Ideas + Advice


Sofa Shopping Guide: 4 Insider Tips

Finding the perfect sofa for your living room is no small feat. Keep in mind, this is where you’ll be doing a lot of lounging, TV watching, gathering, reading and sometimes napping (whether you intend to or not!). This is also where you’ll entertain many a guest, so you want to choose a sofa that you not only love, but love to share and show off.

As you begin your sofa shopping journey, allow us to help you navigate through the most important steps with our 4 insider tips. You can thank us later!

1 | Know Your Style Preferences: 


To determine whether your style points in a modern/contemporary direction, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you like clean lines?
  • Do you like simpler designs?
  • Are you a fan of mid-century styles?
  • Are you a fan of minimalism?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to consider any of our modern/contemporary sofas. Many feature track arms and tapered legs or block feet, as well as grid-tufted cushions and tight back designs, all of which contribute to that sleek, streamlined look.


To determine whether your style leans transitional, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you like more casual looks?
  • Do you prefer larger, deeper sofas?
  • Do you prioritize comfort over style?
  • Does your taste fall somewhere in between modern/contemporary and traditional?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, take a peek at our transitional sofas. These designs are often characterized by silhouettes that are neither modern/contemporary or traditional. The lines are pretty casual and so are the details. The emphasis is on comfort, flexibility and practicality rather than a specific look.


To discover whether your style is traditional, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you like antiques?
  • Do you like designs with refined details or rich colors?
  • Do you like classic pieces?
  • Do you want your home to feel more formal and graceful?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, check out our traditional sofas. These designs often resemble what you grew up with - whether in your own home, your friends' houses or in your grandparents’ dwellings. However, they’ve been refreshed with color palettes and fabrics that are suitable for today’s interiors. Rather than have a dated look, traditional sofas have a sense of timelessness.

2 | Know Your Size Needs:

Small - Under 80" Wide

The size of your space will most often dictate the size of your sofa. So, if you have a living room that’s lacking on square footage, all you have to do is narrow down your sofa options to those that measure under 80 inches wide. Fortunately, we have plenty of small space-friendly choices for you.

Medium - Under 90" Wide

If your living room is not too big and not too small, a sofa under 90 inches wide will be just the right size. There are other details that can contribute to your sofa’s overall proportions, including the thickness of the arms, the depth of the cushions and the height of the back. All are important elements to keep in mind.

Large - Above 90"

If you have a generously-sized living room, go ahead and get yourself a generously-sized sofa. A design that measures over 90 inches will have the right scale to properly fill your space. If your living room is truly expansive, then you may even want to consider searching our selection of sectionals.

3 | Know Your Construction Basics:

sofa guide frame


Every piece of upholstery - including sofas - have 3 basic construction elements that determine the quality of your piece. The frame, the suspension system and the cushions are the foundation of your seat, and how they’re made/what they’re made out of will tell you if your seat is good, better or best.

Frames are often made of Kiln-dried hardwoods and engineered woods, and they’re assembled with glued and screwed or stapled joinery and corner-blocked to ensure extra strength and reliability.



Your sofa’s suspension system determines how supportive it is. Typically, a sofa will have 8 gauge sinuous springs that are bound by cross wires. These springs give it the bounce you feel when you sit down. The “best” suspension system is eight-way hand-tied springs (pictured above) because it provides the most balanced, long-lasting support.



Your sofa’s cushions are what make it comfortable for you, whether you prefer a firmer or softer seat. Firmer seats will feature high-density foam cushions, often wrapped in Dacron or batting that adds extra padding. Softer seats will feature a blend of foam, fiber and down feathers. Down is exceptionally plush and is responsible for that luxurious, sink-in, cloud-like feel.

4 | Know Your Customization Options:

At Living Spaces, you can customize many of our sofas through our Special Order custom upholstery program. Which means if you find the absolute perfect sofa, but want it in a different color and/or fabric, we can make that happen at no extra cost. Plus, you would receive your Special Order sofa in as little as 2 weeks in select areas.

What Is the Difference Between Couch and Sofa?

Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, there is a difference between couch and sofa – and it has to do with size and function – and etymology.

Sofa: The term ‘sofa’ can be traced back to the Arabic word 'suffah,’ which is used to describe a type of wooden bench adorned with pillows and blankets. As a result, early uses of the word ‘sofa’ referred to furniture pieces that were designed more for proper sitting and entertaining, especially in Victorian parlours.   

Couch: The term ‘couch’ can be traced back to the French word ‘coucher,’ which is a verb meaning ‘to lie down.’ As a result, couches were more associated with lounging, curling up and generally getting cozy.

Couch vs. Sofa

Nowadays, couch and sofa are used interchangeably so often that the ‘true’ meaning of each is little known, but there are slight distinctions between the two. While a sofa is generally referred to a more formal piece of furniture and can seat up to four people, a couch is often associated with a cozier, more casual furniture piece that can seat two to three people.  

Other Sofa Shopping FAQs

Do Pillows Come With the Sofa?

If there are pillows visible in the main image of the sofa, loveseat, or chair they are included in the price of the sofa.

How Do I Pick the Color of the Sofa?

If the sofa is available for customer colors, you'll different fabric options to the right of the display image. You can also select the view all option:

change color of sofa

Has This Sofa Been Discontinued?

Here is a link of our current sofas. If you do not see your sofa here please contact for further assistance.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Articles featuring tips and advice are intended for educational purposes and only as general recommendations. Always practice personal discretion when using and caring for furniture, decor and related items.