The right sofa can really bring a room together. And, let's face it, as an essential fixture for Netflix marathons, comfort is an obvious priority. But there are important aspects to consider when searching for the perfect one: Does the color match the other palettes in the room? How does the seating arrangement breathe new life into your space? We tapped interior designer Alex Papachristidis, author of The Age of Elegance: Interiors ($40; amazon.com), who gave us some nuggets of décor wisdom. Read on for his tips.
—With reporting by Anne Vorrasi
1. Consider Your Proportions
“Good proportion is the most important factor [when choosing sofa for a small space],” says Papachristidis. Lean arms and exposed legs lend your furniture a lighter feel and will make a room appear larger. A cohesive, tonal color scheme generates a sense of openness and harmony, while a distinct contrast can overwhelm tight quarters. “A sofa that pops out too much instantly seems heavy,” he warns.
2. Always Give It a Test-Drive
No matter how tempting an online sale may be, “don’t buy a sofa without sitting on it first,” says Papachristidis. The dimensions should suit your height for napping and perching. For supreme comfort, go with a loose-back style (one with nonattached cushions, above). “The back pillows should be filled with down so you sink into them, and seats should be made with foam wrapped in feathers—they’re long-lasting and require minimal fluffing.”
3. Don't skimp on the styling.
How many pillows you add depends on the type of couch. “Use fewer on a loose-back sofa since you already get a cushioned effect from the furniture,” suggests Papachristidis. If you have a more structured shape, give it an inviting air by piling on the poufs—and toss a cashmere throw over the arm to keep things cozy. When it comes to accessorizing, Papachristidis prefers a bohemian groove to a traditional tailored approach. “I’ll often mix prints with solids and cotton with velvet, silk, and wool,” he tells InStyle.
For more armchair advice, check out the new lifestyle Q&A section in our March 2016 issue, now available on newsstands and for digital download, and send our editors your lifestyle questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.