The Sofas & Stuff sofa buying guide

The Sofas & Stuff sofa buying guide

A sofa is where many of life’s moments unfold, from family gatherings to quiet nights in. Buying a new sofa for your home is a significant investment in creating a cherished and comfortable living space.

We deeply understand and appreciate the journey of buying a sofa that you truly love. The below sofa buying guide is your gateway to the ideal settee for your home, considering each aspect of the process to ensure that the delivered piece is everything you expect and more.


Buying with Sofas & Stuff

Purchasing an upholstered sofa from Sofas & Stuff means investing in a custom-made piece of furniture which expresses the essence of your lifestyle and home décor tastes. Our extensive range of sofa designs, fine quality fabrics and bespoke detailing options offer the opportunity to select a sofa that reflects your personal style without compromise.

Every sofa is crafted with an eye towards lasting beauty and enduring comfort, ensuring your handcrafted piece remains a cornerstone of your living space for years to come. We believe this is not only kinder to our planet but also gives your bespoke piece genuine value, affirming your investment.


Types of sofas

A ‘sofa’ can encompass a variety of distinct shapes, sizes and uses. Ahead of purchasing your new piece, consider which of the following sofa types might suit your living space best in look and functionality.

Classic sofas

A staple of a comfortable living room, but with versatile applications across the home, classic sofas, settees or couches are likely what comes to mind when you first think of the term.

Corner sofas

Wadenhoe corner sofa in Portland Brass velvet with natural daylight shining in the window behind it

Perfect for rooms with a little extra space, such as main lounges, a corner sofa is L-shaped or U-shaped, helping to define a living area and offering somewhere for the whole family.

Corner sofa buying guide


From a cosy reading nook to a statement design flourish, an armchair is a versatile piece of furniture that completes any room and serves an array of functions.

Armchair buying guide

Snugglers and loveseats

Abbotsbury Snuggler in Linwood Freya Mineral Contrasting Scatters in Cosmos Mineral Rugs supplied by Rugs of Petworth Landscape

A snuggler, or loveseat, delivers the comfort of a classic sofa on a smaller scale. They provide an exceptionally comfortable spot for one or two – including four-legged friends.

Snuggler buying guide

Chaise sofas

The elegant silhouette of a chaise sofa is instantly recognisable and enhances a range of spaces. Our corner-style sofas with a chaise end blend classic design with modern comfort.

Chaise sofa buying guide

Sofa beds

Big 3 seater sofa bed in Oak Leaf printed fabric design

For rooms with more than one function, a sofa bed offers comfort in both the sitting and sleeping experience. It is typically a classic sofa style with a pull-out luxury mattress.

How to choose the right sofa for you

Before making your decision, consider the below points. These pre-purchase considerations will guide you to choose a sofa that aligns with your daily life, factoring in everything from space and layout to pets or hosting habits.

Our homes host life’s array of moments, from daily comforts to special occasions. Each room, with its unique role – or, indeed, multiple roles – contributes to our home’s narrative.

Ahead of purchasing your sofa, consider the type of room you will be furnishing and how your new sofa will enhance its functionality and look. Is it a shared space, such as a lounge or conservatory, where comfort is paramount? 

Or, perhaps it is a more formal room, such as an entertaining space or study? In these cases, a more structured silhouette or decorative accent piece may be preferred. 

As well as different types of sofas, our range has been carefully designed to suit a host of room styles, from traditional settings to more quirky spaces.

Measuring your available space is one of the most important steps ahead of purchasing your new sofa. 

When taking measurements, keep in mind the proportion of your sofa – such as height and depth – as well as its width. For sofa beds, it is important to consider the full, extended measurements of the piece to foresee any potential placement issues.

For a more visual approach, plot out your measurements using newspaper or tape, ensuring you leave sufficient room to move around the sofa or place existing furniture.

In addition to the measurements of your room, consider its layout and the placement of your new sofa. Here, balancing both design and functionality can create a truly harmonious living space.

In many cases, your sofa will be the largest piece of furniture in a room, making it an instant focal point. From a functional perspective, consider how easily it can be navigated around, preventing issues with movement and flow through a room.

From a design point of view, consider how you will create balance in the room; for example, a pair of armchairs across from your main sofa can create a beautifully proportioned feel. Reflect on the effect you want to create with your sofa, from carving out conversation areas to providing calming views out of windows.

Delivering your sofa to its new home requires some consideration for accessibility. Our highly skilled delivery team will do everything they can to make the process as seamless as possible.

Before making your purchase, consider the path from the entrance of your home to the designated room. Measure the doorways, hallways and any stairs leading to your living space to ensure your new piece can reach its destination safely, as well as limit any damage to your home.

Check ahead of time for any impediments such as overhanging trees or overly narrow spaces.

As well as the room itself, consider lifestyle elements that can impact the decisions you make for your sofa. What are the dynamics of your household? For example, are there children or pets who might necessitate more durable or stain-resistant fabrics?

Do you often host guests, requiring a larger sofa or more options such as armchairs or snugglers? Reflect, also, on your daily habits – do you use your sofa mainly for relaxation, entertainment, or as a multipurpose space?

The right balance of comfort and support in your sofa directly correlates with your physical well-being and ability to relax at home. 

Depending on your individual preferences and needs, the ideal level of comfort and support can vary. Consider how the sofa will be used daily – whether reading, watching TV or hosting guests – and choose a design that caters to these activities, from slouchier styles to more structured support.

We believe the opportunity to try and test in person is an invaluable part of the sofa design journey. Visiting one of our nationwide showrooms is your chance to see colours and textures up close and spend some time relaxing in different sofa silhouettes.

We encourage you to pay us a visit ahead of any purchase, taking advantage of our wide range of display models and the indispensable advice of our expert design consultants.

Our sofa sizes

Our classic sofas are available in four sizes; 2 seater, 2.5 seater, 3 seater, and 4 seater. 

While the below dimensions come as standard, with variations of up to 3 cm due to their handmade nature, we are able to modify seat depth to allow for a deeper or more shallow seat. 

For more comprehensive dimensions and measuring guides, select individual models on our website.

Sofa size Width measurements
2 seater From 135 cm to 180 cm
2.5 seater From 160 cm to 200 cm
3 seater From 174 cm to 225 cm
4 seater From 204 cm to 246 cm

Sofa shapes

Along with the upholstery of your sofa, its shape is an important expression of your personal taste and interior design sensibilities. All of our sofa designs are crafted to offer timeless beauty that transcends trends; below are just some of the design options available to you.

Sofa backs

The back of your sofa is a question of both personal style and comfort needs.

Cosy Aldingbourne sofa in Grain Sack Stripe
Aldingbourne 3-Seater Sofa in Grain Sack Red

A cushion back sofa is the most common sofa design, with two to three large cushions of equal size slotted neatly together, creating a cushioned back to lean against.

Helmsley 3 Seater Sofa in Mohair Fir with Seat and Back Cushions in Trailing Ivy Olive and Small Trailing Ivy Olive
Helmsley 3-Seater Sofa in Mohair Fir with Seat and Back Cushions in Trailing Ivy Olive and Small Trailing Ivy Olive

A scatter back sofa, also known as a loose back or pillow back, is more informal in style, consisting of multiple smaller cushions arranged casually to cover the back of the sofa.

Kentwell Sofa in Covertex Passione Olive

A sprung or fixed back sofa dispenses of cushions or pillows altogether. Instead, the back is sprung and integrated into the sofa design, offering an enhanced level of support.

Arncliffe Sofa in Traditional Vintage Velvet Olive

A buttoned back is typically a fixed back with buttoning detail in lieu of a smooth finish, achieving a classic Chesterfield-style look.

Sofa arms

Desired look, comfort and space availability will all influence the type of sofa arm you are seeking.

Alwinton 3 seater sofa in Floral Linen Fabric - Lela Mystery Indigo
Alwinton 3-Seater Sofa in Floral Linens Lela Mystery Indigo

Howard arm, or English roll arm, sofas are beloved for their classic appeal and timeless elegance. They are defined by a gentle curve and pleating of the upholstery fabric, with the low-level arm stopping short of the front of the sofa.

Haresfield 3 seater sofa in Sole Linen fabric
Haresfield Sofa in Sole Linen Natural

Often found in more modern homes, square arms create a more angular, defined look. Versatile and sleek, they can be found in many of our contemporary styles, including in a sloped configuration.

3 seater Saltdean sofa
Saltdean 3-seater Sofa in Textured Plain Bianco

A tapered arm offers a similar look to a square arm, with the added visual appeal of slight tapering at one end.

Masham 3 seater sofa in Floral Linen Carcassonne Laurel
Masham 3-Seater Sofa in Floral Linen Carcassonne Laurel

A scrolled arm is another of the more traditional sofa arms but can be suited to a variety of homes. Specific examples are Lawson arms, pleated arms and sock arms.

Sofa seats

One of the central elements of your sofa, the seat can be tailored to match the comfort level you seek.

Holmfirth 2.5-seater Sofa in Varese Primrose

Fixed seats are incorporated into the sofa design and are sprung and upholstered. This creates a refined look, making them particularly suitable for pieces in a more formal setting, or if you prefer low-maintenance seating without the need for cushion plumping.

Graphic floral patterned sofa
Pugin 3-Seater Sofa in VA Brompton Collection Floral Scroll Chilli

Cushioned seats typically have one to three cushions resting on the base of the sofa giving a heightened ‘sink-in’ feel. These can be filled according to your preference, and come in a range of styles such as bench seats, box cushions and J, L and T cushions.

Sofa legs

The legs of your sofa add the last flourish to a design, ranging from classic to contemporary in style and available in several finishes. Some of our sofas incorporate more than one style.

small sprung back 2 seater sofa in V&A Drawn from Nature Willow in Navy
Lyndhurst 2-seater Sofa in VA Drawn from Nature Willow Navy

A turned leg is a delicate, decorative design, sometimes with castors, crafted by rotating a wooden dowel on a lathe.

Bespoke Waverley sofa
Waverley 3-seater Sofa in House Velvet Terracotta

A tapered leg is contemporary in style, with sleek straight lines that taper at the bottom.

Big Softie Sofa in white with rug and wooden chair
Big Softie Straight Arm Sofa in Sahara Chalk

A platform or plinth base gives the appearance of the sofa being sat on a solid base without visible legs, and is typically upholstered.

Stockbridge Sofa in Askrigg Smoke

Block feet are modern and unadorned in style and are typically wide, shallow and square, made of wood in varying finishes.

Close up of the scroll arms on the Lewes sofa
Lewes Sofa in Walloon Stripe Red

Discreet in appearance and used in both classic and contemporary designs, bun feet are similar to block feet but are instead round and shallow.

Grassington Small 2-Seater Sofa in Linwood The English Garden Spring Green

Sabre legs are gently splayed, curving slightly outwards, and are often used for back sofa legs.

Weybourne Sofa in Floreale

Although not a type of foot, a loose cover creates a skirting effect around the bottom of a sofa which conceals the feet.

Cushion fillings

The interior of your sofa cushions is central to the comfort of your bespoke piece. 

We offer three options to match your unique needs, offering varying levels of firmness and support, and can combine different sofa filling types if required.

  • A natural “sink-in” feel that moulds to the contours of your body.
  • Add texture and depth to your sofa which is difficult to replicate with other fillings.
  • Excellent temperature regulation properties, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  • Made from natural materials, duck feather is a biodegradable, renewable by-product.
  • Require a little extra care to maintain their look and feel.
  • A soft, bouncy and relaxed feel.
  • Hypoallergenic properties, ideal for those who are allergic or sensitive to feathers.
  • Made from 100% recycled plastic and 100% recyclable after use.
  • Scientifically designed to retain its shape and loft.
  • Requires some care and maintenance in the form of plumping after use.
  • An innovative approach to the traditional foam cushion, using a blend of duck feathers and Quallofil Blue fibre set in pockets around a foam core.
  • Foam core adds stability to the cushion while the feather and fibre mix gives a softer comfort.
  • Long-lasting structured and neat look with a firmer, bouncier feel.
  • Although 3F has great bounce-back qualities, we advise re-dressing after use.

Design considerations

Sofa upholstery

The freedom to upholster your sofa in any suitable fabric in the world is central to our philosophy. It is a highly personal choice, led by considerations such as existing décor, lifestyle nuances and your innate sense of style.

Our design consultants are full of wisdom about the thousands of fabrics on offer in our library. We heartily recommend speaking to the team at your nearest showroom; many of our customers are surprised to hear just how hard-wearing, versatile and long-lasting certain textiles can be in the home.

Below is some guidance which offers a helpful starting point to choosing a sofa fabric. We also invite you to select up to 8 free fabric samples to be delivered to your home.

Material type Features
  • Classic look and feel
  • Soft and durable
  • Available in a range of plains and patterns
Harris Tweed
  • Authentic and instantly recognisable
  • Hardwearing fabric
  • Timeless prestige and beauty
  • Natural fibre with a relaxed look
  • Breathable and often cool to the touch
  • Matures and ages gracefully
  • Add visual appeal
  • Create a striking focal point
  • Exclusive collections with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and V&A
  • Available in a range of hues and fabric compositions
  • Versatile and easy to pair with existing décor
  • Classic and timeless appeal
Stain resistant
  • Hardwearing fabrics in a variety of materials and shades
  • Easy-to-clean fabrics in a variety of materials and shades
  • Ideal for homes with children, pets or frequent guests
Stripes and checks
  • Classic and versatile patterns
  • Available in a range of shades and fabric compositions
  • Beautiful in a variety of interior design styles
  • A classic pile fabric
  • Luxury, opulent feel with a soft touch
  • Varying weave structures to give a smooth or crushed look
  • Smooth and soft feel, making it inviting and comfortable
  • Offers the look of cotton or silk with higher durability
  • Can be blended with other materials such as linen
  • Natural fibres
  • Long-lasting and durable
  • Naturally stain-resistant

Bespoke detailing

The beauty of our bespoke sofas very often lies in the details. Each individual piece is handcrafted by our skilled furniture makers in Preston and the combination of the sofa design, upholstery choice and bespoke finishes make each piece entirely unique.

Below are some of the ways we can tailor the details of your new sofa.

Contrast piping Contrast piping is a striking way to add definition to the lines of your sofa, in a complementary contrasting shade to your main fabric.
Custom scatter cushions Luxury duck feather scatter cushions upholstered in any of our fabrics, adding extra visual appeal and comfort.
Leg finishes Wooden legs can be finished in a variety of stains to blend in with your flooring or complement your sofa’s upholstery fabric.
Buttoning Hand buttoning creates a Chesterfield-style look, adding elegance and heritage beauty.
Fringing Adds a distinctive look to your sofa or cushions, available in a matching or contrasting shade to your main upholstery fabric.
Loose covers Many of our sofa designs can be tailored with the addition of a loose cover, offering benefits in maintenance and visual appeal.

Aftercare and maintenance

Coates 3-Seater Sofa in Mohair Indigo with Seat and Back Cushions in Gertrude Jekyll Meadow Flower Blue

Ensuring your fabric sofa retains its beauty and functionality for years to come is something we don’t take lightly. Our sofas come with a lifetime construction guarantee, underlining our commitment to quality and longevity.

Below are some tips to take care of your upholstered sofa. For more information, look to our comprehensive sofa care guide.

  • Regularly plump fibre or feather-filled cushions to maintain their shape.
  • Rotate cushions to ensure even wear and settling.
  • Use a soft brush or low vacuum setting for routine cleaning.
  • Avoid direct sunlight to prevent fabric fading.
  • Address spills quickly with a dry cloth, avoiding rubbing.
  • Consider Staingard™ protection for comprehensive cover against accidental damage or staining.


Come and visit our showrooms

Inspiration awaits in one of our 23 showrooms across the UK, where you can speak to our talented and dedicated design consultants. Experts in the sofa buying process, they will guide you through the design journey at your own pace, helping you discover the details that make your sofa distinct to you.

Browse our full sofa range online, find your local showroom to pay us a visit or book a one-to-one appointment with one of our team at a time convenient for you, and discover the art of bespoke design for your home.