After struggling to easily find the right items to furnish her own apartment, Kuldea Co-Founder, Deirdre Mc Gettrick, was inspired to create an online platform to make home shopping as straightforward, efficient and fulfilling as possible. Here, she shares some of the top tips she has learnt when it comes to selecting the perfect sofa for your home.

“Whether you’re catching up on it over a cup of coffee, collapsing into it at the end of a hard day, perching on the end of it at party, or bedding down on it for a box-set marathon, the sofa takes center stage in many homes, and is certainly one of its most multi-functional and important pieces of furniture.

Purchasing a hard-working sofa doesn’t have to break the bank, but it is a core item that shouldn’t be scrimped on. In other words, it’s something to get right. But with so many options available, choosing the best one for your home and lifestyle needs careful consideration.

When I set about buying a sofa for my own apartment I found the choice pretty overwhelming, but hopefully some top tips that I picked up along the way will help cushion the process so you can get comfortable and enjoy the shopping experience.”

Top tip 1) Think about function

Firstly, sofas are used in very different ways depending on factors such as to which room it will be positioned in, how many people are likely to be using it on a daily basis, and how often it will need to be cleaned; realistically weighing these up is important in order to get the rest of the decision-making process right.

Ask yourself will it primarily be used for lounging and relaxing by family only, or as frequent seating for guests? Will it be positioned in the sanctuary of a quiet home office, or in the main living room and used by the whole household? Does it need the flexibility to double up as an extra bed, or will it mainly take on a decorative role in a large room?

There are sofas available to suit every situation and space envelope, including 2, 3 and 4 seaters, corner sofas, sofa beds, chaise lounges, modular sofas and snugglers, so listing out your functional requirements will help narrow down the options and make practical choices about which fabric, size, shape, seat depth, back height and filling will best.

Top tip 2) Measure up

Good proportions always need to be considered very carefully when choosing a sofa for any living space. If you have a big room, you’ll need to decide exactly how much of the space you want your sofa to fill. Will there be other sofas or chairs in the room and will you want a coffee table as the centerpiece? If so, a simple sofa, or one with a slight L-shape is probably the best fit. If you’re looking for a sofa that will be the focal point of a larger room, look for rounder shapes that take up a bit more space and provide a lot of seating. It’s very easy to underestimate how much space a sofa can take up, so actually mapping out the footprint of a potential contender on the floor with tape can be really useful to make sure you get the fit just right.

If you have a small living room, odds are you’ll need a smaller sofa. With less space, any sofa is going to be in the spotlight, so it’s important to pick something that is practical, but is also of a suitable design that complements the rest of the room. Slim arms and exposed legs can create the feeling of space and help make a room appear larger, whereas a sofa with very deep seats or wide rounded arms can instantly seem oversized and heavy.

It is also a good idea to check the dimensions of any doors and stairways the sofa will have to pass through on delivery. If access is limited, go for a low-back style, one with removable legs, or a modular design that can be delivered in sections.

Top tip 3) Find the right filling and frame

Remember that what’s inside a sofa is just as important as what’s used on the outside. It may not be something you’d immediately think of but different sofa styles have different fillings and the one you opt for can affect its comfort, appearance and durability.

Feather-filled cushions are high on comfort but will need regular plumping to keep their rounded look, while foam or fibre fillings maintain their shape but have a much firmer feel. Many sofas feature a combination of both which maximises the benefits and blends the softer feel of feather with the structure, shape and resilience of fibre.

Also take time to investigate the quality of the frame – it will support you through many years of lounging! A solid hardwood frame is a good sturdy option, but often more expensive so you need to be sure the outer sofa design is classic and future proof. Particleboard or metal construction frames are generally much more cost effective, but not as robust and may not be as long-lasting, especially if the sofa is likely to be moved often, or receive a lot of intensive use by a busy young family!

Top tip 4) Focus on fabric

When choosing the ideal upholstery for your sofa, aesthetics, practicality and personal preference all come into play and getting a balance between all three is important. Again there are many options available, and the main ones you are likely to see are:

  • Leather – classic, easy to clean and a good option for allergy sufferers. However the colour range may be more limited and the feel less ‘cosy’ than fabric; leather is also often more expensive.
  • Natural fibres including cotton, linen, wool and silk – whether pure or blended, these fabrics have a casual, lived-in look, with natural creases that soften over time. They are comfortable and have a look of quality, but often drink up strains and can fade, especially if near direct sunlight.
  • Synthetic fibres, including  acrylic, polyester, nylon, olefin, polypropylene and microfibre – these are more durable and stain resistant than natural fibres, and are often more budget friendly. However the visual quality and physical feel may not be quite as superior.

For increased flexibility, choosing a sofa with removable loose covers can be great choice as they can be washed easily and replaced as often as you like. Many retailers also offer a sofa care package, which includes a finishing treatment to increase its stain resilience – although an extra cost, it could be worth investing to help with future maintenance.

Whether you go for a bold colour, pattern or a neutral, your choice of upholstery fabric will have a huge impact on the room, so choose carefully to ensure it fits with your scheme.

Top tip 5) Select style as well as comfort

As well as sitting on it, the sofa is a large item that you are going to be looking at a lot for the foreseeable future too! So, whilst practicality is important, make sure it is an expression of your personal taste and that of your home and don’t compromise on the style, colour and overall look.

As well as ensuring it complements your interior decor, think carefully about positioning and how the sofa is going to fit into the overall configuration of your room; will it be going against a wall or standing in the middle of a room, staying solo or teaming up as a suite? Sofas never look their best wedged into a space and it’s always best to allow enough room for complementary items such as side tables, lamps and magazine racks to fit comfortably around it.

A sofa is a big purchase so, unless you have very strong interior design preferences, it may be prudent to opt for a simple design or colour that will stand the test of time; you can then easily change-up more inexpensive surrounding accessories and soft furnishings to keep up with current style trends which come and go.”

Kuldea makes finding your perfect sofa even easier – browse hundreds of styles from the UK’s best retailers, all here in one place! Click here to start your perfect sofa discovery journey.