Sofa and armchair buying guide

If you have questions about sofa styles, upholstery fabrics, recliners, headrests and more, as well as how to match sofa looks to interior design styles, you've come to the right place. Welcome to the Furniture Village sofa and armchair buying guide.

What's the right piece for you and your home?

These days, there are so many living room furniture options available - sofas in all sizes, chaise end sofas, sofas with recliners, armchairs for two, storage footstools - and in a huge range of interior design styles.

Let's start right at the beginning and decide whether you need a sofa, a sofa bed, an armchair or a footstool - or even all four.


Whatever the design or upholstery fabric or size, every sofa comes in one of three basic looks.

Classic back sofas

Classic back sofas have back cushions that can be turned and plumped. There's usually one back cushion per seat cushion.

Fixed back sofas

Fixed back sofas have a tightly-upholstered back with a much firmer and more traditional look and feel.

Pillow back sofas

Pillow back sofas have multiple back cushions that are more like square accent cushions than traditional sofa cushions.

Sofa comfort guide

Find your perfect sit

How a sofa or chair feels is as important as how it looks. From soft, ‘sink in’ comfort to firmer support – find your perfect sit with our handy comfort guide.



Plush, sumptuous, soft cocooning comfort. Indulge yourself with deep, soft, squishy fibre, soft foam or down-filled cushions. You might want to stay all day.

In a nutshell: soft and luxurious.



Snug comfort with a bouncy feel. Think foam seat cushions which spring back into shape, or foam-wrapped, pocket sprung seat cushions for the perfect balance.

In a nutshell: comfy and supportive.



Extra support for a slightly firmer feel, without compromising on comfort. Look out for long lasting high-density cold cure moulded foam cushions and pocket sprung seats.

In a nutshell: lovely and firm.

Sofa beds

A comfortable living room sofa by day, the sofa bed quickly converts into an overnight bed for your guests. Learn more about sofa bed styles in our sofa bed article and below.

Chair beds

If space is at a premium but you still need to accommodate an overnight guest, a chair bed is a great choice. Chair beds look like armchairs but unfold into comfy beds for one person.

Sofa beds

Most sofa beds are designed to sleep two people. A 3 seater sofa bed will offer your guests plenty of room, while a 2 seater sofa bed will be a little more cosy.

Chaise end and corner sofa beds

A chaise end sofa bed or a corner sofa bed will give your family and friends plenty of room to lounge on by day and often incorporate storage for pillows and duvets.


Every home has an armchair that everybody fights over. While a sofa offers more room for sprawling out, there's something even more relaxing about an armchair that you can call your own.


The perfect seat for one, armchairs offer comfort and support with arms to lean against and a well-cushioned back.

Accent chairs

These look like armchairs - although they can be armless - and tend to be smaller. An accent chair makes the perfect extra guest chair or bedroom chair.

Cuddle chairs

Cuddle chairs are oversized armchairs that are designed to seat two in cosy comfort or one person who likes to spread out.


You can relax in any sofa or armchair but if you want to put your feet up you'll need a footstool. Footstools also make great impromptu coffee tables and guest seats.

Storage footstools

Storage footstools tend to be large and boxy and contemporary in style. Hiding a useful storage compartment under a hinged lid, they're a great choice for a compact living room.

Traditional footstools

As they don't have to accommodate a storage compartment, traditional footstools tend to have taller and more decorative legs as well as more comfortably cushioned tops.

How to choose living room furniture - all the questions you need to ask

Narrow down your options by thinking carefully about your family, your home and your lifestyle.


1. How many people do you need to seat?

It's an obvious question, but make sure you do a quick head count before you come to a final decision.

2. Does your family like to snuggle up together on one big sofa?

If sharing one space is going to cause too many arguments, consider two smaller sofas or an arragement of sofas and armchairs instead.

3. Is your family composed of tidy sitters or happy sprawlers?

If there’s a mixture of both, a sofa with recliners might be the way to go.


1. Do you have children or pets?

Consider family-friendly upholstery fabrics, or opt for loose covers which can be removed for washing.

2. Do you like to entertrain friends and family?

If you have a lot of visitors, opt for flexible seating like modular pieces or extra footstools.

3. How does your family like to relax?

Oversized sofas are great for family movie night, while armchairs make it easier to gather round a coffee table.


1. Is your living room spacious or small?

A sofa has to fit through the door, of course, and needs to be in proportion to the room.

2. Is your home traditional in style or more modern?

Large sofas work well in traditional rooms with high ceilings. Compact sofas may be better for modern rooms.

3. Do you have dedicated guest room?

If not, consider a sofa bed. They come in all looks so you don't have to sacrifice style for practicality.