This last week I made my first “blog” money purchase…a sofa! OK, not all of the money covered it, some of it was left over from the Costco Leather Chairs that we returned. Needless to say, this was a huge moment for me! I haven’t bought a new sofa for like 7 years! (I’ve inherited a few, but that will be another post for another day.) It was quite a process to find the perfect sofa so I thought I’d share my 10 Tips for buying the perfect Sofa. These are in the order important to me, your order may be different, but consider all 10.
1. Investment-Have you ever known someone who spent a fortune on a sofa and therefore felt they had to keep it in the front room three decades later? You know, because it was built so well. Disregard the seventies fabric, the bold vintage over sized flowers, etc. Well, don’t make that mistake. Pick a price point that you could feel comfortable donating after a few years.
2. Style- There are so many different styles of sofas out now, that by choosing a sofa, you are also making a style statement. Before you go out shopping, do your research. Look through your Pinterest “Furniture” board. Check websites of your favorite shops that sell furniture. Here is where I check when looking for current furniture styles from ALL price ranges:
3. Go Neutral-If you are like me and aren’t dripping in furniture funds, a sofa isn’t where you want to scream “Check out how crazy I can be!” Maybe the pillows, a throw, artwork etc would be the better place to pronounce your “theme”. Instead, choose a piece that is clean, fresh, and neutral. Neutral doesn’t have to mean beige. To me, neutral is an overall solid print (if you squint and it looks like one color, it’s a solid). Neutral is a muted version of a primary color. Here are a few swatches that I consider neutrals for a sofa:
4.Scale-Assess the room where the sofa is intended for. If the room is large, think of using a large scale sofa. Think about the overall size of the sofa, height of the back of the sofa, height of the arms, size of the feet, shape and scale of the seat and back pillows. Is it going to be in a grouping of furniture or stand alone?
5. Moveable-Will it fit? How big is the doorway into that master bedroom? Can that large sofa fit down that jigity jagity basement staircase? Will you have to send it through the window? Be sure you take measurements of the place you plan to set the sofa into account or it will be a sad, sad day when you bring your new baby home.
6. Comfort-What is the purpose of this sofa. To sit down and put on shoes? To watch a movie? To chat for 20 min.? The comfort level should match the purpose of the sofa.
7. Clean-ability-For me, with four boys, this is always a concern. Slipcovers are a perfect solution for this problem and with all price ranges available from Horchow to IKEA. Cotton cushion covers also work great. I have had many sofas that have removable cushion covers and I have thrown them right in the washer and dryer (on gentle cycle) after a toddler had an accident, where they couldn’t quite make it to the potty (and let me tell you, wiping it down with a wet rag and a faint spray of Fabreze doesn’t get the puke smell out like a quick wash). If you choose a sofa that isn’t either of those, Polyester is a great alternative. It repells stains or wipes up easily (especially if you don’t have toddlers). Scotch guard is your best friend with a new couch. I spray all of my fabric furniture excessively with spray cans of Scotch Guard.
8. Durability-High quality leather wipes up beautifully too. I have, however, been duped into buying low quality leather and an ottoman with a leather top and “pleather” or plastic sides. The plastic and low quality leathers do NOT hold up well (see my Costco Refunds 5 Year Old Chairs post). Because I buy relatively inexpensive furniture, I don’t expect them to last forever, but three years on both the ottoman and chairs before they broke down, come on! Are the cushions lined or when you unzip the cover do you find stuffing? Is the stuffing surrounding a foam pad or is it going to loose it’s shape quickly. Are the cushions on the back of the sofa attached and will they eventually droop and sag since you can’t fluff them? Just sayin’.
9. Transformable-I’m addicted to furniture rearranging and moving pieces around. I change up my family room at least 4 times a year (Spring, Summer, Fall, Christmas and the occasional Sunday afternoon). Often transforming one sofa, moving chairs from my living room to the family room and a sofa from the family room into the master bedroom and so on. SO, when I am picking out a new sofa, I have to be able to imagine it in many different spaces. What did I mean by transforming my sofa? I like to be able to imagine myself changing things up a bit. Does it have a flat back that I could add a funky fabric to temporarily? Could I add some nail heads to it? What if I changed out the small square feet for dark brown turned wood ones? The more places I can envision it and the more ways I can imagine customizing it, even for a short time, the higher it ranks in the buy category.
10. Shop Around-Just because you found the look of a sofa at Horchow doesn’t mean you have to pay the $3,999 price tag. Be flexible with a few details and shop till you find one close to it. I know this is relative to how much you can afford to spend, but consider waiting for a sale at a major retailer, shop local so you don’t have to pay for shipping, dig through your local furniture stores (it’s a rush when you find that diamond in the rough in RC Willey’s overstuffed, over-round and over staffed warehouse stores). January is a great time to check Costco and other bulk stores since that’s when they have the most furniture inventory. Give Craigslist, KSL (in Utah), or ebay a chance. But, my favorite place to find a great deal on a good quality piece is my local discount outlet Down East Home. They have returns and overstocks from Pottery Barn chains and such. Beware: no cash refunds, only in store credit so be confident before purchasing. Here is the stock photo of the sofa I purchased (I’ll write about that choice later).
10. Buy what you love! After you have done all of your research, taken a thorough test drive of the sofa, if you LOVE it…it will work for you. Don’t be afraid to mix and match sofa, love seat and chairs. Again, if you love each piece by itself, make an ecclectic mix of what you love.
Here are a few collages of sofa’s from my favorite resource sites.
Linked Up: WhipperBerry, At The Picket Fence, The French Country Cottage, Fingerprints On the Fridge, Shabby Nest, Miss Mustard Seed, The Trendy Treehouse, 504 Main, Simply Designing, Tatertots And Jello, Funky Junk, Be Different Act Normal, Remodelaholic
What do you look for in the perfect sofa?