How to choose the right sofa for your living space
Soho Home’s Interior Style Manager, Candy Murray, shares her tips on selecting one that suits both your home and your style
Friday 17 March 2023 By Soho House
When it comes to setting up your living space, choosing the right sofa is the most important step. As well as providing an inviting spot to lounge, socialise and sometimes even work, your sofa will become the focal point of your room, so it should enhance the aesthetics of your home and fit comfortably within the dimensions of your living area.
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To help you along the way, Soho Home Interior Style Manager, Candy Murray, has some simple advice for picking your next sofa.
Choosing the style and design of your sofa
‘When designing furniture for the Houses, there is always a nod to the original building. For example, at Soho House Stockholm, the distinctive architecture has really influenced the club’s interiors,’ explains Murray, using the Aline sofa (from Soho Home’s modular living collection) to highlight this. ‘The design of the sofa is inspired by a 1970s minimalist look and was adapted to suit a more residential environment for our Soho Home collection.
‘The beauty of a Soho House interior, though, is that there will be unexpected moments. You might find a large floral sofa within a hard industrial building, such as at Soho House Berlin. Or a feminine decorative aesthetic in one space versus a masculine modernist aesthetic in a neighbouring area, such as the Sitting Room and Square Bar at Shoreditch House.’
Choosing the size of your sofa
‘If you’re unsure about which size to buy or you’re finding it hard to picture it in your room, I’d recommend marking out the dimensions with masking tape on the floor,’ says Murray. ‘In smaller narrower rooms, don’t make the mistake of pushing your furniture around the edges – choose a more compact sofa like the Alice or the Reya. Then, add armchairs or footstools rather than trying to squeeze in a corner sofa or two sofas.’
If you have narrow entrances or corridors, keep this in mind, too. For tricky spaces, choose something modular, which can be broken up into separate pieces, like the Noelle, the Vivienne and the Aline. Created with both style and practicality in mind, each of these sofas allows you to configure size and orientations to your individual living space. ‘By adding more modules, you can make a very large continuous sofa – perfect for entertaining or if you need to fill a large space with comfortable seating. By adding corners, you are creating a sociable seating arrangement to spark conversation,’ says Murray.
For instance, you might find yourself having plenty of room for a large sofa, but the access into that room is narrow or too awkward to fit one in – this is where modular designs come in handy. ‘In a scenario like that a modular sofa is sometimes the only option, because the smaller sections are easier to move around tight corners and can then be arranged together once they’re in the space.’
Ultimately, flexibility is key when it comes to modular designs. ‘One of the biggest benefits of a modular sofa is that it allows for more unusual and bespoke arrangements,’ explains Murray. ‘It also means you can reconfigure the seating layout so that if you do put it in a different room, it’s easier to make the layout work. In fact, even if you move house, you can usually make a modular sofa work in a new room or split it into two smaller sofas.’
Picking the right colour for your sofa
‘The fabric colour you choose depends on the overall look you’re after,’ says Murray. ‘A bold, richer shade will mean the sofa is the star feature and it will anchor the room. A neutral sofa will have more of a unifying effect.’ Lighter tones can also help to make a tight space feel more spacious.
Once you’ve found some options that you like, try ordering a few fabric swatches. This will allow you to see which colours work best with your floors, walls, artwork and other soft furnishings, as well as helping you to picture the sofa within your space. When you’ve received your swatches, look at them under different lights throughout the day, as ‘the same fabric could look a completely different colour in natural light versus artificial light,’ says Murray.
Choosing your sofa’s fabric
When picking your fabric, think about which textures and tones work best in your home. ‘In our Houses, we tend to use linen in sunnier spaces with plenty of windows, as it feels fresher and lighter than thicker fabrics,’ says Murray. If you’re looking for something warmer and richer, opt for velvet. ‘It has a luxurious feel because of the softness and thickness of the pile,’ she adds. ‘The colours also have a richness to them due to the way light hits the fabric.’
If you have pets or children, you might want to choose a sofa with a linen slip cover, which can easily be washed. And if your sofa gets lots of direct sunlight, go for a lighter tone in linen, as it will be less prone to fading.
Need some more advice? Check out the Soho Home Design service – and don’t forget to use your member benefit when shopping the collection.