Do you say Sofa or Couch? Have you ever heard the term Davenport? How about Lounger? Whatever name you use – most, if not all of us, have one in our home. A typical sofa ranges in length from 84-96 inches, 36 inches deep, 17-18 inches high at the seat cushion and 36 inches high at the back. But they come in a variety of additional sizes so always measure to be sure the one you are considering will fit in your space.
We highly recommend you use some graph paper and draw up your room with sofa sizes and existing furniture to decide which height, depth and length is right for you. Pay close attention to the height of the back if you plan on adding a sofa table or are trying to keep sight lines clear. Sit in everything to determine what the best seat height is for you (lord have mercy, as much as we love these low, deep, comfy sofas out right now – we can barely maneuver out of them – truth, we spent a whole day pulling each other out of low sofas recently while shopping for a client).
Now that you have decided the size of the sofa for your space (and your ability to stand upright out of the sofa) you are not done! Now you need to decide arm style, legs, cushions and if you want your sofa to do anything like recline. Y’all, the possibilities are almost endless but we are going to try and break it down for you here with our favorites and the reasons why. And comfort is always at the top of our list of must haves so you will see we always factor in snug ability.
Track arms are a more contemporary style/informal transitional style. Squared off arms take up less space when space is at a premium in smaller rooms. Track arms also can be dressed up or down and lend a timeless look to a sofa. You will find all variations of track arms too…thin tuxedo styled track arms and chunkier squared off track arms and everything in between. We like a track arm because it creates a cozy little corner to snuggle into. A track arm can take you from reading books with your toddler to a more modern updated look while entertaining the future daughter in law’s parents. They are timeless.
Roll arms are more traditional and lend a classic look. While the roll arm takes up more space it also lends a comfortable, relaxed feel. Roll arms are great for propping up books, magazines or resting your arms on. You’ll find roll arms pleated, nail head trimmed and trimmed and untrimmed. Like the track arm, roll arms make a little snuggle corner. Our favorite roll arm is one that comes slipcovered simply with textured throw pillows. Like the track arm, it will take you from toddler and beyond but unlike the track arm, it has a little more girth to the arm to stand up to any tiny gymnasts in the family or rough housing pre-teens (isn’t anything going to stand up to rough housing teens flopping around on the arms of your sofa – trust us on this one).
Transitional English arms are low and slightly more formal. They lend a sophisticated air but lend themselves to a deeper T cushion design, creating a compact and seamless look. This arm style is great for sleeping (not so much cuddling up on). Like the roll arm above, you will find versions of the English arm in pleated, ruched, and a simple rounded form. We often cozy up an English arm with throw pillows. We love, love, LOVE the look of a transitional English arm sofa with a one cushion seat and back. It’s a slightly refined look while still being super comfy.
Slope arms are elegant with a modern silhouette that lend to a more lounge like feel. Deep curves or slight curves both create a little glamour in the sofa. Like the English arm, this is not a cuddle arm but also doesn’t lend itself to sleeping either. This is a more upright sitting arm with high style. We love the tailored look of these arms and the elegant Grace Kelly look of the piece in a room paired with a big coffee table and two chairs flanking a fireplace.
As mentioned in the English Arm description, we love a one cushion seat. It’s just a clean, simple look without fuss. It can be paired with a single back cushion, a camel back cushion-less back or loose cushions. One cushions can be bench seat style or T cushions. We love them with a matching one cushion back. A one cushion is part elegance and part total Southern casual. Fill the cushions with down for even more comfort!
Double cushion is similar in look to the one cushion but with, of course, two cushions (ha!). Pair it with a similar two cushion back for a sleek look. The down side to the two cushion is that inevitably someone has to sit on the crack between the two cushions – so look for firmer cushions so your guests don’t sink.
Three cushion sofas are probably the most common in stores with matching three cushion backs. Often times in this style the cushions on the back are actually attached. We like the option of loose cushions so that they may be rotated and flipped, avoiding the flat spots that accompany the attached cushions over time. Actually, on all the above-mentioned cushion styles, we like them to be reversible to double your wear and keep everything looking fresh.
Boxed cushions (basic squares of cushions) have a more casual air while T cushions (T overlaps arm) tend to be a little more formal.
(Boxed on left and T Cushion on right)
Finally, you need to consider whether you want a clean upholstered base with chunky legs, spindle legs, bun feet or even tapered legs (we even recently swooned over a sofa with casters for legs!). Do you want a more formal skirted, box pleated or simple stretch slip covers or base? How about revolution fabrics that are easy to clean, crisp linens or buttery leathers to further define your style. The possibilities are endless. We can help you narrow down what fits both your lifestyle and your decorating style best.
Notice, we didn’t discuss oversized sets or sectionals with cup holders and recliners. We love a good recliner like the next person and oh do we love a sectional in large open spaces but Y’all…there are good options and err not so good options. If it’s really what you have to have, we will of course help you find the best options for your space but we will also really challenge you to think outside the box for reclining options and drink placement desires that don’t necessarily come in an overstuffed and oversized style piece or sectional. They are out there! Below is a great example of a reclining sofa that also comes in a sectional with clean lines and straight tailored back.