Know How: Sofa Buying Guide

Ever wondered with all the sofa options available to you, ‘what’s the best sofa to buy’? Here is your definitive sofa buying guide to help you figure out what to consider when buying a sofa and decide how to choose the best sofa for your space. Avoid common mistakes when buying a sofa and follow our comprehensive sofa buying advice for the top things to consider before making your investment.

Top Sofa Buying Tips to Consider:

  • Make sure it fits
  • Getting the proportions right for the room
  • Leaving enough surrounding space
  • Leave enough space to extend sofa beds and lift storage lids

General Tips when Choosing Your Sofa

  • High-back sofas and chairs suit homes with higher ceilings.
  • Low-back furniture can give the illusion of more space.
  • Modular furniture can be built your way to suit your lifestyle and your space thanks to its flexibility.
  • Chaise, corner and modular units are labelled Left Hand Facing or Right Hand Facing (LHF/RHF) when looking front on to the sofa.
  • Some sofas come in multiple parts and are fixed together when delivered to make access easier. Call us on 0330 945 855 to discuss if your chosen model has this option.

Our Sofa Sizes

Here’s a brief overview of our sofa sizes and the width measurements. Use this as a quick tool to help you find the size that’s right for you (remember to use our Size Guide for a more comprehensive guide to sofa measurements). The full product dimensions, including height and depth, can be found on the product pages, in our brochure and on all product detail cards.

Snuggler - 104cm+

Small – 128cm+

Medium – 155cm+

Large – 190cm+

Grande – 218cm+

Maxi – 246cm+

NB: This does not include Corner Sofas or Chaise Sofas

Sofa Backs

Aragon sofa - Living Coral

Fixed Back

A solid sprung back without cushions for a more formal finish

Bardolph navy velvet scatter back sofa

Scatter Back

A low back sofa which is hidden by loose back cushions for support and a relaxed finish

Ferdinand compact chaise sofa

Cushion Back

A traditional sofa shape with either one, two or three large back cushions for support

Sofa Seats

Elton mid-century sofa

Fixed Seat

The seat is fixed and sprung with no loose cushions

What your sofa says about you Henry sofa owners love travel

Single Bench Seat

The seat consists of one single large cushion

philo medium grey sofa

Cushioned Seat

A traditional style with reversible seat cushions (not leather)

Sofa Arms




Sofa Legs

Tapered leg


Turned leg


Metal leg

Metal (ski)

Castor leg




Square leg


Cushion Fillings

Extra Soft

Feather-wrapped Fibre


Full Feather


Feather-wrapped Foam



Read our Sofa Comfort Guide to learn more about the different types of sofa fill and comfort levels.

Upholstery Guide


Linen is a natural fabric of the highest quality with rumpled look. Due to the natural properties of this tumbled, relaxed fabric, there is a possibility of a slight colour variation between pieces.


Available in polyester, viscose and poly-blends and 100% cotton velvet. Velvet is a delicate fabric that is prone to crushing and marking.


Pure cotton is breathable and versatile. It’s natural, long-lasting and comes in a range of patterns, bright and subtle colours.


Our Linen Blend is a 100% natural fabric blend of viscose and linen and has a tumbled look for that ‘lived-in’ feeling. With a dual tone thread, this fabric comes in a subtle, muted colour palette, perfect for understated, natural interiors, and is ideal for loose cover sofas.


Our superior quality aniline leathers have a worn-in look for a more traditional style. Leather will natural crack and split over time. As the dyed hides are prone to natural markings and shading.

Polyester and poly-blend

Polyester and blended fabrics have the benefit of being extremely durable and hardwearing. For instance, our House Weave is an affordable, family-friendly fabric made from 100% polyester. Available in five colours, it’s cosy, smart, sophisticated and even water-repellent.


Our Wool Blend is a thick Italian woollen felt that's naturally fire retardant and is made from 70% wool.


Chenille has soft texture similar to velvet but the pile will not mark or crush. Its stain repellent finish means that even the lightest colours are suitable for families. A brilliant all-around, durable fabric.


Our various weave fabrics have a smart, chunky, textured finish. They are extremely soft fabric despite their textured appearance. They are usually a mix of natural and synthetic fibres.

Sofa Beds

A sofa bed is an incredibly versatile, functional and useful piece of living room furniture.

It’s worth noting that sofa beds can be slightly firmer to sit on since the cushions are on top of the bed mechanism as opposed to a traditional spring unit. Read our comprehensive Guide to Living Room Furniture for more advice on how to bring all your furniture pieces together.


We use Pocket Sprung Mattresses in our sofa beds. (Except for our Betsey bed-in-a-box which has a foam mattress).

Sofa Bed Mattress

How to Order a Modular Sofa

Filler unit

A central piece of your modular sofa that either goes in the middle or can be used to add seating space

Corner unit

Transforms your sofa into a corner sofa

Left/Right-Hand Arm unit

One is required for each end of your sofa

Left/Right Hand Double Arm unit

Add extra seating space with one double unit

Left/Right-Hand Chaise Unit

Add length to your sofa and transform it into a chaise or daybed

  1. Choose from the modular options available.

  2. Add each one in your chosen fabric to your basket (choose multiple fabrics for a bright, multicoloured sofa).

  3. Or, choose from our pre-configured sizes.

How to Order a Loose Cover for your Sofa

At present you can only order additional loose covers via our showrooms.

Either visit one of our showrooms or call our customer services team on 03300 945 855.

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If you’re happy with your selected fabric samples and product details cards, fill in your details below and we’ll pop your lovely Arlo & Jacob swatch pack in the post for free.

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