Fall is a terrific time to think about buying a sofa. That’s because the fall is when furniture stores bring in their new inventory. This means you have the best of both worlds: the newest styles are in and so are sales. How do you pick the best sofa? It’s an investment, so consider these guidelines to help you find the right one for your home.

1. Measure twice

Always have a diagram of your room, and be sure to take measurements. Knowing the size of your room in advance will help you make the correct choice at the outset. Plus, most furniture stores can help advise you on the right size sofa for your room.

2. Take pictures

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What we see in our mind doesn’t always match what’s on display at the furniture store. Bring photos of your room so that you can remember important details, such as doorways and other furnishings you have in the room. It’s a helpful reminder, too, of the colors of the other furnishings.

3. Bring swatches

If your chairs have arm covers, take one with you to the store. This way you’ll be certain that the shade of colors in your new sofa will coordinate with your other furnishings. It’s also helpful for selecting a type of upholstery. You wouldn’t want nubby tweed or damask on everything.

4. Hire a designer

Many furniture stores are great resources. Remember, they’re the ones that put together those living room settings in the store that are so inviting. If the store has a designer on staff, ask for input. Even if there’s a small fee, it could prevent you from making a big mistake.

5. Check for correct sizing

Don’t be shy; sit on the sofa in the store, in the very spot where you typically sit. If your feet can’t touch the floor, or if the pitch leans too far back, it might not be the sofa for you. Make sure it’s one that you find comfortable. This is the only way you’ll truly know if this sofa is a good fit or not.

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6. Try it out like you’re at home

If you have the family along, have everyone pile on to test it out. This is the best way to tell if it will work for your home and your family. Consider things like wear and tear, stains and whether you need a spot for a furry family member. Have everyone sit like they normally do to tell if the sofa is a good fit. Think about whether or not you frequently nap or sleep on the sofa. If you do, you’ll want to make sure you can make the sofa fit your needs for the nights you spend out of bed.

7. Think long term

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Getting a quality sofa that will last is important. Few things are more frustrating than a sofa that falls apart quickly. Look for kiln-dried hardwood, such as maple, and sturdy cushions that don’t slip. Think, too, about the color and pattern of the sofa. Be sure that both are something you can live with in the long run.