How to choose a sofa

How To Choose The Perfect Sofa: Swoon Editions' Senior Designer Gives Us His 5 Top Tips by Tash South

Last week I visited the opening of the new Swoon Editions pop-up at the Oxo Tower on the South Bank. I love any opportunity to walk along the beautiful South Bank and take in the river views, and they were particularly lovely on this hazy Thursday morning.

Located on the ground floor of the Oxo Tower, the pop-up was easy to find and it was a chance to see Swoon Editions' collections in a real setting, as they are usually only available online. Considering Swoon is only five years old, they are expanding quickly and make a new design available on their website every single day - creating quite a challenge for their designers!

Swoon Editions' Tivoli Sofa at the Oxo Tower pop-up

Swoon Editions' Tivoli Sofa at the Oxo Tower pop-up

At the event, I met senior designer Richard, who updated me on their brand news and design process. And in return, I put him on the spot for his top 5 tips for choosing the perfect sofa - sorry Richard!

He kindly obliged though, so here are his five top tips:

1. Style & Price

Before you start, it's good to know your style. Your new sofa will be with you for many years, so it's important to choose the right one.

The endless choices can be overwhelming, but it may be helpful to start by breaking it down. For example, are you looking for modern or traditional? If modern, then break it down even further, for example: straight or curved arms? Low or high back? And so on.

And of course it's good to know and look within your budget from the start!

The modern Tivoli sofa in purple

The modern Tivoli sofa in purple

2. Size

Getting the size right can be quite daunting. Consider the scale of the sofa within the room, as well as in terms of comfort and family size.

If you have a large living room, decide how much of the room you want your sofa to fill. If you are including other chairs and tables in the room, take the size of these, and the layout into consideration too. 

In a smaller living room, the sofa will be quite dominant in the room, so choosing the right scale and style will be important to not make the space feel too crowded.

Living room size aside – never forget to measure your hallway and stairs – you have to be able to actually get the sofa into your house or flat!

Swoon Editions' Berlin Sofa

Swoon Editions' Berlin Sofa

3. Comfort

What's the point of having a good looking sofa if it is not comfortable? Test wherever you can, or if you are buying online, go by measurement at first to make sure the sofa will be deep enough to snuggle up on. Choosing a sofa can be much like choosing a new bed - do you prefer firm or soft cushions? Natural or synthetic filling?

A new sofa can be quite an investment, so many online companies, Swoon Editions included, offer a refund and free collection if you are not happy with the comfort level of your purchase.

One of Richard's top tips is to always make sure your sofa is nap-worthy! Test it out and make sure it is large and comfortable enough to lay down on.

The perfect sofa seat depth

4. Material & Practicality

From leather to velvet and everything in between, it's really worth doing your research on the fabric to make sure it will be practical and durable enough for your family and home. Order fabric swatches whenever possible - it's always good to see the actual colour in real life and to feel the thickness of the weave.

Velvet choices from Swoon Editions. For most sofas you'll have a choice of at least 15 to 20 fabrics.

Velvet choices from Swoon Editions. For most sofas you'll have a choice of at least 15 to 20 fabrics.

5. Colour

There has never before been so many choices on offer. So go for it, choose something bold if that suits your personality and you think you can live with it for a long time. Or if you prefer something timeless, stick to neutrals and dress it up with throws and cushions as trends change.

The Porto in 'Honey' velvet

The Porto in 'Honey' velvet


And as a bonus, here are my
for choosing a sofa
and making it work in your space

Stylist Tip 1
Stylist tips 2.jpg
Stylist Tips for sofas 3
Stylist Tips for sofa 4
Stylist Tips for sofas 5

With thanks to Swoon Editions and their helpful designers!

Swoon Editions pop-up at the Oxo Tower:
Dates: 10 May 2017 - 21 May 2017
Time: All Day
Admission: Free

Image credits:
2,3 & 4 Swoon Editions
1, 5 6 & 9
All others as credited.