If you’re a furniture newbie, some aspects of couch shopping can come as a surprise — like double checking every room measurement before you scout styles so you don’t wind up with a couch that looks all wrong or (heaven forbid) doesn’t fit. Length and width are more than just measurements; these figures can impact delivery, furniture arrangement and the furnished room’s balance and harmony. Take time to do all the math so your couch looks like it’s been custom-made just for your room.
Factor in Other Furnishings. Choosing the right wall for a couch is serious business – particularly if you plan to mount a flat screen TV, place over-size tables on either side of the sofa or you are restricted by the floor-to-ceiling or panoramic windows that were reasons you chose the space in the first place. By measuring all of your furnishings and assessing the amount of space they take up, you may be surprised to learn that the couch size you had your heart set on isn’t really doable.
Factor in Room Dimensions. Floating couches, sofas, settees and loveseats are trendy and fashionable, creating mid-room enclaves or seating vignettes adjacent to a fireplace or another focal point. As long as your room dimensions can accommodate this style of set-up — that means, there is ample room to walk comfortably around the couches — go for it. But if you long for this room arrangement but your room calculations are discouraging, don’t give up the dream. Obtain exactly the same cozy feel by substituting two loveseats for sofas.
Factor in Room Use. Perhaps you’re buying a couch for a multi-use space – e.g., your dining room or a porch flows into the living room and you plan to use a couch as a room divider. You can do this just as long as the couch doesn’t block traffic flow. Here’s another trap to avoid: if your couch doubles as a sofa bed that’s used frequently, floating it between living spaces can create serious problems for guests. Find another piece of furniture to divide that space and place the sleeper bed in an area that offers more privacy.
Factor in Architecture. You may be surprised to learn that even homeowners applying due diligence when measuring rooms can forget to take into account architectural elements like stairs and doors. Circular stairs can be a serious barrier to transporting a long couch upstairs — matter of fact, it may not even make the trip if you forget to match up the sofa dimensions with the stair walls. Short couches can present problems, too, if they’re too wide to fit through a front door opening or narrow passageways, reasons to take a tape measure to every opening through which your couch will pass before you buy it.
Factor in Lifestyle. If your world is heavily populated, sectional seating not only looks great but it comes in individual sections that fit through all sorts of door widths, hallways and stairs. But if this space-hogging sofa style won’t fit, don’t give up. Take this tip from interior decorators: measure a diagonal line across the room and place the couch at this angle to maximize seating space. Finally, if TV viewing is a priority in your home, assess the distance between couch and screen for optimal viewing. Crunch the numbers yourself by multiplying your TV screen size by 1.5 or go to myhometheater.homestead.com and let the site do the math if you’re sick of measuring and computing numbers.