Guide to Choosing the Right Sofa

Guide to Choosing the Right Sofa

The sofa marries style and function, making it one of the most important items you will buy for your client’s home.  This is why we wrote this guide for choosing the right sofa. Whatever its size, it will be sure to draw the eye as the epitome of comfort within the home. Therefore, it is essential that you purchase a quality piece that meets the architectural needs of your client’s space as well as the needs of their lifestyle while also being able to accommodate their daily routine.

If this pressure wasn’t enough, the hefty price tag often attached to sofas means that they are one of the most difficult items to decide upon as people often fear wasting their money on a piece that they will not like in a few years. Before you recommend anything to your client, you need to know everything you can about this type of product.

At Décor House, our goal is simple. We want to help our clients to find their perfect pieces of furniture so that they can make their dream home a reality! We have put together this guide to choosing the right sofa using the knowledge we have amassed from the last 37 years designing award-winning spaces to help you understand the functional purpose of the sofa and how its structure can vary between brands so you can decide which sofa is right for your client.

Keep reading this guide to choosing the right sofa to discover what the different types of sofas are, the construction differences between these variants, popular materials used during construction, and what brands produce the best luxury sofas on the market.

By the time you finish reading this guide to choosing the right sofa, we are confident that you will know everything you need to know about sofas so you can make an informed decision for your client's space.


Frame Construction


The construction of every sofa is different, but construction is the biggest factor involved in determining the price and quality of a sofa, so we are covering this before we move onto sofa type and styles.

The frame of a sofa is like the foundation of a house. The quality and strength of your sofa's frame material directly affect the longevity of your sofa.

Kiln-Dried Hardwood Frames


This frame material's durability is unattached. It will remain strong and sturdy for decades after it has been constructed. The drying process removes 90-95% of moisture from the wood, meaning it is resistant to both warping and bowing. Because of this, sofas with kiln-dried hardwood frames come with a higher price tag.


Plywood Frames


Engineered woods like plywood are less expensive than kiln-dried hardwoods, so sofas made with plywood frames are often cheap. Plywood is available in different grades, but you should not buy a sofa with a plywood frame unless the wood is of a high quality. We classify high-quality plywood as a piece that is made up of at least 11-13 layers of wood at minimum. Look for pieces that have been constructed with interlocking joints for peak stability.


Particleboard Frames


This is another type of engineered wood. It is lightweight and easy to maneuver when compared to hardwoods since it is made from compressed wood chips and fibers that have been glued together. However, the construction of this type of wood means that it is not as strong as plywood, so we tell our customers to avoid sofas made with a particleboard frame.


Metal Frames


The last type of frame material we want to highlight is the metal frame. This type of frame tends to have a lighter, less bulky look which contributed to its rise in popularity over the last ten years as designers took note of the popularization of minimalism in furniture design. However, you must remember that changes in humidity can affect the integrity of metal frames. So you should avoid them if you are furnishing a property in a warm environment or only buy a piece from a trusted brand that treats their frames to protect against them atmospheric changes.


Prioritize The Joints


While the frame material is important, you cannot overlook the importance of the joints of the sofas you are considering. Avoid pieces that are secured with staples, as this is an indicator of a low-quality frame.

Instead, look for sofas with reinforced joints (meaning joints that are secured with screws/ dowels and glue). If you struggle to find a piece with this type of joint in your client's preferred style, interlocking joints that have their corners reinforced with blocks connected with double dowels are also effective.


The Filling


Once you have decided on the ideal frame for your client's new sofa, you must think about what type of cushion filling will be best for them because cushions control the comfort of the sitter. There are many types of filling to consider, but we are detailing the most popular ones in this guide.


Foam Filling


This is the most common type of filling material since it comes in a variety of densities. Higher-density foam produces firmer cushions, and lower-density foam produces soft cushions. We recommend that you purchase high-density polyurethane foam cushions as only they can provide your client with the firm cushion support they need to relax. And since high-density foam doesn’t degrade quickly, your client's investment will last longer than a piece with cushions filled with low-density foam would.

Look out for cushions filled with foam labeled “HR.” This type of foam filling is specifically made to resist rigorous wear and sagging, meaning it is ideal for your client if they have a large family that will all be using the sofa each evening.

Memory foam cushions are advanced. The foam is built to support and conforms to the body’s curves and contours. This makes it ideal for anyone with muscle and joint pain.




This is used to bring a smooth, streamlined appearance to cushions. It usually comes in two thicknesses: 25 ounces and 42 ounces to accommodate varying thicknesses.




Polyester is an inexpensive filling material that is available in several densities. Soft polyester is usually smooth and durable. It retains its shape well no matter how often it is used. “Ply-A” polyester is exceptionally soft, but this means that it cannot retain its shape when used frequently, so we recommend that you avoid pieces with this cushion filling.


Feathers and Down


Cushions filled with this type of material are ideal for you if your client puts their comfort before anything else. While the feathers used for this type of filling come from ducks or chickens, down comes from the underbellies of geese. Both provide equal levels of comfort, but down cushions are more expensive because of this difference.

However, you must look at the cushion casing when you are shopping. If not secured correctly, feathers can start to come out of cushions when pressure is applied. And unless down is sewn into individual pockets within the cushion, it can get lumpy.

Sofa Sizes


In our experience, this is either the only information your client has provided you with or the one thing you need to know before you start shopping.

Generally, when you are trying to determine what the right size is for your client’s ideal sofa, you need to consider the overall height, width, and depth of potential pieces after measuring the room that you are furnishing.


The Height


In most cases, a sofa back measures between 30 inches to 36 inches, with the standard seat height ranging between 18 inches to 22 inches. However, this does depend on style so keep that in mind when you are shopping and don’t be afraid to get out a tape measure in your local showroom.


The Width


Every sofa has a varying width since there is no standard size. Most pieces range from 6 feet to 8 feet long, but there are petite options available for those furnishing a smaller home.


The Depth


Depth is often overlooked when a person is purchasing a sofa. Most sofas have seat depths of 32 inches to 42 inches. But if your client is on the taller side, we suggest looking for a piece with deeper seats.


Sofa Fabrics


The type of fabric that you choose for your client’s sofa controls the look of the room as well as impacts your comfort. So it is essential that you select a fabric that reflects your client’s style and lifestyle. The most common upholstery fabrics used by luxury brands are:




This is a strong fabric valued for its versatility. It is available in a number of weaves and finishes meaning that it is commonly used on customizable pieces since brands can secure the same level of quality whatever the color their customer chooses. However, since cotton is easily soiled, you may advise that your client purchase a slipcover for their sofa, as they can be laundered easily.




This type of sofa fabric is very durable, and since leather in all its forms is easy to clean, leather sofas are simple to maintain. It ages well no matter the grain type getting more character and softness with each passing year. Although, if a leather sofa is torn, then it is difficult to repair.


Faux Leather


This is an economical alternative to leather made using animal hide, which has risen in popularity in the past year as it carries many of the same benefits as leather. However, it does not carry the same softness as natural leather, so we do not recommend it to those who prioritize this.




This type of material is not as common as the other fabrics on this list, but we wanted to cover it in this guide since it is still occasionally used by luxury brands. Velvet can be made out of silk, cotton, rayon, linen, or wool fibers. But no matter what it is made out of, using it can bring a luxurious feel to any room. Still, velvet can be difficult to maintain, and it may need to be dry cleaned by a professional.



This synthetic fabric is not often used in luxury furniture, but when it is blended with natural fibers, like cotton, it becomes much stronger and much more likely to be used as an upholstery fabric.


Sofa Styles


The last section we wanted to cover in this guide to choosing the right sofa before we detail which brands produce the best luxury sofas for the modern home is the importance of choosing a sofa in the right style. The three main styles are modern, transitional, and traditional. We have described some of the sofas popular in each style below so you and your client can discuss which one will work best in their space…

Traditional Sofas


The Camelback


The camelback sofa is named for its arched back “hump.” Its design is versatile enough to allow designers to add their own unique twist to new releases without compromising on the elegance of the traditional structure. Recent releases often feature two humps. The Baker camelback sofa is our best example of this iconic style.

The Chesterfield


This is the style of traditional sofa we recommend to our customers the most because almost every luxury brand (including Century Furniture) produces chesterfield sofas. The chesterfield sofa has a unique yet distinguished profile, and with its button tufted back and large rounded arms that reach the same height as its back, it is clear to see why this style of luxury sofa has stood the test of time. Although the chesterfield fits seamlessly within masculine-style libraries and studies, it has been popping up in modern living rooms in recent years.


The English Roll Arm


This style of sofa is also known as the Bridgewater sofa in the industry. It has a lounge-friendly design due to its deep-seated loose seat cushions and its low rounded arms. Its high back does not compromise its relaxed, casual appearance. Instead, it elevates it when paired with a tasteful skirt. We recommend this style of sofa to those with clients that want to achieve a clean-lined look within their space. The Baker coterie English arm sofa is the perfect example of an English roll arm sofa that you can show to your client to gauge their reaction to this style.





This style of sofa is characterized by sleek lines and a clean silhouette. Its low profile is often adorned with retro detailing like a tufted back (seen in many of Bernhardt Interiors mid-century modern sofas). The style is one of the most visually heavy and impactful on the market. We recommend it to those trying to make a statement in a minimalist home.




The tuxedo sofa is the modern cousin of the traditional chesterfield sofa mentioned previously in this guide to choosing the right sofa. Like the chesterfield, tuxedo sofas have high backs and arms that make the seat look deep and inviting to anyone that enters the room. The difference is in its ultra-sleek squared-off back paired and straight arms. We recommend this style of sofa to those updating a traditionally styled living room as the piece's similarity to traditional structures will ease any stress surrounding such a big change in the room's look.

The Best Sofa Brands


With the above information in mind, you should know what type and style of sofa are right for your client’s space. But you need to know which brands produce the best luxury furniture to be confident that the piece you purchase will last a lifetime.

We carry furniture from a number of brands, and although we know that each one produces quality furniture for the modern home, we have highlighted five brands below because we know that your time is money, and we want you to be able to compare the best of the best with ease.


Baker Sofas


This brand produces sofas that exude an air of luxury. We recommend Baker sofas to those shopping for a sofa for a client that likes to be heavily involved in the design process. Since the brand has a variety of collections from their various collaborations with designers, you can work with your clients to define their style without having to move from brand to brand, reassessing quality for each piece you consider.

Ralph Lauren Sofas


The craftsmanship of Ralph Lauren sofas is unmatched. We recommend sofas from this brand to those shopping for a piece that needs to act as the anchor in your home. Every sofa made by this brand redefines the form, melding quality materials, classic designs, and modern touches to create a graceful and timeless piece.

Vanguard Sofas


Vanguard is known for its unique furniture. We recommend the brand's sofas to anyone looking for a statement piece for their client’s living room because of this. But thanks to the style diversity of the sofas they produce, the brand is also ideal for those looking for a sofa that can slip into the corner of a room unnoticed or balance the visual weight of a space when paired with a statement armchair. We carry one, two, and three-cushion Vanguard sofas to account for room size diversity and the different lifestyles of our customers.

EJ Victor Sofas


This brand is recognized worldwide for the quality of its sofas. Each one is hand-crafted by highly skilled artisans in whatever finish the client chooses to blend perfectly with their existing furniture. For this reason, we recommend buying an EJ Victor sofa when furnishing a home that already has a number of essential pieces of furniture in it.

Alivar Sofas


A guide to choosing the right sofa wouldn’t be complete without a mention of this brand. The sofas produced by this brand epitomize casual elegance. Every Alivar sofa in our collection has been built to last and designed to fit your lifestyle. Because of this, you can select the size of your Alivar sofa from three sizing options to make sure that it can fit perfectly in your client’s space while still leaving ample room for side tables and a statement coffee table. We recommend Alivar sofas to those looking for a modern piece for a casual living room since the brand is known for its modern pieces.

Sofa Care


Although you have come to the end of this guide to choosing the right sofa for your client's home. We have one more piece of advice to give you concerning sofa care. We always advise that our customers rotate the cushions and pillows of their new sofa once a week to help extend the life of their new purchase. If they do this, the cushion will wear equally on each side, extending the piece's lifespan by decades. If they do not do this, their piece may begin to show signs of wear in only a few years. While this will reflect badly on the brand, it will also reflect poorly on you as an interior designer as your client may feel like they can no longer trust your decisions concerning furniture. This means that they may book someone else when they next come to refurbish their home. Avoid this by passing on this advice and sending reminder emails each year listing care instructions.

We hope this guide to choosing the right sofa helps you choose the right sofa for your client's space.

If you are looking for sofas from any of the brands we have mentioned above, look no further. We carry a vast array of sofas by all of these brands because we recognize that quality is important, and we want to make your job as easy as possible.

Visit our website to see everything we have in stock in one place. Use the refine search tool to browse by brand to find your client's ideal luxury sofa in seconds. We want you to have all the information you need, so you will find comprehensive product descriptions of every piece in our inventory on each product page.

Choose luxury, shop with Décor House today.

If you're in the Miami area feel free to stop by our luxury furniture store to see all that we have in person.