Chalkboard walls in bathroom

Photo: Jacob Snavely/Chango & Co.

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How to Choose from Countless Styles?

To quickly eliminate options, try this simple tactic. Flip through magazines or home-goods catalogs, focusing only on the arms on couches and circling the ones you prefer, says Susana Simonpietri, the creative director of interior-design and architecture firm Chango & Co. "A straight arm will always read more contemporary, a rolled arm more classic, a higher arm more formal and a lower arm more casual," Simonpietri says. If you plan on spending hours lying down to read or nap, look at a Bridgewater or an English-style sofa, which both feature soft, low and rounded arms. "A taller back and arm are better suited for a formal living room," Simonpietri says, which you'll find on classic styles such as Tuxedos (rectangular build with arms at the same height as the back) and Chesterfields (with all-over tufting and highly rolled arms).