Although many homes have both, yesterday's "living room," the room where people did most of their living, including visiting, snacking and watching TV, has been replaced in most homes by the family room. Homes which have both rooms usually relegate the living room to more formal, (and seldom used) furniture and the room takes the place of the parlor of bygone years. In either case the furnishings for living and family rooms are similar.
Sofas and chairs are the most significant furnishings here. In the family room, these items get extensive use, and where there are children and teenagers living, trampoline-like quality is essential. Although inexpensive sofas look good on the showroom floor, they are best used in areas that receive minimal use. Sofas built using high quality foam and spring systems are expected to last from 10-20 years. Budget-priced sofas are lucky to last half as long with regular daily use. A good warranty from a reputable brand name will absorb much of the worry that comes with buying a new sofa expected to last from 10-20 years.
With so many choices in the market place, most customers benefit by developing a relationship with a knowledgeable salesperson. At House of Oak & Sofas, the sales team is trained to help the customer efficiently eliminate hundreds of sofa styles and hone in on a choice that satisfies. Sales personnel are also trained in color coordination and style trends to assist the customer in making a smart choice.
In choosing your sofa, function and aesthetics require equal consideration. The people who will be using the sofas should spend a few minutes sitting, or lying, on the sofa being considered. The depth of the sofa, measured from the front edge to the back seat cushion is a critical measurement for comfort. Tall people need more depth, short the opposite. If your feet can not rest comfortably flat on the floor when in an upright, sitting position, your legs will tense up the longer you sit in the sofa. If people intend to recline on the sofa, then the arm should be comfortable and not too high so it can serve as a pillow.
Aesthetically speaking, most people want the sofa to look inviting as one enters the room. Sofas and chairs "beckon" for us to sit in them. A sofa filled with dressy pillows says, "go sit somewhere else." Colors can be equally inviting. When choosing a sofa, the wall colors, the color of the other furniture, and most importantly, the color and design of the rug that sits directly in front of the sofa, should be considered. Again, if you feel lost in making these decisions, just bring your color samples and fabric swatches to the store and we will assist you. In large rooms, the area rug in front of the sofa will help to settle the eye on the seating area, and give a feeling of restfulness to the room. Depending on the size of the room, a 6 x 9 rug is usually sufficient although larger rooms can use the 8 x 11 size and expand the "seating circle."
Today most people prefer using a solid color or "body cloth" on the sofa and save larger patterns for accent pillows and side chairs. Seldom do customers use the same fabric on all pieces: the exception being the case in formal settings. Contrary to popular myth, you can still buy sofas with narrow arms. The wide arm craze of the late nineties left many people shaking their heads when they went shopping for a smaller sofa. At House of Oak & Sofas we have always offered numerous sofas starting at 72 inches long.
Finally, in considering occasional tables for this room, House of Oak & Sofas will often recommend solid wood tables, especially if children and pets are a part of the family. These little tables get shoved around a lot. Therefore, solid legs firmly attached to solid frames will provide many years of use. Glass is great for more formal rooms, but it looks best with daily cleaning. There are thousands of table choices in the marketplace, many including a mix of wood, iron, metal, glass, stone and plastic. Once again, your sales person will help guide you through the choices--whether you are buying something you see on the floor or in a catalog.
Finally, many people ask which piece they should buy first. At House of Oak & Sofas, our philosophy is to buy something with which you fall in love, and buy other things that coordinate with that piece. This might be as simple as a painting, (which you may already own) or the sofa itself. Purchasing from the heart, rather than from "this week's special" or "rock-bottom pricing" will usually help you create a room in which you will look forward to spending as much time as possible.