Size, function, fabric and style play a major role in your decision when choosing a lounge to suit your home's décor. Whether it's a leather lounge suite or chase lounge, here are some important factors to consider when selecting a sofa.

Choosing The Type Of Sofa

Sofas are generally categorised by how many people they can seat; that is, two-seater, three-seater and so on. There are several types of lounge suites available today:

  • Traditional sofa: A basic, functional sofa, classic in style, designed with minimal — or no — extra features
  • Modular lounge: Consists of several individual units — that is, "modules" — that can be joined together to form a larger sofa. Modular lounges can be rearranged into different configurations for a tailored look
  • Recliner sofa: A traditional couch that has an added recliner function, on one or more of the seats, for kicking back and relaxing
  • Sofa bed: Designed to look and feel like a regular sofa, but contains a fold-out bed frame and mattress to accommodate overnight guests. Sofa beds are generally heavier and more expensive than a traditional sofa

Sofas may also come with additional features, such as a chaise lounge, that allow you to stretch out, or adjustable arms and backs so you can rearrange the sofa to suit you.

Is It Functional?

When you're looking to buy a sofa, the first question you need to ask is: what is it for? Will it be used as the focal point of your living room, or will it be an intimate setting in a side room for entertaining guests?

Sofas are generally categorised by how many people they can seat: two-seater, three-seater and so on. Choose a sofa or lounge suite that will comfortably accommodate the members of your household. If you have a large amount of space and want to entertain big groups, consider buying a large modular lounge, or work out an arrangement involving a lounge set consisting of two or three different sofas.

Think about extra functions, how useful they'd be to you and how you'll use your sofa:

  • If you like to put your feet up, consider a lounge with recliner functions
  • If you have to accommodate guests overnight, think about a sofa bed
  • If you'll want to rearrange your lounge setting for different occasions, look into buying a modular lounge
  • If you like to stretch out, a lounge with a chaise addition is probably for you

Getting The Right Fit

Size is an important consideration; it's vital that the sofa you buy will fit in its allotted space. Allow for a certain amount of clearance between the sofa space and other furniture around it. Bear in mind any additional features — such as recliner extension or pulling out the bed frame of a sofa bed — and allow for suitable clearance.

Precise measurements are essential for selecting the correct lounge. Be sure to measure not only the space the sofa is to go into, but also any doorways or corridors it'll have to pass through when moving it in.

Style And Substance

There's an important aesthetic consideration when purchasing a sofa: are you looking for a casual, intimate or formal setting? The following points are worth considering when making a decision:

  • The colour that makes you happiest is a subjective choice, but at a basic level, pale colours are clean and give the illusion of space, while darker, bolder colours can be uplifting and inspirational
  • Most sofas these days combine traditional functionality with modern style that's characterised by clean lines and interesting shapes
  • Think about the décor of your lounge room and consider whether the look of the lounge will always match its surroundings, like coffee tables, chairs and the like

How Do I Choose A Quality Sofa?

While the look and feel of a sofa is important, it's also crucial to consider the construction and materials, so that you can be sure your sofa will last a long time:

Frame: This will determine its durability and resistance to wear and tear

  • Timbers such as Pine are soft and not built to withstand rough treatment
  • Hardwood timbers such as Jarrah or Victorian Ash are sturdier and more resistant to pressure
  • Metal frames are the most durable

Seat foam: Look for high-density seat foam cushions as they're more resilient and able to maintain shape for a long time

Suspension: The seating suspension determines how the sofa deals with pressure and maintains its firmness and comfort.

  • "Eight-way" or hand-tied suspension provides soft, yielding support but is durable and able to last for many years without sagging
  • "Sinuous spring" systems provide firmer support but are also durable

Upholstery: This basic choice in upholstery is between fabric and leather.

  • Fabrics are generally more versatile and easily customised to suit your décor
  • Some fabric covers are washable, making maintenance very easy, while others are reversible, meaning you can easily change the look of your sofa to suit different occasions
  • Leather is more durable and able to withstand rough treatment. It resists stains and is easy to clean with a wipe. The main disadvantage of leather is that it's generally more expensive than fabric upholstery

Warranty: Sofas will have warranties for different parts of the structure, including frame, seat foam and suspension.

  • Longer warranties not only mean you're covered for greater periods of time, they generally indicate that the manufacturer is confident with their construction and workmanship

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