After our beds, sofas are probably the place at home where we spend the longest amount of time. It is because of the long time that we spend on them that having the perfect sofa adds so much to our lives.
But how does one choose? There are actually three criteria to evaluate sofas - appearance, functionality and value.
The first is the sofa's look. Given how sofas lend a house a sense of luxury, design is the top criteria for many people. Here one must pay attention to the qualities of your desired sofa, including but not limited to its appearance and color and how they will appear in your room of choice - including how they interact with other pieces of furniture.
A sofa is often the centerpiece of your living room and will heavily affect its ambiance. Therefore, the size, color, materials used in a sofa all factor into deciding how your living room will feel.
Many people nowadays go on the internet to search for their ideal sofa due to the easy filtering many platforms provide. We have a point of advice for those aiming to do so.
Many sofa providers (at least within Japan) can make a sofa in a custom colors. Therefore, be wary to not be excessively influenced by those colors you see on screen. Even on our own website too, changing the colors of our photos affects the type of orders we receive.
What is important is not the colors you see on the screen, but how the sofa will look surrounded by your other furniture in your room. Try imagining that sofa in the context of your own home when deciding on a sofa to order.
The next thing to consider is the sofa's functionality. This can include any of the following - comfort, whether it can be laid down on, durability, ease of maintenance, ease of cleaning etc.
To be honest, it is rare to find a sofa that will be perfect in all aspects. Fluffy feather cushions may suffer from having their shapes getting deformed. A sofa made for sitting may not be the best choice for lying down. A brighter colored sofa will lead to a brighter room - but stains on light-colored fabrics are hard to ignore.
Priorities need to be made among all these criteria when choosing a sofa. We generally break these down into three types - design, exterior and the comfort of the seat.
"Design" here does not just refer to a sofa's appearance, but the product design that goes into it. This includes how tall the legs are, how much space they occupy, ease of cleaning, whether the elbows can be used as bookshelves or storage etc.
These are small details but are actually very important especially given how long sofas are used for.
The material used in the exterior will heavily affect both the appearance and the functionality of a sofa. The central question usually revolves around whether to use fabric or leather. Each presents its own set of merits and demerits.
Fabrics are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. This versatility makes interior coordination much easier. In addition, their permeability and higher friction adds to the comfort when sitting on them. Given the many types of fabrics available, there is also a wide variety of choices which fit your needs.
Cotton works well with Japan's four season climate. It absorbs and evaporates sweat in the summer, cooling users down. In the winter it absorbs and radiates body heat. On the other hand, linen can be washed and is cool in summer. Wool has a scratchy surface, but its cuticles and elasticity make it both stain and wrinkle resistant.
Many leathers are painted on, with the exterior layer protecting the leather underneath from stains and fading. These leathers may be good for those with young children or pets. Compared to fabrics, leather tends to be more durable and less likely to degrade with age. KOKOROISHI also offers leathers which are not painted - for more details do see this page.
While the above are important, as sofa makers we want to encourage you to pay the most attention to the comfort of the seat. After all, a comfortable sofa is a sofa that you will cherish for a long time.
On a side note, while costing less than getting a new sofa, replacing the exterior of a sofa is not cheap. On receiving the quotation for how much it will cost, a minority of our customers opt for a new sofa. However, the majority will opt for an exterior replacement with the most common reason being that they want to retain the comfortable seat that they have grown to love.
Our experience is that an uncomfortable sofa will not be used nor maintained enough to even warrant an exterior replacement. We sometimes see perfectly usable sofas discarded on the streets and that makes us honestly sad as craftsmen. It is for this, and to avoid waste, that we highly recommend choosing sofas based on how comfortable they are when sitting on them.
After filtering based on appearance and functionality, the next thing to consider is cost performance. Will you press for your ideals or will you choose a more economical piece? These are questions that customers have to think about given how sofas are not furniture which are easily replaceable.
We highly recommend that you avoid compromising regarding your sofa. The reason for this being that sofas bought through compromising are not sofas that you will likely to love and care for. The actual road to value for money - and not to mention quality of life - is to buy a sofa that you genuinely are attracted to. In other words, a sofa that you can commit to using and caring for for a longer period of time. If your budget is tight there is also no shame in delaying your purchase and saving for it.
We firstly listen to our customers needs based on these criteria and recommend you a sofa that will best fit your ideals. In addition, given the daily happiness that a good sofa brings, we encourage you to view sofas not as expensive purchases, but valuable ones.
While the appearance and functionality of a sofa is important, we also wish to remind you to take the comfort of the seat into consideration when choosing. We at KOKOROISHI are confident in helping you choose a sofa that you will use preciously for decades to come.