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DIY: Selecting the Perfect Sofa for Your Home

DIY: Selecting the Perfect Sofa for Your Home

Many things in life are more difficult than they appear. Part of moving from amateur status to the status of a professional is the ease with which you do the difficult things associated with your profession. Surgeons perform surgery with relative ease because they have trained, practices and had years of experience. Lawyers can sift through the most complex legal documents and quickly decipher what it all means and what should be done. Are they born this way? No, but they have had exponential experience which allows them to make things look much easier than they really are.

Selecting the perfect sofa for your home is another task which, for a design professional, can appear to be a walk in the park! If it’s not so simple for you does that mean you’re somehow defective? Hardly, but what it does signal is that your average design professional has probably specified hundreds if not thousands of sofas over the course of their career. It’s this that allows for the easy they demonstrate when pointing out the perfect sofa for any number of situations or locations.

So how can you learn from the pro’s and make the selection of your next sofa or chair something less than the nightmare you have experienced in the past?

I’m going to let you in on a system used by design pro’s that efficiently and effectively helps them find that “needle-in-a-haystack”. The system goes like this:

1. Narrow down your sofa’s design style by identifying the architectural influence of your home. If you can’t identify the architectural style of your home check out this helpful guide ( ). Once you better understand your homes architectural influence it becomes easier to focus on appropriate upholstery styles. Spend time online looking at rooms in homes with similar architecture. Save images with upholstery pieces you find pleasing. Gather at least 3 favorites and set these images aside. We’ll use them shortly.

2. Know the perfect size and shape for your new furniture purchase. This is not the time to guess. If you do I promise you you’ll be wrong more often than right. Use a simple (free) online tool like Google SketchUp to create an accurate floor-plan for your room. Use this same program to arrange and size furniture pieces in the room. When you have decided on an arrangement you favor apply the ruler to the sofa or chairs and make a note of the maximum correct size. Do not buy anything that is not this size. If it does not fit on paper it will never fit in real life. (Also make certain that your egress allows for the piece to come into the room or house. You will be very unhappy if you miss this detail.) Applying blue painters tape to the floor and/or wall of the room, outlining the exact dimensions of a furniture piece, is very helpful to understand the size and scale of a proposed piece.

3. Take the three images from step one with you when you go shopping for your new sofa or chair. Ask to see specific pieces with details (arm shape, skirt style, leg design… etc.) similar to these images. Many manufacturers offer semi-custom options which can be altered on specific pieces. For instance you may find a sofa body of which you are fond. A semi-custom option allows you to add to that sofa body the skirt, arm and back details that make the piece an even better option for your home. Hickory Chair Company has such a program that you can read about at this link ( ). Many vendors have similar offerings that can move you quickly to the perfect sofa for your home.