It turns out that the sofa is the one most important piece you will ever buy for your living room.
Some of us are up early planning to buy a sofa this weekend. We’re scouring the internet for sales ads and trying to find the best deal for a sofa, right? Some are gung-ho! while some are a little apprehensive because they have never been shopping for one or they just don’t know what they are looking for. Hey, do we want red? Blue? Leather? Brown? Wait, that one’s too expensive. Hmm, that one’s too cheap.
What about the effect it’s overall look is going to have on you, your space and your finances?
The sofa is going to be the center of your living room. It’s going to set the tone for the rest of of the space. It’s going to help you choose the chairs, the tables, the rug; The sofa is going to be the fall-back for everything else you’ll add to the room. In design terms, the sofa is going to be the ground for the story you want to tell people while never uttering a single word.
Don’t make sudden decisions. It’s not an easy purchase. For all the reasons previously discussed, it’s proven to be a decision you should think through. It’s not an inexpensive purchase that can be so easily replaced. The sofa truly is the defining piece in the livingroom. Not only for looks but functionality. The sofa will double as a sleep-spot on lazy Saturdays and Sundays. We’ve all had those. 😉 If that’s your thing, make sure you stretch out on it at the store and take a few minutes to get comfortable. Don’t just sit on it. Lay down. Relax. See where your head rests and be honest in your poise. One arm over the backrest, one foot over the arm and one leg off the side. Comfortable yet?
Consider the details. Does the sofa really say “This is me!” or does it say “Great price for now!” Hmm. For now. Those are the words to consider. For now. That’s synonymous with “I’ll have to replace this in a few years because it’s not really what I want.” Most of us are okay with that but the details are in the following question: If you change the sofa, what else will you change? The chairs? The rug? The tables? Because obviously, they may not work well together with the new sofa so what is the true cost of that sofa when you first purchased it for it’s price versus it’s presence?
The sofa’s effect on your overall design is greater than you think.
I do a lot of architectural design, drafting and space planning. I review blueprints and position furniture in their respective places to make sure they fit and that it’s all going to work well for you when you move [them] in. I’ve seen sofas that are too large for a space, some that are too small. I consider the use of the room, how it’s intended function will play out once it’s furnished and inhabited. Most of us assume we have enough space to fit that oversized sectional because it’s comfortable and we have a large family but how often do we all sit together – all at once – to watch a movie? We think of everything we want to do first (seat all of our friends when they come over) versus what we need (to make the room usable and show well because it doesn’t matter how great it looks: if it’s cluttered up and you can’t use it comfortably, it’s useless).
I’m going to share how I select furniture when I’m working on a space.
After an initial consultation and design interview, I measure out the space. Considering the doorways and windows and fireplace – not to mention the adjoining rooms and their use – I start by planning their accessibility. I place the necessary pieces on the floorplan and mark their spacing which is the space you need to access the furniture, This would be the sofa, the table, the chairs. Next, I mark out the required size for the rug to carry these items. Finally, the additional pieces — console table and large silk plants, positioning of wall art. Voila! I’ve just made my selections!
We’re not done.
Let’s move on to the actual pieces. Now, we have to find the pieces that fit those required dimensions and work well together. Remember the style factor previously mentioned? How the sofa sets the tone for the space? Here is where it applies: When I find the right sofa, it falls in place with the homeowner’s style or the look they’re trying to achieve. What they want and what they were asking for. It’s all in the interview form [ broken into a set of questions that are strategically designed to get the answers I need to do my job]. The sofa is paired with chairs that tell more of the story. From there, we move on to the tables, both coffee and side. Next, the lamps, rug and wall art. All of these have to fit within the dimensions that work best for the perimeters of the room, and your style or your story, as well as your budget in order for it to work well for you.
Changing the sofa later may skew the story you want to tell.
It may be out of sorts. A quick, on-sale, last-minute decision isn’t the best way to go. Not if it’s going to make you change the rest of your decor in two years or so. In reality, you should add the cost of those other pieces into your purchase price. The cost of you replacing the chairs, tables and lamps added to the cost of the old sofa, that’s what you really paid for it.
My personal and professional advice?
Buy the sofa because it’s you. Because you LOVE it. Because it’s comfortable. Because it’s perfect. If it’s a little pricier than you wanted but saves you money in the long-run, don’t worry. It pays itself off by you not having to replace it later. Buy it once but buy it right. If it’s a light color that terrifies you, get the fibers sealed against stains but buy the showpiece, the storyteller that makes you sit down, relax and express yourself. Realize that it’s not “just a piece of furniture” but an investment. After all, in this designer’s opinion, it is THE one most important piece you will ever buy for your living room. Tell your story.
Which of these sofas tells your story?
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