Let's be real, the last thing you want is a sofa that’s the wrong size. Too small and you won’t have the space you need for Netflix binges and afternoon naps. Too big, and you’ll block the traffic and run out of space for the rest of your furniture. So how do you get the right size sofa for both your comfort and the size of the room?
For most people, the ideal sofa is 40" deep, 84" long, and 34" high with a 17" seat height. But you can (and should!) customize each of those dimensions to fit your height, the size of the room, and how you want to use the sofa.
When you’re looking for standard couch dimensions, consider these aspects, then take a hard look at length/height/depth and make sure it’s all the right fit.
The way you can move around your sofa will make a big difference in how your entire space feels. You should be able to move freely throughout the room (a sofa that gets in the way will end up being a regrettable purchase, no matter how beautiful it is). Make sure the shape and size you consider doesn’t box you in. And of course, it shouldn’t block any doors or windows! If you have trouble getting in or out of the room, or have to shimmy between a pieces of furniture to sit down, you’ve chosen the wrong size.
Existing Furniture & Architecture
If your living room has a fireplace, built-in shelving, windows, doors, or closets, you’ll need to work around those. Make sure you triple-measure the distance between those elements, so everything is proportional and fits properly.
If you have a coffee table you want to work around, make sure it can be about 14"-19” away from the sofa. Other furniture should be between 30"-36” away so there's ample walking space.
How do you plan on using the sofa? This will absolutely help in determining the size. If it’s for a formal sitting room or waiting room, a smaller, more upright couch is perfect. But if it’s for napping, lounging, and family movie nights, you’ll want something big, deep, and comfy. It all depends on what works best with your lifestyle.
Most people go for a traditional sofa with 2-3 cushions and arms on the side. But you can also consider a sectional, or a more nontraditional shape.
Sectionals are great for open floor plans, as they act as a barrier between the living space and the kitchen, for example. Just make sure the sectional doesn’t block the traffic or the door – the L-side should always be against a wall, or further from any walkways.
The ideal length of your sofa depends greatly on the size of the room, and how you plan on using the couch.
First, measure your existing space to figure out the maximum length your couch can be. Take into consideration traffic patterns, windows, and door access. If you’ll want to put tables, lamps, or other seating on either side of the couch, account for the size of those additional furniture pieces as well.
To get a good idea of what size sofa will work best in your space, try cutting out a large piece of butcher paper into the proposed length of the sofa. Make sure you can walk around it, fit all necessary furniture, and still get to the door. Don’t forget to measure the length or height of your elevator if you’ll need to use it to get the sofa to your space!
How many people would you like to fit on your sofa? This will determine the number of cushions you use. If there are only two cushions, three people typically won’t sit there. If it’s very long, use three cushions. But if it’s shorter, and you still want to fit more people, use one long cushion.
If you want to fit more than three people, a sectional is a great option! That way, everyone can find their own corner to sit in and enjoy a movie night. Sectionals come in compact, apartment-sized options, or large L-shaped and even U-shaped, so you can comfortably fit everyone.
Would you like to be able to nap on the sofa? Select a sofa size that’s 90” long or longer – or, at least 6” longer than your tallest family member. If it’s a sofa going in an office or bedroom, it probably won’t need to be that long.
The average sofa depth is around 36,” but can be deeper for more lounge-y feel (38-42”) or shallow (30”-34”) for better back support and a more formal look.
The ideal depth of a sofa really comes down to comfort and existing furniture. The seat depth is what will most contribute to overall comfort of the sofa.
And the best way to figure out what depth you find more comfortable is, of course, to explore! If you already have a sofa, measure the depth and have a seat. Is it comfortable? Does it allow you to easily do whatever it is you want to use the sofa for? When visiting other people, take note of the depth of their sofa and see if it’s more or less comfortable than other depths.
Shorter people or children may enjoy a more shallow sofa, as they can sit back against the cushions and still reach the floor with their feet. Shallow sofas also provide better back support, so it’s a good choice for reading, an office, or a waiting room.
If you like to curl up on your sofa, something deeper will give you plenty of room to do that. Deep, plush sofas are often preferred for lounging around and watching television.
You should look at the depth and the height to ensure comfort, especially if you’re buying online and can’t try it out for yourself. Look for a combined seat height and depth of 40”-44” (40” if you have short legs, 44” for long).
Again, the ideal height is determined by your comfort and the size of the room. If you have 8' ceilings, you'll want a low sofa, which gives the impression that the ceiling is taller than it is. Alternatively, tall rooms look great will taller sofas.
If the sofa is going under a window or a painting, just make sure it doesn’t block anything.
If you’re considering a sectional, a lower back will make it look less imposing, especially if it isn’t against a wall. A 32” back will keep a sectional from becoming overwhelming.