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!

Client Profile: Peter and Debbie's Coastal Renovation

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy roared into the quaint bedroom community of Long Beach, New York, causing over $250 million in damage to vehicles and properties. One of the houses that was hit: The Bay House, a 4,000 square foot home in a prime location right on the bay. It was badly damaged and the owner didn't want to deal with cleanup. When Peter and Debbie saw The Bay House, they knew that with a lot of elbow grease, it could be a dream home.

After plenty of work on the structure, they were ready to tackle the fun stuff: decorating! They furniture they currently owned worked for a small apartment, but they needed much more to fill all that square footage. Debbie had heard that High Point, North Carolina was the furniture capital of the country, but when she did a bit of research, the number of furniture stores was overwhelming! There's no question that High Point is huge (Furnitureland South is over a million square feet!). She turned to Carole for help.

Debbie says, "We couldn't have done it in one weekend without Carole. She knew all about the best brands and could guide us straight to items that were our style and in our price range. Plus, she kept us on the move! If it was just my husband and me, we would have spent ten minutes in each couch debating the merits. She told us that if we didn't love it, we should move on."

Carole was so helpful. She understood our vision for the house and worked with us to make it happen. She knew all of the best places to go in High Point, and could steer us toward the items that would work well in each space according to our floor plan. We couldn’t have done it without her!
— Debbie

Peter adds that he appreciated Carole's ability to balance his sense of style with his wife's idea of decorating. "We both had a picture in our minds of what we wanted the house to look like. Unfortunately, our pictures weren't always the same. Carole was able to zero in on the qualities that were important to each of us and find pieces that appealed to us both."

Peter and Debbie are thrilled with their furniture, which was delivered a few weeks after their whirlwind shopping experience. "We couldn't be happier with our purchases," Debbie raves. "Our new house is the perfect place to relax - and hopefully retire!"

Want to check out The Bay House? You can rent it!