Upholstery buying guide

Upholstery buying guide

Buying the perfect sofa or chair for your home means finding the ideal combination of style, comfort, quality and value for money.


Sofa and chair buying guide


At Furniture Village we have over a hundred gorgeous sofas and chair styles to choose from, in a choice of sizes, colours leathers and fabrics, and all under one roof. So, whatever your taste and budget, you’re sure to find something you’ll love.

This guide explains the different options available. If you have any questions, our experts in store and online are here to answer your questions and offer sound and practical advice.


Choosing your new sofa

Shape, size and style
The shape, size and style of your sofas and chairs will have a huge impact on the look and feel of your room.

Choosing the right size is important, it’s important to make sure your furniture is in proportion to the dimensions of the room, and to the height of the ceiling. See our measuring guide.

It’s important to think about the configuration of the furniture in the room. Two small sofas will look very different to one large sofa with chairs, so think about what will work best for you and your family.

Modular furniture is incredibly flexible. A corner sofa can mark out a ‘relax zone’ in an open plan living space, but can also save space in a smaller room.

Style is a matter of personal taste, and you’ll probably recognise what you love when you see it, so it’s a good idea to look at as many different styles as you can. We have a wide choice of modern contemporary, or classic traditional styles to choose from.

Sofa and chair arms can be wide or narrow, high or low, contemporary or scrolled. Backs can be high or low. Lines can be curved or straight, colours neutral or bold. Chaise-end sofas and sofas with recliners are very on-trend, while leather sofas are available in more colours now than ever before.


Colour and patterns
Most of the sofas and chairs at Furniture Village are available in choice of fabrics or leathers, or sometimes both (see below for advice on the pros and cons of each).

Once you have decided on your fabric or leather you can then choose from a range of colours and in the case of fabric covers, patterns to suit your décor and your taste.  Bearing in mind what is practical (pale colours are not always suitable for homes where there are young children, for example), you can either choose neutral shades and classic patterns or bold colours and contemporary patterns.

When you are choosing the colour of fabric or leather for your sofa or chair, we suggest you look at the swatch in both natural and artificial light, to make sure you are happy with the colour in both.


Frames and support systems
Frame: A sturdy frame means a long lasting piece of furniture. At Furniture Village our frames are tough, strong and durable enough to cope with demands of everyday life.

Support: Our sofas have a number of different support systems, from traditional springs and webbing to serpentine, pocket or zigzag springs and sprung edges.


The all important ‘comfort layer’ of your sofa is provided by the fillings.

  • Foam  Foam gives the firmest feel and retains its looks best. Manufacturers of traditional furniture prefer foam fillings.
  • Fibre  Fibre is a man-made synthetic filling, usually wrapped in  fabric. Fibre offers medium to soft comfort, depending on the density of the filling. Cushions must be plumped daily to retain their shape.
  • Feathers  A soft, luxurious option, cushions filled with feathers must be plumped daily to keep their shape and comfort. If you like the feather effect but are allergic to feather fillings, our sofa experts will help you find a soft alternative.

Our designers often use a mix of fillings – for example foam cushions with a fibre wrap, or feather cushions with a foam core. Try them all before making your choice.


Fabric or leather?
We offer a fantastic range of sofas and chairs in fabric, leather or a mix of the two.

Here is some more information about the wide range of leathers and fabrics available, to give you an idea of what might be the most practical for your home.

Leather (hide)
All of Furniture Village’s upholstery is upholstered in 100% leather. Only leather upholstery can claim to improve with time, developing a character all of its own. Each hide is unique and there are several different treatments to create different looks.

  • Corrected grain leather is particularly durable, easy to care for, and excellent for a family environment.
  • Semi-aniline leather is very soft, bringing a real sumptuous feel to your furniture.
  • Aniline shows off the natural features of the hide and is very soft to the touch.
  • Natural leathers, including Nubuck suede, oiled, waxed or hand finished hides all show off the unique natural characteristics of the leather.

Faux leather
Faux leather is not used by Furniture Village for our upholstery collections. It is only for selected kitchen chairs and bedsteads.

  • Faux or Bonded is a durable coated surface backed with eco friendly recycled leather fibres. Bonded for additional strength and durability, it feels great to the touch and offers fantastic value for money.
  • LeatherLux™ is man-made to match the texture, colour and feel of family friendly leathers like corrected grain. It's often combined with real leather so LeatherLux™ gives you a great looking, high quality sofa at outstanding value for money

Our sofas come in a wide choice of fabrics, including formal velvets, soft chenilles, hard wearing microfibres, faux suedes and woven designs.

When you’re choosing a fabric, it’s important to consider what is most practical for your home. If you have children, or if the sofa or chair is to be situated in a ‘heavy traffic’ area of your home, then you may wish to choose a tough, tightly woven, more durable fabric. If a sofa or chair is to be in a bedroom, spare room or hallway, then you might choose something like chenille, silk or velvet. Our sales consultants are experts on the pros and cons of different fabrics, and are happy to give advice.

Whatever fabric or leather you choose, it’s important to care for it properly, to prolong the life of your upholstery. See our upholstery care guide here for advice.

Whether you’re looking for style and practicality, comfort and support or are looking for something to suit your own distinctive style, remember to explore our All Sofas page.


Your sofa buying checklist:

  • Measure carefully!  Avoid disappointment – measure up to make sure your sofa will fit through doorways, halls and up stairs. For help, see our measuring guide.
  • Try before you buy  Come along to your nearest Furniture Village store to try out your favourite sofas or chairs, and for expert advice. We provide cookies, tea and coffee to keep you going!
  • Protect your investment  While everything at Furniture Village comes with a 5 year quality guarantee, it’s worth asking about Guardsman too, giving your furniture extra protection for your peace of mind. 

We hope that you find furniture you’ll enjoy for years to come. Our Upholstery Care Guide explains more about how to care for your sofas and chairs, to keep them looking their best.

While everything at Furniture Village comes with a 5 year quality guarantee, it’s worth asking about our 5 year Guardsman Protection. This excellent cover plan will protect your new sofa or chair from accidental damage. It’s well worth the extra cost to relax and enjoy your new furniture, worry-free.