What Size Sofa Do I Need?


Your sofa takes up a lot of space in your living room. It's where you settle in to read the newspaper or watch television, enjoy a cup of afternoon tea, and occasionally fall asleep after a long day. So when your well-loved sofa is looking a little bit worn out, you might be nervous about buying a new one. And with thousands of options available (especially at High Point), I can help you narrow down your choices to find the perfect sofa for you.

But if you're shopping by yourself, there are a few tricks you can use to pick out a sofa that's perfect for you, your family, and your style. Here's a quick guide to making the best sofa purchase. Remember to bring a measuring tape to the store; this isn't something you want to eyeball!


The length of your sofa depends on the size of the room. Your sofa shouldn't overwhelm the rest of the furniture; everything should be appropriately scaled. If you have a television in the room, the sofa should be about seven feet away. Make sure there's at least 18" between the coffee table and the sofa, so you don't have to squeeze between them. Measure the space you have and consider the other furniture you'll be putting in the room. Will you be able to fit a long sofa if you want end tables on each side?

How many people do you think will be sitting on your sofa? Sofa seating relies more on the number of cushions than the actual length of the sofa. If you have a 90" sofa with only two cushions, you probably won't see three people on it. An 80" sofa with three cushions, though, could seat three (although it will be cozy!). Some interior designers never use two seat cushions, opting for three cushions if the sofa is seven feet or more and one cushion if it's less. 

Think about the location of your sofa. Are you going to want to take a nap here? If so, it should be at least 6" longer than your tallest family member. A sofa that's going in your office or library is probably not going to be used as a napping place, so you can go with something shorter.


The best way to find the right depth is the Comfort Test. Sit on it! Do your feet touch the ground? Do you feel like you're sinking into the back of the sofa, or are you sitting up straight? Most sofas are between 36" and 40" deep. Once you sit on a few different sofas, you'll get a better idea for what you like. If you have children or grandchildren, a shallow seat will keep their legs from dangling and provide extra support for their backs. People who tend to lean back or tuck their feet up may want a deeper seat cushion so there's plenty of room for their legs.


If you've got low ceilings, look for a low sofa. That will make your ceiling look taller than it actually is. In a room with higher ceilings, a taller sofa won't seem tiny in the large space. Will the sofa be situated against a wall or in the center of the room? A sofa that rests against the wall can be higher, since it won't block any views. Make sure that whatever size you choose, your sofa can fit through your doorways and around your corners. You don't want to reenact this scene from Friends.

There are dozens of factors to consider when you purchase a sofa: fabric, shape, size, depth, style, and more. NC Furniture Advisor's Carole May will help you find the perfect furniture for your home. Stay tuned for more articles on factors to consider when buying a sofa!

Comparison Shopping: Swaim vs. Caracole

Last week's blog post on Caracole had me thinking about other companies that do funky, quirky designs. The first to come to mind was Swaim, a handcrafted furniture company based out of High Point, North Carolina. Like Caracole, they combine several elements to create dramatic living spaces, and they also offer a wide variety of custom options for upholstery and materials. A little investigative comparison shopping, though, showed that similar techniques do not always make for a similar price tag. Here are three examples of furniture that will give you the same effect - for a much lower price point.*

Armless chairs lend a comfortable, casual feel to a room. Of course, the fabric you select will have a huge impact on the price, so it's hard to do a one-to-one comparison. In a mid-grade fabric, though, Caracole's 'On the Right Track' will cost you $1,055. The Swaim chair in a similar fabric is more than double the price at $2,245.

These half-moon tables are called demilunes, and are perfect for narrow hallways and foyers. There are no sharp edges to bump into, and the wall-hugging design maximizes the space. Place a pair on either side of a doorway or a couch for elegant extra storage. Of course, if you want two, it will cost you double. That's nothing to scoff at, particularly if you're interested in the Swaim. The 788 20 w costs $6,314, although it does have a stone top. Forego the stone top and go with the Caracole version for a mere $855.

These stylish and contemporary cocktail tables feature a crisscross base (chrome for Caracole, polished nickel for Swaim) and thick glass tops. They're comparable in both size and style, so it may surprise you that the Caracole table goes for $895 at High Point discounted prices, while the Swaim table is $2,158.

When you shop with NC Furniture Advisor, you don't have to sacrifice style for budget. I know where to find the best deals, and can help you find the look you love for less.

* All prices given are discounted High Point prices.