Okay, ya'll, let's talk about furniture. Today, I want to begin addressing one of the most difficult decisions one faces when crafting a living space – selecting the right sofa. Seems relatively simple, right? I mean, it's just a sofa. Wrong.
I recently learned this, firsthand, while selecting the best sofa for my own space. Yes, even Interior Designers struggle with decision-making in their own homes. No kidding, ya'll, I lost sleep over this decision. There is an endless list of companies selling "the perfect sofa" – and then you've got to deal with size, shape, color, foam density, and the list goes on. For me, everything got easier when I found the right manufacturer, but there was still a long way to go. For Part I of this series, we're going to focus on Form. We'll get into the Pretty Nitty-Gritty (color, style, fabric, etc) in Part II. For now, let's chat about manufacturers, size, function, and shape...
Where do I even look?
If you've ever considered purchasing a sofa, you've learned that those suckers can get expensive. Unless you can afford that perfect $10,000 sofa at the name-brand luxury furniture store, you're going to have to do some hunting. Like I said – everyone is going to tell you that their sofa is superior, but most are lying. With many of the other mid- to upper-tier furniture companies, you're dealing with the poor construction of really bad materials that happened to be wrapped in an okay-looking upholstery. From the outside, some aren't too terrible looking – especially when styled within that ideal in-store vignette.
These "value" pieces just aren't going to hold up, though, and you can bet on that one. When starting the process of designing my own home, I quickly learned that I wouldn't buy my sofa from the mass-retailers that most turn to. I began searching for something new and different, and eventually stumbled upon Interior Define. FINALLY! I know where I will buy my future sofa. Let me just tell you – finding this company was like breathing a big gulp of fresh air. The customer service is transparent and personalized, and the staff is knowledgable, accomodating, and friendly. Best of all, each sofa is completely custom and bears a price tag 30-40% lower than many comparable high-end brands. SOLD.
Now that you know where you'd like to purchase your sofa, we need to think about sizing. Obviously, this decision hinges drastically on the size of your space. I'd begin by thinking about the focal point of your room. Do you want your sofa to serve as the main feature of the space, or would you like to include other statement pieces of furniture? If you've already invested in large-scale heavy lounge chairs, I'd consider a smaller sofa with a lighter frame. If you're like me, and already own smaller-scale lounge pieces, you're in the safe zone for a large-scale hefty sofa that demands some respect. My lounge chairs are a set of vintage Bertoia diamond chairs, so I opted for a bulky sofa that would offset the dainty frame of the chairs. It's all about balance and identifying a feature for the space.
Besides considering the shape of the room, I'd also consider your ceiling height. Most people don't weigh this major factor into their furniture selection process. Did you know that your furniture can make your ceilings look higher or lower, depending on their scale? Ultimately, you can create a room that seems bigger than it actually is – you just need to know how to choose the right furniture! What is the height of your ceiling? If you're on the lower end, I'd go with a sofa with legs and an airy frame – like the Owens or Asher. The lightness of the sofa will give your space the illusion of higher ceilings. If you've got a space with higher ceilings, like a large and open loft, I'd select a lower sofa that will deliver the illusion of a more intimate space with lower ceilings. The Ainsley and the Gray are great options for this type of space.
Knowing the desired function of your sofa will help you make decisions about the components of its construction and its orientation within the space. We'll get into upholstery options in Part II, but seat density is something that you'll want to consider early on. Fortunately, Interior Define offers countless custom options online, but they offer even more options over the phone or in person at their flagship Chicago showroom. If you want your sofa to be oriented for TV-watching and serve as a big fluffy cloud to cuddle with a bowl of popcorn, consider requesting a low-density foam with mega-softness and "give" in the seat- and back-cushions. It's a recipe for daytime naps and movie marathons. If your living room will be a place used primarily for conversation or family games, I'd request a firm high-density foam construction that will allow more upright sitting. Both construction types will be extremely comfortable, but Interior Define's high customization let you take things to the next level. Each sofa is available in 3 different cushion-fill options, so have some fun exploring and choosing the right one for you!
Finally, let's chat about shape. For this part of the series, we're not getting into "style." For now, let's talk about shape in its most simple sense We've got a few options to look at. Most sofas are made with one of three basic shapes – straight, straight with a chaise, or full-on L-shaped. Round or curved sofas our out there, but their application is far less common. The size of your space and desired function of the sofa will help you make a decision on shape, but it's good to consider a few more factors. With the right shape, a sofa can serve as a great separation between two spaces. If you're dealing with an open floorplan, use an L-shape sofa to separate the living and dining areas. The Crawford is the perfect shape to act as a divider. If you're interested in adding a collection of lounge chairs and side tables, I'd go for a clean straight-run sofa that will consume less square footage. I love the simplicity of the Sloan and the Lucy. These sofas will also prepare your landscape for the execution of almost any style. For you nappers and movie-watching moguls, a straight sofa with a chaise simply can't be beat. If you've got the space for it, this shape will deliver supreme comfort and flexibility. Shape is typically the easiest part of the sofa-selection process, especially since most of Interior Define's designs are available in 5+ configurations. Fortunately, if you've fallen in love with a style, it's likely available in many different shapes and custom sizes.
Stay tuned for Part II, ya'll – we're going to chat about all things pretty! In my next Sofa Series post, we'll get into upholstery materials, color, and style.