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Monday, August 9, 2010

Choosing a Sofa Style and Fabric

The next step in designing my, “Someday Family room” is to choose a sofa. Now, I must be honest, I already knew exactly what sofas I wanted for this room.
I actually had this sofa for ten years and loved it. When it was time to get a new one I thought I would go in a totally different direction. I love my existing sofa style and comfort, but I'm tired of its pattern after about two years. This sofa is a Hickory White and it is covered in a beautiful linen fabric, but I have discovered that I am not a floral patterned sofa kind of girl.
Family Room 036  As all my faithful readers know I am a striped pattern kind of girl. That leads me to the sofa that I would like to buy again.
I will show you a swatch of the fabric that was on my previous sofa and that I plan on using again……
taffy blueyellow 
Before the floral sofa there was a blue and white ticking sofa in my life. It was cord welted in a pretty banana yellow and it made me happy for over ten years.  For the next sofa I am going back to my first love, the blue and white ticking sofa.
In purchasing a sofa there is a lot to think about. Budget of course, that is an unfortunate reality. What style of sofa do I want?? Am I going to want a contrasting cord welting again? Shall I use the yellow or should I use something different this time?
I tend to like a very comfy sofa since there is always someone laying on it to watch TV.
I think this time I might choose a sofa with a little deeper seat than the one I have now.
Here are some of the elements one will need to think about before buying a sofa:
The construction on a sofa is very important if you want it to last. A few construction features  that a well made sofa will have are
  1. Kiln dried hardwood frame
  2. Double doweled joints with corner blocks, screwed and glued.(this will prevent any creaking or sagging of the frame)
  3. Sinuous wire spring backs.
  4. 8way hand-tied spring system
My last two sofas have had these features and have held up beautifully. The only reason my last ticking striped sofa was replaced was because after ten years the upholstery became worn in spots.
The two sofa companies I have dealt with and have been very happy are Hickory White and Lee Industries
Here are three sofa styles that I really like……
dropped skirt
no skirt
Some of the choices in style that one will need to make are the following….
Arm Style
I like what is called a “R” roll panel arm. I like a soft low slightly rolled arm for comfort of whomever is laying down. It is a comfortable arm to rest your head or your arm. I also like that it does not take up space in the room by jutting out too far from the sofas edge, making the sofa longer, but not really adding any more seating space.
Bottom Treatment
kick pleat skirt base
I actually like two of the bottom styles. I prefer the “K” Kick pleat skirt base. I like that it has a pleat at each corner and two in the middle of the sofa. It makes for a nice tailored finish. You will notice the difference between the “K” kick pleat skirt and the “D” dressmaker skirt is where the skirt falls from. The dressmaker skirt falls directly from below the seat cushion where the “K” kick pleat falls from a panel beneath the seat cushion. This gives an extra area to showcase contrast cord welting.
The other style is an exposed leg as shown in the “G” Guilford foot base. If I chose this base I would use a dark wood tone leg.
Back Pillow Styleknife edge backSince I am going for a tailored, but relaxed look I prefer the knife edge back cushion. I like a loose back so I can smoosh (technical term) into the back.
seating depth 
This time I will probably be going for a deeper seat depth. Our family room sofa is laid on more than it is sat on. I have a 38” depth sofa now so I will probably go for the 41” depth sofa. I also like what is called a “T” cushion. If you look at the sofa I have selected you will notice the cushion goes all the way to the side of the sofa, it does not stop at the arms edge. I am not sure why I like this better, I just do. It also gives you about 8in. of more space to place your foot when laying down. I prefer a foam cushion,double poly wrap with a down top cushion.  Can you tell I am all about comfort for myself and my guest?
So there you have it!! I will be choosing one of the three frames shown in a blue and white ticking stripe with or without contrast cord welting. My future decisions will decipher whether I use a contrast welt or not.
Next step is to choose  the two club chairs style and fabric color and design!!
Come back and join me for my next decision! What do you think so far??
“Enjoy the Process” Of:
Learning all the in’s and out’s of sofa styles and making a decision on which sofa style best suits your needs.


Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

I love ticking fabric and would be drawn to that, too. My sofa in my great room under the slipcover is a very well made sofa by Sherril. It is still in excellent condition in almost 11 years. Actually it is still like new because we don't use it that much even though it is very comfy. I don't watch t.v. in that room and my husband is in his recliner also by Sherril. I am glad to hear you like Lee Ind. line, my chair and ottoman in my bedroom is by that co. I did not know much about it when we bought that. Great info about choosing a sofa.

Allie and Pattie said...

Okay kathysue- here's the deal. You pass the old sofa on to me and I'll cook for you. Deal??
I LOVE all your choices and great tutorial on sofas!
xoxo Pattie

xinex said...

Thanks for the info. We always learn so much from you I like the exposed leg but I can tell the style you prefer. It looks very comfy....Christine

Unknown said...

So much to consider...I think the sofa is the hardest piece of furniture to get right...but I love all of your options!

The Decor Girl said...

Kathysue, have you spoken with a local upholsterer? You wrote that you love your old one for style and comfort, just not the fabric.
Most everything you want you can have without throwing out your old sofa.

A good upholsterer can re-fashion the arms, change the cushioning, legs, change the skirt and of course re-cover in any fabric you choose. A good sofa like yours will last through multiple re-coverings!

Have you sat in a 41" deep sofa? This doesn't always coordinate with seat depth. Often it is just in the style of the sofa and how the back is canted (a rather uncomfortable lean unless you are over 6'). If you choose a gushier back cushion your existing sofa will sit deeper.

Good luck and nice job with the research.

Sixty-Fifth Avenue said...

I agree with the above commenter, have you thought of reupholstering it? My sofa is from ethan allen bought as a floor model many years ago. When it was time for a new one because I wanted a fabric change I could not find the size and depth I wanted. Some might not like a very deep sofa but I love it. I can sit cross legged on it and write this comment, so comfy. Good luck with your decision, this was a great post!

diane@onlinefabricstore said...

The blue and white is very fresh but definitely choose a contrast welt in blue, yellow etc.

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

Great information. I'm going to bookmark this. It's time to replace my family room sofa as well. I have loved the one I currently have. It's solid chocolate brown velvet. The style is very similar to the one that you have. It's about eight years old and still in good condition, I'm just tired of the brown. I'm wanting to lighten things up in the family room. Even considering slip-covering it, but just not sure about that.

Sue said...

When we moved into this house 7 years ago, there were many things going on in our lives besides the move and I was really stressed and not thinking too clearly. We found the house and I decided to go with a cottage look for it. I actually went to a lovely furniture store in the area and bought the entire window display. I had a floral couch and loveseat, creamy white tables and a creamy white trunk style coffee table. I loved it...for about 5 minutes. The floral pattern made me nervous. I can't explain it, but it wasn't a calming room for me. It was difficult to decorate for holidays with the colors in the fabric, I could only use solid pillows...it was a poor choice for my taste. That entire set is now in the basement family room (which I rarely enter) and I have espresso leather, dark tables and the ability to not only relax in my own home, but to use almost any accent colors I want.

We really do have to know ourselves when making such a large purchase, but we all get to make a few errors!

Ange said...

I love this post. It makes me realise that upholstery for me really is just a hobby, I still have so much to learn!
Sofa buying certainly is not something to be rushed.

Marcus Design said...

Wow, I learned so much from this post Kathysue, it is so informative! I need to bookmark this, thank you for your knowledge!

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Great sofa information, Kathysue! I agreee with you on almost all points. I really like loose multi pillows...so casual and comfortable because you cna arrange them better for lying down. Unfortunately, you can also build forts out of them, so I have to straighten after each visit of my grandson! lol Hope you are having a great day!...hugs...Debbie