What to look for when buying a new sofa

Buying a sofa can be a big investment so it’s important to make an informed choice. The right sofa in a room can draw people together, make your ‘me’ time more restful and help us to create habits and rituals that improve our everyday living.

Arrival Hall stocks a robust selection of sofas from renowned international furniture brands, so we've put together some helpful advice on what to look out for when purchasing your next sofa!

1) Size & configuration

The size of the room and the intended use of the sofa are the main factors to consider when choosing between a 2 seater, 3 seater or corner sofa. Allow sufficient space for ease of movement & walkways and be sure to account for the dimensions of other pieces of furniture that will be placed around the sofa such as a coffee table or armchair.

If the sofa is intended for watching TV on, pick a sofa with a generous seat depth to sink into. We also recommend adding a chaise or ottoman that will allow you to put your feet up for extra comfort. For larger families or entertaining guests, a corner sofa can be a great option or consider pairing a 3 seater with a 2 seater.

2) Design & colour

Your choice of sofa design & colour will depend on the overall style of your interiors and colour scheme. Scandinavian sofas typically feature clean lines with an understated & timeless elegance. Modular sofas are a popular style with Scandinavian brands and characteristically have deep seats with several modules that can be combined in different ways allowing for greater flexibility.

While neutral colours such as beige & grey are always a safe bet, you may prefer to make a statement to your lounge room by selecting a bolder colour sofa. It may also be worth noting that while dark colours are good at hiding stains, they tend to accentuate the appearance of light coloured fluff and pet hair. 

3) Fabric or leather quality

Look out for technical information that will help you determine a fabric's quality & longevity. Here are the terms to look out for and what they mean:

Martindale: measures the abrasion resistance of a fabric and ranges from 10,000-120,000, with 120,000 being the highest abrasion resistance. As a rule of thumb, the abrasion resistance for hard wear should be above 20,000, but in daily use an abrasion resistance of up to 10,000 is more than enough. Fabrics with a martindale above 80,000 are suitable for using in public places, such as airports, lobbies and suchlike.

is the term for the small balls of fabric that form on the surface of fabric as a result of friction, which give the fabric a slightly 'furry' appearance. There will always be some natural pilling on your sofa in the beginning until the excess fibres have gone. Pilling is evaluated on a scale of 1-5, indicating the risk of pilling or loose fibres. 5 is best and our upholsteries are always at least 3.

Light- fastness: describes a fabric's ability to withstand sunlight. Nylon and cotton usually have a low light fastness, while wool, acrylic and polyester have a higher light fastness. The scale ranges from 1-8, where 8 is highest and best. The higher the light fastness, the better the fabric is at withstanding sunlight without losing colour. We recommend against selecting a fabric with a light fastness below 4.

Apart from fabric, leather is also a beautiful, high quality option that comes at a higher price point. Leather is a soft, pure natural material that can vary in its appearance and react to its surroundings. Hence, variations should not be viewed as defects, but as natural characteristics of genuine leather. 100% traceable leather means that the manufacturer can ensure the quality as the journey all the way from producer to end user. It gives more transparency, honesty and opportunity to ensure that what ends up in your home is of the highest quality.

4) Comfort

  • Material
    Different materials can feel different against the body and the comfort of one material over another often comes down to personal preference. While some people absolutely love the warmth and tactile feel of pure wool and other blends, others may prefer fabrics with a smoother feel against the skin such as velour or leathers.
  • Seat depth
    For the purpose of more formal interactions, it would be more comfortable to choose a sofa that has a more shallow seat whereas a deep seat is important if you intend to be seated on the sofa for long hours. Cushions are also an essential addition for any sofa as they provide that extra bit of back support when leaning back or neck support if you intend take naps on the sofa.
  • Filling
    Our sofas from Bolia.com allow you to choose between firm or soft seating. The firm seating with cold foam gives a tighter appearance to your sofa, and the soft down filling is more pliable and needs to be beaten a little more into place.

5) Warranty

Finally, when making your purchase, find out about the warranty period of your sofas to ensure you are covered for any functional, material or manufacturing defects on your sofas. It always pays to invest in reputable brands that provide honest craftsmanship and quality furniture that lasts.


Please feel free to get in touch with us if you need any further help in making your sofa selection. If you are unable to pop into our store, we can arrange to send swatch samples out to you by mail and can walk you through the process of picking the perfect sofa over the phone or email!