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The kind of sofa you should buy

Interior décor

New couch on your mind? This sounds like a walk in the park. You will stroll into a furniture maker’s workshop or showroom. Then you will pick what you like or go through pictures, place an order, state your colours, choose fabric and bam! 

Or even worse you will download a picture from Houzz or BHG and march to your fundi and say, “Omosh, nataka hii design exact lakini yangu ikuwe brown na yellow!”

Most buyers end up buying the wrong couch in size, colour or style and end up paying so much for something they don’t enjoy having. Here are few things to consider when ordering or buying a new couch:

Size and position of your door

Most doors are 32 inches wide. If you are blessed with a wider than standard door, you won’t have a problem. So your door is 32 inches wide but the position of the door (read last apartment on the aisle with a wall smack adjacent to your door) is not working out. Your lovely couch may not go through the door. These are things you need to tell your furniture maker.

If you have narrow staircases, disclose this as well. Nothing is as bad as a perfect sofa that has to be taken apart to fit through the door. If your fundi advises that the particular seat will not go through the door, you might want to alter the style a bit or change the entire style to something different.

Size of sofa vs size of room The size of sofa you buy should fit perfectly in your space alongside your other furniture. A sofa may look small in a showroom and be ginormous in your living room. To stay safe, always buy or order a standard sized sofa. If you have more space to fit a larger than standard sofa also ask for the same. This might cost you an extra amount because furniture is quoted according to size.


What feel are you going for? If you want to sit on a surface that feels firm, opt for a plywood base underneath your cushion. Other options are coil springs for a super bouncy feel or webbing for a basic feel.


The type of fabric you choose will depend on the texture you prefer. Some people prefer a smooth feel to their fabric others like heavy-duty fabric with rough texture. Choose fabric that will withstand the traffic and lifestyle of the occupants of your house. The fabric you choose should also be easy to clean and maintain.


Ensure your frame is sturdy and not squeaky. If you sit on either side of the seat and it squeaks, it means the frame has a loose gap, or the nails or screws are not all the way into the wood. If you are buying a coil spring seat, a squeak could also mean the coils are broken. Have your furniture maker fix it before you purchase it.

Type of cushions

There are different types of foam cushion densities in the market ranging from soft or standard to medium density, high density and super density.

The higher the density, the firmer and more lasting your seat will be. The lower the density, the more comfortable. If foam cushion is not your thing, you can opt for a hollow fibre filled cushion. This type will cost a lot more and fibre flattens or clumps up out within a short period. Granted it will not last as long as foam cushion but what it lacks in durability it compensates in comfort and squishiness.

Another thing to note is fibre cushions are not as well streamlined in shape as foam cushions therefore you might want to insist that your fundi uses a piping cord to give it some form of shape. If you want to have your cake and eat it, ask for foam cushion of your choice to be wrapped in a single or several sheets of fiber. This will also cost extra.

Arm on left or right

Picture this, you have bought or custom-made the perfect one-armed L-sectional sofa or a divan. It is the right colour, fabric and size. You get home, Lo and behold! the arm is on the wrong side! Always ensure you visualise how the seat in the picture will sit in your floor.

If you don’t mention this, your fundi will make it exactly as is in the picture. If you need to switch the arm, visualise yourself on the couch and where you want your arm to rest. Do you want your arm to rest on the right or left? If you visualise your arm position while standing and facing the couch, you will get the wrong arm position.


You will come to understand that a (3,1,1) and a (3,2) or a (3,2,1,1) and a (3,2,2 )are different things. They are both 5 and 7 seaters respectively, but one set has more pieces than the other. If you have more space to fill, you will need a four-piece seven seater instead of a 3-piece one. Remember to state what configuration you would like your seat to be made in. 

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