As opposed to machine manufactured, custom-made sofas and armchairs allow the ideas, hands, skill and interpretation to come together to create a bespoke piece that is uniquely yours.

A hand upholstered or slipcovered sofa, modular or armchair ensures the maker is intimately connected with suspension systems, lumbar support and ergonomic design. 
Discover whether a custom-made sofa or chair is right for your home and personal style with our in-depth guide below.

Irrespective of whether you choose a slipcovered or fully-upholstered sofa, it is important to design a piece that suits your space and personal décor style. Remember comfort level is personal so where possible trial your custom sofa for seat height, depth and support as sofas are never a one size fits all item.

Start by asking the following questions…

Will the style retain its appeal?
Does the design compliment your decor style?
Is the piece intended for occasional or everyday use?
Check the proportion in the room and with other pieces in the space.
How many people will it need to seat? Will it need to withstand Pets/Children or holiday rentals guests?

Source: Architectural Digest

The frame or foundation can be made from two types of woods: solid woods or manufactured woods.

The best frame is typically made from kiln-dried hardwood. Denser hardwoods such as poplar, maple, teak or walnut are more structurally sound, have a higher likelihood of being reupholstered or slipcovered and will outlast their softwood counterparts like pine or fir wood.

Lower-quality frames are typically crafted from manufactured materials like MDF or fibreboard.

Source: Caroline Irvin Davis

While the cushions will give the overall shape, the springs and webbing are a major contributor to the comfort level.

Webbing offers a more affordable and lighter-weight option to spring-based suspension systems, but you may be trading away the comfortable bounce that springs and coils offer. Consider your budget and whether your sofa is for everyday or occasional use to determine the best option.

We recommend as a starting point to look for no-sag steel springs or black-cat webbing seat suspension systems.

Source: Axel Vervoordt

Test drive your seat cushion options as there are a wide range to choose from to suit your personal comfort level. 

Options range from full feather to feather wrapped luxury foam core or memory foam blends. Again, this will come down to your budget, personal preference, and maintenance commitment to keep your seat cushions looking and feeling good as feather seats require more maintenance than a memory foam fibre wrapped seat option. 

Ensure that your seat cushions are lined so feathers don’t poke through.

Source: Artisan Alliance

For slipcovered sofas you can choose to cover the leg by incorporating a fitted or pleated skirt to the sofa or chair. 

For a fitted slipcover or upholstered sofa you may choose exposed legs usually crafted from wood or metal in styles that include turned, cone or tapered in a range of stains if timber or finishes if metal. Castors to the front legs can also be a classic design option for more traditional sofas or armchairs.

Source: Nicole Frazen

Consider your space. Slimmer armed sofas and chairs are ideal for smaller spaces as it provides more width in the seat, however a wider arm can be a good option for people who like to prop on the arm of the sofa as an extra temporary ’seat’.

Other styles include armless, curved, English rolled arms and straight. You will typically find straight armed sofas in more modern, Scandinavian style homes, whereas a curved arm is found in more traditional country-style interiors.

Source: Architectural Digest

Trim is one of the smaller details that adds character to your sofa or armchair. Trim options include tufting, buttoning, piping, nail head studs, pleated skirts, buttoned back fixings, top or contract stitching or flange or fringe finished designs.

Source: Suzie Anderson Home

Always triple check the dimensions of your space, including entryways and stairwells.
If it is a tight fit, ask for legs that can be removed for easier access and consider a sectional sofa which is a good option if the only access is by elevator. 

If you have inherited a piece of furniture or have purchased a second-hand piece, check that the frame and seats, particularly the springs and foam or feather are of good quality before investing in reupholstering or creating a slipcover. 

For longevity ask the following questions:
Can the fabric be back lined?
How the fabric has been tested against wear?
Can the seat cushions be removed and rotated?
The length of warranty and what does it cover?

Source: Chango & Co