The sofa is many things: a makeshift bed, an improvised home-office, and when you’re Netflixing, then it becomes the most essential part of the home entertainment experience. This one item is the focal point of the living room and dominates the most public room of the house. So, when you’re trying to figure out which sofa to buy, the choices can be overwhelming. To make the process easier, we’ve worked out a few polestar principles you have to keep in mind. Once these factors are taken into account, your search will become easier and the final choice will be a smarter one.
1. THE SIZE
The size is the first element to consider, because you have to choose keeping in mind what fits the space.
Available area: To begin with, measure the area you want your sofa to sit in. Take into consideration the length and the width of the sofa. While you mark these measurements, consider your personal requirements as well. For example, if you would like to occasionally lounge or take quick naps then it is ideal to opt for a sofa with a larger surface area.
Height: Consider the height. In case the room has a low ceiling, like in an apartment, choose sofas that are shorter and have a lower arm depth. And, for rooms with higher ceilings, sofas with higher arms, and taller height would be better suited.
Entry points: The next step is to measure the doors and all possible entry points in the house. This is to make sure the sofa will fit through. Another alternative is to choose sofas that have removable and attachable parts. This is especially convenient for apartments on a higher floor.
Maximizing space: While choosing the sofa size, you also need to consider the amount of people who will use the sofa at any given time. Decide the seat size based on that factor. Sectional sofas work well for a larger group. In case of big families or regular guests, this sofa type will be suitable. They are further divided into three alternatives; L-shape sofas, U-shape sofas and curved sofas. These also end up taking lesser space, rather than buying another sofa set with chairs. On the other hand, a two- or three-seater sofa is a good option for small families and rooms.
2. MATERIAL AND CONSTRUCTION
The right material guarantees durability and endurance
- The frame: Investing in a good quality frame will ensure the sofa stands strong for years to come. The most durable material and usually the more expensive option, is hardwood. Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Beech, Sheesham are some types of hardwood. Kiln Dried Hardwood is a finishing process that further helps strengthening the wood. As a result, the wood doesn’t snap or warp easily. A metal-framed sofa is another option. This is the hardest material available, and it is easier to maintain and clean. The downside: it can bend over time and it isn’t considered as durable as wood. Frames made of plastic or particle board are best avoided as they are most likely to break down over time.
- Joinery: The ‘Mortise & Tenon’ method comprises of two components: the mortise hole and the Tenon tongue. The Tenon tongue, an extra piece of wood from one part of the furniture is inserted in the Mortise hole, a depression in another part. This is supposed to fit perfectly into each other and then is reinforced with glue and nails. This joinery method is the strongest of all. The ‘Double Doweled’ frame assembly is another preferred method. Here, the joints are put together with two round pieces of wood in corresponding holes. This again is supported with glue and screws. If the joinery only involves staples, nails, or glue, it isn’t the right choice as it will eventually fall apart. However, they can be used as methods of additional support.
Investing in a good quality frame will ensure the sofa stands strong for years to come.
- Seats and backrest: The cushions on the sofa need to retain its shape over years of use. The choice of the material for the seat depends on the type of use the sofa will endure. Soft foam is a good option if the sofa is going to be used as a lounging space through the day. Firm-seated sofas are more suitable for visitor areas. These last longer as they aren’t as exposed to wear and tear like the softer ones. A high-density foam filling will hold its shape for longer and is best suited for this type of requirement. You can also opt for memory foam, or foam wrapped in fiber, in case you want it to be a snuggly seat with firm support.
- Upholstery: The choice of upholstery fabric depends on many elements. Cotton is easy to maintain and is considered the most comfortable fabric for Indian homes. However, if the sofa is located close to the window, strong sunlight tends to fade out natural fabrics like cotton and linen. So, a synthetic fabric is better suited here. If there are pets at home, choose fabric that is tightly woven, as it doesn’t hold fur and can be cleaned easily. For e.g. microfiber is dust resistant. Fabrics like silk and velvet work better for formal spaces. Leather upholstery is a popular choice at the moment, but it is difficult to maintain in places with high humidity. To test the fabric quality, take a look at its rub count. The rub test is a measure of the durability of upholstery fabric. For residential fabrics a rub count above 25,000 determines good quality. A higher rub count promises a stronger and better fabric.
3. THE DESIGN
Choosing the sofa's colour depends on your room's decor and how well it complements the space.
- Style: Sofas are mainly categorized in three ways: Modern, Traditional and Contemporary. Modern sofas have simple designs, firm seats and angular lines. If you have a small space and prefer light-footed furniture, this is a perfect style. Contemporary designs have softer seats, clean lines and a few traditional accents. This style usually fits in with any kind of décor. Traditional sofa designs generally belong to a particular era or culture and have ornate frames. These usually have circular lines and tufted furnishing. This type of sofa dominates the décor setting and is a statement piece in itself. The rest of the furniture and accessories in the room will be decided around this piece.
- Functionality: This is one of the most important filters to apply to the selection of a sofa. Some sofas are designed to be multi-functional and are great for apartments. Sofa-cum-beds can be transformed into a queen-sized bed when guests stay over. These are great for studio apartments. Then there are sofas that come with drawers below the seat and shelves at the sides, providing additional storage space, for anything from cushions to remote controls. A recliner sofa is a popular choice for those who love to laze out at the end of a long day. This is a great choice for people with back pain.
- Colour: The colour of the sofa depends on your room’s décor. People who enjoy playing around with the look of a room should choose a sofa of a neutral colour. This way the sofa will go with any piece of décor or wall paint. People who enjoy colours, patterns or maximalist design could try a dramatic colour, but make sure the colour sits well within the existing décor. Patterned sofas help camouflage spills and spots. If the house has kids or pets, or both, a patterned sofa is a smart choice.
Asian Paints has recently launched its own collection of well-designed India-made furniture at the right price. There is something for every taste of home, and you can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a catalogue.
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