I am often asked by friends, clients, and family members “what is your favorite sofa?” I don’t know that I have just one favorite. There are many different styles that I like and use for clients when designing a room. It just depends on the space. I do consider key features when looking for upholstered pieces for our clients. Let’s explore a few!
When looking for sofas or sectionals, I always prefer the client goes with me to our favorite furniture vendors to sit in the various styles and ensure they are comfortable for the individual client. I ask them to sit on the sofa like they would sit at home. I personally don’t “sit” on my sofa. I snuggle in the corner of my sofa with my legs over to one side. If you nap on your sofa, you need to lay down on it in the showroom as well. Yes, I’m absolutely serious. This is the only way you can be certain the piece will fit your body comfortably.
Now, I do have a few favorite pieces that I like to show each client. For sofas or sectionals, I prefer to have the option of a “build your own” concept. There are several vendors that offer these programs. This gives me the opportunity to create something unique for each client. One of our favorite furniture showrooms, James Craig Furnishings, carries the brand Vanguard Furniture, which I love! It offers a wide variety of styles with different cushion options and even an incorporated fabric line. One of their more popular styles is called the Envision. This style allows the client to select the arm, back, base and depth of the sofa. The Envision can also be made into a sectional. With all of these options, the client can create a truly custom sofa.
The sofas pictured below are all the same sofa. As you can see, some have straight arms and some are more curved. Some have a skirt and some have legs. The nice thing about taking a client to sit in the Envision sofa is that the comfort experienced in the showroom will be exactly what the client receives when they order it.
Of course, Vanguard is not the only furniture vendor that has one of these customizable programs. Lee Jofa has a similar program called Lee Jofa Workroom sofas and below is a sofa from that collection.
Kravet Furniture also has the Allegro Sofa, shown below.
The other nice thing about these custom programs is these styles often have chairs to go with them. This way, you can order several comfortable pieces with coordinated looks. I have even ordered the same sofa for different rooms in the same house, but they look completely different because of the different arms, bases and backs that we selected. It’s a win for the client and a win for me, knowing the client will be happy with the space and furnishings.
Another piece of upholstery that I think is a must is a swivel chair as I mentioned above. Swivel chairs are great to use in so many different settings. We have used them in living rooms, offices, bedrooms and conversation rooms. Some even come with a memory swivel base, which allows the chair to return back to its original position when you exit the chair. From modern to traditional and everything in between, swivel chairs are available in numerous styles. Just look at a few of my favorites below.
The Arlington Swivel Chair from Vanguard
Fisher Waterfall Skirt Swivel Chair from Vanguard
The Workroom Swivel Chair from Kravet
Another favorite upholstered piece is the upholstered ottoman. These are helpful because they serve several purposes. They offer another opportunity to use a beautiful fabric (often available in leather) in the room to add color, pattern and texture. They come in various sizes as well as round, rectangle or square shapes. They also provide extra seating when needed or can be used more as a table. These are a few of our favorites:
The Chatfield Ottoman from Vanguard
The Tucker Ottoman from Vanguard
The Wayland Round Wood Ottoman
Last but not least I would like to mention quality. Maybe that should have been first. When purchasing upholstery, we always want to make sure we purchase quality pieces for our clients. We want these pieces to last for many years and when you purchase a quality piece, it gives you the opportunity to reupholster it later or pass it down for generations. As consumers, we do not have the opportunity to see what is inside the sofa so we need to make sure our vendors are tried and true, using quality products when they build their furniture. The frames and legs or feet should be made of kiln dried hardwood. This is the most reliable and durable for a quality piece of furniture. The spring system should be 8-way hand-tied for optimum comfort and longevity. The padding over the sofa frame should be plush so you do not feel the hard frame through the fabric on any corners or edges. And of course the fabric should be classified for upholstery use to make sure it is suitable for everyday wear and tear. Now there are some exceptions (using silk for example that has been knit backed for durability) but for most everyone, we look for a durable fabric that will last many years.
Until next time, let your creative juices flow!