Monday, November 26, 2012

Things to Consider When Shopping for a New Sofa

Not too long ago we bought a new sofa for our home.  This time around I researched and took about 5 months to find the perfect fit.  I thought it would be fun (and helpful!) to share some tips and tricks I learned along the way.  Some things I learned from working in the industry and others are mistakes (It happens, guys) I learned from.  Hope you enjoy!

Tip #1 

Decide on the style.

 I know, I know, kind of a given...But there are a lot more things to consider.  Do you like straight lines? Rolled arms? Lots of cushion? Search Pinterest. Look at your boards. I bet you've pinned a lot of similar looking sofas without even thinking about it!  Also factor in your home decor.  You may love retro style sofas, but have a more traditional styled space.  If you don't think it will mesh well in the "hey my home is so eclectic and and I don't even try way", don't do it.  You will be happier in the long run.  Cohesive is key. Don't rush this step, enjoy the process!

Tip #2


Measure your space. Then measure it again.  Don't forget the doorways! If you have a smaller home, don't try to cram a sectional in the space.  
Trick: Ask what a store's return policy is or if they offer an "on approval" service.  That way if you get the sofa in your space and it doesn't work you can send it back!

Tip #2

Make a checklist. 

 What did you love about your old sofa? What did you hate? If it is your first time buying a sofa ask around! Consider everything.  Do you have pets that like to sit on the top of the cushions? If so I would stay clear of cushions with polyfill.  Stick to foam inserts so you can avoid the indentions of your furry friend.  Will the sofa sit in direct light? A lighter color won't fade as bad. Some things will be deal breakers. When you are shopping and see a sofa you love, but on further inspection notice it features something that is a deal breaker for you-walk away! Just know that later down the road you will be complaining about it. Then pat yourself on the back because you have awesome will power.
Trick: One thing that was on my checklist were velcro attached seats.  I was pretty dead set on it until an employee told me I could take my sofa to an upholster or put the velcro on myself.  Not a deal breaker anymore!

Tip #3

Know what you are buying.

Here's the boring part, but the most important if you want a long lasting sofa: Avoid buying a sofa made from particleboard, plastic, or metal.  Eventually it will crack or warp.  The same rule of thumb goes for softer woods.  Kiln dried wood will last longer because there is less moisture in the wood.  The joints should be double doweled, corner blocked, glued and stapled for maximum support. 

Fabrics like leather or twill will last a long time and are easy to maintain.  A lot of people rave on microsuede, but personally I'm not a fan.  The fabric is clingy and always looks a little messy.  If you love it then go for it!  It's whatever works for you and your family!  Cotton and some synthetic fabrics will pill (annoying little balls) after a year. Fabrics such as linen, wool, or velvet are beautiful, but aren't as durable and are quite a bit more expensive.
Trick: If you find a sofa you like, go home and research the fabric it is made of. See what other people have to say about it's durability. It might save you a lot of heartache!

Know your guts. Low density foam is the least expensive but breaks down faster.  High resilient foam is more expensive and lasts longer.  Down is the most expensive and most comfortable, but you will be constantly fluffing it. It also might work the fiber through causing little feathers to escape at times.  

Tip #4

Take your time and don't settle!

It might take some time to find the sofa that works for you.  Don't rush into anything you aren't comfortable buying.  Employees want to sell it to you, and sometimes it can feel like you have to make the decision that day.  It's okay to tell them you need to take a weekend to think about it.  
Trick: I always ask for a business card.  If I end up buying the piece of furniture, I want them to get the commission.  They are putting in the time with you and deserve it!

Tip #5

There's always vintage.

I love the idea of buying a vintage sofa and then getting it reupholstered in an amazing fabric that I get to choose. It's a little scary though.  You might not know what the upholster will charge.  If you find something and that's the case, email them a picture and ask for a quote.  Don't forget to factor in fabric too.  It can get pricer than you might think.

Tip #6

Have fun.

Furniture shopping should be fun! If your main squeeze hates it then leave them at home.  Grab a buddy instead.  You will have more fun because you won't be worrying about them.  That doesn't mean buy it without them (unless they don't care and in that case high five), just go look.  I never took my husband (my mom usually went) with me unless it made it into the final round and I needed his approval.

A sofa is the main piece to the living room.  Not to mention it can get expensive!  If you have a system you will be so much happier with your purchase.


  1. I loved this! And I WISH I WORKED AT A DESIGN FIRM!!!!!

    1. Hopefully it is a little helpful! And I am super lucky to work at a firm! I love it so much and am learning a ton.