Sofa buying guide – 4 interior designer tips

Sofa buying guide – 4 interior designer tips

When I start working with clients on any project, I ask a lot of questions. Almost always when I ask about furniture the client will tell me they want something that is comfortable. My response is that everyone’s idea of comfortable is different. Primarily because we’re all different from a weight, height and posture perspective. So this is my sofa buying guide. Using 4 interior designer tips , that I consider important when looking for a comfortable sofa or armchair for my clients.


Seat height

Generally speaking, the seat height in most seating options is about 45cm. This is true for dining chairs as well. Of course, there are some seating options which are higher or lower but not by much. My guess is that furniture makers based this seat height on the average height of people. For people who are exceptionally tall or short this seat height can be a problem. For example, a short person may need a foot stool to feel comfortable.

Seat depth

The depth of a seat is also important, in a sofa or armchair the seat depth tends to be about 80-90cm. Again, there are exceptions but this is generally the standard measurement for seat depth in my experience. Cushions are an ideal way to make as many people, short or tall, as comfortable as possible.

Seat foam density

The foam density of the seat is also an important consideration. In most cases, the foam density in a standard sofa or armchair is comfortable. It’s not too hard and not too soft which again suits most people. It needs to be soft enough to be comfortable but hard enough so that people can lift themselves up easily. Super soft foam, or feather filling, can mean people sink into the seat making it difficult for them to get up.

Rub count

Lastly, I consider the rub count. This is interior designer jargon for how durable the fabric or material used to make the sofa is. This essentially refers to how many times you can ‘rub’ or sit on the sofa before the upholstery starts to fade or show signs of wear and tear. A good rub count is between 15,000-25,000.

A few clients will say they want to try the sofa or armchair first and I look for pieces that are available in a showroom but often I find pieces online and it’s rare the client will feedback that the piece is uncomfortable.

I think over time furniture makers have found the best dimensions and materials that suit most people. This is purely a cost effective way to ensure furniture appeals to a wider market. Most online retailers also have good returns policies to encourage risk free online shopping.

As buying a sofa is an investment piece I also have a video with my top tips so that with this information as well as our furniture packages, you can be confident in making a good purchase.

With online shopping growing and the number of furniture showrooms decreasing, knowing these sofa buying guide top tips could help you make a sound online purchase for a piece that is well priced, comfortable, beautiful and will last you a long time.


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