It all depends on the size and setup of your room, according to our experts.
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Your lighting fixtures and coffee table have major visual impact in your living room, but your couch is the piece that anchors the space. It's also a meaningful place to rest: This is where loved ones gather to chat or to watch a favorite film. And because couches are such important pieces of furniture (and ones that are often associated with larger price tags), those in the market for a new one likely have some questions. You want to to select a couch that works aesthetically in your space, but also allows for ample seating room; that means you need to pay attention to its size and its style.

Ahead, furniture and design experts explain exactly how big your couch should be, which ultimately depends on the rest of the room and everything else inside it.

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Credit: Emily Gilbert

Get familiar with standard couch sizes.

Edgar Blazona, the founder of BenchMade Modern, notes that the size of a standard sofa is typically 90 inches long and 37 inches deep. Sectionals, on the other hand, clock in around 95 inches by 95 inches. "Normally, we recommend a three-seater sofa, between 85 inches and 110 inches in length, depending on the space," adds Natalia Certucha, the lead in-house designer at Dupuis US. "With a couch this size, the host can entertain more guests and create a cozy, inviting setup." 

Base your sofa size on your room's function.

"We always like to center the sofa in the living room, making the space comfortable enough to fit as many guests as possible, and allowing for walking room," Certucha says. "Sectional sofas are also a great option; you can always downsize these depending on the size of your home or apartment. Try the Dupuis 'Laisa' Modular Sofa (from $2,350, storedupuis.com)." What's more, you can often customize these types of sofas with different fabrics and colorways.

A misconception, though, is splurging on a couch simply because it is big—especially if the piece isn't going into a space where you need extra seating. "A family room is a bit different than a formal living room," Blazona says. "In a family room, a group might be sitting on the sofa together to watch TV, so you need to determine if you need a three-seater or a four-seater and what configuration works best. For a formal living room with less traffic and less use, you are able to use a smaller sofa with less seating." If you do end up seeking out a bigger sofa, Blazona recommends getting one with legs, which looks lighter within a space—such as the BenchMade Modern Catwalk Sofa (from $2,817, benchmademodern.com)—instead of a high-back, grounded option.

Don't go overboard.

If you're trying to determine if the couch you picked is the right size, Blazona suggests asking yourself this question: Can you easily navigate the area around the sofa, as well as the rest of the room? "With the addition of any large piece of furniture, you want to still make sure the space is still functional and useable," he says. "Next, is the sofa proportional to the rest of the furniture in the space, and does it appear to be scaled appropriately?" Both experts explain that your couch should be complementary, in aesthetic and size, to the other pieces in the area, like the side table, coffee table, and armchairs. Essentially, the goal is to ensure that all pieces fit in perfect harmony.

Comments (2)

Martha Stewart Member
August 27, 2021
I'm very surprised that you are using the word couch. A sofa and a couch are two different types of furniture.
Martha Stewart Member
August 27, 2021
I'm very surprised that you are using the word couch. A sofa and a couch are two different types of furniture.