Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.
A couch is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make in your adult life. Whether you live in a studio apartment or a three-bedroom home, a couch is a necessity and a visual centerpiece. Good couches can be expensive, but with that investment comes longevity and functionality. It may take a while to find the perfect couch to suit your aesthetic and lifestyle, but once you discover the one, you won’t have to repeat the process for years to come. These are the five components I consider when searching for the perfect couch.
First, think realistically about how the couch will be used. Will the couch reside in the formal living room, family room or neither? Will the kids and pets have access to the couch? Will the couch be used while entertaining guests? Once you envision the function of the couch, it’ll be easier to navigate your way through the other variables such as the size and style.
The purpose and the size of the room will determine the scale of the couch. For rooms with low ceilings, choose a couch with a low back so it’s proportional to the space. If the room has a high ceiling, you can go with a high-back couch. For couches that’ll be predominately used for family time, get a couch with at least three seat cushions and a cushioned back for comfort. Sectionals are another great choice for a family-oriented space and provide ample seating for your brood. The depth of the couch is another thing to keep in mind as you shop. In a formal space, the depth of the couch isn’t as crucial, but for a couch you use every day, you’ll likely want one that has enough depth for napping.
The material and color you choose for your couch should be in direct relation to the purpose of the couch. In a formal setting, go luxe and get creative! Pick a bold color if you’re so inclined, and don’t be afraid to use a more delicate material such as velvet or silk. On the other hand, you’ll want to make safe choices when it comes to a family-friendly couch. Choose a performance fabric that’s highly durable and will hold up to kids and pets. While a couch made of a delicate material may look good in the showroom or online, it will show wear and tear quickly. As for color on a high-traffic couch, I’d suggest going with a neutral such as beige or gray — something you won’t get sick of five years down the road. After all, you can always spruce up a neutral couch with fun throw pillows. Lastly, if you anticipate heavy wear on the couch, consider going with a model that allows for a slipcover. That way, you can always wash or completely swap out the dingy covers.
Beyond size, color and fabric, you’ll need to think about the fine details you didn’t even know existed in couch design. What arm shape do you want — curved, squared, straight? Should the legs be visible or hidden? If they’re visible, what style leg would complement your existing furniture? Do you want a certain trim or a tufted back? Your answers depend on personal style, but here are a few tips. If your couch will be used for entertaining, a wider arm is nice to have because it acts as makeshift seating. Anyone can join the conversation by perching on a couch arm. When it comes to the legs, having a couch skirt can help to equalize co-existing furniture styles and balance out a “leggy” room. Finally, beware of ornate trim or tufting on a high-traffic couch. Everything from dog hair to cookie crumbs can get stuck in the crevices, making the couch difficult to maintain.
Maybe you’ve searched for weeks and have finally uncovered the couch of your dreams. From the texture to the shape, it’s everything you’ve been looking for. The last, and least fun, component of the process is getting technical. If you’ve spent a lot of time finding the perfect couch, you want to make sure it will last. Find out what the frame is made of. The best, albeit most expensive, material is hardwood such as beech or kiln-dried oak. To check the stability of the frame and the joints, simply lift up one corner of the couch off the ground 6 inches. If you’re lifting the front left-hand side, the back left-hand side should rise as well. If it doesn’t, the frame is not strong. The final thing you can — and should — consider is the cushion fill. There are many options when it comes to filling and, as with all components, each furniture designer has their own preference. Decide on the filling based on how much you want to tend to the couch and how much use it will endure. I prefer a combination of high-density foam and feather down for comfortable, durable seating that doesn’t need to be fluffed often.
With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to navigate the couch market like a pro. Happy hunting!