Sofas & Loveseats

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How to Choose Sofas & Couches

If the living room is the heart of the home, the sofa is the soul. It's where you spend time lounging, cuddling, socializing, playing and watching your favorite shows and movies. Your sofa needs to fit your space, be comfortable and showcase your style. Available in a wide range of sizes, designs and price points, you can find a sofa that fits your aesthetic and budget.

Whether your sofa is an investment piece or a clearance deal, it's important to seamlessly fit it into your home's design. Be aware of the available space in your room while you select your sofa, and try to find a balance between filling your room without crowding it. Then, decide on the upholstery. Leather is a timeless option, but fabric may be a more durable choice for families with pets. Remember to choose a style that complements your home's overall look. If your space has an overall modern aesthetic, keep the sofa style minimalist and coordinate with a sleek TV stand. If you prefer welcoming ambiance, look for one with plush cushions. A tufted design with brass buttons gives your space luxurious appeal. For a bold look, consider upholstery with a vibrant or patterned fabric. To add color without committing to a loud sofa, simply accessorize a neutral one with bright pillows and throws. No matter what design you choose, include an area rug and curtains that complement the seating.

What are the different types of sofas?

Sectional Sofa: Sectionals are made of two or more furniture pieces and typically include a couch, corner chair, loveseat or chaise lounge. Because they are available in an array of widths, depths and heights, you can create a custom configuration that works in small apartments or spacious living rooms. For a traditional look, consider making an L-shaped sectional with a couch and a chaise lounge. In a larger area, a U-shaped option made with loveseats and a couch fills the room and accommodates big groups.

Sleeper sofa: A sleeper sofa is a couch with a fold-out mattress that tucks away behind the cushions during the day. This style is perfect for households that often have overnight guests but might lack a spare bedroom. Even if your home does have a formal guest bedroom, there may be occasions when you have more guests than beds. Great for slumber parties and family gatherings, sofa beds are both kid- and family-friendly. Remember to get extra bedding to make your guest's stay more inviting.

Loveseat: As a smaller alternative to a sofa, loveseats are great for apartment living rooms or large master bedrooms with extra space for seating. They typically have two cushions, though some have three. Arrange a pair of loveseats across from one another for an intimate conversation space. If you have a wide living room, pair one with a traditional sofa in an L-shape configuration, and place an end table in between them.

Apartment Sofa: Apartment sofas offer the quality of a full-size design in a scaled-down size that's a favorite for small rooms. The compact width and depth keep studio-dwellers from having to compromise on space or style. Though this size is primarily available in two-cushion designs, it differs from loveseats in its overall aesthetic.

Daybed: Couches by day and beds by evening, daybeds are dynamic pieces of furniture. They often have only one long cushion and are backless, but by positioning them against a wall and piling up plush pillows, you can get back support. Some convert into a more spacious sleeper with a trundle mattress. Their dual functionality makes them a favorite choice for family rooms, living rooms and guest rooms. If your overnight guests will be sleeping on it, be sure to provide extra sheets, blankets and pillows as well.

Settee: A settee is an elongated chair that's slightly bigger than a loveseat and usually fits two people. Typically, the height of its back is higher than that of a traditional sofa, and it sits in a more upright position. Settees aren't just for the living room—they give dining rooms, entryways and master bedrooms an upscale look.

What type of fabric is best for a sofa?

Both leather and fabric sofas have their pros and cons, and each have different types of materials to choose from based on your lifestyle and the look you're going for in your space.

Leather: Many sofas are upholstered with full-grain or top-grain leather. Both materials are quality natural leathers, but there are distinctions between the two. Full-grain leather is left in its natural state revealing unique markings of the hide. Further, it has a durable and breathable surface that will develop a patina as it ages. Top-grain leather has been buffed and sanded to remove imperfections, blemishes and uneven coloring to provide the cushions with a uniform look. Leather sofas can also be full-aniline dyed, which means they are dyed only with soluble materials that protect the hide's characteristics without concealing or altering them. Leather furniture is a strong choice for homes with a classic look.

Fabric: Available in a variety of colors and materials, fabric upholstery is a versatile option. For families with pets or kids, consider a neutral, stain-resistant synthetic material, such as polyester or microfiber. If you want a lived-in look, select seating that is upholstered with light linen. Going for an opulent aesthetic? Velvet upholstery adds a glamorous touch. Machine-washable cotton sofa slipcovers are also available in plenty of of sizes, fabrics and styles for easy care and customizable couch styling.

How to Measure for Your Sofa or Couch

Width: The width of your sofa determines how many people can sit on it. Looking for a place where the whole family can sit together? Select a sofa with a greater seat width. A sprawling sectional is a good option for large rooms used to entertain big groups of friends or family. If the room itself isn't very wide, opt for seating with a smaller overall width such as a loveseat or an apartment sofa.

Height: When figuring out an ideal overall height, ask yourself how high your ceilings are. If they're low, a shorter sofa with a lower backrest height can give the illusion of more open space. For living rooms with high ceilings, opt for a high backrest. Additionally, think about how low or high you want to be sitting. A low profile provides comfort for casual lounging, while a higher seat is better if you prefer to sit upright. Lastly, test out the armrest height to make sure it's comfortable for you.

Depth: When you sit down, your back should be against the backrest while your feet are on the floor. For taller people, this means selecting a sofa with a greater seat depth. Shorter individuals will be more comfortable with a shallower seat depth. Also, it's important to leave enough space between your sofa and other furniture. If the overall depth of your sofa is too large for your room, your space could look cramped.

Can I create a custom sofa?

Interested in completely custom upholstery for your home? Choose a frame that fits your space, then select the upholstery fabric that matches your taste and lifestyle. To build your own sectional, use our sectional planner to create a configuration that meets your needs. Crate and Barrel also offers a range of free interior Design Services, from Mood Boards to in-home consultations.