Design by Room Living Rooms

Your Perfect Sofa Might Not Yet Exist

The case for going custom.
photo by Nikole Ramsay

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Though Goldilocks spent her time looking for her proper porridge and just-right bed, her trial-and-error journey can easily be translated to another home essential: a sofa. The hub for relaxing with friends and family and the foundation of your living room decor, your couch is a major commitment—and there are far more than three options to choose from. That’s why Bicker Design avoids the high-and-low search altogether and instead goes a custom route. 

More often than not, you’ll find built-in sofas in the Australian firm’s interiors, and according to founder Josh Densten, they’re well worth it. Not only do they give you the chance to make use of every nook and cranny in your space, but they also enable you to, quite literally, bring your dream lounge spot into existence. We asked Densten to share when exactly you should spring for custom furniture and how he’s made the most of the possibilities.

You Can’t Find What You Want in the Store

photo by james geer

“We consider built-in sofas for every application—we can never find what we want off the showroom floor,” Densten says. “We tend to gravitate toward warmer tones for our interiors, so it also gives us more control over the color of the fabrics and textures, as we aren’t limited to just a few swatches to choose from.” If you’ve been dreaming of a chartreuse-hued velvet love seat and are starting to feel defeated by what you’re seeing online, that is reason enough not to give up—you might just need a little help from a furniture maker.

You’re Working With an Oddly Shaped Room

photo by Nikole Ramsay

Even if your living room is trapezoid shaped, with unfortunately placed windows and doors, a custom couch can prevent it from feeling awkward. “Being able to have full say in height, cushion thickness, fabric details, and depth allows us to tweak it to adapt to the interior,” says Densten. A slimmer sofa back, for instance, could free up half a foot of space at least.

You Need a Multifunctional Piece

photo by james geer

Who says that a couch simply needs to be a couch? “In our Canning Cottage project, we designed a curved bookshelf at the end of a sofa—it gives the edge a purpose, rather than ending with a blank fabric arm,” explains Densten. Especially when you’re working with tight quarters, a built-in job can make better use of every single inch. Along with storage, he suggests adding extra lighting or even a foldout bed. 

You Want to Invest in Something That Lasts

If you are settled in your space for the long haul, installing a made-for-you sofa can help make it truly a home—and a nice one at that. “The thing we love most about built-in joinery is that it feels and looks expensive, when generally it isn’t any more [costly]—often less—than [a piece] off the showroom floor,” says Densten. When you buy a couch configured to your exact tastes, too, you end up with something timeless. “We always try to stay ahead and away from trends as they come and go,” he adds.

A sofa designed just for your Netflix queue and micro-size living room? Now that’s the ultimate.

See more sofas: 15 Sleeper Sofas That Were Made for Tight Quarters 13 Sofas So Spectacular That Designers Want Them in Their Own Homes 9 Red Sofas That Flip the Script on Tradition

Rebecca Deczynski


Rebecca is most often found digging through troves of vintage treasures, both in-person and online. Ask her to recommend a good book to read or an obscure Instagram account to follow, and you won’t be disappointed.