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I've been spending some of my time at home lately going through the archives of our Nell Hill's history. I find that much like Mary Carol Garrity herself, her design tips have proved to be timeless and ever-helpful. Purchasing large furniture can be nerve-racking. Sofas are expensive and long-lasting additions to your home — you want to be confident in your choice. Fear not! Sit back, relax and enjoy some classic MC advice.

Size it up

Interior designers like to argue about whether it's more important for a sofa to fit the scale of your room or the contours of your body. In my opinion, you need one that does both. To make sure your sofa suits the space, measure your room and make note of the size and scale of additional furniture you will need to work around. Then, as you shop, flop down on the sofas just like you would at home. Your body will tell you in a flash if the sofa is a fit.

Pick the right parts

First, pick a back that suits your taste. If you want a tailored look, check out a tight back design. For more casual, you might prefer a loose-back sofa covered with cushions or pillows.

Next, consider the arms. The most common style is a rolled arm that curves outward. If you're looking for something more modern, you might prefer a crisp, square arm.

Third, decide whether you'd like your sofa to have a cushioned, bench or tight seat.

Finally, look at the sofa's legs. Do you want a straight, modern leg or a more traditional look, like curved legs on castors?

Picking a new sofa should be an enjoyable experience, so don't let the options overwhelm you.

Adapted from