Ask Estee: How to Shop for the Perfect Sofa

Our Editor-at-Large is sharing her advice for selecting the MVP of your living room.

 _promo Q. What do I need to know before shopping for a sofa?
Living room sofas are crucial to the design and comfort of your space because you are literally living on them. They need to be comfortable for watching television or movies, stylish enough to impress your friends while entertaining, and affordable enough to fit into whatever budget you may have. My advice for picking the perfect sofa is to first, consider what you’ll use it for most often, then select the best-looking and most durable piece to fit those needs.

Make Sure It’s User Friendly: Before even beginning to look for a new piece, spend time thinking about what you need out of your sofa. Is it a temporary napping and play space for your kids? Or are you a first-time renter who needs something versatile? Think about purpose first, then find a way to blend that into the style you prefer.

Schedule a Sit-Test: With numerous online retailers readily available at your fingertips, you can easily surf the web to find the look that may be right for your space. When it comes to comfort however, try to select a retailer who has a showroom or location that you can visit to test out the depth and firmness of your potential new piece. Like test driving a new car, it’s often helpful to try out several options to see how you like the feel. Pay attention to oft-overlooked details like arm and seat height which may seem standard, but actually vary from piece to piece.

Consider the Fabric: Since we want your new purchase to last you for years, make sure to chose a fabric that is durable enough to suit your needs. A lightweight oatmeal linen may look great in photos on Domaine, but it doesn’t mix well with muddy paws and sticky little fingers. Wool, heavy-duty cotton, and leather are good bets in terms of durability. In general, the tighter the weave, the longer the fabric will last you.

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Photograph: Justin Coit

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