Best sofas 2021: stylish, affordable and comfortable

Are you sitting comfortably? If not, you definitely need this guide to the best sofas
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  • Looking for the best sofas? There are few pieces of furniture that are going to make quite as much impact to your home as the sofa you choose, or that are likely to be quite as much of an investment, so picking the right option for you is an important decision.

    As a sofa is where we sit down and put our feet up to relax, gather with friends and family, and spend a good chunk of our everyday lives, it obviously needs to be comfortable. As one of the largest pieces of furniture in our living rooms, and an item we’re likely to look at every single day, it also needs to suit our style and decor. Plus, of course, there’s budget to consider.

    The best sofas: a buying guide

    A sofa has to fulfil a lot of different requirements, so it’s no wonder it can quite easily become a source of some stress to find the best option for your home.

    That’s why our best sofas round-up is here to help. We’ve highlighted the key factors to consider before making this big purchase and have pulled together the best sofas on the Ideal Homes radar, all sit-tested by our expert team.

    So whether you want a spacious corner sofa with room for all the family, a chaise sofa to kick back and relax on, a classic three-seater sofa, or a contemporary two-seater, our round-up will help you to narrow down your search.

    Oh, and if you want your sofa to work a little harder, then make sure to check out our guide to the best sofa beds too!

    But first, as we all know proper planning prevents poor performance, so here are some top tips to consider before you hit the sofa showrooms…

    How to choose the best sofa for your room

    Size Think about how many people your sofa needs to seat, and, if you can, opt for one a little bit larger than the maximum capacity to make things less of a squeeze. However, it’s also important to keep your sofa in proportion to the room so things don’t feel cramped or your sofa isn’t lost in a larger space. Measure out where the sofa will go in your room – including the sofa depth – to make sure there is plenty of space to walk around it. Check heights to make sure it fits under windowsills or existing wall furniture, and if it isn’t flatpacked then measure doors and awkward hallway angles carefully to ensure you will be able to get it into the room.

    Layout A sofa can be a really useful zoning tool in an open-plan layout, helping to create designated areas for dining or relaxing within a larger space. Chaise sofas, corner sofas or modular sofas in an L-shaped or U-shaped layout can be particularly useful here, or – if you have the space – you might want to switch up the usual layout of the sofa facing the fire or TV, and have two similar sized sofas facing each other to create a space that works better for socialising and entertaining. If you need some layout ideas then make sure to check out our living room and small living room ideas pages.

    How to choose the most comfortable sofa:

    Style To our mind sofa sitters fall into two camps; those who prefer to sit up straight with good back support – in which case you might prefer a shallower seat depth with a higher backrest that means you can keep feet planted on the floor and your back aligned – or those who instantly curl up or recline to lounge – in which case deep squishy seats and plenty of seat depth to add cushions could suit you better. A chaise sofa can combine the best of both worlds keeping everyone happy, whilst a corner sofa can be a great option for family living with plenty of room for everyone.

    Cushioning Most sofas either have foam-filled or feather cushions; foam cushions will bounce back into shape more quickly but generally provide a seat with more resistance, whilst feather cushions create a deeper cushion to sink into but will likely need plumping regularly, and when they’re not plumped the feathers can become compacted and feel quite hard. Many manufacturers have now combined the best of both worlds by wrapping resilient foam cushions in plumptious feather outers.

    How to choose a sofa style you’ll love:

    Upholstery Once you’ve chosen your favourite sofa shape, then it’s time to choose colour and fabric. Most sofa retailers offer models in a range of fabrics, generally including more affordable polyester and cotton mixes (which often have better stain resistance so are useful for homes with young families), and more expensive linens, velvets, and leathers. Take advantage of fabric samples to view colours and textures in your own home, as lighting can often look very different to that in showrooms or online representations, and bear in mind that the more luxurious fabrics are also likely to increase the sofa price quite considerably.

    Legs You’ll often get a choice of at least a couple of colour options of legs, which can transform the look of a sofa quite dramatically, but the shape is generally set in stone for each model. A sofa with tall legs, which lifts the bulk of the sofa away from the floor, can be a good option for smaller rooms as being able to see more of the floor gives a feeling of spaciousness. A sofa that sits directly onto the floor can feel bulkier so is best for larger rooms – although this style also has the bonus of stopping dust-balls and toys from rolling under it! Shapely, curved legs add a classic touch, whereas straighter clean-lined legs give a more modern feel.

    Lead time It’s always important to bear in mind that if you’re choosing from made-to-order upholstery options then there’s likely to be a lead time whilst your sofa is built – usually anywhere from 6 – 14 weeks. This can differ by retailer and the time of year you’re ordering, with October and November generally when sofa demand is at its highest ahead of Christmas entertaining.

    Some retailers will also offer a smaller selection of ready-made sofas. These will likely have limited fabric options available, but are in stock and ready to be delivered straight away if time is of the essence. Or of course, there is also the new generation of sofa-in-a-box brnads if you need seating fast – many of whom state your sofa can be delivered in as little as 1 – 2 days. Read our review of the Swyft Model 03 sofa to get the lowdown.

    Now, armed with some knowledge of what type of sofa will suit your home and lifestyle best, it’s time to discover the best sofas for sitting back and taking things easy!

    The best sofas of 2021:

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