100% handcrafted Irish made furniture 057 8626219 & info@finlinefurniture.ie
Screenshot 2024-01-10 at 10.01.48

Choosing The Perfect Sofa

January 10, 2024

Ask the expert: Interior designer Deirdre O’Connell answers your decorating questions.

What are some key factors to consider when selecting a sofa for my home?

Choosing furniture that fits into your design style is key. Starting with the all-important sofa, details like arm and leg style, colour and fabric will make all the difference in choosing a sofa to suit your room. If you have a more classic or traditional home, a sofa with a rolled arm of back will work well. If you want something a little more contemporary but still classic, you might look for something with a sloping arm and more laid-back in style. A firm favourite of mine, the refined yet relaxed loose cover Hannah sofa from Finline takes the best of Belgian chic and pares it with a tailored style. With an elegantly sloped arm and feather wrapped foam seat cushions. It is contemporary and comfortable.

Hannah (1)

The Hannah sofa by Finline, shown here in “Downham Fossil” fabric (from €2,315)

If your home is a little more modern, look for something with lower profiles and a wider arm. If your aesthetic is more eclectic, go for something that has more structure and a slightly bolder colour statement. If like most of us, you’re unsure or indecisive, go for something that’s streamlined and has a simple shape. It will suit most Irish homes and won’t date too quickly. The Sebastian sofa from Finline (The Sebastian Sofa by Finline, shown at the top of this article is “Plush Brick” fabric costs from €1,955) has a nod to mid-century design and is both understated and charismatic.

Screenshot 2024-01-10 at 13.08.02

Interior designer Deirdre O’Connell of Dtale Design is an advocate of Irish handmade sofas by County Laois makers, Finline Furniture

For sizing a general rule to follow is that your sofa should be two thirds the size of your room and if you have a coffee table, it should be two thirds the size of your sofa. Check the sofa depth too and make sure that it works for the space you have and for you and your family. Don’t forget to check the height to make sure you’re not blocking any windows or shelving.

How can I mix and match different styles of furniture while still maintaining a cohesive look in my home?

I avoid anything too perfect, or anything dated and fussy. I love to mix old and new in a contemporary setting with charming furniture and interesting touches. While you may wish to invest in new furniture for a variety of reasons, remember the world is already full of great quality furniture pieces which are looking for a new home. You’ll do your bit of the environment by re-housing pre-loved pieces from second-hand marketplaces, charity shops, antique shops, salvage yards and community markets.

Screenshot 2024-01-10 at 13.12.01

A family heirloom like this beautiful painting is a focal point in the Living Room. The sofa is the Heidi by Finline in Layla Mist (3 seater is available from €2,250)


What is most important when you’re looking for a new sofa?

For me it is quality first, and trying to balance that quality with price. As the phrase goes, buy nice or buy twice. I will look for a solid wood frame and seat cushions that have some level of foam, this prolongs the look despite the wear. Only buy a sofa you have seen and sat on. You must be able to experience the sofa you intend to buy. I love shopping locally and for sustainability and economics, I will choose an Irish company producing furniture over an import. I visited the Finline factory in Laois and I witnessed a huge team all unrolling fabrics, cutting wood, building wood frames, sorting patterns, upholstering, stitching, edging, padding and finishing. It’s a lovely, cacophony of Irish craft and design and quality is their drive. My parents had a Finline sofa bought decades ago and it’s still going!

Can you recommend some furniture pieces that are both stylish and functional for a small space?

Anything that provides storage in a small room is most welcome and if that piece also contributes to the style, it’s a win-win. An upholstered ottoman with deep storage is handy in the middle of a living room. An end-of-bed bench which stores blankets or shoes is useful. Finline recently added the ‘Harper’ bench to their collection and it’s available in all of their fabric selections. Sofa beds and storage divan bed bases are also practical.

Screenshot 2024-01-10 at 13.17.26

What are the latest trends in furniture and how can I incorporate them into my home?

I’m not one for trends or fast fashion in home furnishing. If you are, then silver, chrome and aluminium metals are big for 2024, as are chequered patterns, and fruity colours of peach and apricot. The use of colour in the home will return following seasons of neutrals, think jewel velvety deep and dark tones. One trend I will support is that of personalising your home, honing in on your own style and individuality and letting this play out in your design choices. Fabrics and upholstery are key to this, so buy from furniture shops which give you lots of choice.

What are some tips for choosing the right fabrics and materials for furniture that will withstand everyday use?

I start by asking who is using the house. A mum with three young kids and a dog will make different fabric and material choices to a mature couple who entertain. For busy households, choose durable, easy clean fabrics for your sofas and armchairs. There are great polyester velvets and weave fabrics available that are stain resistant, easy clean and that look great. There are pet friendly fabrics too.

Can you provide me with some recommendations for furniture layout and placement to maximize the flow and functionality of a room?

Measure up the room. You might have floor plans with measurements or else grab the measuring tape. Use masking tape to mark out shapes on the floor. A funny-shaped TV room will quickly rule out certain types of sofa.

Consider who will use the room, how many people, at what time of the day or year. Be honest with yourself, don’t plan a living room for 12 people for book club once a year if it’s usually two of you on the sofa.

Think about what format of sofa you would like. A three seater, pair of two seaters, a large corner, a chaise lounger or a modular, and what other furniture you would like in the room – armchairs, pouffes or ottomans, or two occasional chairs for example. This will help determine the format of sofa to choose. Shop from a store that offers choice of size, fabric and finish, it will save you lots of shopping time.

For beautiful quality, handmade Irish sofas and armchairs, visit www.finlinefurniture.ie. The Finline annual sale is on in all their showrooms throughout January

Back to Blogs <<