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9 Common Mistakes When Buying A Sofa To Always Avoid!

WRITTEN by CHRISSY, LAST UPDATED ON April 3, 2024

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Finding out all the common mistakes when buying a sofa will help you so much to make the right choice, first time. Take a look and see what you need to keep in mind next time you’re out furniture shopping, and you’ll know exactly how to pick the perfect sofa for you!

women sitting on a yellow sofa doing online shopping

When you’re thinking about buying a new sofa, it’s easy to get swept away by the excitement of adding a fresh piece of furniture to your home.

But be warned, to make sure you choose the perfect sofa for your space and avoid common mistakes, it’s essential to take a step back and consider some key factors that I learned to spot over my years as an Interior Designer for many clients.

Many people end up with sofas that aren’t right for their home, for a variety of reasons – and I don’t want that to happen to you.

Having bought more than my fair share of sofas, I’m well placed to help ensure that you avoid these pitfalls so that your new sofa purchase is one you’ll be happy with for years to come.

So, let’s go through the most common mistakes people make, as well as how to avoid them.

Grab a cuppa and let’s dive into the world of sofa shopping…

Sofa Buying Pitfalls To Stay Away From

#1 – Getting The Wrong Size

One of the most common mistakes you can make when buying a sofa is getting the wrong size.

It’s important to measure your space and the sofa thoroughly before making a purchase.

A sofa that’s too big or too small for your room can not only affect the aesthetics but also impact the overall comfort and functionality of your living space.

Know Your Maximum Sofa Size (EXTERNAL)

So, before you start shopping, take the time to measure your room accurately. Note down the length, width, and height of the area where you want to place the sofa, as this will help you visualise how the new sofa will fit in with your existing layout.

TIP: If you’re not sure what size sofa would work best for your room, consider using masking tape or newspapers to map out the space the sofa would occupy. This way, you can better visualise how much room it will take up and determine if it’s the right fit.

This isn’t where you should stop with measuring though!

Know Your Seating Requirements (INTERNAL)

Keep in mind that the size of the sofa should not just be about fitting into your space, but also about providing adequate seating for you and your guests.

You can buy sofas that are the same size, but have different amounts of seating – so watch this as well! Most people forget to check the size of the arms/sides of the sofa, as deeper ones mean that there’s less space for actually sitting…

TIP: It may also need to be suitable for you to lie down on if you do this regularly – so check that it’s big enough for this as well as just sitting down.

Know Your Access Dimensions

It’s common to have the right dimensions for the place you want to place your sofa, but to not actually be able to get it into the space!

As such, make sure you check the dimensions of doorways, stairs, and hallways to ensure the sofa can be easily brought into your home.

Remember, even if a sofa looks perfect in a showroom, it might not work as well in your space, so a little forward planning can save you from making an expensive and frustrating mistake.

TIP: You can get sofas that come in pieces for easier delivery – these are brilliant for apartments / flats etc…

Related: Room Layout Software To Help You See Your Space Properly

#2 – Choosing The Wrong Style

When selecting a sofa for your living space, it’s essential to consider the style that best suits your home decor and personal preferences. Choosing the wrong style will mean a clash with your existing furniture, making it hard for you to feel comfortable and relaxed in your own home.

As such, it’s important to take some time to evaluate your interior design style.

Is it traditional, modern, or something in between? This will help guide your decision and ensure that your new sofa complements your space rather than detracting from it.

Remember, your sofa is a significant investment, so it’s essential to choose wisely.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid choosing the wrong style for your sofa:

  • Traditional interior styles lend themselves to more intricate and ornate shaping, wooden legs or patterned fabric.
  • Modern styles lend themselves to metal legs, and sleek and minimal shapes.
  • Country styles can be more ‘pretty’ and have more scatter cushions
  • Minimal designs may have one fixed back cushion and be leather or a sleek fabric.

By taking these factors into account and shopping with a clear vision in mind, you can confidently choose a sofa that’s perfect for your home and avoid the common mistake of selecting the wrong style.

#3 – Picking The Wrong Material

When it comes to choosing a sofa, it’s essential to select the right material for your needs.

Picking the wrong fabric can lead to disappointment and costly mistakes. So, here are a few tips to help you make the right decision.

Where Will The Sofa Go?

Firstly, think about the area where you’ll be placing your sofa. If it’s in a part of your home that sees a lot of use, be sure to avoid delicate fabrics or light colours, as these can be easily damaged and won’t last long.

For example, a white linen sofa may look lovely, but it’s not the best choice for a busy family living room.

How Easy Is The Fabric To Maintain?

When selecting a fabric, consider how easy it is to clean and maintain. If you have children or pets, look for a material that can be wiped clean or has removable, washable covers.

This will help keep your sofa looking fresh and clean for years to come. Some popular choices include leather, faux leather, and performance fabrics designed for easy cleaning.

What style are you going for?

As with the previous point, your sofa’s material should complement the room’s decor and atmosphere.

For example, a modern space might suit a sleek leather sofa, while a cosy, traditional room could benefit from a plush, patterned fabric.

By taking all these factors into account, you’ll be well on your way to selecting the perfect material for your sofa.

fabric samples lying on a sofa ready for settee shopping

#4 – Not Thinking About the Seat Height

It’s essential to consider the seat height of your settee, which is the distance from the floor to the top of the sofa’s seat cushion.

This might seem like a small detail, but it can significantly impact your comfort while sitting on the sofa.

This measurement can make a big difference, especially for taller or shorter individuals – and it’s important to find a sofa with a seat height that allows your feet to touch the floor comfortably, as well as providing proper support for your back and legs.

So, always check the seat height of the sofa you’re considering, and if possible, try sitting on it to determine if it’s the right fit for you.

#5 – Buying Based Only On Low Price

It’s tempting to focus on price when buying a sofa, but don’t let that be your only criteria.

While it’s important to work within your budget, choosing a low-priced sofa without considering quality can lead to disappointment down the line.

When you prioritise cost alone, you risk ending up with a sofa that may not be as durable or comfortable as you’d like. Remember, you’ll likely be using your sofa daily for years to come, so it’s worth investing in a piece that will stand the test of time.

To ensure you get the best value for your money, explore various options and research thoroughly before making your choice.

Pay attention to the materials used, construction, and warranty provided. You can also read reviews from customers who have purchased the same sofa model to get an insight into their experiences.

TIP: If you’re working with a tight budget, consider shopping during sales or looking into second-hand options. You can buy pre loved and get a high-quality sofa without breaking the bank.

women sitting on a yellow sofa doing online shopping

#6 – Not Considering The Comfort

When shopping for a sofa, it’s easy to get caught up in the design and visual appeal, and forget to check the comfort.

Remember, you’ll be spending a lot of time on your sofa, so it’s essential to choose one that you feel good sitting and relaxing on, and that supports your body properly.

Pay attention to the cushion filling.

Foam cushions provide a firmer feel, while feather or fibre-filled cushions offer a softer, plusher experience.

It’s important to choose the right filling for your needs and preferences, but also keep in mind that some materials may require more maintenance than others.

For example, feather-filled cushions often need regular plumping to keep their shape, but foam cushions will sag over time and not be able to be plump again.

Also, don’t overlook the importance of the sofa’s structure.

High-quality sofas often use sprung seats, which can offer enduring support and comfort over time. Webbing suspensions can be a more affordable option, but they may not provide the same level of support as sprung seats.

#7 – Buying Without Thought For Maintenance And Cleaning

It’s easy to fall in love with a fabric or design, but if it isn’t practical for your lifestyle or the location it’s in, you’ll quickly regret your choice.

Before making a decision, think about how the sofa will be used and who will be using it.

If you have young children or pets, selecting a delicate fabric or light colour might not be the best choice.

Instead, opt for something durable and easy to clean, such as a synthetic fabric or a sofa with removable, washable covers.

These materials will help you save time and effort when it comes to maintenance, while keeping your sofa looking fresh and inviting.

Moreover, finding out about the specific cleaning instructions for your sofa is crucial.

Some fabrics require professional cleaning, while others can be spot cleaned with a damp cloth or vacuumed regularly. Make sure to choose your sofa with your lifestyle and budget for maintenance in mind.

Furniture store with sofas in

#8 – Not Considering The Weight

This often overlooked aspect can make a significant difference in your daily life, because of a couple of things:

Initial Positioning

A heavy sofa can be difficult to manoeuvre into position, requiring more effort and possibly even professional assistance. Before making a purchase, ensure that you’re capable of moving and positioning the sofa with relative ease, given its weight.

Moving and Cleaning

Chances are you won’t be keeping your sofa in the same spot forever. You might redecorate or move house, both of which require moving the sofa.

A lighter sofa will make this task much easier on you and your back, thereby reducing the risk of accidents or damage.

Additionally, a sofa’s weight can affect how you clean it.

A lighter sofa will allow you to easily lift it or move it away from the wall for vacuuming, dusting and cleaning underneath. This makes maintenance a far more manageable task in the long term.

#9 – Not Working With What It Will Be In The Space With

Failing to consider how your new sofa will work with the other things in the room could lead to an unbalanced and uncomfortable living area. There are 1 main things to think about here:

Armrest Considerations

Armrests play a significant role in the overall comfort and functionality of your sofa. You should think about the height and width of the armrests and how they will complement or possibly clash with other furniture pieces in the room.

For example, if you have low side tables, opting for a sofa with high armrests might make it difficult to reach items on the table comfortably.

On the other hand, if you want to create a cosy feel, you might prefer a sofa with wide armrests to serve as additional seating or lounging space.

Visibility Considerations

Another aspect to consider when buying a sofa is how it will affect the visibility of other key features in the room.

Depending on the sofa’s height and orientation, it can either enhance or obstruct the view of artwork, windows or a TV screen.

For example, if your living room has a beautiful bay window, you wouldn’t want to position a tall-back sofa right in front of it, blocking the view and natural light.

Similarly, if you plan to watch TV from the sofa, make sure it is positioned at a comfortable viewing angle that won’t strain your neck or eyes.

women sitting on a yellow sofa doing online shopping

There you have it! Lots to think about, but when you do, you’re going to be more sure of getting the right sofa for you.

In the end, it all comes down to finding a sofa that caters to your lifestyle and personal comfort choices – and one that fits the space you’ve got.

I hope these tips will help you choose a sofa that you’ll be happy to live with for years to come.

Read These Next:

How To Decorate A Coffee Table [So It’s Stylish AND Useful]

How To Choose Artwork For Your Living Room – Tips And Tricks

How To Arrange Furniture In A Long Living Room – Top Tips!

This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on OrganiseMyHouse.com (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...

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