How To Choose A Sofa

Your seating arrangement is the nucleus of a good living room. It should be conducive to conversation and relaxation and further the feeling of pleasant togetherness. This means that you will need chairs and sofas to suit different tastes and purposes. The Conran Shop’s buying guide will help you make a perfect choice.

Space & Size


If you are thinking of buying new furniture, it’s a good idea to get manufacturers’ catalogues and work out dimensions, cut out paper models to scale, then try them out on the room plan before committing yourself to buy.


When measuring for a sofa, the dimensions of your hallways and entryways are as important as the space available for the sofa’s final destination, so you’ll want to take careful measurements. Just because the sofa fits into the room, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get it down the hallway when it’s delivered, so do take extra care and do a thorough access check. Delivery is included with every order, so once you’ve chosen and ordered your piece, we’ll call you directly to book a delivery time.


Once you know what’s possible in terms of access dimensions, you can start to choose or design your sofa. Our bespoke service means you can request almost anything, with over 3,000 options available, from armchairs up to 5-seater sofas, and including corner units, all available in a range of styles and fabrics.


We offer a comfortable range of pricing, including entry pieces with prices starting at around £900. Whilst furniture is an important investment, and worth choosing with great care, good design doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank.

Style vs. Function


Whether you’re decorating a city pad or a country house, you’ll want to consider some style options, as well as the functions to be served by the room in question. Children and pets will also need to be taken into consideration if you have them. If your style preference is more minimal, you may wish to choose from our contemporary or designer pieces. We offer design classics, exclusive pieces created in collaboration with iconic designers, and pieces from iconic brands such as Knoll, Gubi and Vitra. We also cater to more traditional and classic tastes.

How Many Seats?


Two-seater sofas are useful because they take up much less space than do two easy chairs. They also give mass and weight to the composition of your furniture, which might otherwise look disjointed. Bear in mind that while three-seater sofas will look nice in a large room with generous proportions that need to be complemented with a large furnishing element, neither great comfort nor any real conversation is achievable by three people in a row – two talkers are all that they will happily accommodate, although they will, of course, take three TV watchers or listeners to music.

Sofa Beds


For multi-purpose rooms and smaller spaces, you may want to consider a sofa bed. As the need has grown to make use of every inch of space, the ubiquitous sofa bed is one of many ways to camouflage a sleeping area, or to maximise hospitality options in lieu of a guest bedroom.


With the increase in popularity, sofa beds have become easier to use as well. The latest designs offer stylish sofa beds without sacrificing sleekness or functionality. Sofa beds will either have a back that folds down flat, or a collapsible bed frame concealed within the base.

Caring For Your Sofa


Your sofa is an investment and should last you a good ten years at least, longer if you take good care of it. Bear in mind that care instructions will vary by model, so always check the individual care requirements for the piece you purchase. In terms of general guidelines:


An uneven floor will damage the frame, so make sure your sofa sits flat.

Regular shaking, patting and plumping of the scatter cushions will maintain their shape.

Rotate your seating and backing cushions to keep the wear even and maintain shape.

Sitting on the arms will eventually cause the upholstery to distort.

If you have children, there is little point in using anything but washable loose covers and sponge able surfaces. Trying to prevent sticky finger-marks rather than being able to deal with them easily adds unnecessary tension to family life.

Your chances of removing spills will increase the faster you attend to them. Always test your cleaning products on a small section of the fabric before use.

Fixed-cover upholstery needs to be cleaned whilst on the frame and should be done using a professional cleaner, ideally around once a year.

Build Your Own

Our bespoke furniture service covers both classic and contemporary styles of seating, up to 5-seater sofas, all designed in-house. These are bespoke in terms of style, colour, and fabric, and are exclusive to The Conran Shop. Things you’ll want to consider if you’re going to have your own seating made with us, include the base, fabric, filling, and shape of the seat back.



The bases available are either metal or wood, and can be raised up, or low to the floor. Bear in mind that the eye registers unbroken areas of floor and wall, and the same area broken up will look half its size. For this reason, furniture with light legs or bases, or wall mounted, will make a room feel larger than the same pieces solid to the floor.

Our Fabric Edit


Each piece in The Conran Shop’s Build Your Own range is available upholstered in material from our exclusive collection of fabrics. From beautifully grained leathers to finely woven linen, the collection includes the perfect fabric to suit your space. Discover more about the exclusive fabric edit.



The filling for your sofa seat and back will influence the comfort and longevity of your purchase, so it’s worth choosing carefully. Foam is a very common filling due to the firmness and comfort it provides, but if a softer seat is your preference, you’ll want to consider feather filling. Feather and foam is a good compromise and helps the sofa retain its shape, compared to pure down which will eventually become lumpy.

“Buying a sofa is a big decision. I’m constantly amazed that people often do it without considering any of the things that will go with it. Never be afraid of rolling up the rug that will lie in front of the sofa and taking it along to the shop; it is so important how things work together. You wouldn’t buy a pair of shoes without thinking about what clothes they would go with.”


Sir Terence Conran, The House Book, 1974