For every type of space and every type of use, there’s a right type of sofa. Here’s how to get rid of the confusion and find the right place to sit.


By Esther Taylor


How do I know what type of sofa to choose for my space?

All the Secrets You Need to Know About Choosing the Right SofaThere are two different types of sofas to choose from – those that stand on legs and those that drop down to the floor.

When I am designing a smaller room, I would select a sofa that stands on legs as this allows the eye to run underneath the sofa creating an illusion of space.

I like to use sofas that go down to the floor in larger more casual room settings such as a den or a playroom.

What about the style of the sofa? And the style of the overall space?

All the Secrets You Need to Know About Choosing the Right SofaThere are two different sofa styles –  those with an upholstered frame and those with loose cushions. I don’t have a particular preference as to when to use each type but those with an upholstered frame require less upkeep as sofas with loose cushions require regular plumping to keep them looking in shape. When choosing a sofa for a playroom, I would recommend not to go for any type of buttoning detail on the seat or back as this is tricky to clean. When selecting your size of sofa, in order for it to fit into a specific space, ensure that there is at least 30 centimeters(1 foot) left either side of the sofa (more if possible).  I like to balance out a sofa with a side table on either side and accessorize the area with either a lamp, ornament or flower arrangement. This lifts the level of the eye into the room and creates a sense of proportion ensuring that each piece of furniture has its place.

What do I need to know about the extra little details?

All the Secrets You Need to Know About Choosing the Right SofaWhy not make a statement with your sofas! If designing a custom sofa, I love to pipe a sofa in either a different colour or textured fabric.  I like how this enhances the shape of the sofa. When there is a formal arrangement (e.g. sofas positioned in the middle of a room), think about using a contrast fabric on the back and sides for additional detail. When a sofa is up against a wall, think about adding a detail on the back cushions such as chesterfield buttoning for additional drama. Ensure that the main fabric is hard-wearing but enhance it with contrast cushions that can be dry cleaned if necessary. When choosing a fabric, it is all about the scale equation. One large scale print needs to be balanced with a smaller print. This also needs to be balanced with textures. I try not to use two patterns of a similar size.

What kind of pillows should I go with?

All the Secrets You Need to Know About Choosing the Right SofaIf the sofa fabric is busy, go for a solid-colored pillow in a textured fabric. If your sofa has piping, use the color of the piping, which brings the theme together. I love to add a pop of colour in the cushions. I frequently use a different front and back fabric on the pillows, which gives you the option of turning them around to mix things up abit when you want a new look without having to buy new pillows.


What about what’s inside the cushions? What filling is best?

I always go for a feather inside which is wrapped in foam for both seat and back cushions. These cushions quickly return to their original shape and won’t leave “bottom” marks when sat on! Scatter cushions are more luxurious when filled with feathers but take note these will require regular plumping. One last point – always make sure your pillows have “waists”  – squash both sides in so the sides of the cushions are in the shape of a “V”.  This makes for a luxurious looking pillow.

About Esther Taylor:

Born and raised in London, Esther Taylor attended the Chelsea School of Design and has a lifelong passion for all things design. She counts her father, a carpenter by trade, as her early inspiration. Esther’s clients range from international property developers to private home-owners and she takes on each assignment with equal passion and energy.

Esther’s personal style is simple and elegant with a touch of glamour. She works with a mixture of textures, layers, fabrics and finishes and uses bold statement colours as readily as neutral earthy tones. Whilst her distinct style shines through each project, Esther’s adaptable approach enables her to work seamlessly across a wide spectrum of properties and developments. Follow her on instagram for daily inspiration. Website: and instagram @esthertaylordesign



  1. I have somewhat floral design on my carpet in main living room. Looking to buy new sofa and chairs. Not very formal but not casual. Can I go with pattern or keep to solid colors?
    Can you mix and match prints?


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