Can a Sofa Be Too Big for a Room?


Pretty much everyone can agree the sofa is the centerpiece of the living room; it is the gathering spot and a place to decompress. Your couch is also a big investment, and you want to make sure you get the right sofa to suit your design tastes, lifestyle, and, yes, your living space. As such, you’ve probably thought a lot about your sofa’s style, material, and durability, but have you thought about its size yet? 

Can a sofa be too big for a room? It depends on your space and your lifestyle, but in general, your sofa should be in proportion with the rest of your living space. Therefore, you have to measure your living space and take it into consideration when selecting your sofa’s style and dimensions. 

It may seem intuitive that you put a small sofa in a small room and a large couch in a large room. That said, a big couch can make sense in a small room and be overwhelming in a larger one; what matters is striking a balance between your sofa and your other furniture pieces in the space you have available. 

How to Know if a Sofa is too Big for a Room

It will be pretty obvious to you that a sofa is too big for the room you want it in because it will feel uncomfortable and look awkward. You will likely get the impression that the couch is overwhelming and crowded, making it hard to use and enjoy the space properly.

Generally, you should measure twice and buy once when it comes to all furniture purchases, especially considering a sofa. It is not fun to move a sofa; you likely want to avoid having to move it in and out of your house multiple times. 

Can a Sofa Be too Big for a Room?

Yes, a sofa can be too big for a room. As mentioned above, a couch is too big for a room if it makes the room lose functionality or if you have to strain to use it. There are other design rules you might want to keep in mind to prevent you from buying a couch that is too big for your space. 

A couch is too big for a room when:

  • It takes up the full length of the wall it is placed on. 
  • It crowds the surrounding furniture. 
  • It does not leave enough space to properly distance the television.
  • Makes it difficult to get in and out of the sofa or use it comfortably

Let’s get back to the idea of measuring twice, and buying once: it is a general rule to ensure that there are at least 18-inches between each end of your sofa and the ends of each wall it is parallel to (Apt2B). Additionally, it is good to plan for about 18-inches between your sofa and the coffee table, and about seven-feet between the sofa and your television (NC Furniture Advisor).

What Size Sofa is too Big?

There is no such thing as a sofa that is too big in-and-of-it-self. As we have explained above, there can be a sofa that is too big for your space, but a sofa that is too big for you may be just right for the next person. Sofas are not one-size-fits-all, even if there is standardization among types. 

Ideally, you will accommodate your sofa to the size of your space, not the other way around. 

A Small Space Can Accommodate a Larger Couch

Part of good interior design is making the most out of the space you have by tricking yourself, and others, into thinking your space is more than it is. You can do this by using a larger couch in a smaller space. While this may seem counterintuitive to what we have been discussing so far, it is a common interior design ploy that you can use to your advantage if you play your cards right. 

To accomplish this and pull it off well, you may even have to break some rules we mentioned above, but what are rules if they were not occasionally broken? What you need to keep in mind is proportion! 

To make a small room feel bigger and incorporate a large sofa into a small space, you must keep all the other furniture pieces in proportion with the sofa. It may seem like common sense to put dainty furniture into a room to make space for the larger couch, but then the other pieces would feel out-of-balance. Similarly, you don’t want to overwhelm the space by going for equally overgrown pieces, so it is best to opt for midsize pieces to compliment the size of your sofa, but stick to minimalism, so you do not end up overwhelming your space (Home Guides). 

Before You Begin Shopping

It’s best to avoid falling in love with a sofa that is not right for your space, so before you set out on your couch-hunting expedition, you will want to get an idea of what size couch you are in the market for. Lucky for you, there is some standardization amongst common types of sofas. Your typical three-seat sofa, for example, is 34 inches high, 85 inches long, and 35 inches deep, and typically sectional-style sofas are larger than that (The Spruce). 

Even if you would rather shop for your sofa in-person, the internet is a great place to get sizing information for the style of couch you are looking for. Most furniture websites provide the dimensions of each furniture piece so you can use that information to see if your desired sofa fits the proportions of your space, using a designer recommended method. 

Note: If you do not see furniture dimensions for a particular piece online, you can get that information by calling customer support. 

What you will want to do is get some kind of masking tape clear out the floor space where you would like to put your new sofa. Then tape off the dimensions you found on your floor so that you can actually visualize the amount of space the sofa will take up in the room. Then, if you have it, arrange the other furniture pieces around that and see if everything still feels good and is easy to use and access. 

This website has some great tips for designing your living room space and gives some clearly laid out “rules” for keeping pieces in proportion with each other and the space itself. 

I Think My Sofa is Too Big?

Perhaps you are finding this article a moment too late, and you have already purchased and fallen in love with a sofa that may be too large for your space. Unless it really does not fit and cannot be used comfortably, you may not need to sacrifice it. There are design remedies you can employ to accommodate your space to your sofa. 

As mentioned above, make sure to keep the large sofa in-scale with your other furniture pieces. Then think hard about the placement of your couch. You want to avoid placing it in front of windows because it will reduce the amount of light coming into the room and really draw attention to the size of the couch. 

To this end, you will want to focus on light-colored furniture. If you picked a light-colored sofa, great! If you went for more of a statement piece, no fear, you could still balance it by sticking with light-colored and neutral pieces for the rest of your furniture (Apartment Therapy). 

This web page is a great guide for designing a room around an oversized sofa. 

Conclusion

Keeping in mind the general guidelines above, you can now feel confident selecting a sofa that is just right for you! Don’t forget that finding the right sofa is kind of like waling yourself through Goldilocks and The Three Bears; there are a number of factors in deciding what size couch is right for you, some may be too big, and others too small. Your task is finding the one that is just right

References: 

• apt2B, “How to Choose The Right Sofa Size For Any Space.” APT2B, 2018. Web.

• Abbas, Abe. “Standard Sizes for Various Types of Furniture.” The Spruce. 2019. Web.

• Dodd, Love. “Can A Sofa Be Too Big?” Dodd’s Furniture & Mattress. 2018. Web.

• Henderson, Emily. “The Living Room Rules You Should Know.” Emily Henderson. Web

• NC Furniture Advisor. “What Size Sofa Do I Need?” NC Furniture Advisor. 2016. Web

• Furniture.com. “How to Find the Right Size Couch for Your Room.” 2017. Web

• Arens, Jill. “Sofa Dimensions vs. Room Size.” Hunker. Web.

• Cregan, Lisa. “12 Important Things to Know Before You Buy a Couch.” House Beautiful. Web

• SF Gate. “How to Design a Room Around an Oversized Couch.” Home Guides. Web

• Mitchell, Nancy. “Don’t Make This Common Small-Space Furniture Mistake.” Apartment Therapy. 2018. Web

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