All about sofas: how to choose the right one



Little experiment: Imagine a living room without a sofa, couch, or living area. Well, can you see it? You like? The great Loriot might answer here: A living room without a sofa is possible, but pointless.

In the past, the “living room” was only reserved for special occasions. In general, a comfortable seat for resting is purely a luxury item. New sofas have been produced in Germany since the 17th century. It was originally intended for reclining and later became seating furniture. We have collected many other interesting and sometimes surprising facts about sofas etc in our own articles. You will also find out what special shapes such as recliners, chaise lounges and divans are.

Times have clearly changed significantly. As shown in the little thought experiment at the beginning: We can no longer imagine life without a sofa. That’s how important it is to us, our well-being, and our home.

You have many choices. Color, shape, material, size, style…: There are many things to decide.

It’s good that we have written many useful articles on this topic! We summarize the most important information for you here and show suitable examples from our sofa range.

Types of sofas explained
Talking about sofas, sofas and living rooms, there are several terms for different types and shapes. Here we introduce you to some of the most important ones.

Sofas and couches
Is there a difference between a couch and a sofa? Linguistically, yes. Content-wise, no. Although these terms come to us in different ways, they have the same meaning and are interchangeable.

Any seating furniture that provides at least two seats ceases to fit the terms such as armchair, chair or bench and becomes a sofa or divan. If it is bigger it will become a residential area. If it is part of several seating areas, it is part of one set.

The word sofa comes to us via French and Italian, where it comes from Arabic (“suffa”).
The word sofa originally means “to lie down”. It came to us from the English, who later got it from the French. It can be traced back to the Latin word collocare, which means “to sit, lie down.”

Two seater and three seater
Two-seaters and three-seaters are typical sizes for a sofa. What is actually meant is the theoretical number of seats available. Therefore, a three-seater car is wider and more spacious than a two-seater car.

Normally, the three of you would not sit in a three-seater chair. This may only happen on special occasions – key word: family celebrations. On other days, just enjoy the extra space. And it’s not just for sitting, but also for lying down.

Instead, you might ask yourself: How many people can fit in a two-seater car? Depending on the sofa model and the person, the answer can be very different. And the better people know each other, the more likely it is that a third person will fit in a two-seater car… But assume that the name has been chosen carefully: In everyday life, a two-seater car is intended for two persons.

Seating furniture in a set: sofa set, sofa group, seating group, upholstered set…
There are many terms for a set of more than one matching seating. Whether you call it a “group” or a “collection” doesn’t matter. In such a set you will find, for example, a two-seater and an armchair. Or two-seater and three-seater. Or a sofa with two armchairs. Or, or, or…

If you already know what suits your living room best, such a group or set is a good choice. Furniture pieces automatically match each other – both in terms of style, color, material and size.

In a separate article we explain how to combine and arrange sofas and armchairs correctly. The following applies: If you like, you can deliberately break the rules: a modern sofa combined with an antique armchair, for example, can work well. See also: Furnishing tips: New and old in perfect harmony…

Lively view
Unlike an upholstered seating area or suite, a living room is a coherent piece of furniture. You can choose the shape and size according to your needs and desires.

For example, you will find an L- or U-shaped living landscape. What these letters mean is the appearance of the furniture when viewed from above. L shapes are at the corners and usually have longer and shorter sides. The U shape, in turn, has two opposing parts and a connecting element.

The living landscape is obviously very flexible and ideal if you want to find space for the whole family or if you often have guests.

But that’s not all: the living room offers many different options for sitting, reclining, lying down and relaxing. This is a fun thing even though not all seats are filled.

Corner Sofa
L-shaped corner sofas. They are popular because on the one hand they offer many different seating options and on the other hand they do not take up much space.

Therefore, they are perfect for smaller spaces. And many corner sofas are at least sometimes suitable as (guest) beds. If you want to use it permanently or at least regularly for sleeping, you should look for a sofa that is designed accordingly.

Sofa Bed
Sofas nowadays have many functions that make evenings on the sofa very relaxing. But it goes even further: Some sofas have a sleeping function and others are full-blown sofa beds.

Which variant is suitable for you depends entirely on usage. Should the sofa only be used occasionally for sleeping? Or should it function as a sofa during the day and always as a bed at night?

Another question is how much space you have. This depends, among other things, on which mechanism is actually suitable for converting a sofa into a bed.

You can read more about how to choose the right sofa bed in a separate article. Lastly, we’ll discuss whether a spring core sofa is a good idea or not.

Big sofa
A “large sofa” or “XXL sofa” basically looks like a two-seater or three-seater. But it comes in Goliath format: extra large.

On the one hand, this is very convenient. Not surprisingly, it also takes up a lot of space.

Who found it? You can probably guess it: This car comes from a country that not only has vast landscapes, wide roads, SUVs that are bigger than some tanks, but the furniture is also very large. The large sofa style originates from America. Compare also: box spring mattress.

Choose the right shape and size
Talking about the shape and size of the sofa, there are two things to pay attention to:

The sofa should fit the room and look good at the same time.
It should be comfortable for you and a place for relaxation or entertainment.
The two can go hand in hand or they can also get in the way. Then you have to find a compromise.

How big is the sofa?
First, make sure your new sofa fits in the room. If you already have an old sofa sitting there, there’s a clue. This is generally easier. If you’re planning a new living room that’s still empty, you’ll need a little more imagination.

You definitely don’t want the sofa to visually overload the room. And that shouldn’t get in the way.

Don’t be fooled by the appearance of your favorite works in our exhibition. Furniture often appears smaller in a showroom than at home. So there’s nothing like measuring. Numbers don’t lie.

Although: Numbers can still be deceiving, because how well a sofa fits a room depends not only on its centimeters. The shape and color of the sofa also play a role here. Wide armrests or a high backrest make the sofa appear larger than models that are technically the same size but have a flat, minimalist design.

Can a sofa be placed next to a heater? This is possible remotely, but it is better not to place it directly next to the heater. Your radiator will get hotter than you expect and this can damage the back of the sofa.

Can the sofa be placed near the window? Yes, but keep in mind that exposure to sunlight can cause upholstery to change color and age more quickly. Ideally, you should avoid frequent and prolonged direct sunlight on the sofa. Or consider a throw for protection.

Seat, depth and height
How comfortable you sit on a sofa also has a lot to do with the dimensions of the sofa (and its upholstery – more on that below).

Anyone who is prone to back pain (and this doesn’t only happen in old age) or who doesn’t want to let it get too bad should make sure that their sitting position is correct. We explain in a separate article how to find a suitable sofa if you have back pain or back problems. By the way, the advice to always sit up straight is outdated. What’s more important is to change your sitting position every once in a while. In this case, you may want to combine a flat, spacious living room with an armchair that can be flexibly adjusted for a reading nook.

The “correct” seat depth and seat height varies from person to person. Leg length makes as big a difference as general body size. So you may have to compromise here. Or you can pay attention to sofa models where you can adjust the seat and backrest.

Choose the right upholstery material
There are also various things to consider when making a decision in choosing sofa upholstery materials.

How should the reference feel?
What does it look like?
How easy is it to maintain?
Should it help with allergies (e.g. house dust mites)?
What budget is available?
All of that plays a role. The question is more than just “fabric sofa vs leather sofa”. Lastly, there are also different options when it comes to fabric. For example, microfiber coverings, such as leather, are very suitable for allergy sufferers. More about this in our article.

What color should a sofa be?
Not surprisingly, your taste plays an important role when it comes to color. But there are certainly compelling reasons to decide for or against a particular color scheme.

For example, in small rooms, bright and monochrome coverings are recommended. They can make a room appear larger. If you have more space, you can buy a sofa in a dark color or with an interesting pattern. It can even be the center of attention in the living room.

Gray sofas are also popular. At first glance this may seem boring, but it doesn’t have to be at all. Thanks to the neutral color scheme, you can design the sofa according to your taste using accessories. Pillows and blankets are typical examples here. And of course replacement is much quicker and easier than an entire sofa. Here you can adapt the style to the seasons and also your changing tastes. In this case, the gray sofa can be used flexibly.

Choose the right coating
Apart from the basic shape and additional functions of the sofa, the upholstery is also important in determining the comfort of the sofa. High-quality upholstery will also last longer.

Apart from foam materials, you can also find spring core models here. And sometimes both types are combined.

How firm or soft the upholstery is depends on how the sofa will be used. If you like lying on it, you might want something softer. If you prefer to sit upright, the spring core provides better support.

The frame and base also determine the overall quality and comfort of a sofa. If you want to know more about all this, we have a guide on the “inner values” of upholstered furniture for you.

Special and additional functions
If desired, sofas are now more flexible than before. Perfect for a relaxing evening on the sofa. Here you will find functions such as a folding headrest, extendable footrest, adjustable seat depth or armrests that can be positioned according to taste and needs.

But that’s not all: There are also models with hidden storage space – suitable for more than just small living rooms. Extras like cup holders or power connections for smartphones, etc. is also possible.

And as mentioned above: some sofas are also suitable as bed alternatives. Good for occasional use or as a “long term sleeper”.

What’s your style?
If you browse our product range, you will quickly see how varied sofas can look. Here you will find models suitable for almost any furnishing style.

Can they have spacious, ornate shapes with visible stitching and buttons? Or is it the opposite, looking futuristic and simple? Everything is possible.

Remember that in most cases, the sofa is the largest piece of furniture in a modern living room. It has many large areas and therefore plays a central role visually.

As always when it comes to furnishings and style, the following applies: it should suit you and reflect what you have in mind. However, it is good to know in advance what the impact will be.

An ornate sofa in bright colors is sure to attract attention. If you also have an unusual chest of drawers, a cute lamp, a bold patterned rug, and lots of art on the walls, that’s probably a good thing.

If you have a very simple sofa and combine it with an all-white living room, smooth surfaces, and minimalist lighting, it may look empty and cold.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t decorate your living room this way. It is important to visualize the overall impression of the facility first so that you are not surprised afterwards.

Therefore, furniture professionals usually add only a few selected accents to the room – in terms of color and shape. They combine simple, modern furnishings with some more luxurious antiques.

Targeted contrast and visual focal points often make a facility appear distinctive, attractive and harmonious.

Read our “1×1 setup” for more information. And in another article we will show you how to avoid common mistakes in furnishing in the living room.

Last word
We hope you now have a better idea of ​​which sofa is right for you and your living room.