Design Dilemma: Choosing A Couch | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Choosing A Couch

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There are few furniture purchases as daunting as choosing a couch. After all, a couch takes starring role in any room. Plus, other than the bed, it may be the most used piece of furniture in the house. So it’s important to get it right.

Long afternoon naps, children, dogs, cats, occasional wine spills — a couch has to be able to withstand it all, while looking stylish too.

So how do you choose one of the most important furniture pieces in your home?

1) Measure, measure, measure. You’ve got to measure for two things: one — your couch should actually fit the scale of the space. Two — your couch should actually fit through your front door. Choose a couch of the right dimensions for both, and if you’ve got a particularly narrow doorway or hallway to get through, consider getting a couch with removable legs and/or a reclining back which is often removable. Determining the couch size right away will eliminate a lot of couch choices, and make your couch selection a lot easier.

2) Consider the amount of use your couch will get. Is your couch for a seldom-used formal living room or a family room where the kids hang out all day? Use should determine which fabric you choose. In high traffic areas, leather and micro-fiber couches are best, as they are durable and easiest to clean. On the other hand, cotton and natural fibers are difficult to clean and usually not as durable. A cotton couch would be a poor choice for a family room in a home with children and pets. If you do choose leather, go for top-grain leather that is fully-dyed so that scratches show less. If you opt for microfiber, know that there are many more choices than there once were, including microfiber fabrics that  look like cotton, linen and suede in both solids and patterns.

3) Consider construction. Okay, so you’ve determined what size your couch should be, as well as what type of fabric you want. Don’t forget to consider couch construction. Look for hardwood construction using kiln-dried hardwoods such as maple, ash or poplar. Avoid frames made of soft woods such as pine, as they may buckle and warp over time. You can test the strength of a frame by lifting one front corner of the sofa six inches off the floor. If the other front corner doesn’t rise too, the frame is not rigid enough. Choose a frame with joints connected by wood dowels, wooden corner blocks, or metal brackets and screws.  Avoid couches held together only by staples, nails, or glue, as they probably won’t last very long. Look for eight-way, hand-tied springs, which are considered the gold-standard in frame construction, and beware of couches that use webbing or mesh as a cushion support instead of springs. Feel the arm rest. Is it so hard you can feel the wood used underneath? If so, that points to cheaper construction, without the proper batting. Finally, don’t forget to both sit and stretch out on a potential couch choice to test for comfort.

4). Don’t forget style. We see a lot of couches where owners have thought only of comfort — not style. What a shame, since a couch can be a unique opportunity to make a design statement. So forget the beige shapeless behemoths that have taken over so many livng rooms across the country! Go for as much style as you can afford. Consider a couch in a jewel red, mustard yellow, moss or apple green or a deep purple. If you’re afraid of committing to a color invest in a slip-covered couch that can be changed when you feel like it. Notice design lines. Bare legs lifted off the floor can give a couch an elegant formal look or a modern, streamlined look. A couch with an angled or curved back usually has a more traditional feel. In general, modern environments will look best with couches with tight backs, angular arms, low backs and bare, visible legs. More traditional environments will welcome couches with higher, curved backs, overstuffed cushions,  rolled arms and skirted legs. Whatever you choose, look for a couch with a real shape and not just a blob in the center of the room.

5. Consider custom. Sometimes, it can seem impossible to find a couch of the right scale, color and shape at a  reasonable price.  One way of getting what you want at a lower price is going custom. The Sofa Company allows you to build your own couch for a reasonable price. Check out: .

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