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newcouchExcerpts from an article by Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

“A couch isn’t just a place to sit.  For many of us, it’s the biggest piece of furniture in a room, and also the most expensive.  Get it right and you can set the tone for the rest of the space.  But if it’s the wrong size or color, if you choose the wrong fabric for your lifestyle, or if it’s just plain uncomfortable, you  may have regrets.

‘Sofas are a big commitment – both literally and figuratively,’ according to Houzz.  ‘On the figurative side, they’re expensive, and they need to last for a long time.  And literally, they’re big.  The take up a lot of space in a room and often anchor a decorating scheme,  so choosing the right sofa for your home and your lifestyle is a serious matter.’

These tips will help you make a great choice.

  1.  The Right Style:  Decorating the room from scratch or fitting a new couch into existing decor?  It’s important to narrow down the style that will look best in your home…living rooms with an eclectic  style are easiest to work with because almost any style of couch will work.  If your space is modern, stick to clean lines and a simple feel.  If you prefer the vintage look, a Winchester sofa is a fun choice.  Mid-century modern sofas work well in any number of spaces, and come in a wide range of fabrics to fit your style.  You’ll also want to consider whether you like the tufted look or not…it can look more traditional than non-tufted…
  2. Size:  One of the most important considerations…go too small, and you limit the use and make the space feel off.  Too big and you can overpower the room – although you should have plenty of space for friends and family to sit.  Be sure you know what size couch your space can  hold before making a purchase.   To zero in on the right size, consider the use of the couch. Is it going to used seldom in a room that’s barely visited every day?  Do you plan to sit and watch TV?  Or do you have alternate plans?  Most people want their couch to be “long enough for a nap” – so the couch should be 90″ long or even longer if the room allows to make sure you can lie down comfortably.
  3. Visual Height:  Think about where the couch is going.  If it’s going to be pulled away from the wall, you’ll want to consider the height of the back, because you’ll want to avoid blocking the view into another space.  Having furniture blocking essential views can make a space feel smaller.
  4. Shape:  Sectionals are a popular choice for those with families who like to sit together or for those who often have large gatherings and need ample seating.  But not every space can handle one.  For an airy, spacious feel, think about a sectional that has a chaise on one end….that way, you still get the function without all the heft.
  5. Depth:  A great couch is one you can take a comfortable nap on…or at least sit comfortably for hours on end binge watching Netflix or working on your laptop.  The key to achieving that kind of comfort is choosing the right depth.  Sofas generally come in depths from 34′-43″.  The latter is like a stretch limo…and you’ll need a BIG room for one of those.
  6. Color:  It’s tempting to go neutral, so the piece works in a variety of different spaces – and that makes sense.  But  if you love color, don’t be afraid of it- a sofa can be a statement piece and color makes it exciting.  And in fact, going bold with your color is a growing trend.  If you’re really bold, go with a pattern – while solid colors are easy to decorate around, patterned sofas don’t show wear as quickly.
  7. Fabric:  One of the most important considerations.  Certain fabrics look great but won’t hold up well.  Be realistic about material.  Couches that are used multiple times on a daily basis will need to be able to stand up to a lot of wear.  Cotton blends are a great sturdy option, and more resistant to soiling and wrinkling that pure cotton.  Linen won’t withstand heavy wear and needs to be professionally cleaned, but it won’t fade.  Wood and leather are super durable but can be pricier.  Stay away from natural and synthetic blend fibers and silk, which wear quickly.
  8. Cushions:  Two things to think about:  construction and configuration.  The cushions are what make a sofa comfortable.  The least expensive is high-resiliency foam, which compresses during use and comes back to its natural shape.  For real luxury, goose-down filling is the most expensive option, but it doesn’t offer much support and needs to be fluffed up often.  A good compromise between comfort and budget is an inner core of foam topped with cotton batting surrounded by a cover filled with goose down.  The foam center provides support for the soft feathers.  And…the number of cushions can determine how many people sit there.  Even if a couch is large, limiting it to two cushions might mean only two people will take a seat.
  9. Pillows:  Some couches have pillows that are attached, while others with loose pillows allow you to rearrange as you see fit – but require a little more maintenance to fix saggy or unkempt pillows.  Attached pillows give off a more formal vibe, while loose pillows keep it more casual.
  10. The Arms:  Arms can define the style or add style to something that is otherwise nondescript.  Stuffed, rounded arms work in laid-back casual interiors, such as cottages or country homes.  Structured, rectangular arms work well in transitional or modern spacers.  Curved arms lean traditional.  Clean-lined wooden arms look mid-century.

SOURCE:  Jaymi Naciri for realtytimes.com

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