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!