How to choose a brilliant sofa: Four smart tips

Fact: a sofa deserves investment. This is where you should never scrimp. With some pieces of furniture you’ll forget you opted for a budget version, but a cheap sofa you’ll grow to regret. It will be uncomfortable (the ultimate sin) and wear quickly. But how do you find a seat that looks fabulous and feels wonderful every time you sink into its cushions? These are our top five tips…

1. If your sofa is being handmade, ask for 60% filling in the cushions. Often they are filled to bursting point and this can be rather uncomfortable.

2. Be careful about what you ask for when it comes to sprucing an existing sofa. Reupholster means taking the sofa back to the frame. Recover means changing the fabric (which is often what you need).

3. Shopping tip: have a look at Howard Chairs. It makes made-to-measure, traditional seats that suit your figure and are expensive but so sought after at auctions (which – if you decide to sell – is good to know).

4. Think carefully before opting for 100% down cushions. Although they are the most luxurious, they need a lot of plumping which can be a nightmare for those who really like a neat-looking sofa.

RITA SAYS… Three very smart seats…

Pretty comfort: “Spaniel”, 79 x 160 x 90cm, £7,800 excluding fabric, at Howe (lead time 10-12 weeks). This is a fabulously comfortable and pretty sofa. I love how delicate the arms are. Howe will also make sofas to a custom size.

Modern comfort: “Carmen”, 72 x 185 x 95cm, £4,508 excluding fabric, from Pierre Frey (lead time 8-12 weeks). This has an upholstered seat and back, but is incredibly comfortable. For a more traditional design, try “Sandrine”.

Custom comfort: “Oswald” from £1,260 excluding fabric, at Upholstery Techniques (lead time 4-5 weeks – trade only). The frames are handmade, so the sizes and cushion fillings can be customised.

MORE: For an in-depth view, check out Rita’s House & Garden column on sofas here.