By Tameka Norris
Do you have a small living room, dorm room or apartment that is in need of a sofa? Are you unsure of what to purchase in order to incorporate both comfort and spaciousness?
If you already have a small space, the last thing you probably want is a large sofa that makes the room appear even smaller. After a hard day at work or school, you want to relax in your home, not feel confined and claustrophobic in a small living area due to a bulky piece of furniture.
The difficulties inherent in a small living room are not insurmountable. There are various options to choose from in small-scale sofas. You do not have to forego style and comfort to save on space!
What to Look for in a Small Sofa
There is more to space saving design when it comes to seating in a small living or family room than choosing a loveseat. You might be asking yourself what other options are available. Surely, a sofa’s dimensions are not the only avenues that need to be investigated, right?
Correct! There is more to choosing a small sofa than just its size. Along with size, there are different sofa features that are available that make a sofa appear sleeker and less bulky.
It is important to have a sofa that would not overpower the space in your small living area.
What Makes a Sofa Appear “Small Scale”?
Besides size, there are different sofa features that make it appear sleeker and trimmer. In other words, perfect for a small space. These features include:
* Few curves with clean, straight, and simple lines
* Straight or no arms
* Legs remaining visible underneath the sofa, that is, they are not covered by upholstered flaps
Futons also have features that give this sofa a small-scale appearance. They have simple, straight lines, narrow arms, with no upholstered flaps. Although many are wider than what would be considered small-scale, their simplicity makes them a natural for small spaces.
By simply changing the cover of a futon, you have the ability to change its overall look. You can go with a more traditional feel by having a design of large flowers and leaves on a subdued color palate of dark brown and beige. Or, if your style leans toward contemporary, you could choose plain beige, black or any other neutral color.
With their sleek, simple lines, most futons naturally have a modern contemporary look. However, this can be curtailed into a more traditional look with the use of different designs in coverings.
The other wonderful feature of a futon is its ability to be changed into a bed. Once the cover begins to wear, it is easy to replace with a new one.
Taking Size into Account
Most sofas for small spaces range in size from 72 inches or smaller. It should be noted that if you go too small, you might end up with seating for two instead of three. That is, you’ll end up with a loveseat instead of a sofa.
If you wanted something smaller than a loveseat, you could purchase a settee or Chair and a Half. Chair and a Halfs usually range around 49″ or smaller and settees range between 40 to 50 inches in length.
Below is a list of measurements to help you remember approximate sizes of small-scale sofas as compared to loveseats and settees. Make certain to take measurements of the space you need to obtain seating for before making a purchase. This will alleviate any unnecessary headaches and hassles from purchasing the wrong size seating for your room.
* Small Scale Sofas: 72″ or smaller
* Loveseats: 63″ or smaller
* Chair and a Halfs: 59″ or smaller
* Settees: 49″ or smaller
Use the above list as a guide, not as a hard-and-fast rule. There are sofas, loveseats, Chair and a Halfs and settees that do not meet this criteria. However, the above measurements are the norm.
Also, it is possible to find a sofa that is over 72″ that would still afford your room a spacious feel. For example, if you discover a sofa that is over 72″ with a sleek appearance and no upholstered flaps, it may work perfectly in your room if space allows.
It basically comes down to your individual taste.
Another option for a sofa in a space that would normally fit only a loveseat would be to look for sofas without arms. This would allow seating for three instead of two. Sofas usually have large arms that take up a fair amount of unnecessary space. By eliminating arms, you would increase your seating area!
This may not be for everyone, as you may not find an armless sofa comfortable enough for you. However, due to its space saving potential, it is worth investigating.
A Word to Those Lovers of Traditional Furnishings
Small-scale sofas tend to appeal more to lovers of modern or contemporary furnishings than those who prefer traditional. This can be disappointing if you prefer traditional furnishings, but you need a space saving sofa!
If your taste leans toward traditional, the sleek, straight lines of contemporary furnishings may appear cold and sterile and would not lend to the homey warm feel that you enjoy.
You should keep in mind that it is not necessary to purchase a sofa with all the features noted previously. For example, you could purchase a sofa with arms and legs that have curves instead of the contemporary straight lines. If the curves are not too thick, then this may satisfy your desire for a traditional look while still saving on space.
Having a small living room, family room, dorm room or living room has its disadvantages when it comes to seating. You want to get the most “bang for your buck”, by having as much seating as possible while still giving your room a spacious feel. Not always an easy feat in a small space!
There are particular features in a sofa that would give it a small-scale look such as straight lines, small arms and legs that raise the sofa. You could even maximize your seating by purchasing an armless sofa. This would allow seating for three instead of two.
Even if you do not appreciate all the features listed above in a sofa, you can pick one feature and look for other features that you love. For example, if you have a traditional lean in furnishings, you could purchase a sofa with curved arms and legs, but have it raised off the floor by legs uncovered by upholstered flaps. This way, you achieve a spacious look (by the negative space left underneath the sofa) but retain your unique sense of style and taste in the sofa.
Bottom line, you don’t have to sacrifice your style in home dcor to achieve a spacious feel in a small space.
About the Author: Tameka Norris offers space saving tips and small scale furniture recommendations for small rooms, homes, apartments, dorms, and small condos at her website