How to Find a Sofa to Fit Your Space

When choosing a sofa, the vast array of colours, shapes and textures on offer may make you feel a bit like a kid in a candy shop. It can be tempting to pick the biggest, most mouth-wateringly soft and juicy option but if it overwhelms your space then the overall vibe will be uncomfortable. Similarly, go for a small sofa that gets lost in your room and you will be left feeling hungry for more. Luckily there are a few basic considerations that will help you avoid both of these scenarios and instead find the perfect sofa size to fit your space.

The Room

Start out by evaluating the dimensions of your space with the help of two super high-tech bits of kit: a tape measure and masking tape. Measure its length and width as well as the height of the ceiling and any window sills. 

The official sofa rule book states that a sofa should ideally not span the entire length of a wall or have to be placed directly against it (cramped vibes will ensue). If your space has a low ceiling then a sofa with a low back height will trick the eye into thinking the ceiling is higher and make the space seem larger. Conversely, a high-backed sofa in a tall space will create a sense of balance and prevent the sofa from being dwarfed. 

Sofas ideally shouldn’t extend above the height of a window sill, especially in a small space where plenty of light will help it look and feel airy and open. Consider at this stage any architectural features, like a fireplace, that you might want to frame or face and also whether you want and have room for more than one seating area. If you don’t have room for more than one seating area than a sofa chaise or L-shaped sectional that utilises a corner is a great way to maximise space.



Armed with the room’s measurements, take your masking tape and create a sofa outline on the floor that is in proportion with the dimensions of the space. Play around with it to see what could work and don’t forget to take into consideration the scale of any pre-existing pieces of furniture. For example, if you already have a favourite coffee table, would a sofa with thick back cushions and deep seats mean that the coffee table is pushed way out towards the other side of the room? 

Factor in clear pathways – it may sound a bit woo-woo but an obstructed entrance way or furniture obstacle course is not only an impractical nuisance but will also seriously deaden the natural flow and energy of the space. You should be able to walk comfortably in front of the sofa without any awkward shuffling and, returning to the sofa rule book, a sofa size that allows for a gap of about 7 feet between it and a TV is ideal.

If you have a small space then aim to be as generous as possible with the size of your masking tape template and go for a sofa that really fills it out. It is better to go with a generous statement piece than to fill a small space with multiple small pieces of furniture that will make it feel crowded. 

You may want to consider maximising the seating potential of the sofa’s square footage, and keep the visual weight of the sofa light, by going for a slim sized back and arms. Few things emphasize smallness more than feeling uncomfortably crammed on to a sofa where valuable seat room has been eaten up by bulky arm rests and a sofa with low, narrow arms will also help your space to seem open rather than visually blocking it off into even smaller sections. 

A sofa that is raised up on legs will also allow you to go large without the visual weight of the sofa overpowering the room because the eye being able to see beyond the body of the sofa gives the impression of lightness and depth. Alternatively, if you have a large space to play with, a sofa that is not raised off the ground or that has a skirt covering the legs will have extra visual heft and an anchoring effect. This is especially helpful if you’re looking to create clear boundaries in an open plan space – between a kitchen and living area for instance – and a more warm, intimate seating area within it.

It’s also important to keep in mind how you actually intend to use your space when weighing up sofa size options. If its main purpose is to be a quiet zen-like zone where you can curl up with a good book then perhaps an intimate feeling love seat style sofa would be the perfect choice. 

All ready to start finding your perfect sofa? Why not head over and take our style quiz now, and get instant recommendations matching your style and budget.