House and Leisure’s Garreth van Niekerk in pursuit of his forever sofa
Words: Garreth van Niekerk | Images: Supplied
If “decorating is autobiography”, like the late, great Gloria Vanderbilt once said, then what does your furniture say about you? Your sofa, for instance: if it told a story about the life you’ve lived on it, there’s a lot that the humble three-seater or corner unit could say. My own couch would probably blab about how and why you should buy furniture — and definitely ramble on about why you shouldn’t make impulse decisions.
My partner and I just moved out of a 60 square-metre flat in Johannesburg. We both really learnt a lesson about what it takes to make a space that size work for two people, especially when you’re entertaining. One of the biggest mistakes we made was buying a sofa with no loose cushions and it was way too big for the space. While it looked great in theory (I still adore it), it never allowed us the room to expand when we needed a little bit more room to play.
Choosing the right fit for you is hard and, for many reasons, it actually should be. I remember walking into a store in Stockholm recently and seeing giant swathes of upholstery fabric hanging from the wall, all beautifully lit and delicately shadowed, and thinking to myself, “What a lovely way to display fabric.” But it was only when I read the gigantic sign above the hanging drapes saying, “Choose carefully, a sofa should last you your whole life,” that I realised the potentially frightening importance of this display of sofa upholstery choices.
Above all, factoring in your lifestyle is really what matters most when choosing your sofa. Because whether it’s your forever couch or just the right couch for right now, making sure it is the right fit for you — and all those who will share some space on it — is just about the only way you can make sure that your sofa will really last you a lifetime.
As the House and Leisure Senior Story Editor, I’m exposed to furniture and design on the daily and I find myself falling absolutely head-over-heels for the elegant, nostalgically Scandinavian feel of the new Hector range. The three-seater sofa has nailed the minimalist sensibility that I’m always looking for in shoots and product features. Like all really good contemporary furniture, the sofa subtly suggests itself in an interior, rather than screaming at you from every corner of the room.
Small spaces require furniture that can do many things, so at just under 1.9m, the sofa is spot on for most apartment living rooms and bedroom spaces. It has loose cushions, which are always great for maximising cosiness (and for cleaning when things get messy) and the French exposed seam is totally on trend with what’s been happening at major international design fairs. The turned wooden legs also give the sofa charm and warmth.
While I may not be a fan of matching suites, there is something to be said for a complete “look” when putting your home together. With so many choices and so much to think about beyond seating, it may be the right choice for your lifestyle to pair the Hector sofa with the Hector armchair, cementing your space with a collection of the same style rather than trying to tie together a more eclectic space.
House and Leisure Senior Story Editor Garreth van Niekerk is a journalist, author and sometimes curator with a passion for architecture, design, gardens and literacy — and the way words can bring them together in interesting ways.