Selecting a sofa

green-couchShopping for a new sofa brings to mind the vision of a child standing in the middle of a candy store stocked with every imaginable sweet, as he ponders which piece he’ll pick from among the seemingly hundreds of choices, each equally desirable by display.

Considering all the things that child will mull over while deciding, like the candy’s flavor, texture and color, how much the treat costs and how long it will last, the process of selecting a new sofa isn’t much different. Add to the image a go at doing it alone and suddenly the child in the candy store comparison doesn’t seem all that far-fetched, albeit flavor not a consideration.

Although options are wonderful, having too many often causes consumers angst. For example, when taking into account styles, fabrics, frame construction and shape, sectional sofas alone provide 35 types to choose from, according to an online sectional sofa-buying guide published by Home Stratosphere. Throw in the additional task of determining the proper sofa size in proportion to the intended room and the entire process becomes a bit more challenging.

The trick, though, to a more enjoyable sofa selecting experience is to enlist the help of a professional interior designer from the directory. Knowing a bit about sofas beforehand helps, too.

Popular sofa styles

Lawson – First designed near the turn of the 20th Century for financier Thomas Lawson, the Lawson by definition of Webster’s New World College Dictionary is “a style of overstuffed sofa or chair with straight lines and a low back higher than the arms, which are square or rolled.” Also referred to as Traditional, the Lawson sofa more often appears in homes because it goes well with most décor.

Mid-Century (Modern) – First appearing in the 1940s and popular through the ’70s, the mid-century sofa style is now all the rage in modern décor. While the clean lines and minimalist design looks great, these sofas tend to miss the mark in comfort.

Sectional – Comprised of three or more pieces intended for arranging in various combinations, the sectional sofa style reigns as the most versatile and most accommodating in terms of a room’s size. The more pieces to the sectional, the bigger the sofa and better of choices for large spaces.

Chesterfield – A classic sofa style that makes itself the focal point of a room, the Chesterfield is often found in more formal spaces and easily identified by its tufted material (leather or velvet being most popular) and arms the same height as its back.

Sleeper – Great for small spaces, the sleeper sofa comfortably seats three. However, as the name implies, removing the seat cushions exposes a fold out bed built into the frame. While convenient, the bed frame and mattress add additional weight to the sofa and not the best choice for anyone who moves frequently.

Convertible – Another dual-duty sofa style with a name indicative of its functionality, the convertible sofa also transforms to provide sleeping accommodations. However, whereas removable seat cushions on a sleeper sofa reveal a hidden bed, convertible sofa seat cushions become the mattress. Unlike its heavy sleeper sofa cousin, the lesser weighing convertible makes for a more back-friendly experience come moving day.

Love seat – A mini-sofa of sorts, the love seat comes is every sofa style but seats only two, making it perfectly sized for small spaces or in a large bedroom. For comfortable conversation seating, place paired love seats one facing the other.

Those in this article hardly account for every available style of sofa. These are but seven among others like the Divan sofa, Victorian settee, exposed frame sofa, chaise lounge, futon and the list goes on. Should you fancy knowing more, with so many professional interior designers to choose from in the directory, a wealth of sofa-style knowledge is yours for the taking.

Go ahead, take a seat on that dreadful couch you can’t wait to replace and call one (or more) of the many interior designers you’ll find listed on

Written September 22, 2014 by Teri Barth, Freelancer Online Editor for

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