Our family is the center of our world, so naturally, it’s Robert and I and our seven kids who inspired our furniture lines at Cortney’s Collection by the Novogratz. Whether it’s choosing the best couch designs for our collections or for our interior-design clients, we lean into ones that best serve our family of nine, from both a structurally sound and a stylistically beautiful approach; if a sofa can look lovely and handle what our baseball-team-sized family dishes out, we believe it can serve any size family well.
The sofa is one of the most used pieces of furniture, but chances are you don’t have seven kids or run a business from your home like we do. Regardless of your family’s size, I suggest you simplify the job of choosing the best couch by focusing on your family’s functional requirements, personal design tastes, budget and who you are as individuals.
How To Choose a Sofa: Where Do You Start?
You know, selecting a couch is a personal matter, and every bit of the home should reflect not just your functional demands but who you are and how you live your lives. Consider its fabric for washability, its structural durability and its shape and lines, looking for something with visual longevity that’s able to stay in style for years to come. To help you start narrowing down your choices, consider your answers to these questions:
- How often do you all snuggle into the couch, say for a movie night, or gather on it around a nice big coffee table for family game night? If activities like these happen monthly, weekly or even daily in your home, factor in the couch’s size, cleanability and plushness, and look for one that will hold you all comfortably and be easy to wipe down as needed.
- How often do you entertain? How many guests do you usually welcome into your home at a time? Whether you have several guests at a time over often or just a few folks in for special occasions or holidays, the best couch is versatile to arrange and easy to clean — like the multifunctional Astor Modular Sectional, which includes an ottoman for extra seating and storage to quickly stash living-room gadgets like the TV remote or your kid’s toys.
- How big is your living room? Small-home living relies on multifunctional double- or triple-duty furniture, like a sleeper sofa, to accommodate guests.
- What type of wear and tear do you expect? If you have young, high-energy occupants or teenagers who consider the living room both a second dining room and a gaming room, your couch should be able to take it all without falling apart — and of course be stain-resistant, like one in a high-performance material, maybe with recliners and adjustable headrests.
- What’s your budget? Data says folks spend 10% to 50% of the home’s cost or market value on furniture. In our opinion, good taste and money do not go hand in hand, which is another reason we started Cortney’s Collection, where high style and high quality come at reasonable prices.
What Style Works for Your Family?
Style is personal but also can seem intimidating or downright confusing, because it’s another key to forming your home’s soul, aside from the occupants. Trust your heart and my tips to narrow down the best style of couch for your family:
- Don’t feel married to one particular design; ultimately, there are no definitive rules, so be open to mixing it up with a balance of high and low design features. Maybe you’ll pair something like the Sutton Place Sofa with an enlarged piece of “priceless” artwork, painted by one of your kids, spanning the wall behind it (we actually have such a piece of art in our home, created by our son Five when he was 5 years old).
- If you’re morphing from college-dorm “chic” into a more grown-up look to suit your growing brood, choosing a great couch is a good start. But first, flip through interior designs online, lean on advice from my blog or skim through magazines and books, zeroing in on the era or style your eyes gravitate to most often. Then use this inspiration to shop for a great living-room couch to kick-start the overall design.
- Make interior design a family matter, because every occupant’s style counts. Then try to mesh it all together in a pleasing way. We let our kids express themselves fully in their bedroom designs, but Robert and I also fold their style opinions into our choices when it comes to color, art, furniture and our home’s general vibe. Thankfully, we’re basically on the same page in our love of cool, eclectic design, often being drawn in by our New York City surroundings, the architecture we discover through our world travels and the time-worn furniture and accessories we are always grateful and excited to spot at flea markets.
4 of the Best Types of Couches for Families
It might seem like a challenge to narrow down just four of the best couches for families. Ultimately, it’s about comfort, durability, longevity and budget, without sacrificing beautiful high style or individuality. Check out the following sofa styles and go from there.
1. The Modular Couch
If you’re into transitional design — a non-stuffy, family-friendly blend of traditional and modern furnishings and fixtures — your couch style options are pretty open. But the best choice for families is often something fresh, casual and timeless, less dramatic; maybe one in silvery gray, with a high-end, high-performance fabric and mix-and-match pieces to reposition around the living room as your design and family dynamics blossom.
2. A Low-Backed, Leggy Couch
For the minimalist home or one that leans into, say, clean, crisp, cool Danish design, consider a chic and modern, sophisticated couch, maybe something low-backed yet leggy, with clean lines and tall chrome feet that offer an almost floating effect. Check out the Sullivan Stationary Sectional With Right Facing Chaise for inspiration.
3. The Color-Forward Sofa
With a bold, colorful boho, hippie-chic, mid-mod or eclectic home (our family’s style preference is a blend of many styles, especially the latter two), let your creativity flow through more color, as with the Mulberry Power Reclining Sectional With Chaise. Families with this style mindset can appreciate pieces with an edgy tone, built-in storage and cushy seating that everyone can sink into for an evening of relaxing to great music or old movies.
4. The Mid-Century-Style Couch With Deep Seats
If modern farmhouse design warms your family’s hearts, the best couch for you speaks to this charming yet fresh style — think of it as the love child of old Iowan and new Scandinavian design. Maybe a warm country-brown sofa or sectional with clean lines, deep seats and a cuddle chaise, topped off with cushions in crisp white, is the ticket. Surround it with a mix of reclaimed-wood accents, velvety textures, nubby rugs, white walls and contemporary or abstract art that tips its hat to country living.
Again, the best sofa (or any piece) to fit your functional needs and interior-design sensibilities is one that suits your family’s life, habits and style story with ease. Don’t overthink it; know what your family is passionate about and go with it. Please join us on Instagram to see what we’re up to now and where we’re headed next.
The Balance — Checklist to Furnish Your Dream Home on a BudgetLos Angeles Times — In 'Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design,' personality trumps perfection