How to choose a sofa or armchair

Investing in your next sofa – or adding an armchair to your living space? Then you need to read our tips!


Before you buy, check how different sofas or chairs will fit in your living room layout by creating cut-outs on the floor with masking tape or newspapers. Allow for the full footprint of the sofa, including the space taken by the slight lean of the back of the chair. You will need even more room for a recliner or a sofa bed, and remember: you don’t want to press any furniture up against the walls – allow your furniture to breathe. If you are working with a small living room pushing furniture right back against the wall is only going to make a room feel smaller, even if it does mean you gain some floor space. A low, contemporary design with narrow arms can help keep the look spacious in a small room, sofas and chairs with legs can also make a room feel bigger, as the floor can be seen beneath.


To choose the upholstery, first order fabric swatches to check the feel, and to also help you see the colour in situ against existing décor. At CDI, we send you swatches free of charge, so go crazy and order the top contenders. Place the swatches somewhere in your current living room and live with it for a while, to see if you still feel the same love after a few days.  Consider how the fabric will wear and if it will really suit your lifestyle. You might love the luxury of a velvet sofa, but it’s a high-maintenance fabric that will frequently need brushing down to avoid dirt and dust, so perhaps not a great option if you have kids or pets. Leather sofas, on the other hand, are pretty durable, and if you opt for leather, they are only going to look better the older and more worn they get.


In modern living rooms with open-plan spaces, corner sofas are a good choice. They offer flexible seating for larger areas, and tend to seat more people on a smaller footprint. Mid-century style sofas with exposed legs also look great in modern homes, but can also be used sympathetically in a traditional living room, just use cushions and throws to work them in to your scheme. High-backed or low-backed? It will depend on how you like to lounge but high-backed sofas and armchairs tend to look more formal and traditional, while low-backed ones more contemporary and laid-back.For traditional living rooms a Chesterfield would be a perfect fit.

Chester sofa

And if you think that your home need a more drastic change, then read our last blog on Home Reboot.