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Sofa Buying Guide

Dec. 08, 2022

Buying a sofa takes time and consideration. You need to choose a style that suits your living space, a color you like, a material that is durable, and - after all - it must actually fit through the front door.


Get to know the various sizes, fillings, and finishes before you spend any money. A new sofa doesn't have to be expensive, but while there are some things you can save on, there are still other places where you need to spend money.


Not sure where to buy a sofa? Find out which are the best sofa shops in our customer survey.


Sofa styles

Style is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a new sofa. Almost half (49%) of the 2,900 Which one? members we interviewed in our latest sofa satisfaction survey said that sofa style is important when buying a new sofa.


When choosing your sofa style, consider which suits the rest of your options and which look you prefer.


Sofas tend to fall into five main style groups - mid-century, Chesterfield, contemporary, traditional, and country. Which of these styles is the most popular? The members of our survey are the traditional members - 40% of our survey members have a traditional-style sofa.

 Sofa Buying Guide

What is a mid-century sofa?

Mid-century sofas are characterized by clean lines, a streamlined four-square shape, wooden angled legs, and low armrests with a modern retro vibe. It is a tailored look rather than overstuffed.


What is the Chesterfield Sofa?

With its backrest and arms at the same height, deep pressed button detailing, and often made of leather, the Chesterfield sofa is a recognizable and magnificent statement for a wide range of interiors.


What is a modern sofa?

Modern sofas usually have loose cushions, one section per seat, and straight armrests of the same depth. Metal feet are a common addition.


What is a traditional sofa?

Traditional sofas come in all shapes and sizes, but the most common models (often called "Lawson" or "Howard") tend to have rounded arms that are lower than the backrest and stop short, not quite reaching the front seat cushions of the sofa.


The feet tend to turn (round), with wooden legs, sometimes on castors.

 Sofa Buying Guide

What is a country sofa?

Sometimes called a 'Bridgewater', these country-style sofas have valances to cover the feet, low armrests, and removable seat and back cushions.


How do you measure a sofa?

If it is delivered pre-assembled, make sure that you also measure the door frame and allow for any small angles. If it does not fit through the front door, you will go back to the drawing board.


Sofa measuring tips

Use newspaper to mark out the dimensions of the sofa on the floor or use tape on the floor to get a more realistic idea of how much space the sofa will take up. Allow yourself enough space to walk comfortably around the sofa and make sure that your arms don't get in the way of anything, such as opening doors.


If you are buying an extendable sofa, make sure you measure your space in the full extension size and its standard position before you buy. Make sure the furniture can fit through doors and hallways when it is delivered. If it seems to fit well, choose an option that is partially or fully assembled or with removable arms.


If you think your delivery van may have difficulty finding a parking space in front of your home, consider asking your neighbors if they would mind moving their car on the day.

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