of a Sofa:

  • Ample seating space: Sofas are usually equipped with more seating space than a loveseat. That makes it a better choice for families or those who plan to entertain guests.
  • Variety of design options: Sofas tend to come in a wider range of styles and shapes than loveseats. This gives you the chance to pick the ideal match for your unique tastes.

Cons of a Sofa:

  • Requires more space: A sofa is not as compact as a loveseat. They are more cumbersome to move and might not fit well in a small living room or guest bedroom.
  • Costs more: Sofas tend to be more expensive than loveseats, making them a bigger upfront investment for your home.

Pros of a Loveseat:

  • Takes up very little space: A loveseat makes an excellent choice for small living rooms, dens, and home offices. These compact seats offer a comfy place to relax without overwhelming a small space.
  • Affordable: For those on a tight budget, a loveseat is a great option. Loveseats tend to come with a lower price tag than sofas.

Cons of a Loveseat:

  • Limited seating space: A loveseat is generally only big enough for two people. It is not ideal for large families. If you plan to invite over guests, you’ll need to make sure you have other seating options available.

Ultimately, the choice between a sofa and a loveseat depends on the room you plan to place the furniture in and your own preferences. Think about how you plan to use the seating and what other furniture you’ll pair it with.

Choosing a Sofa for a Small Space

If your home has a small living room, or you’d like to add a sofa to a guest bedroom, it can be hard to find an option that fits comfortably and doesn’t overwhelm the space. Here are a few helpful tips for choosing a sofa for a small space:

  • Choose sofas with low backs and arms: A low-profile sofa will take up less space visually. This can help the room feel larger.
  • Opt for a multi-functional sofa: A sleeper sofa or futon is a great pick when space is limited. These types of sofas can be converted into extra sleeping space, solving the dilemma of deciding between a sofa and a bed for the same room.
  • Pick a modular sofa: Modular sofas can be configured based on the shape of your room. This gives you options for tailoring the seating to the space without it feeling cramped or blocking walkways.
  • Consider a lighter color: Light colors help reflect light, leading to a more open, airy feel. Dark colors tend to make a room feel smaller.

Sectional Sofas for Large Spaces

If you have a large living space, you’ll want to consider how to use a sofa to fill the seating area in the best way possible. One perfect solution is to choose a sectional sofa. These versatile beauties are perfect for large spaces because they offer:

  • Multiple seating options: Rearrange sectional pieces to create a seating arrangement tailored to your needs.
  • Amazing seating capacity: Sectionals can seat numerous people, making them perfect for big families and frequent entertaining.
  • Comfortable seating: Sectionals are usually designed to be oversized and well-cushioned, inviting you to sink into the luxurious comfort of the sofa.

Where Should I Buy a Good Sofa? Shop Ashley

We hope our guide to sofa shopping has helped you decide on the right seating arrangement for your home. For further inspiration, check out our Sofa Design and Style Guide.

When you’re looking for the best place to buy a sofa, shop Ashley. We carry the best sleeper sofas and best sectional sofas alongside an impressive selection of loveseats, accent chairs, and sofa benches. Find everything you need to update the style and comfort of your home at Ashley.