PUBLISHED: 14:34 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:51 20 February 2013

A recent survey by Harveys Furniture store showed that a whopping 32 hours a week are spent on the sofa. Sam Grey discovers how times have changed for the favourite seat in the house

EATING, sleeping, watching television, reading or gossiping - the majority of our favourite pastimes happen in the living room, and more specifically, on the sofa. Research shows that most people have ditched the traditional mealtime around the dining table and opt for dinner in front of the television on the sofa.
When we are not eating there, we are often asleep and 45 per cent of people admit to nodding off on the sofa and waking up with a start in the early hours. All this has led, unsurprisingly, to the statement that, for many, the sofa is the favourite piece of furniture in the home.
It makes sense therefore that so many people spend time and thought choosing exactly the right sofa to suit them. Not only does it have to blend perfectly with the surrounding dcor of the lounge, but it must fit the character of the home and the lifestyle of the people in it.
Never underestimate the importance of finding the right sofa. Look around many stores and take a look at many different brands before making the choice. Do not focus only on the aesthetics, although they are obviously important, but also think about the comfort and practicality of the sofa and whether it will suit your lifestyle.
Sofas do not come cheap so it may be worth thinking of your purchase as a long-term investment. Something to spend money on but that will last a long time and suit changes in colour schemes and dcor over the years. That is why brown is still a very popular colour choice. It is practical and complements lots of different wall colours and furnishings.
Everybody wants comfort from their sofa which is why large, luxurious seating is so popular at the moment. Many of the reclining seats include built-in footstalls for ultimate luxury. And for practical reasons leather is still the number one choice with customers - easy to clean if you have children or if you want a hard-wearing sofa. Good quality leather is not cold or sticky as was its old stereotype. Now it oozes quality and elegance and can be a striking focal point in the living room.
Once upon a time if you walked into any living room you would be faced only with muted colours - cream, beige, brown and grey. Fashion has moved away from this over the last few years and, as well as colours changing, styles are different. No longer is contemporary furniture the only trend on the market, now retro sofas and living room furniture are very popular too and many people choose 60s and 70s inspired low-back sofas in vibrant colours.
Interior design for living rooms has been re-vitalized. Patterned flock wallpapers, Japanese print soft furnishings or odd-shaped coffee tables and cabinets - an interesting mixture of contemporary and traditional, with an overriding nostalgic and retro finish.
People are once again feeling inspired and brave when choosing sofas, and all the ranges complement their need for quality, comfort, practicality and style.

Article taken from September issue of Hertfordshire Life

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