There are few things worse than an uncomfortable sofa - that rude shock of being repelled by the very cushions you were hoping to sink back into,' says House & Garden columnist and all round interiors expert, Rita Konig, in her guide on how to choose a sofa. Naturally, comfort is key when picking out the very best sofa for you, but making sure it nestles happily into its surroundings is half the battle.
What is the best sofa?
Before answering that question, it is important to consider the purpose your sofa will be serving. Of course, at a basic level all sofas do the same thing, but taking the time to figure out what your priorities are will result in a much better choice. If you are buying this piece of furniture for a formal living room, plush upholstery is key, and an upright backrest or high back will ensure your guests are supported. If you live in an open plan space and your new sofa is going to demarcate a different living area, then ensure it has the presence to do this well; a chesterfield style with large armrests or a corner sofa should do the trick nicely. Though if you're looking for the latter, we recommend jumping over to our dedicated guide on the best corner sofas. For slumping in front of the TV or lounging around with a book, anything with comfy deep seats, or additional seat and back cushions will keep you in comfort; though do bear in mind these will need plumping frequently to stay looking sharp.
A sofa will ideally be with you for a long time and a good one will serve more than a few generations. Sprung, horsehair seats are a more expensive choice but will last longer than foam seats and cushions, so if you want to splash out, then try to keep an eye out for retailers who offer that composition. The most comfortable sofas do tend to be the former.
What type of material is the most durable?
The best material depends entirely on function. A leather sofa will be durable, a strong choice for a busy family home. As we know, accidents do happen in these environments so it's good to know that it's stain resistant and wipe clean. Velvet upholstery will provide comfortable seats and is certainly more hardwearing than chenille and can often be found in a huge variety of colours. If you're buying a sofa to sit at the end of your bed, an extravagant, printed fabric will be lovely, as it won't see as much wear as a living room sofa.
The sofa is often the centrepiece and focal point of any living room, the anchor that ties down a scheme, and the silent witness to many happy memories. All this to say that it is likely one of the most important (and expensive) decisions you’ll make in your home. So, scroll on for our edit of the best sofas for all budgets, whether you’re looking on the high street, or going totally bespoke.