Lounge about in Style

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Choose the ideal sofa for your home.

The sofa has been around for the longest time. During the 19th century, men and women would often use the lounge bed or settee for eating and socialising. And during the Chinese dynasties, ministers would confer with each other on world affairs over wooden settees in their residences. Regardless of what it’s called – couch, chaise longue, sofa-bed, divan, and settees – there’s no denying the importance of the sofa in a house for it to look complete. When my friends come, they’d usually plop down on my brown and hardy leather sofa while I serve them some refreshments. And it’s also one of the first few things that would catch my eye whenever I attend any housewarming parties. Some common types of sofa are:

The traditional sofa or the chaise sofa that ranges up to 8 feet and can fit three people side by side. The loveseat is the daintier version that usually sits two people and is great for bedrooms or study rooms. A divan is like a backless sofa, which is a nice complement to nooks, corners, or TV rooms. A sofa bed is of course nice to have around for its flexibility; it’s a great addition to study rooms and guest bedrooms. Settees are wooden armchairs with upholstered seats that can sit two or more people.

The sofa, in some way or another, represents a very personal choice. And the types of sofa you buy reflect your personality and of course taste and style, to some extent.

Some people might like the antique wooden settees because they have a fine appreciation for Chinese culture while others hanker after plush leather sofas – the softer the better – because they enjoy the luxury that these sofas connote. Regardless of which category you’re in, a sofa may be quite a hefty investment, but one that will last for a long time if you take care of it. When selecting a sofa, it’s perhaps important to consider the purpose, the size and shape of the sofa, the design, the quality, the budget, and the cushion fillings.

First think about the purpose of the sofa. Do you entertain a lot? Or you’re the type who prefers to have the whole house to yourself most of the time? What do you use the sofa frequently for? Is it mostly for curling over a novel after dinner or maybe for your husband’s late-night soccer programmes? Also consider who are the primary users? If you’ve a large family and many siblings who love to bring friends over, then it might be wise to get a sofa that is stain-resistant and generally easier-to-maintain.

The size no doubt matters a great deal too. Let’s say you’ve always wanted those huge 16-foot sectional sofas because you like the flexibility of configuring the sofas to suit different occasions. But if you’re living in a studio apartment, it might not be so friendly on your real estate. Measure your sofa and draw it on your floor plan. Make sure that there’s enough space for leg room and other furniture like the coffee table and TV console for instance. Ensure there’s sufficient space for walking and moving around the house after placing the sofa.

As for the shape of the sofa; well it’s really a personal choice. Square, rectangular, round, high, or low, you name it, it’s out there. You’ll know it’s the one when it calls out to you. For me, it’s quite simple. The back has to be high enough to rest my neck but not too high like a director’s chair. I like shapes that are simple, not too overpowering as if calling attention to its presence yet looks substantial and classy.

Generally the designs of most homes are contemporary. For these homes, most modern sofas would complement the furnishing to a tee. Unless your interior follows a specific theme, such as retro or quaint country style for example, then your sofa should follow suit. Should you opt for a leather sofa or a fabric sofa? Leather and fabric sofas now come in diverse designs and fabric covers such that they can match a myriad of any interior decors. How about wooden settees or divans with customised designs? You can consider having the sofas custom-designed at your supplier’s for the perfect, finished look.

Sofas generally can last for 10 years or more depending on the quality. Some retailers and manufacturers offer after sales service ranging a number of years for the frames, fabric and leather. It’s advisable to purchase your sofa from a reputable retailer or designer that offers these after-sales packages.

If you’ve set aside a budget, it’s always wise to follow it so as not to blow your expenses. Leather sofas are generally more expensive although some fabric sofas could be quite pricey too especially when you’re purchasing the design of a renowned furniture designer. For leather sofas, there are many types of leathers to choose from too depending on your budget. There’re natural leather, pigmented leather, aniline leather, and nubuck leather, which looks like suede. Choosing the different types of leathers would have an impact on the maintenance, cost, and of course quality of the sofa. And there are also a multitude of fabric types to suit every taste and function. Some have higher resistance to stains and wear & tear that makes it more suited for larger families with frequent use. Some common types of fabric range from cotton, polyester, and nylon.

Fillings are important as they determine the look and feel of the sofa. If the sofa cushions are filled with foam materials, the sofa would assume a sturdier and firmer shape even after being seated on. And if they are filled with feathers, the sofa would feel very luxuriously soft and most likely need to be plumped up from time to time for the shape to look good. Then there is fibre, which is quite similar to feather but firmer and relatively cheaper. Choose the filling that fits your budget and your purpose.

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