Simple to Stylish With Barker & Stonehouse

Rachael's year-long search for the perfect sofa…

I bought my new build flat just over 18 months ago now. I was lucky enough to walk right past the development one day in my home town of Wakefield, and on the off-chance pop into the sales office and have a viewing.

If I had known then that I would be living there just 3 short months later, I would’ve probably been more organised. As it happened I had to make do and mend with the few things I had already bought and ferreted away ready for when I had my own place and the donations and kindness of others. 

I “borrowed” a rocking chair and a rug from my mum. My vacuum cleaner from my nana, my plates came from one aunt and my sofa from another…and while grateful for all these things which definitely helped me get settled, not all of it was what I would necessarily have chosen myself.

In particular, I wrestled with the rather conflicted relationship between me and my donated sofa. On the one hand, it was a perfectly acceptable sofa. Not too offensive, in really good condition and of course, it was completely free.

On the other hand though, it certainly didn’t make a statement in the room, instead shrinking back against the wall and getting lost beneath cushions. In a nutshell, it was functional, but by no means stylish. 

This then lead to a year-long search for the perfect sofa…

Now, I have some rather jazzy home-made curtains, so I knew I needed to keep things neutral so fairly quickly, I whittled down potential sofas to include only those that were grey. A great start. The second decision I made was to go for a fabric sofa over a leather one.

This decision took a little longer because unfortunately, I have a tendency towards clumsiness which made the leather option look like a wise one at first. Then my friend pointed out how leather sofas were too cold in winter and so hot you stick to them in summer so ultimately, I decided risking a spillage or two was worth it if it meant a perfectly cosy sofa all year round.

So that was it, I was looking for a grey, fabric sofa.

The next choice was shape. A corner sofa was out of the question, my flat just doesn’t have the square footage to fit one it, so that left l-shaped or not. In the end I went for l-shaped and honestly there was no real logic behind that decision, it was simply what I wanted.

That meant my search was now amended to an l-shaped, grey, fabric sofa. Straight forward right? Maybe not…

I began looking through magazines and online initially, to try and get a feel for what was available. My mum is an avid Ideal Home reader so once a week when I headed over their place for tea I’d get a copy thrust under my nose to look at, and I definitely saw some stunning sofas, some stunningly expensive sofas!

Looking through the magazines was a great help in terms of picking likes and dislikes though. I knew I wanted something fairly modest in scale. I still wanted a living room after it was delivered not a sofa room with nothing else in it.

Being a fan of vintage, I was also a fan of the late 1950s early 1960s inspired sofas on the little angled wooden legs. This was also a great choice for me living in a small space. 


Choosing furniture on legs lets the eye see more of the floor space making a small room appear bigger. 

The Proof is in the Sitting

With all this in mind, I finally felt confident that heading out to actually sit on some sofas would be a valuable trip. Being in Wakefield, our obvious choice for one stop sofa shopping was Birstall Shopping Park, just down the M62, where there is everything from Ikea, to Home Sense and of course Barker and Stonehouse. 


Birstall Shopping Park is great place to do a spot a furniture shopping for your new build home if you’ve bought within the Yorkshire area. Retailers include those mentioned above as well as Next, Currys PC World Megastore, Argos and loads more.

We began with Ikea but for the breakfast rather than the furniture this time. I love Ikea as much as the next person, but when it came to buying a sofa, I just didn’t have the spare cash to afford one out right. I needed a place with interest free credit.

Sofa retailer number 1 presented me with my first disappointment during my sofa shopping mission. After walking past what felt like literally a hundred giant, oversized sofas and corner sets, I finally found something I liked the look of that met half of my demands.

It was grey fabric but not an l-shape. It was a modern take on the classic Chesterfield style sofa, so it appealed to my vintage side. Then I sat on it. Sadly that was when I realised that this sofa was definitely a case of style over softness. That set the trend for what I would find with the majority of the following sofas I tested out. A stylish sofa looked like it was going to come at the expense of comfort. Not exactly ideal when it is likely to be the place I spend most of my time after bed and work!

After several sofa disappointments, my mum suggested Barker and Stonehouse and I have to admit, I was reluctant at first. I expected everything in there to be well out of my price range and unlikely to offer the payment plan I needed.

Nevertheless, we did go in and perhaps it is all about timing because I was delighted to discover there was a discount or two in-store and as it happens, they do have payment plans as well!


Early autumn is the time to buy sofas. For one thing, most retailers have begun the guaranteed before Christmas delivery schemes.

You can also avoid the bad weather delivery dates in early autumn as well, before the snow (sleet) descends. Better yet, many retailers have discounts on summer stock and this extends to include sofas.

Straight away I spotted a sofa that looked perfect. And I really do mean straight away, (probably because it was opposite the door). It was grey. It was fabric. It was l-shaped. It was on sale. It even had little wooden, 50s style legs. But was it comfy?

I took a tentative perch on the end of the chaise, so far so good, it wasn’t rock solid and the sofa cushions actually felt like well, cushions. I shuffled back a bit further, the length of the seat wasn’t too deep, another good sign. Then finally I leaned back. Once again the back cushions were soft like a cushion should be, the height of the sofa came up high enough to support my neck and the fabric wasn’t stiff and rough. I had finally found it!

My perfect sofa.

Where did you find your perfect sofa and perhaps more interestingly, how long did it take you to find it?

Publish date: 24/07/2018

Publisher: New Home Finder