SOFAS BUYING
GUIDE

Whether you're collapsing into them at the end of a day; catching up on them over cups of tea; or piling on to them at parties, sofas take centre stage. Hardworking but handsome, long lasting but luxury - a sofa is both a basic need and something special. It doesn't have to break the bank, yet it shouldn't be scrimped on. Simply put, it's something to get right and with our Habitat sofas buying guide, there's no need to feel overwhelmed.

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Sofa beds

As the name suggests these are sofas that tidily tuck a foldout bed beneath their seat cushions, while remaining a comfortable place to sit. They easily adapt in one swift movement to sleep guests or party stragglers. There are two types:

  • Sofa beds for nightly use: the more a sofa bed is used, the more comfort and durability it requires.
  • Sofa beds for occasional use: this is an ideal guest bed that is only used from time to time.

For more on sofa beds, see the Habitat sofa bed buying guide.

Ideal for making you appear the ultimate flexible friend, sofa beds are two essential pieces of furniture rolled into one. They can be useful in a living room, or in a spare room being used for other purposes (i.e. a home office) that needs to be guest-ready at a moment's notice.

Modular sofas

Coming in sections and parts to put together any way, these are the ultimate in adaptability. In some ranges, modules come in different colour options. to be put together for an edgy, individual look. In others, various shapes and units of the same colour and fabric can be compiled for a unified creation that almost feels bespoke.

Modular sofas are the best of all worlds, being good for any size of home and any room within it. They're an excellent option for those starting small and wanting a sofa that can change and grow with their home or family.

Most styles have the option of having the corner section at either end, so that if you're planning to house it in a corner of a room, your sofa can be ordered to slot right into it.

How do I choose the right sofa for me?

Choosing a sofa is a big decision, and one to consider from all angles: style, size, fabric, filling and of course placement and purpose. But don't worry, we're here to help you choose the best sofa.

Size

Whether it's going against a wall or standing in the middle of a room, staying solo or team up as a suite, it's best to give your sofa some space. Why?

  • Because it allows for side and coffee tables, lamps and magazine racks.
  • Because sofas never look their best wedged into a space.
  • Because if they're cooped up, sitting on them can feel a little claustrophobic.

The best way to figure out what works for your room is to consider what other pieces you need to fit in it alongside it, as well as how you'll configure them all. Once you know what space your sofa will be working with, consult the Habitat sofa measuring guide to work out what size will work best.

Should I order a fabric swatch when buying a sofa?

We always encourage our customers to order swatches of the fabrics they're interested in, because we think upholstered furniture is a BIG deal - a big decision about a big piece.

Seeing a picture of your chosen fabric just isn't the same as touching it and looking at it in different lights. Since there's nothing like the real thing, there's nothing like a swatch for giving you the best idea of what you're interested in.

To order, go to the product page of the sofa bed you're considering on the site and click 'Order Free Fabric Swatch Sample' above the price.

Filling

Foam: Available in a variety of densities, we sometimes use different foams within one seat cushions to ensure the right level of support is provided in just the right place.

A foam cushion will give a firmer support and cleaner lines than a feather one, and a higher-density foam will maintain its shape better. All new foam loses about 15 per cent of its hardness over the first six months if use before it stabilises. This means that a foam sofa may initially feel a little firmer than it might have done when you first tried out in store.

Feather: The classic luxury-feel filling, feather has a high level of comfort and is popular because it's natural. However, that 'sink into' feeling comes at a price and the look is also less structured. Feather fillings need regular plumping to keep their generously rounded look and soft support.

Polyester fibre: On its own polyester fibre is not durable enough for seat cushions, so we use it mixed with feather for smaller cushions.

MY small HABITAT OUR GUIDE TO SMALL SPACES

What are the best sofas for small spaces

We would always recommend two-seater sofas, chaise longues, modular sofas or compact sofas for bijoux spaces.

Another thing to remember is that light creates space. So, just as a high-backend sofa or chair may look best in rooms with high ceilings, lower backs or armless designs are better for less open rooms as they are less interruptive to the eye.

Similarly, slim legs and plenty of space between the base of the sofa and the floor will help with creating that illusion of space.

CHECK OUT OUR GUIDE TO SMALL SPACE LIVING

How do I care for my sofa?

All sofas should have a care label attached to them when they arrive. These can be removed and kept in a safe place for referencing later. Each is appropriate to that specific sofa.

How do you clean a fabric sofa?

We always recommend professional cleaning, because we know it gets the best results. But in the case of small spills, it's important to avoid your instinct to rub at the stain. This only pushes the spillage deeper into the fabric, which of course makes it harder to clean. Instead, wipe lightly with a damp (not wet) cloth, and then immediately wipe dry with a soft dry cloth.

To maintain your fabric sofa, it should be vacuumed or brushed weekly as dirt accumulating on it can lead to the upholstery wearing and its colour dulling.

We also have some sofa no-no's: Avoid sharp objects, do not use solvent-based cleaners and avoid fading by placing furniture out of direct or prolonged periods of sunlight, and away from heat sources.

What accessories will compliment my sofa?

A sofa can be a large statement that sets the stall for a room's decor and colours, or it can be neutral canvas for layering with seasonal updates in the form of cushions and throws.

Other pieces to work into your room include armchairs and footstools, which can match or clash; coffee tables and occasional tables that bring your things closer to you; and rugs, the other big talker (or neutral canvas) in a living room.

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