Picking Out The Perfect Sofa: Step 1 – Creating a Plan

walter e smithe


Raise your hand if you want your home to look straight out of a magazine? ME!!!

Navigating interior design has become a huge part of our lives recently. Not only is it fun, it’s rewarding. Since Sean and I’ve learned so much since purchasing our first home, we thought it’d be helpful to share some helpful tips on our most recent endeavor…

Picking out the perfect sofa.



A few things to keep in mind when selecting your couch. You want something that’s functional, stylish, fits your lifestyle, within your budget and built to last.

If there’s ONE thing I’ve learned it’s THIS.

A couch is the biggest and most expensive piece of furniture you’ll purchase. Which means it’s the most important.

You see, the living room is the “business card” of your home. It’s the first room people see when they visit; where you spend the majority of your time and sets the tone for your entire house.

So in a nutshell, don’t mess up the sofa! Not only can picking out the wrong one be costly but it can make or break your room.

Talk about pressure guys!

Walter E. Smithe Chicagoland Luxury Furniture Store


So when Walter E. Smithe agreed to partner with us to help us select the perfect new couch, we were ecstatic. If you aren’t familiar with Walter E. Smithe, they’re the go to Chicagoland furniture store who has the reputation of transforming your home with the finest quality furniture. Not to mention they’ve been around since 1945! We knew they were the best fit for us because we wanted something stylish and built to last. Which is exactly what they specialize in.

I can also tell you, thanks to their guidance and 4 Step Process, we are OBSESSED with our new sectional. Sean’s fallen asleep on it every night (no joke!) and our guests immediately gravitate towards it. Mission accomplished.

Not only did Walter E. Smithe ease our minds, they made the decision process easy and saved us hours of time. It’s such a large financial purchase, so this was priceless to us.

So you can achieve the same results, I wanted to walk you through their entire process.

I’m breaking down our experience into a 4 part series (one each week) as follows:

  1. Creating A Plan
  2. Picking Out The Right Sofa That’s Stylish & Fits Your Life
  3. Preparing For The Delivery
  4. How To Style Your New Couch

So today, we’ll concentrate on Step 1: How To Create a Plan!


how to pick out the perfect couch


It all starts with their complimentary design consultation. We worked with their designer, Catherine, who’s based at their Oakbrook location. Not only does she have over 22 years of design experience, she’s a dream to work with! So be sure to seek her out.

So the first call of action? Set up an appointment for Catherine to come see our home and walk us through the steps.

And yes, their designers really come to your home!

Catherine asked us specific questions and truly made sure she understood our needs and style. Below are the five main talking points during our consultation, which I suggest you know too before selecting a sofa! Each answer should influence how you arrange your room and what you buy.

  1. Style: Prior to our consult, Catherine asked us to send photos of living room looks we loved. We created a Pinterest Board!
  2. How you use our space now: Focusing on our life now, we wanted our living room to offer lots of seating. We love to entertain! It’s important to us that our guests feel comfortable at our home. All while holding up to the occasional red wine slip up. Sean and I also enjoy our regular movie nights and lazy Sundays. So comfort is key. Also lets also remember Sean is 6’ 4”!
  3. Future plans: On the flip side, as our family grows, we want our sofa to withstand sippie cup spills and mashed up Cheerios. AND on top of it all, look stylish and hold up for years and years to come.
  4. Budget: Catherine explained how important it is to know your budget ahead of time. Since there are a million sofas out there, your budget is the easiest place to start narrowing it down. No reason to look at something you can’t afford right?
  5. Measure, measure, measure: The best part of the consultation was Catherine measuring our space. And I mean she measured it all! Width, length, windows, walls. She explained how scale, size and height can make or break the feel of your room. Picking out the right size of a couch is just as important as picking out the style and comfort. And in order to do that, you’ve got to measure!

Walter E Smithe chicago furniture store
As you can see, there’s so much to consider. Having someone like Catherine to walk us through the process and keep us on track was a huge help. It’s so easy to get distracted, I swear!

So just as quick as she’d come, Catherine was off and running to design our living room and help us select the couch of our dreams. Next week, I’ll show you the Design Presentation she created for us, along with a sneak peek of the sofa we selected!

If you have any questions in the meantime, feel free to ask below. So excited to share the VERY FIRST peak of our home!


A huge thanks to Walter E. Smithe for partnering on this post! A discount was received as compensation for this series. All opinions are my own and 100% from the heart!



  • I love how the dog is so attentive in learning how to choose a sofa – probably because he might enjoy it too 😉

    • Why yes – Larry is a great listener and tends to give good advice here or there. He also approves of the new couch as well. He is the expert lounger after all 😉

  • Ugh I need a new sofa so badly! Bookmarking this post so I’ll have it once I start looking for my new one!


    Ashley || Sed Bona

    • Anything I can do to help, let me know Ashley! Thanks so much for reading. And Walter E. Smithe is truly amazing – we are so OBSESSED. I stare at it every day 😉

  • Why is it so hard (and expensive) to just make all things beautiful? Totally feel you when it comes to trying to make the home magazine perfect. I’m still in the rent phase, but can’t wait to start really turning a place in to my own, hopefully in the next few years. Picking out those large furniture pieces are always tough – so this is a great series!

    • I feel you Katie!! I however have an inkling your space is adorable, especially knowing your style! One thing I learned the hard way is to be patient and invest in the bigger pieces – since you get the biggest bang for your buck! Then fill in the spaces with bargain finds! But we are still getting there ourselves. Maybe if we win the lottery? LOL!

  • Johanna

    Okay, your pup is adorable! I love these shots! So excited to see what you select! xo

  • This is a really fun (and informative post) I feel like we just picked the couch that we liked the best without really thinking or planning it out.. thank goodness it works for now but I feel we will have to plan ahead more! Hope you are doing well and your home looks so cute!!

    xo, Sarah