How to buy a custom sofa

19 March, 2022
Custom Sofa - How to create - Lauren Keenan Home

Sofas are a major investment and knowing how to buy a custom sofa is super important now. It used to be the sole domain of interior designers and high-end homes. But now they are most definitely a mainstream product.

Your sofa often provides the building blocks for your colour choices and soft furnishings in a living space. Now as custom sofas become the way to go for so many Australians, we can help you make the right design choices when the time comes to buy a custom sofa. 

And it makes sense too. Especially when modular products give us shoppers and designers more options. More about what modular products are below. And it means that retailers can be more flexible, because no two homes are the same.


As well as being a leading interior stylist for homes up and down the east coast of Australia, Lauren Keenan is an award-winning podcast host. And in this episode of our podcast At Home with Lauren Keenan she looks into the crystal ball and shares her interior design trends for 2022. 

Keep scrolling for more info or stream the show here or wherever you get your podcasts.

Thanks for listening to the show, proudly sponsored by the good people at Flooring Xtra, Australia’s fastest growing flooring retailer with expert service and a beautiful product range in over 90 stores. There’s bound to be one near you. Flooring Xtra has an extensive range of quality timber flooring and a large range of natural Australian colours to suit any palette and style of interior.


If you’re buying a modular sofa at Plush, Molmic or another retailer, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Especially if you want to avoid a design disaster when your custom sofa arrives home. 

The first question we always ask our clients is who is using the sofa and what will it be used for.

“There are lots of different reasons for a new sofa. It might be for TV watching, a secondary living space that doesn’t get as much use. It could be in an adults retreat or it could be the sole domain of the kids and maybe the family pets too,” Lauren said on her award-winning interior design podcast. 

Also think about what else is already in the room and how much space you have to play with. 

“You might have a coffee table you really love and you need a new sofa. How will the sofa fit and can you still use that coffee table and walk around it. Same goes for a rug or any joinery you want to add to your space,” Lauren said.  

“Think about the ideal location and size. Get a roll of masking tape and map out the corners of the sofa on the floor. Because we all want a grand sofa, but not every room can take it. So make sure before you map it out before you put your order in. It’s like a real-life floor plan, just like a real designer would use.”


Now you’ve sized up your living space. So before you buy a custom sofa, it’s time to research what is available in stores. Find out what you like and what might work in your home.

There are three types of design and buying custom sofas. 

  • Full custom: Some retailers and makers will let you choose any fabric. And they can personalise the cushion filling, arm width, types of legs and more. Victorian-based lounge maker Molmic is a good example. And for this type of custom sofa, it’s a premium product and you will pay a premium price. 
  • High-street module style custom: Most of the major high-street retailers now make sofas to order. That means you can use their modules to build a sofa that fits in your room and works best for your family. Plush and Freedom are probably the two biggest in Australia, but others will have a similar system. 
  • Off the shelf: Some people still want something simple and quick. And that’s absolutely fine. It depends on who is using it and what for. The downside is that there is limited stock available in Australia. Sometimes you have to wait just as long for off the shelf sofas as something that is custom made. This is a great option if you’re not too fussy about size, colour or fabric. Look at places like James Lane or Lounge Lovers.

“Most shops have good product sheets with dimensions for each of the modules. And then it is like a jigsaw puzzle. You put together the module pieces to make the best sofa for your home,” Lauren said. 

“You will probably still have to make some concessions. We did this recently ourselves. We went for a longer lounge with a chaise rather than a corner lounge with a big wedge module piece in the middle.”


Choosing the fabric for your custom sofa is a big decision. So go back to those first questions you asked yourself – who is using it and what else is in the room?

“There are as few options. Linen looks and feels beautiful but can be a bit delicate. Linen blends are very popular and they suit lots of sofa styles. Polyester is more affordable and there are so many options. Leather is still extremely popular and is the most expensive.

“Your couch is a big investment piece. But that doesn’t mean you have to play it safe. Pick a colour you love, don’t be frightened to be bold. You can balance the room with the other neutral pieces like flooring, rugs, joinery, cushions and art.

“And be prepared to wait, no matter what design style you go for. It is now very common for wait times to be 16 weeks and more. It’s something that I talk to my clients about straight up. 

“If you’re planning a renovation, don’t wait for other work to get underway. Map out where your sofa will go and get your order in so you’re not left waiting for months after your renovations are finished.”


Our award-winning interior design podcast, hosted by Australian interior stylist Lauren Keenan, is now in its seventh year, helping you with useful advice to help you create a home you love.

Get in touch if you have a question or topic you want us to talk about on the show. Rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts. And subscribe there or on Spotify or iHeartRadio so you never miss an episode. 

If you want Lauren to get started on a project in your home, email It could be building, renovating or just updating your favourite room.

Find out more about the services we offer at Lauren Keenan Home and check out Lauren’s portfolio of work for some inspiration. And thanks for listening!

Image: Hamilton Chaise Sectional Sofa from Castlery.

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