Walk into any living room, and what’s the first thing your eye is magnetically drawn to? A gorgeous sofa is the natural centerpiece of a living space, which makes choosing the right one so important. Rolled arms or bench seat? Pattern or solid? Bright color or soft neutral? With a world of style, fabric and color options at your fingertips, the possibilities are nearly infinite when designing your custom Rowe sofa. The best approach is to think from the ground up, considering the basics of construction and shape before moving on to the finer details like color and fabric. Just like with people, it’s what’s inside a sofa that counts — and that goes double for Rowe custom furniture, which is handcrafted in the USA from the best materials. Solid, kiln-dried hardwood frames, eco-friendly & high resiliency foam, and our promise of a limited lifetime warranty make up the core of each Rowe piece, so you can focus on beauty and style with no worries about quality. 

Still have questions? Pull up a seat and let’s talk about the “Dos and Don’ts” of designing your custom upholstered sofa.

DO research the construction of the frame. Cushions can be replaced, but a sturdy frame is what makes a quality sofa last a lifetime. Cheaper pine or particle board frames warp and wobble, but with Rowe sofas durability is never a concern, since ours are made from sturdy hardwood and a heavy gauge steel spring system.

DON’T choose a sofa without sitting in it first. Why guess when you can put a sofa to the test? Visit a local Rowe retailer if possible and try out sofa styles in person. If you can’t visit in person, look for reviews or testimonials online — or better yet, call a Rowe retailer and ask them for an assessment of comfort or style. Chances are, they’ll be happy to assist!

Bradford 2 Cushion Sofa

The modern style and comfortably chic bench seat of the Robin Bruce Ellice Sofa are perfectly suited to this living room with its sleek, angular accents.

DO decide which style suits you. Will it be rolled arms and tufting or straight, modern lines? Are you living a multi-cushion or bench seat lifestyle? With Rowe custom upholstered sofas, there are so many options to explore!

DO consider how you’ll be using your sofa. Stay away from styles that are more upright & formal if you’re a dedicated tv lounger, and likewise, don’t go for a style that’s soft & relaxed with a deep seat if you like to entertain. If you like to nap (or have a large family), make sure it’s long enough to accommodate both!

Featured: Ellice Sofa
@whitneyrosefecteau for @designshopinteriors
@ashlee_berry & @lizaaaa_k

Martin Sectional Sofa

Our Martin Sectional Sofa is the standout of this sitting area, creating a cozy seating area within a larger space.

DON’T forget to measure. Obviously, don’t choose a sofa that won’t fit through the door or up a tight staircase, but also don’t choose one that’s out of scale with the room. Start by sketching out a floor plan, or have your designer draw up plans. Got a large space to fill? Choose a large sectional, or a grouping of several smaller sofas if you fall in love with a style that’s petite.

DO choose the right fabric for your household’s lifestyle. A light or white color is perfect for an easily washable slipcover, but if your sofa will be in a high traffic area (or if you have kids or pets), a more practical choice for an upholstered sofa is a beautiful neutral or a darker color. Looking for the best of both worlds? Select one of our durable, stain-resistant fabrics for a worry-free option that stands up to frequent use and looks beautifully new for years to come.

Featured: Martin Sectional Sofa
Design: @perch_charleston
Photo: @andrea_kinnear

Sylvie Upholstered Sofa

Our Robin Bruce Sylvie Sofa looks crisp and fresh in a neutral stain-resistant fabric, perfect for a household with beloved pets that are members of the family. 

DO choose a fabric that fits your style. Go bold if you’re a color or pattern lover that’s not afraid of commitment. Choose a neutral color and accessorize with bolder throw pillows or a patterned rug if you want something that can be changed to suit changing moods and seasons.

DON’T feel like everything needs to match — mix up your fabric styles in a space for maximum impact!. If you already have leather pieces or velvet, consider a woven fabric for your sofa, and vice versa. The goal is a style that is cohesive, but not too matchy.

DO consider the traffic flow and sight lines of the room. It’s not a good idea to partially block a window or cut off foot traffic through a doorway with a poorly placed sofa.

Featured: Sylvie Sofa

Bradford 2 Cushion Sofa

A pair of Bradford 2-Cushion Sofas in a neutral sandstone color perfectly complements this pastel-hued living room, without matching anything too closely.

DON’T use up all your space. Allow at least a few feet of wall space on either side of the sofa, or float them in the center of the room, to frame the design and provide breathing room.

DO express yourself with color or pattern accents via throw pillows…but don’t layer on too many! This can look sloppy and unstructured, and why cover up the beautiful lines of your Rowe custom sofa when you put so much thought into designing it?

DO think about the overall scale between pieces. Just like measuring the sofa for the room, make sure the scale of your accent pieces complements your sofa. Choose a coffee table that suits your sofa, a rug that’s large enough and lamps that don’t dominate the design, and so on, for a space that’s chic & harmonious.

Featured: Bradford 2-Cushion Sofas
Design: @katycostner

Need even more inspiration? Check out our Rowe Pinterest boards for more design ideas!