Monday, November 7, 2011

Couch Surfing USA!

Whether you live in New York City or not, the couch is still the central part of the living room. The design and flow of your living room or den is largely decided by the placement, size and color of your couch, not to mention the fact that the couch tends to be where most family members cool out after their workday. Okay, so the function of the couch as nap headquarters, make-out central and the place where your status as King/Queen Couch Potato is solidified is a bit more easy to figure than the design and flow (a term I still grapple with) of your living room but for the more in-the-know home owner, this is a large facet of how your home will look to visiting friends and family. Here are some things to look out for when choosing your next couch.

What Do You Do There? – For many, this is a given. The couch is largely a utility for relaxing and watching your DVR. There are others, however, who think of it like a nook, a small place to read a book with some sunlight; some people don’t even want a TV in their living room. Any NYC handyman will tell you that your television can be positioned nearly anywhere in the living room, so think more about light in this case. If you use it more for naps, try to get it away from the light; if you have kids, keep it away from the center of the room and allow them some room to roll around and play. Also, be aware, most NYC electricians can help you with your lighting to ensure that your space looks exactly how you’d like. 

What Look Are You Going For? – The regular three-cushion look is the most popular and its classic for a good reason. It optimizes your space and is the perfect size for couples with or without kids. There’s also the L-shape one (see below) which makes a cozy piece for the corner of the room and may be a better choice for bigger families and those who entertain more often. Configurations matter a lot here, so take measurements and consider the size of the area before deciding on what you want to pay for.

What’s The Mood of Your Room? – It pains me to write that rooms do indeed have moods. If your walls are a lighter (yellow or white), you’ll want to look for more pronounced, bold colors like reds and greens. If you have darker walls, you can either go darker with a dark brown/chestnut look or perhaps a nice, dark blue. You could also go for something lighter, even white, though I am hesitant to suggest such things as this can be a problem if you eat on your couch often and stains are a real possibility.

What Makes You Comfortable? – When you’re younger, you suffer with futons, allowing a perfect crash location for your drunk friends or visitors. As you get older, your tastes change (maybe) and you start thinking more about sitting down for a meal with a significant other, a beloved pet, your child or your closest friends. Do you like to sink into your couch or do you like a firm seat? Test out different fillings and see what suits you. Equally important is the choice of fabric. If you like a smoother surface, leather might be the best choice, though then its fickle to weather and makes odd noises. So then, maybe something more textured would be a better fit for you. Talk to your local furniture store salesman and they’ll help you with this as well.

In this particular fashion, I am deeply old-fashioned. Give me a comfortable couch that I can sink into and watch an old movie on TCM with, and it could be a polka dot couch for all I care. That being said, walking into a beautifully laid out living room, as my girlfriend and I did a few weeks ago while visiting relatives, creates its own comfort and atmosphere off the bat. This is all to say, once again, the importance of the stuff above is subjective to your needs as a homeowner. Act accordingly.