guide to

Buying a Sofa

What do you need to know before buying a sofa
guide to

Buying a Sofa

What do you need to know before buying a sofa

Upholstered or Slipcovered

Upholstery gives you a nice tailored look and is great for formal rooms. Consider a dark or pattered fabric that can hide stains while slipcovers can be removed and washed or dry cleaned.

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Skirt or Legs

Skirts ground the room and can make it appear more cozy or formal. Sofas with exposed legs can open up a room and create an airy feel. Choose between straight legs for a more modern look or curvy legs for an ornate look.

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Arm Width

Sofas with arms make a good side table or extra seating. Sofas with thin arms are great for small spaces where every inch counts and have a more elegant appearance.

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Narrow Arms
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Wide Arms

Seat Depth

The depth of seats can vary by ten inches or more - 30 inches is considered deep while 20 inches is a shallower seat. Sit on a variety of sofas to see which depth feels best to you.

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Shallow Depth
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Deep Depth

Seat Height

Do you want to sit upright or are you more of a lounger? If you’re tall, you might want your sofa’s height to match your own. Love to lean back and stretch your legs? A lower seat height might be what you’re looking for. 

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Flat Back or Pillows

Sofas with flat backs appear sleek and streamlined while pillows create a cozier look and feel. One advantage of pillows is the cases can be replaced to freshen up the look without reupholstering the entire sofa. 

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Flat Back
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At minimum the width, height, and depth of the sofa. You may also want to know its clearance from the floor, the width and height of the arm, and the depth and height of the seat cushions


You'll find sofas made from leather, fabric (cotton), and even corduroy. Each material has its pros and cons; consider what kind of look and feel you want for your home.


Some sofas ship fully assembled, some ship with detached legs and separate cushions, and others require more-extensive assembly