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A Buyer's Guide To Sofas

A Buyer's Guide To Sofas

A Buyer's Guide To Sofas

Sofas, armchairs, beds, and garden furniture are all big purchases you want to get it correct first time. Here’s what to ask yourself before buying a sofa.

Which Sofa Style to Choose?

Choose your sofa to fit not only the style of your home but also the rest of the furniture in the room. Find out which style and shape to choose by answering these questions:

  • Want an up-to-date feel? Search for a modern sofa that has a low back, small armrests, and on-show metal or wooden legs, such as the Stark range.

  • After a more traditional finish? Scroll arms, deep cushions, a buttoned back, and decorative turned legs are all details to look for.

  • Unsure of which style to choose? Opt for a classic style which can sit happily in both modern and traditional rooms, such as the George collection.

  • If you have a large living room space and are a fan of the contemporary look, a modular sofa such as an L-shaped or long and lean sofa is a flexible buy that will see you through several house moves.

  • Working with a smaller living room? Opt for a compact sofa, such as our Portland two-seater with neat arms.

  • Not sure which size to get? Choosing one in proportion to the room’s size is important. So, don’t be tempted to squeeze a three-seater into a space more suited to a two-seater.

Trying Out Your Sofa

If you can, try out the sofa first. Look for signs of whether it's well-made. Your sofa should feel solid, its frame shouldn’t twist when you lean or push on it and, if two of you are sitting at once, it shouldn’t sag. Don’t be shy in the shop – sit down and try it out.

Buying on the internet is harder, but you can compare a sofa’s dimensions against your existing lounge furniture and find out what materials the sofa is made from to give you a good idea. And the sofas we offer at Out and Out are of excellent quality and built to last!

Find Out How the Sofa Is Made

High-end sofa frames are made from hardwoods, dowelled, glued, and screwed together. Individual coil springs might be hand-tied into the base and back. Mid-price versions use zigzag or serpentine springs. When it comes to the padding, quality modern sofas use wool, felt, hair or cotton wadding.

More affordable frames are possibly glued and stapled. Instead of springs, the cushions may be supported by webbing, and padding made of heat-resistant foam. Make sure your sofa fabrics follow the UK Fire Rated Standard; simply ask your retailer if the fabric is "UK Fire Rated" and they should know exactly what you mean, this will protect both you and others!

Soft Cushion Choices

Just as you pay for quality when it comes to the frame, cushion fillings range, from expensive to inexpensive too. Feather and down-filled cushions will be soft and welcoming, but when you get up, they'll need plumping. Cheaper foam is firm and supports your back, it’s good for a cushioned seat but will compact over the years. Combinations such as feather and polyester fibre, or fibre-wrapped foam are mid-priced and keep their shape better than feather cushions.

Which Upholstery Fabric to Pick?

Before you choose an upholstery colour or pattern, think about its longevity. If you are looking for a particular style, then choose a colour that will breathe life into your living area. You might want a particular design now, but you may not love it a few years when you have redecorated or moved to a new house. The best way around this is to buy a sofa in a colour that doesn’t date as much, such as grey. You can then combine your grey sofa with an accented side or coffee table that can be changed more cost-effectively.

Upholstery is created to be hardwearing. However, lighter colours will highlight any dirt much quicker than darker colours, so if you have young children, wipeable or washable covers are a sensible buy. Leather is also a practical material, as it comes in super-smooth versions as well as distressed, antiqued finishes for a unique look. 

Fixed or Loose Covers?
Fixed covers look smart and formal. However, because the cover cannot be removed, ensure that it has been pre-treated with a stain-resistant coating. Loose sofa covers, if not well made, will have a more relaxed look, but most can be washed (although some must be dry-cleaned), which is vital for families and pet owners.

This, however, could potentially lead to fading, so make sure you wash the cover and cushions at the same time, or the sofa will begin to fade in different degrees. Remember, if you can buy a second set of loose covers, you can extend the life of your sofa.

Will the Sofa Fit?

You may have checked the sofa will fit into your living room, but have you checked whether you can get it in your house? Some sofas arrive in pieces to be assembled on site. Measure first and check when you order what will happen if you need to return your sofa. Most reputable companies will accept that sometimes the dimensions don't fit and will support you.

How Long Before My Sofa Arrives?

The Out and Out Sofa Range are available, in stock and will be shipped to you within 3-5 working days. If a sofa or armchair is not in stock you will be contacted to arrange the next available delivery date. It should rarely take longer than 8-10 weeks for any company to organise your new purchase!


Head to our sofa pages to see our full range. 

Join us on Facebook to see new collections as soon as they arrive with exclusive discounts.

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