Sofa Buying Guide: Pick the Perfect Furniture For Your Living Space

By Bailiegh Basham · August 12, 2021

Sofa Buying Guide: Pick the Perfect Furniture For Your Living Space

Living Room Sofa Buying Guide

A sofa is the main spot of interaction in a living room, and because of that your sofa is the most important piece of furniture in your living room. Its style and how comfortable it is determine just how you and your family will feel in the living room, and as you all continue to engage with that space. 

There are multiple things to consider when choosing the right sofa for your space. Before shopping, consider who will spend the most time on it, think about its desired form and function, and determine the ideal shape and style to suit your space. 

With so many options to choose from and considerations to keep in mind, it can be tricky to narrow down the selection and find the sofa that is perfect for you. This sofa buying guide will walk you through each aspect of your sofa purchase, and in this way can help you make educated decisions on which sofa will work best for your specific needs.


What is a sofa?

A sofa is defined as an upholstered bench seat featuring arms and a back, allowing people to be comfortable whether they are sitting or reclining. This word⁠—”sofa”⁠—is the most common word used nowadays to describe the comfy piece of furniture we all relax on in the living room.

Construction

When shopping for the perfect sofa, most people start looking at styles and testing certain looks out for comfort, but the most important part of upholstered furniture is the part you can’t see: how it’s constructed. 

Second only perhaps to a bedroom mattress, a sofa is often the most-used furniture item in a home. The quality of the frame affects how long the sofa will last. 

The most durable, best quality sofas are made from traditional mortise and tenon joints, which require less glue to produce a sturdy frame. In a mortise and tenon joint, one piece of wood fits snugly into a hole in the other piece of wood.

This traditional joinery method coupled with wooden block bracing creates heirloom-quality seating. Heavy-duty underside webbing adds additional support and structural reinforcement.

Materials

Countryside Amish Furniture builds pieces to stand the test of time, for residential and commercial use alike. Real wood construction, premium cushioning, and a wide range of upholstery options make Amish-made sofas a wise investment. 
Aside from the hardwood frame, cushions are the most important consideration when purchasing a good quality sofa. Our made-to-order sofas are filled with high density, solid core urethane foam. This premium cushioning holds its shape over time and provides good support. Some pieces have individually pocketed coils wrapped in a layer of foam. The springs in these cushions have more bounce than other styles.

Last but not least, you can select from a wide range of premium fabric and full-grain leather upholstery options to complete your custom sofa. Fabric sofas are common couch options given their soft and comfortable feel. Upholstery fabrics usually have a rub-count rating, which indicates their longevity. 

Your hardwood frame and poured foam seat will likely outlast your fabric. To get the most out of it, however, we recommend a minimum abrasion rating of 25,000 double rubs. The higher this rating, the longer you can expect your upholstery to last. 

Durable and beautiful, leather upholstery has long been a staple in fine furniture. Countryside boasts a large selection of premium leathers from which you may choose. When deciding which upholstery options works best for your space, we recommend choosing sample swatches to view at home.


Upholstery samples are included with every sofa purchase.

Shape

Whether you place the sofa in the middle of the room or place it against one of the walls or under a window will affect what size and shape works best. 

Most people prefer the traditional sofa with 2-3 cushions and arms on the side. On the other hand, a sectional sofa is great for homes with open floor plans because it can help give shape and define separate spaces. In a wide open floor plan, a sectional sofa can help define the living room zone versus the dining room zone, dividing the larger space into smaller room segments.


Form and Function

How do you plan on using the sofa? The more realistic you are in answering this question in terms of your day-to-day life, the better your sofa purchase will fit into your home.  

Think about your lifestyle, where the sofa will be placed, and who will be using it the most. Are you worried about wear or spills? The size and scale of your seating area, the shape of your space, the room’s traffic flow, and the sofa’s intended use are all factors that you’ll need to consider before deciding on your dream sofa and its appropriate size.

Why do you need it?

If you're shopping for a new sofa, you've probably got a room in mind for it already. This means you need to make the sofa fit the room.

If your sofa is intended for a formal sitting area, a smaller, more upright couch may be appropriate. If you are looking to enhance your comfort levels for lounging or family movie nights, perhaps upgrading to a reclining sofa or sofa bed is important. 

Do you have more people to accommodate? Consider purchasing a larger sofa or even an additional loveseat or chair(s). Whether you need the additional seating to always be present in the same spot, or whether you would prefer to have it be repositioned within the room is another critical consideration.

Who will be using it?

Consider not only how many people your new sofa needs to seat, but also how they will be sitting. Will there be a lot of family lounging and watching television, for example, or does this sofa need to be a high performer at social gatherings? 

If you have kids or pets, prioritize their use and know that stain-resistant fabrics will be the easiest to clean and maintain. As always, consider a higher fabric abrasion rating for heavily used sofas.

When will it be used?

Different styles of sofa can serve different types of use. Because a quality sofa can serve as both an area to sit as well as to recline, this type of furniture can serve a wider range of occasions from social through lounging.

A stationary sofa is a great choice for a formal sitting room; you may even choose a more decorative fabric for such a sofa, as opposed to compromising a bit on pure aesthetics a bit in favor of something slightly more functional and that handles a bit more wear and tear. 

For a den or family room, you may consider the comforts of a reclining sofa that’s well-suited for family movie nights or catching “the big game.” 

A sleeper sofa is great for maximizing your living space while simultaneously making extra room for overnight guests. From sofa to bed, this option is practical and comfortable.

Where will it be placed?

Where do you plan to put this sofa? The room or location that the sofa will live in your home will be crucial in determining the size, style, and functionality you want to select. Consider not just the space occupied by the sofa itself, but also the walk leading to it and the way traffic flow moves around it.

Once you have decided on the room that your new sofa will be placed in, it is critical that you take some measurements. Start by understanding how wide and how long the room is, and even its height.

Another important component of selecting the right sofa is considering its scale. The way you can move around your sofa will make a big difference in how your entire space feels. Before you start shopping, you need to know how much space you have to work with. A general rule of thumb is that your sofa should not occupy the entire length of a wall. There should be at least 18 inches of space on either side of the sofa.

If utilizing a coffee table with your sofa, the general rule of thumb is to place the coffee table within 14-20” from the sofa. This provides plenty of leg room, but also keeps drinks, snacks, magazines, etc. readily accessible. Other furniture should be between 30"-36” away so there's ample walking space.


Style Considerations

This is where things start to get a little less technical and a little more fun! Custom order sofas allow you to combine everything you are looking for into one perfect piece.

What is the style of the room? What look are you going for? Considering your home decor is important when choosing a new sofa to ensure that it fits seamlessly into the design of the room. 

How does light fall into the room? Is your sofa going to be in direct sunlight? Is the room bright or is it shaded?

Do you want a sofa that looks sleek, simple, and sturdy? Or do you want a sofa that looks plush, cozy, and casual? Perhaps you want a bold and patterned sofa that will make a statement.

What's your style?

First, you want to find a sofa that fits your design style; you might hear designers, decorators, and influencers alike refer to your “aesthetic” here. 

If you are looking for something more laid-back, a fabric upholstery option may be best for you. If you want something more formal, perhaps you will choose to upgrade to leather. 

Whichever you choose, we have a wide range of options that allow you to make the furniture completely your own, from texture through color. Select your favorite fabric or leather, wood type and stain finishes to create a custom one-of-a-kind piece that matches your style.

From traditional to transitional to modern, Countryside Amish Furniture has custom made sofa options for every space. Curved arms can complement a traditional style, while straight arms can offer a clean-lined, modern feel. 

Aside from the cushion style and arms, a sofa’s legs can define the style. Tapered legs offer a retro look, borrowing from mid-century design. Straight legs provide a modern aesthetic, and short or block legs lend a more classic, traditional silhouette. 

Even the height of the sofa and its various elements contributes to the design and feel of a room. A low-profile sofa will suit a modern decor, and a high-back sofa will work better in a more traditional home.

Countryside Amish Furniture offers made-to-order sofas in the following styles:

  • Traditional
  • Contemporary
  • Rustic
  • Craftsman
  • Transitional
  • Mission
  • Shaker


A sofa defines the look and feel of your most-loved living spaces, which is why each of our sofas are made by expert craftsmen using exceptional materials for comfort and style. Purchasing a new sofa can be an overwhelming task, but considering these things can help make it easier! Browse our large selection of Amish handmade sofas today and begin creating a unique piece that can be enjoyed for generations to come. 

Countryside tip: If you are looking to upgrade your entire space, consider looking at our living room sets. Sets can enhance your space all at once by upgrading various pieces of furniture to create a fresh, classic and timeless space.​