Buying The Perfect Sofa (without the headache) Part 2

Unless you know the rules of the road, buying a sofa can be a real pain in the cocktail table. And so, this Bucks County interior designer is here to tell you that knowledge is power, so have a little on me. Read on for Part 2.  If you missed Part 1, click here to read first:

Interiors by Donna Hoffman/Photo by David Van Scott

Buying the Perfect Sofa (without the headache) Part 1

The entry level and lower mid end. What you get. (Sofas @ $800 – $2800):

  1. Plastic legs at the lower end of the price point spread here.
  2. Cardboard rather than wood will likely shape your arm (don’t sit on it!).
  3. Foam seat cushions which over time will compress and sag and the box cushion welting will travel out of place.
  4. Trade eight way hand tied springs, you will have no box springs of any sort (not good for comfort of last) or you’ll get a sinuous box spring.  Some manufacturers swear by these. I’m not yet sold for quality, high traffic areas or maximum comfort.
  5. Lower and lowest grade woods will be used. These may not be kiln dried so the sofa frame will likely warp and change shape over time. Because the wood is lower grade quality, it will be more highly knotted and these imperfections create the ideal weak spots for cracking. Shorter wood lengths mean that more pieces need to be joined together and anyplace that wood is joined, there is a potential weak spot to be aggravated by repeated load stress (us sitting on it).
  6. Fabric. Fabric makes up to 40-50% of a sofas price at any level. In the lower price points, expect to see the most limited fabric selections and not always the most durable…or beautiful. Try to go for the tightest weave you can get. And go simple.
  7. Limited shape choice. Often at this price, the anthem is: this is the shape, this is the arm, the leg and sometimes, as in some catalog houses, this is the one color you can have it in.

The upside to purchasing a sofa in the lower price points is first and foremost that you get to hold onto more of your dollars. But, for how long? If, in the long run, you have to replace that family room sofa in only 3 years (I’ve seen this story) – then is it money wisely spent? That’s something you need to decide. Know your budget, know your performance expectations. Go for the best you can afford in high use areas in particular. But above all, go into this sofa shopping exercise with your eyes wide open and you’ll be fine.

Still confused?  Engage us for a full room project that requires some sofa shopping and we’ll gift you with either a 10% discount on re-upholstery fabric for your existing sofa, OR, 25% off cushion fabric for two accent pillows.