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Heather Scott Home & Design is an award-winning interior design firm and sophisticated boutique based in Austin, TX and Scottsdale, AZ. Our blog shares the tasteful home accessories, furnishings and gifts that you can find in our retail boutique. We also feature our design projects, industry trends and expert tips that hope to inspire homeowners to create the stylish & chic home of their dreams.

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3 Questions to Ask when purchasing a Sofa
June 26, 2015 in Home Furnishings | no comments

posted by: Emily Hernando

Purchasing a new sofa is a long term commitment (or at least, it should be).  Before you purchase your next sofa, and end up living several years with a ‘mistake’, here are 3 key questions to ask yourself before you buy.

1) What is the primary use of this piece of furniture?

Do you want a place for your family to gather and lounge?

This photo shows a sectional with soft back cushions (great for lounging) as opposed to a ‘tight back’ which you can see in the next photo.

sectional in crypton fabric

Will it serve in more of a “formal” living room for guests?

This photo shows a high back sofa with a tight back. A tight back is good for a clean lined, more modern look or for a more formal area.  Soft back cushions can sometimes look ‘messy’, so the tight back is a good option for a neater look.  high back formal sofa

Is it for your media room and need the extra depth?

This media room used a deeper sectional with a  chaise for lounging.  This provides more comfort for movie watching and napping!

tufted back sectional

Or will you need it to be contract grade because it is in a heavy use or commercial space, like a restaurant or hotel?

This apartment clubhouse lobby has a commercial grade leather sofa in a dark color to withstand heavy use.  If your family is hard on furniture, purchasing a sofa made for heavy use may be the best route for you.leather sofa for commercial use

Whatever the reason is, there are sofas that take into consideration durability for everyday use, size & configuration, stain resistibility, and even “sleep-ability”. If you know what the primary use of the sofa will be, you can find one that is just right.  Be sure to tell the sales consultant how you expect to use the sofa and what your needs are so they can be an additional asset. 

2) Based on the primary use of this piece, what type of fabric should be used on this sofa?

Fabrics can make a huge difference in your satisfaction with the sofa you place in your  room. If you know that there will be children using the piece, there are several options that are kid friendly and can bare the stains. Our main upholstery line, Vanguard, carries all of the Crypton fabrics. Read more about them here:

We used Crypton in these two family rooms because both homes had very young children.

english arm sofa with accent pillowschesterfield sofa

If you have an animal, and don’t want pet hair to be as apparent, there are textured fabrics that can camouflage your furry friend’s “souvenirs”.   Simply chose a color that is closest to the fur color of your ‘best friend’.  textured fabric on sofa

Lastly, we often recommend FiberSeal, a company specializing in fiber protection to help prevent stains on your fabric.

Now you don’t have to be too intimidated to use a light-colored fabric on your sofa!

3) In terms of the style/look, what is appealing to you?

There are endless possibilities on how to customize your sofa based on what “look” appeals to you and will flow with the design scheme of the room. Don’t feel like you have to buy the plain sofa you see.

Think about adding some personality with the use of ‘designer details’ such as decorative skirts, nail heads, tufted backs, and feet styles.

The sofas in the next two photos show, first, a band of trim on the bottom, and secondly, a band of contrast fabric on the skirt.  These upgrades are often a minor charge for a lot of pizzazz.  sofa with contrast trim on bottomsofa with skirt and contrast band

If you have a vision, it is a possibility.

Now that you know what to consider when purchasing a custom sofa, you are ready to go make your space one that you and your guests will love.

If you still aren’t sure what you want out of your next sofa, our team would love to help.  Our retail shop carries several wonderful upholstery brands and they are willing to take the time to help you understand your options.  If you need even more hand holding, our design team is available for in home projects.  Just let us know what you need by contacting us here:!