What to think about when buying a sofa
3 years ago · Products · 9 min read

What to think about when buying a sofa

Buying a sofa is a big decision. It’s an investment piece that has to do multiple jobs: provide ultimate comfort for box set binging sessions, offer plentiful post-dinner seating for family and friends, withstand crawling toddlers and persistent pets. And it has to look good, too. Quite the tall order.

To make it a little easier to figure out what’s going to suit you best, we’ve put together a handy guide to buying a sofa, from suitability and sizing to fillings and fabrics. Once you’ve armed yourself with all the information you need, have a browse of all our seating here. Happy reclining!

What kind of sofa should I buy?

In the main, people are usually looking for one of two types of sofa: occasional and everyday. Using the word occasional in relation to a sofa might sound weird, but think of it like this.


This might be a sofa you have in a reception room, or as a handy statement piece in a bedroom, maybe. It’ll still be comfy, of course, but you’re likely to be doing less slobbing around on it. It’ll probably have a shallower seat depth and a more structured foam filling – and is more about elegance and poise than hours and hours of everyday use. Basically, it’s style made manifest.

The Valentine (above), Oslo and Calla ranges are great examples of occasional pieces


This’ll be your hard-working all-singing-all-dancing sofa, probably in the living room. It’ll likely have a deeper seat, a fibre or feather filling, and will be lower to the ground. Think of it as the heart of the household – the sofa equivalent of a hug after a long day – that’ll cope with multiple bottoms and lots of clambering.

The Seattle (above) and the Perth are super comfy everyday options

What size sofa should I get?

Our sofas come in a wide range of sizes, but to give you a general idea, we’ve put together a table with their approximate widths and depths. Please check the individual product details for specific dimensions.

What’s the difference between fillings?

At Swoon, we have a range of fillings (and combinations of those fillings) so you can find exactly the firmness and feel you’re looking for in your sofa.

Foam is always firmer when it first arrives, but it will soften over time – so bear that in mind when you first sit down. It maintains its shape more than other fillings, so it bounces back when you get up. It’s durable, too, so it will last a long time. It’s generally associated with a cleaner aesthetic because it holds its form so firmly.

Think of fibre as a happy middle ground between foam and feather. It has more bounce-back than feather and requires less plumping, but it’s not as firm as foam. It’s also a good option if you’re looking for a softer feel but you’re allergic to feathers.

Feather is as dreamy as it sounds: it’s the super soft luxury option that you sink into straight away. It’s got less spring-back than other materials, though, so will require more plumping.

There are also combinations of materials. We do both foam with a fibre topper, and foam with a feather topper. These are other in-between options that offer the durability of foam, but require less plumping than full fibre and feather options.

Backs, seats, arms and legs

Fixed back and seat

The Vincent with its fabulous fixed back

Fixed back: These are generally lower maintenance because there’s no plumping involved – they’re just part of the sofa frame. They’re usually made of foam, too, so they tend to be firmer. However, the elastic webbing between the frame supports allows some bounce.

Fixed seat: These are more likely to be made of foam because they’re in a fixed position. As we mentioned earlier, they’ll soften over time, and in general have a cleaner aesthetic.

Cushion back and seat

The Sutton‘s superbly squishy cushion back

Cushion back: These usually have removable cushions, and are often made of fibre or feather, so they’re softer. You have to plump them more regularly to keep them looking their best.

Cushion seats: These can be feather, but some are also made of fibre and some of foam. They’re moveable and, especially with feather, will need plumping.

Both our fixed and cushion seat bases have serpentine springs that extend when you sit down, and make the whole thing even comfier.



These are usually roll and scroll arms; they’re synonymous with a more classic, traditional look.


These arms are simple, pared back and often fairly chunky. They have more padding and are usually deeper than other designs.


These are usually fixed arms that are part of the back of the sofa itself. They’re delicate and rounded, and tend to have a slight flare.


The arms on these slim-framed sofas are usually around medium height, quite squared off and have a minimalist vibe.


Apart from the full plinth, which is attached to the sofa body, our delivery people will attach the sofa feet for you when we install your sofa in your room of choice.

What’s the difference between fabrics?

Check out our full range of seating here.

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