Choosing Your Perfect Sofa by Kimberly Reuther

A colleague of mine at a furniture store used to cajole customers with a spin on an used car salesman pitch, “What’s it going to take to get you in that sofa today?”  It was a nice, light-hearted approach to a process that some may equate to buying a car.  A sofa should be an investment and if chosen wisely, will continue to serve its purpose far longer than it is worth.  But how do you know what is right for you?

My approach to buying a sofa is to think of it like buying a good pair of jeans or the perfect little black dress.  You shouldn’t settle for something that doesn’t flatter you and it should be able to work in many situations.  Here are a few key criteria for my clients:

1.  Fit – This is different than what you might imagine.  I am seriously asking you to make sure it fits through the door/opening/stairs into the room you want.  You would be surprised how many people purchase a large sectional or even deep sofa and can’t get it into the house.  So, make sure you bring your measurements before you fall in love with something!

2.  Function – Consider how you like to use your sofa along with the other members of your household.  Does you husband like to put his feet up on an ottoman, could you do a chaise or sectional?  Do you need a sleeper sofa to accommodate guests? Can your whole family snuggle up to watch a movie?

3.  Fabric – This is important because the fabric often wears out before the sofa does.  Do you want easy maintenance but a soft feel?  Most people love the properties of leather but don’t like the “coldness” or how it feels agains their skin.  How do you feel about slipcovers?  They look better than you think!  Make sure to consult your husband or partner on this as I’ve seen very strong opinions on fabric selection that were unexpected.

4.  Form – Research the construction of the sofa and make sure you have customized the options to your specifications.  We all know 8 way hand-tied, kiln-dried frames are the industry standard for a quality product but there is a lot of variance in the cushions.  There are down and down-blend options and thankfully, a lot of eco-friendly alternative fills on the market today.

 5.  Flattery – Just as with the search for the perfect jeans, what works on your friend doesn’t always flatter your figure.  Evaluate the overall shape and scale of the sofa against other furniture pieces and architectural details in your home.  Does it blend nicely or stand out in a purposeful way?  Is it something you will like for the next 10-20 years or does it feel too trendy?

 Hopefully, that helps you narrow down your options and make an informed purchase that you will love and enjoy for many years!

Happy Designing!

This was previously posted on AT HOME’s website. View the original post here.  You can view more of Kimberly’s work by visiting her website.

Style Defined: Modern Cottage by Kimberly Reuther

Summer is winding down and you’ve bid your goodbyes to the weekend retreats until next year. What makes these sojourns so relaxing and refreshing? Partly, the absence of “real world” responsibility and maybe more noticeably, the crisp backdrop of furniture and finishes that allow you to breathe easier.

Here are a few examples of these types of places, that I like to define as “modern cottage.” They have a lot of cottage elements but are great at achieving the clean, balance of modern design. The scale and placement of the modern art, accessories, and lighting complement the casual, laid back furniture chosen.


dining room

3 Tips for incorporating a touch of “modern coastal” inspiration into your home:

1. Add “pops” of color in the form of paint, pillows, accessories, or artwork.


2. Add unexpected modern touches such as a stainless steel farmhouse sinks and chairs.


living room

3. Add pattern in the form of colorful stripes and whimsical abstract florals.

dining room

These small changes are sure to keep you relaxing all the way until next summer!
Happy decorating!

Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  Read more of Kimberly’s work and view her portfolio at

Like a Well-Aged Wine…Vintage Furnishings are Being Uncorked by Kimberly Reuther

We’re finally catching on…albeit slowly

For centuries, our contemporaries around the world have been perfectly content living in vintage buildings and homes.  With peeling plaster walls, dramatic moldings and herringbone wood floors, these interiors are reminiscent of previous decades and remain intact for new generations to appreciate and enjoy.  Americans, however, have long favored the “new” versus keeping or reinventing the “old”…It was, after all, how we were discovered and founded that instilled this behavior in our culture.  Maybe the term “New World” was on too many advertisements back in the 1700’s!

Not all bad, remember, it was our determination to mass produce things more efficiently that allowed Henry Ford to popularize the assembly line for the model T.  To this day, food, clothing, electronics, furnishings, to name a few, are still produced in a similar fashion.

In recent years, Americans are starting to realize the impact of our global “footprint” on the rest of the world.  Combine that awareness with a crippled economy and we are witnessing a “light bulb” moment in American homeowners with more diligent spending and a furniture perspective in which “vintage” just became “new.”

Here are a few tips for incorporating this design aesthetic into your home:

1.  Reuse what you have  – Fashion a slipcover on an aging sofa, give an old dresser a fresh coat of paint or turn a few unworn clothing pieces into pillows.  Collect unused furniture from relatives and friends to reuse in your home.  Display a collection of mis-matched plates as art.  Recycle old work equipment into colorful cocktail tables.  Vintage looks don’t have to be drab or stuffy; add punches of color to offset the aged pieces.

2.  Expect things to age gracefully – Marble, wood, cotton, limestone, bamboo, granite, wool are all natural materials and will not look the same in 15 or 30 years as they did when they were purchased  That doesn’t mean they need to be thrown away or replaced.  Think of the “scars” on your kitchen island as war wounds that should be proudly displayed to neighbors.  Keep in mind, these materials have been used for centuries and will last as long as you will.

3.  Purchase furniture as an investment – The value of antique furniture is endurance.  Does IKEA have endurance?  Seek out quality and you won’t have to re-purchase all your furniture every 4 years.  This is especially true for upholstery and casegoods.  Upholstered pieces can be recovered, restuffed and reborn.  Wood pieces can be refinished numerous times.  Do your homework and take care of your furniture to enjoy for decades.

4.   Add architectural elements, better yet, buy an antique…house.  St. Louis is fortunate to have a lot of beautiful homes with stunning architectural features inside and out.  Why try to reinvent the wheel by building a brand new home?  The amount of charm and character in an older home can far outweigh the costs of renovations if you choose wisely.  If you are looking to add details to an existing home, crown moulding and door casings are the first place to start.

5.  Last but not least, uncork a bottle & toast to your accomplishments!

Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  Read more of Kimberly’s work and view her portfolio at



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