6 simple steps to choosing the right sofa size for you

Sofas are usually one of the larger investments you can make furniture wise as they are both costly and have a large impact on your rooms overall look. The sofa is the centrepiece of the living room. It’s the crown jewel and though it might seem like a simple task, finding the right-size sofa is one of the trickier interior design skills to master.  We once got a sofa intending it for an upstairs room only to discover that there was no way it could get up the small Victorian staircase, by which point we were soaked in sweat and in no mood to be finding a new location for it while we waited for it to be returned.  To help you avoid this nightmare here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to find the perfected sized sofa for your needs.

couch sized to fit livingroom

Size matters

Consider the size of the space, the size of the hallways leading to the space and any doorways you have to pass through in most modern homes this won’t be an issue but anything pre-1930’s property will almost certainly have some interesting dimensions. For a general rule of thumb a small sofa fits a small space and large sofa fits a large space but there are exceptions to this. While you should never cram a room, to create a cosy look in a small snug an oversized sofa can look charming, so long as you go more minimal with anything else in the room. A small sofa can also work in a large room if you want it to be multifunctional and not dominated by a larger sofa. If you're not sure what size sofa to get you should check out our tips on How To Find The Right Sized Sofa 

the right sized white sofa in a modern room

Space is everything

This simple spacing rule is good to stick to for all of the furniture, ideally, you want when you are finished with the room, there to be an 18-inch gap between the sofa and the coffee table. You should have space between seating so that everyone in the room can chat without speaking up or feeling like they are squeezed in. Everyone should also be able to comfortably see the television at a good distance of around 60-80 inches.

Measure and make perfect

Not all livingrooms are created equal, most English homes are higgldy piggledy shapes with strange dimensions which means standard advice based on perfectly square rooms probably won't be helpful. Measure the available floor space for your couch by stretching a tape measure from one wall to another to find out the width and length of your room. Sketch the measurements on a sheet of graph paper, to draw a layout plan on paper. You should also measure out any key features in the room such as windows, fireplace, doorways and other permanent fixed location features. When drawing a layout I’d also advise taking into consideration where the lights switches and power sockets are, as these dictate where you can put the TV and lamps. You want to make sure that you will be a comfortable distance from the television but also that you can sit with guests and chat without sitting at an awkward angle.  Your sofa should not block off any unique architectural features like a bay window, or fireplace. You should work with those pre-existing features to decide the placement of your sofa. Don't think that you have to have the couch flat against a wall, consider placing it in the centre of the room.

Try it out

Once you’ve decided on paper what your idea layout is you should try it out in real life before you purchase your sofa to make sure your layout actually works. Move any existing furniture you wish to keep to its new location and plan out your layout with masking tape to represent anything you are considering purchasing. Use the manufacturers measurements, with an inch extra to mark out where the sofa will go in your room with masking tape. Measure the width of your front door, stairwells and hallways to make sure it fits. You can use a length of garden cane cut to size to walk the sofa through the space.

Get to grips with the various sizes, fillings and finishes 

 A new sofa doesn’t have to be expensive, but there are a few things you can skimp on, there are other areas in which it is more frugal to invest in higher quality - the average person keeps a sofa between 7 to 15 years so it is definitely not something you want to cheap out on.  Before you decide on a sofa  order several swatches of a variety of fabrics you’re interested in so you can decide on colour, texture and style of your sofa. You cannot get a feel for your fabric from just an online flat lay of the fabric or a screen, its just isn't the same as touching it yourself and looking at it in different lights.

Swatches are an important step - I've even been known to splash a bit of red wine on a swatch to see how much punishment it could!

Do what works for you

Ultimately although the style is important, and the size of your sofa does matter to a room aesthetic you should never sacrifice your personal comfort.  If you’re tall like me it may be better to have less furniture in the room than a smaller sofa if it means you can sit comfortably. Getting the wrong size or firmness is a sure-fire way to make you hate a sofa and you’ll only end up buying another one sooner rather than later. The purpose of the sofa should also be considered when selecting size if you want a large space for lots of guests to watch films on a large sectional sofa will be better than two smaller sofas, but if you want to create a relaxed quiet space for conversations two smaller sofas arranged around a table is a better choice.

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  1. I have always dreamed of having a huge and beautiful sofa one day so thank you so much for these tips. If I haven't read this, I would've chosen a sofa solely based on how nice it looks. Haha.

    xo, Janine | Off-Duty Mama

  2. I love all those sofas, look so comfy and elegant.

  3. Wow! Complete information from A to Z one should consider while buying a sofa. Loved it.

  4. Wow, such a great suggestions. This is a nice guide for all of us in choosing the right size for our home furniture.

  5. Getting the measurements is a crucial step in choosing the right sofa for your home. However, we tend to overlook this part at times.

  6. Thanks Gracie! I feel like not measuring is one of the most common design mistakes people make! Good article!

  7. Didn't realize there was so much involved in buying a sofa set...I usually consider only style, size, comfort and cost...good to know the other things to consider too

  8. This is very helpful. Thanks for the information and the awesome options for couches

  9. This is something that I realaly need. I am looking for a new sofa and this could be a big help to find the right one.

  10. This is a really helpful post for anyone looking for a new sofa. Sometimes we over look things like size when it comes to buying a sofa and go for comfort.

  11. Your blogs stuff is purely enough for me personally.resin muskoka chairs

  12. Generally for an island, we need quite a bit of space for it to be accessible and usable. To do the quick math for how much space is needed for an island in a closet, hanging clothes take 24 inches, then 24-28 inches of walking space is needed, so essentially we need about 4 feet on each side of the island.


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Interior Design blogging from a Country girl in the city. Trying to learn all I can about interior design, social media and making the best of this life.
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