A close-up image of a Conran Shop sofa with pillows in neutral and orange hues.

How to Choose a Sofa

Your seating arrangement is the nucleus of a good living room. It should be conducive to conversation, relaxation, and pleasant togetherness in any corner. This means that you will need chairs and sofas to suit different tastes and purposes. The Conran Shop's modern, luxury buying guide will help you make a perfect choice.

Space & Size

If you are thinking of buying new furniture, it’s a good idea to work out dimensions, cut out paper models to scale, and then try them out on the room plan before committing.

Just because the sofa fits into the room, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get it down the hallway on delivery, so take careful measurements. We do recommend you complete your own Access Check before ordering.

Once you know what’s possible in terms of space, you can start to choose or design your sofa. Our bespoke Build Your Own service means you can create almost anything, with over 9,000 options available.

If you decide that it is time to invest in a new sofa, we offer a complimentary collection service in partnership with the British Heart Foundation, to help rehome your preloved items.

We offer a comfortable range of pricing; whilst furniture is an important investment, good design doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank.

Style vs. Function

Whether you’re decorating a city pad or a country house, you’ll want to consider some style options, as well as the functions to be served by the room in question. Children and pets will also need to be taken into consideration, if you have them.

Whether your space is modern and minimal or more cosy and traditional we offer a range of styles to suit all interiors styles. Choose from the contemporary curves of our award winning Arbor, designed by Matthew Hilton for The Conran Shop, or explore the more classic shapes of Chiltern or Harper. All ready to upholster in our extensive range of fabrics, from luxurious Italian velvet, to richly textured Boucle.

How Many Seats?

Two-seater sofas are useful because they take up much less space than do two easy chairs. They also give deep mass and weight to the composition of your furniture, which might otherwise look disjointed.

Bear in mind that while three-seater sofas will look nice in a large room with generous proportions, neither great comfort nor any real conversation is achievable by three people sat in a row, although they will take three TV watchers or music listeners.

Sofa Beds 

For multi-purpose rooms and smaller spaces, you may want to consider a sofa bed. As the need has grown to make use of every inch of space, the ubiquitous sofa bed is one of many ways to camouflage a sleeping area, or to maximise hospitality options in place of a guest bedroom.

With the increase in popularity, sofa beds have become easier to use as well. The latest designs offer stylish sofa beds without sacrificing sleekness or functionality. Sofa beds will either have a back that folds flat or a collapsible bed frame concealed within the base.

Caring For Your Sofa

Your sofa is an investment and should last you at least ten years; longer if you take good care of it. Care instructions will vary, so always check the individual requirements for your furniture. In terms of general guidelines:

  • An uneven floor will damage the frame, so make sure your sofa sits flat.
  • Regular shaking, patting, and plumping of the scatter cushions will maintain their shape.
  • Rotate your seating and backing cushions to keep the wear even and maintain shape.
  • Sitting on the arms will eventually cause the upholstery to distort.
  • Trying to prevent sticky finger marks often proves fruitless, so washable covers are the way to go.
  • Your chances of removing stains will increase the faster you attend to them. Always test your cleaning products before use.
  • Fixed-cover upholstery needs to be cleaned whilst on the frame and should be done using a professional cleaner, around once a year.

Build Your Own

Our bespoke furniture service covers both classic and contemporary styles of seating, up to five-seater sofas, all designed in-house. These are bespoke in style, colour, and fabric, and exclusive to The Conran Shop. Things you’ll want to consider, if you’re going to have your own seating made with us, include the base, fabric, filling, and shape of the seat back.



The bases available are either metal or wood, and can be raised, or low to the floor. Remember that the eye registers unbroken floor and wall areas, and the same area broken up will look half its size. For this reason, furniture with light legs or bases, or wall-mounted, will make a room feel larger than the same pieces solid to the floor.

Our Fabric Edit

Each piece in The Conran Shop's Build Your Own range is available upholstered in material from our exclusive collection of fabrics. The collection includes the perfect fabric to suit your space, from beautifully grained leathers to finely woven linen. Discover more about the exclusive fabric edit.


The filling for your sofa seat and back will influence the comfort and longevity of your purchase, so it’s worth choosing carefully. Foam is a common filling due to its firmness and convenience, but if you prefer a softer seat, you’ll want to consider feathers. Featherd and foam are a good compromise and help the sofa retain its shape, unlike pure down, which will eventually lump.

“Never be afraid of rolling up the rug that will lie in front of the sofa and taking it along to the shop; it is so important how things work together.”

Sir Terence Conran, The House Book, 1974