How to Select a Sofa for Optimum Comfort?
Mahadev Desai is the Founder and CEO of gharpedia.com and SDCPL a leading design consultancy firm having strong national presence. He has a degree in Civil Engineering (BE) and Law (LLB) and has rich experience of 45 years. Besides being the Editor in Chief, he also mentors team at GharPedia. He is associated with many professional bodies. He is also co-founder of 1mnt.in the first in Industry software for contractors’ billing. He is a voracious reader, edited 4 books, and pioneer of book reading movement in Gujarat, India.
If you’ve watched the movie “Just like heaven”, you had remembered how David Abbott rejects every pre-furnished apartment recommended by his real estate agent only because there was no couch. Apparently, he was still haunted by his wife’s death and somehow a comfortable sofa was all that he wanted to spend his time in, as he wallowed in his grief. For many of you, a sofa is a mini ‘habitat’. You sit, sleep, study, work and eat on a sofa. It’s a perfect place to snuggle up and watch television or read a book while sipping a hot cup of coffee. A sofa stays with you for a relatively long period of time. Therefore, it requires a little careful planning to buy a sofa and arrange it accordingly in your house. So then, how to select a sofa for optimum comfort?
Sofa, also called a couch, is an integral part of our homes. It is available in variable designs, colours, materials and sizes. Mostly one-seater, two-seater and three-seater sofa sets are used in the home. As stated by ‘Joseph De Chiara, Julius Panero and Martin Zelnik’ ( Time Saver Standards for Interior Design and Space Planning ), a standard size of one seater is 0.7 to 0.9m ( 2’-5”- 3’0” ) deep and 0.6 to 0.99m ( 2’2”-3’3”)wide, for two-seater is 0.9m (2’– 11”) deep and 1.5m (5’- 0”) and for three-seater is 0.9m (2’– 11”) deep and 2.1m (7’–0”) wide depending on its various styles.
The following sections describe the various types of sofas in the market and help you decide for yourself what suits you best.
Also Read: Exclusive Sofa Designs for Living Room
Generally, sofa types are categorised into the following:
- Two-Seater Sofa/ Loveseat Sofa
- Sectional Sofa
- Pull Out Sofa Bed /Couch Bed/ Trundle bed
- Futons Sofa
- Chesterfield Sofa / Suite
- Fainting Couch
So, let’s understand one by one each sofa types in detail.
Types of Sofa
01. Two-Seaters Sofa/ Loveseat
It is the most common type of sofa used in most houses. Originally designed in the late 1600s to accommodate the big dresses women wore in that era, it is a mini sofa spacious enough to accommodate two people. In modern times, they are used extensively for common seating. They can be of a three-seater design, too.
Why Should You Buy a Two Seaters/Loveseat?
- Two seaters sofa is a piece of excellent furniture in small living spaces.
- According to ‘Lauri Ward‘ (Author of Use What You Have Decorating, is the founder of Use-What-You-Have Inc. and the Interior Refiners Network, which has members in more than one hundred cities throughout the Canada, United States and Europe), “ If you have a small living room or family room with a fireplace centered on one wall, you can have pair of loveseats facing each other across a rectangular coffee table, perpendicular to the fireplace.”
- A loveseat can be matched with larger sofas in the living room or be used in the bedroom as an extra lounging place.
- It is a worthy addition to small home offices.
- It is less bulky and easy to arrange as desired.
02. Sectional Sofa
Sectional sofas are the perfect choice for contemporary living rooms. Traditionally, sectional sofa consists of two or more independent units joined at right angles, usually arranged against the room walls. Nonetheless, their independent units allow for other patterns of arrangements based on the room architecture and can be arranged anywhere within the living space. This sofa type suit very well in larger living areas and provide maximum comfort. The units range from four to seven pieces and can be supplemented with seat and back cushions. They come in L or U- Shape and are either right-hand facing or left- hand facing. Some designs have in-built storage too. Sectional sofas are available in 5 seater, 7 seater, 8 seater, etc. According to ‘Joseph De Chiara, Julius Panero and Martin Zelnik‘ ( Time Saver Standards for Interior Design and Space Planning ) , a standard 5 sectional sofa is approximately 0.8 to 0.9m (2’-8’’ to 3’–0”) deep and 2.3 to 2.4m (7’-8’’ to 8’–0”) wide depending on the style and furniture.
Why Should you Select Sectional Sofa?
- Sectional sofa is great when you have to entertain a large number of guests as they will facilitate ease of conversation due to their shape.
- Sometimes it divides the room elegantly without the need for a room divider. Be sure to measure the room size before buying a sectional sofa so that there’s enough space to move around. Meanwhile, the room wouldn’t look cluttered either.
- Since sectional sofa is available in various designs, opting one with inherent cup holders and storage space adds to the comfort in seating.
Divan is a kind of sofa with a mattress laid on the floor or on a raised platform. It has neither armrests nor back support. You can lounge on cushions of varying shapes and sizes whose arrangement can be personalized to optimise comfort. Divans do not have a sturdy back and they draw support from the wall they are positioned at.
Why Should You Buy a Divan?
- It is perfect for small rooms and inbuilt storage is an added advantage.
- Divans can also double as sleeping beds for overnight guests and don’t require extra effort in assembling and disassembling.
- It also adds an artistic look to the living room when complemented with other seating furniture.
04. Pull Out Sofa Bed/Couch Bed/ Trundle Bed
A sofa bed is a space-saving type of seating furniture. It contains a fold-out type of mattress stored underneath the sofa. Systematic opening of the sofa reveals a supporting frame. The hidden frame and mattress is rolled out on wheels. The folded or stacked up mattress is retrieved and spread over its surface, thus converting the sofa into a comfortable bed. Take care to see that the entire mechanism works smoothly. The rolling wheels and locking mechanism deteriorate with repeated use. The mattresses and frames can be heavy. It is quite a hassle to disassemble and reassemble them back.
One of the other designs has back support that disengages from its locking mechanism, reclines and lays flat when used as a bed. The mattress is fixed to the frame and as a whole, the sofa is converted into a bed.
Why Should You Buy a Sofa Bed/Trundle Bed?
- Saves space
- Trundle bed provides large enough space for comfortable sleeping. Most of the designs can accommodate two people.
Also Read: User-Friendly Design for Bedroom
Futons is actually traditional Japanese bedding spread on the floor for sleeping. They can be folded and used anywhere in the house. The futon that is referred to in this article is the western style low seating sofa. It is also a kind of fold-out type of mattress but does not have extra bedding stored within its structure. It cannot be folded because of their thickness.
Why Should You Buy a Futons?
- Again, it is advantageous in smaller living spaces as it serve double purposes of being a sofa and a bed.
- The contemporary designs differ from traditional ones and give a trendy look to the living area.
06. Chesterfield Sofa / Suite
Chesterfield sofa was supposedly called so since the 1800s. The name is derived from the 4th Earl of Chesterfield (Phillip Stanhope). He designed it and commissioned a local craftsman to fabricate the piece. This sofa type had a deep buttoned upholstery made of leather, rolled arms with the back and arms set at the same height. The Earl required the sofa to be comfortable for sitting upright without wrinkling their clothes.
Over the years, the chesterfield sofa has become the epitome of elegance and sophistication. It adorns the houses of the elite as well as offices, restaurants, modern day apartments.
Why Should You Buy a Chesterfield Sofa?
- It fits in large as well as small living rooms. The rolled back is removed and the sofa is configured to fit in small rooms.
- Elegant, classy and comfortable
- A Chesterfield with leather upholstery looks better with time
- Easy to clean spillages
- Lasts for a longer time
Ottoman resembles a stool, but upholstered and has no arms or back. An ottoman is designed in various shapes and sizes according to the purpose it is intended to serve. It is not traditional sofa. It differs in size and as an extra seat, coffee table and for storage. According to ‘Joseph De Chiara, Julius Panero and Martin Zelnik‘ (Time Saver Standards for Interior Design and Space Planning ) , a standard ottoman is approximately0.5 to 0.6m (1’-9” to 2’-00”) deep and 0.6 to 0.7m (2’-1” to 2’-2”) wide depending on the style and furniture. Nowadays, this type of sofa is commonly used as a footstool for large sofas and in bedrooms.
Why Should You Buy an Ottoman?
- Its versatility serves multiple purposes – storage, seating, room decor etc.
- The soft edges are a positive attribute when it comes to the presence of young children in the house. They can play safely around an ottoman or on its surface.
08. Fainting Couch
Fainting couch is a piece of narrow bed-like furniture. Its back is of uneven height and raised at one end. Though it was famous in the Victorian Era, nowadays it serves more as a piece of decorative furniture.
What to Look for When You Select a Sofa?
- If you have a shortage of space, choose a sofa with built-in storage. For instance, in studio apartments, they are good for avoiding clutter.
- Suppose you are staying in a one-bedroom apartment, buying a sofa bed or futon for the living room will be beneficial when you have guests overnight. It saves space and your guests will be comfortable too.
- Keep in mind the dimensions of the room in which you intend to keep the Narrow sofas are easy to transport and occupy less space. Larger sofas are good for larger living rooms.
- Check the upholstery material. Couches are a place where most of the time is spent by people in the house watching television or conversing and hence it dirties often. Pet dander can be another reason why you need to go for upholstery that is easy to clean. In recent years, it is found that many people are allergic to dust mites. These bugs are invisible to the naked eye and they thrive on dead cells shed by humans, hence difficult to kill. Consequently, allergies are on a high rise. Therefore, sofas require frequent cleaning and maintenance to avoid bed bugs and dust mites.
- Confused about choosing the right upholstery? Check it out here –Sofa Upholstery: What should You Know Before Buying?
- If you are suffering from chronic back pain and other orthopedic issues, it is best to buy sofas with sturdy back support.
- Don’t buy low-cost sofas just because they are cheap. Further, it simply is not possible to manufacture a low-cost sofa with good materials. Consider it as a one-time expense and indulge in a good quality sofa. It’ll spare you the trouble of frequent repairs and upgrades.
- Carefully plan the upholstery. A lot of factors are influenced by the upholstery material.
Summing it up, there probably isn’t any house without a sofa. It is an indispensable piece of furniture that can give a swanky look to the room that it adorns. In today’s era, the information is at our fingertips. Any sofa types, when selected according to the individual’s needs, will provide optimum comfort and cosiness and will also protect your back.