Investing in a sofa? Get the expert view
Sofas around the UK have taken a pounding in 2020, as lockdown living led to a huge increase in time spent lounging in front of Netflix and video games. Factor in home-schooled children bouncing off the walls (and sofas), newly-acquired lockdown pets and sofas as work stations, and you’ve got plenty of reasons why many of us are upgrading this vital item of furniture.
According to Charlie Marshall, founder of sofa brand Loaf, the combined impact of smartphones, TV streaming, Deliveroo and Covid-19 have changed the way people view sofas. “They lie back to send an email, hug a cushion through a thriller and curl up to down a pasta,” he says. “People want a deeper, slouchier sit. And they want to enjoy their homes — that’s the bigger picture.”
Whether your sofa is looking a little worn after all that sitting around, or you’re giving your living space a bit of a revamp, there are some key things to consider before you buy.
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1 Get advice – Sofas are a big purchase so make sure you get the expert view. If you’ll struggle to get into a store, book an initial video consultation. Once you’ve whittled down your shortlist, it’s important to test drive your choice before you buy.
2 Check the reviews – Always read customer reviews – see what they say about durability, comfort and reliability on delivery times. A Which? sofa survey last year saw Ikea rated top for customer satisfaction, followed by John Lewis, Barker & Stonehouse, sofa.com and Marks & Spencer.
3 Go for quality – Sofas are one area where it is often worth paying more. A really good sofa with a neutral design can last a lifetime, if you reupholster rather than replace. Says Kris Manalo, senior sofa buyer at Heal’s: “Spend a little more initially. It pays off in the long run. You’ll get a more robust structure and higher-quality materials.”
4 Measure up – Be realistic about what will fit – go too big and your sofa will dominate the room and suck up all of your space. Avoid getting it wrong by cutting sheets of newspaper to the size and shape of the sofa. Place them on floor to check the amount of space left for you to move around.
5 Consider access – It’s crucial you make sure the sofa can actually get into your home. If it’s made to order, you won’t necessarily be able to return it. Measure all doorways, passages and stairs and get advice from your dealer. If space is tight, look for sofas with partial assembly.
6 Request samples – Always get swatches so you can see what the sofa fabric will look like in your home; in natural and artificial light.
Read more about choosing a sofa in Homes & Property.