From comfort to versatility, here are some key elements to keep in mind when selecting the centerpiece of your living space.

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For many homeowners, a sofa is a key investment. Typically not considered to be an impulse purchase, a sofa purchase is something most people seek to make perhaps only once or twice.

From construction, comfort and versatility to the ability to reupholster, here are some key elements to keep in mind.

CONSTRUCTION

Construction is key when it comes to the longevity and durability of a sofa. Those constructed of hardwoods, such as walnut, will outlast those made of softer woods, like pine. Not sure? Ask the sofa manufacturer about construction materials.

Another important question to ask relates to sofa springs. Metal coils often break. An eight-way hand-tied spring system is preferable, and is a signature of a well-crafted sofa. Expect to pay a bit more, but it will be worth it in the long run to have a sofa that is built to last.

CUSHIONS

Love the feel of fluffy down? While this may serve you well when it comes to a bed pillow, down will likely fall flat over time in a sofa. The reality is down will compress and eventually flatten. Sofa cushions made of foam are a more durable choice. Still not convinced? One option is a sofa in which the seat cushions are made of foam and the side pillows are made of a less dense material.

UPHOLSTERY FABRIC

A well-kept secret of interior designers is to use hospitality grade fabrics, even in residential settings. Why? Durability. These days, commercial fabrics are fun, modern, fresh and easily relatable in a residential environment.

The downside is hospitality and commercial fabrics do tend to cost a bit more and may come in limited colors and patterns. The upside is the durability factor; spills will be easy to wipe away.

A low sofa helps make a space with low ceilings feel more open. (Design Recipes via TNS)
A low sofa helps make a space with low ceilings feel more open. (Design Recipes via TNS)

CONFIGURATIONS

Should you go with a sectional? Perhaps modern, low and sleek is your style, or high-backed and comfy?

Regardless of your taste and style, what should most determine your sofa selection is your space. So often, a sofa looks and feels out of place because it is an inappropriate size, scale or configuration.

In a space with low ceilings, modern, low and sleek may be the best choice, especially if a view needs to be preserved. In open spaces, a sectional sofa is helpful to define and create a lounge space for a large group. Social areas such as family rooms and even dens may be best suited for sofas that may be more plush and comfy.

A note of caution: Oversized furniture often makes a room feel crowded, and seldom is “buying the set” successful. Multiple pieces can create a look that is overly matchy and crowded. Instead, consider placing two chaises together to create a single sofa, or go with a long one-armed sofa or loveseat.