Think you're stuck with using basic (and boring) functional furniture in your small apartment? Think again. We chatted with Regenia Payne, creative director for Taylor King, a North Carolina designer and manufacturer of artisan-crafted upholstery, and got her tips for finding a fabulous sofa for small spaces.
First, know the dimensions of the space you're trying to fill. Then look at the measurements of the sofa and compare the length, depth and shape.
Next, take a look at the shape. "If it's overstuffed, is it going to look too crowded in the room? If it's more streamlined, then it'll appear like there's more room around the piece of furniture," she says.
Mid-size sofas typically range in the 70- to 80-inch range. "Some people even have to go down to a 60 inch, which would be about a loveseat size," Regenia explains.
The maximum size for a small space would probably be about an 84-inch length and probably no more than 38 inches deep. Regenia says a sofa that's more than 38 inches deep can sometimes look a little clunky. "Sometimes if they get really deep, then the proportions start looking out of whack with a smaller sofa length."
With so many options available, it can be tough to know where to even start in choosing a specific sofa design.
Regenia recommends looking at a transitional design — one with thin arms that are only 2 to 3 inches wide and looks more streamlined.
Those who want a more traditional-looking sofa should check out the English arm sofa because "it's a little more sculpted and sloped."
She recommends avoiding overstuffed sofa arms because they can look "big and clunky" and make your space look even smaller.
When choosing a sofa, the smallest details can make the biggest difference.
"In a smaller space, you may want to go with a tapered leg. That way the sofa has air underneath it so it doesn't look so boxy and clunky to the floor," Regenia recommends. "Sometimes the skirts can make it look more massive than it really is."
Just because a sofa is small in size doesn't mean it can't be big in presence. "If you use tufting and shape, that'll add to the depth of the sofa, which will make it appear bigger than it really is even though you're in a smaller space."
Make sure to pay attention to pattern. Some patterns can make a sofa appear bigger than it really is, Regenia warns. "If you put a plain fabric in a white or neutral, or a soft blue or green color, it'll make the sofa seem like it's a little more ethereal and give it some more air around the piece so it's just not so heavy."
You might be obsessed with hot pink, but that doesn't mean you should buy a whole sofa in the bright, bold shade.
"If you go with more of the middle and neutral tones, that's going to give you a lighter, airy feel," Regenia says. The "reds, golds and some dark browns can make it look a little more cramped."
She compared selecting a sofa color with painting walls. "If you use lighter colors the room seems bigger, and if you go with the darker colors on the wall it tends to make the space seem more confined."
You hear both of these terms tossed around. Do you ever wonder what the difference is?
Regenia says it's purely terminology. "Sofa" is the proper name used within the design profession and with the manufacturers, while "couch" is the slang name. It's street language vs. technical language.
What should you look for if you need a sofa that does double duty either as a guest bed or as office seating?
Looking for something a little more untraditional? Try one of these options:
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