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Most people think about looks first. So what styles are trending this season? Charlie Marshall, founder of furniture brand Loaf, has noticed a dramatic increase in bright colours, which he attributes to social media. “A few years ago, it was all about neutrals, but I think with sites like Instagram, there’s plenty of good inspiration out there making it easier to get stronger tonal colours right,” he says. “We’re noticing that our customers are becoming much bolder with colour and gone are the days of ‘greige’.” Charlie notes that grape, berry, and mulberry shades are increasingly sought after.

When thinking about the hue of the cushions, Claire Hornby, creative stylist at Barker and Stonehouse, suggests: “For the ultimate in creative expression, style your sofa with primary colour pops”, with opposites on the colour wheel making a real impression, like oranges with bold blues, or pinks with greens.

A sofa is a solid investment that you want to last so considering the hardware and durability is key. Charlie recommends you check that the sofa has a solid beech frame held together with screws and dowels – not glued and stapled chipboard versions which break easily and won’t last. Be sure to ask about materials and consider the quality of the coils too. This may mean paying a higher price, but buying cheap will inevitably involve re-buying later down the line. Ultimately, a sofa has to be right for the residents of the house. According to Charlie: “For a family, I’d always suggest a clever fabric as they’re easier to clean should anything get spilled!” Claire also recommends leather for family spaces: “Leather is a wonderfully versatile and practical material that looks great.” For homes with pets, Claire advises against materials such as velvet: “The key to picking a durable sofa is research - not only should it complement your décor but your lifestyle as well.”

Remember to think about the space you are filling. Claire points out: “It’s important to consider the style and function of a room before choosing your sofa.” Perhaps it’s a high- ceilinged period house, or a small lounge area where you’re working to create an illusion of space, this all influences the model you should be selecting. “Petite designs that take inspiration from mid-century silhouettes look wonderful in smaller, formal spaces, while much larger, open-plan living rooms allow for greater opportunity to experiment with coordinating sofa and armchair collections,” Claire adds. L-shaped sofas can work well to increase the space in a restricted setting but they’re not just for corners, and can create a cosy hub too. And finally, don’t forget to measure up carefully - both the room and any dooryways you need to get the sofa through.

 Barker and Stonehouse