Top-sofa-buying-tips-and-advice-1I kicked off this week by hanging out at a London studio to talk all things sofas with Emily to celebrate the launch of Next’s stunning new Sofa Brochure. Next offer a generous 21 different sofa shapes and nine accent chair shapes, so Emily and I spoke for half an hour about the things to keep in mind when choosing the perfect sofa for you and your space, as well as styling different couches for different spaces, and took questions from viewers, too. You can watch it the whole thing back, right here! As I mention in the video, buying a sofa is an investment, commitment piece – it’s certainly not a decision many of us make over night. So, to hopefully make that process a little easier, in today’s post I’m sharing my top five sofa buying tips. Click through after the jump to read them! | Larson sofa

Top-sofa-buying-tips-and-advice-21. Always check the frame as this is one of the biggest giveaways of the quality of each sofa. Pine frames are lower in cost and can warp after three to five years, while hardwood frames such as oak or ash are much more durable. Try lifting one corner of the sofa off the floor and once it’s around six inches high the other leg should have risen too. If it hasn’t then it’s likely to be bending and that shows weakness in the frame. Next have skilled craftsmen make their hardwood frames and all sofas are independently tested to the highest standards. Hurrah! | Naples sofaTop-sofa-buying-tips-and-advice-32. Be sure to test the springs, too. Most sofas have serpentine springs that are preassembled units of snaking wire. These springs are supportive and work well most of the time. High-end sofas often come with ‘eight-way hand-tied springs.’ These spring are also comfy but can be expensive and many believe that there is in fact little difference between the two types. My advice is to feel the springs through the upholstery because the springs should feel as though they are close together and firm. Sitting down right on the corner of the couch and listening out for any cracks or creaks – this should raise alarm bells as it means the springs will be ill-fitted, or even broken. Next sofas have supportive sprung bases, deep-filled back cushions and comfortable seat cushions. | Stratus sofaTop-sofa-buying-tips-and-advice-43. Ask yourself where the sofa will sit in the room. In small spaces it’s wise to choose a raised sofa where you can see the legs. In doing so you are able to see underneath the whole piece and this helps keep a clear line of sight through the room so that the eye can move through the space, which in turn makes it feel more open. You should then continue this approach through the other furniture choices you make. Keep the sofa uncluttered with one, two max textiles (don’t stuff it with cushions!) and opt for a low-lying coffee table so as not to fill too much of the open space in the room. A high floor lamp can help draw the eye upwards to give the illusion of high ceilings, too. | Sofia sofaTop-sofa-buying-tips-and-advice-54. Also focus on the textiles and upholstery, especially for sofas that will be used every day as they need to be durable. Next have over 100 fabrics and leathers combined to choose from, so there’s bound to be one to match your taste or the scheme you have in mind. The most popular upholstery is cotton and linen – but don’t go for loose weaves as these can get caught in zips etc. and tear. While silk covers are lovely, they are better for occasional chairs as they can wear quickly due to their fragile nature. Finally, ask whether the pattern is printed or woven: the latter will wear a lot better than the former. | Sonoma sofaTop-sofa-buying-tips-and-advice-65. When it comes to picking a suite, you don’t have to have both sofa and armchair matching. It depends on the look of the space: In a tonal scheme that feels modern and contemporary it can work to keep the look co-ordinated and consistent. For a more eclectic look mix and match, you can mix up styles, with, say, the Gosford sofa with the Gibson armchair. They are different styles but work well together because they have a heritage feel. And remember, the different elements of the space can reference each other but shouldn’t match. For example, if you have a hot pink sofa, the curtains could have a subtle pink ticking stripe or pom-pom trim detail against a sheer white curtain, but you’d be wise to avoid all over hot pink curtains as this would detract from your hero sofa which is likely to be the statement element of the space. | Sonoma modular | Photography by Next and posted in partnership, all views my own


Will Taylor

Will lives in NYC and is an interior design author and content creator. He's been blogging about his love of design, style and travel since 2009. His #MakeYouSmileStyle approach to decorating and dressing has inspired over one million Instagram uploads to the hashtag from followers across the world.


  1. That green sofa is a dream . Thank you for sharing your tips with us Will

  2. I watched the video on Monday and thought you were both amazing!!! Congrats!!

  3. Next are my favourite place for interiors my ma and me always shop there!!

  4. Thanks for sharing these useful tips with us Will. Always love reading your posts!

  5. Wow!! Now I really want a new couch. Don’t think the other half will be please! Hahahaha

  6. Ohh I love this post Will. I just purchased a sofa this May – could have used this then, even though I am happy with my purchase 🙂
    Have a fab weekend,

    Anya xx

  7. I just got a new sofa for the family room, Will. It is not a raised sofa like the old one and you are right that in my small room, it should be. EEERRRR! So much good information, thanks.

  8. Nice sofa’s though. I like the second to the last sofa. I really love the color so much. Actually my sofa is nearly same with this. But the only difference is that it is smaller than this. Much more likely a single type or a half of that one. Ohh. I loved it so much.

  9. Great sofa choices..I especially like the fact that you didn’t choose them based only on shape&style..all sofas look super comfy also! Which I personally find just as important as the design. 🙂

  10. Will, this post couldn’t have come at a better time for us!! We just saw your link on twitter, and as we’re browsing for sofas this week, we of course had to click.

    We love your choices, and your emphasis on quality! We’re a little bit limited in terms of what we can go for because the space we’re furnishing is pretty small, and another requirement is that we need it to turn into a bed for guests (so we guess that might mean playing with some of the quality points.). But we’ve only looked at Ikea so far, so we’ll be checking out this range from Next.

    Thanks very much!

    Flora & Lee

  11. We have had a recent house fire. After the initial shock we are looking forward to redesigning the main living area. I am in love with the NEXT pink sofa but am worried I would regret such a bold choice. I was thinking of teaming it with Sherlock buttoned in a pale grey to complement the pink. I love your tip re curtains etc. any other tips for choosing boldly !? X

    • @Lucy – Sorry to hear of your house fire, I hope things are well on the way back to being normal and that no one was hurt. The pink sofa is a wonderful choice to make a colour statement. The grey armchair will help temper the brightness of the pink – continue this tempering with simple wall colours (soft, light grey or white) and then keep other big pieces of furniture in the room neutral so as to let the sofa be the statement piece in the space. Happy decorating!

  12. Hi Will
    I am currently looking for a small framed sofa for a terraced house.
    I love the grey sofa at the top of your article. Please can you give more details on that one?

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Hey, I'm Will

Welcome to Bright.Bazaar, my make-you-smile style corner of the internet. I’ve been sharing my love of beautiful design, feel-good homes, everyday style, inspiring travel and, pretty much everything in between, since 2009. As well as working as a content creator, I write interior design books and edit a bi-weekly e-newsletter called Smile Mail. I live in New York City with my heartmate and can often be found listening to Madonna’s Confessions album and dreaming up my next home renovation project.