I recently purchased my first new sofa. In the past I have used hand-me-downs and second-hand sofas so it was very exciting to shop for myself. Exciting and overwhelming! There are so many options to choose from and points to consider. Here are some sofa-shopping tips I learned along the way. Hopefully these tips will help you find the sofa you love in less time and for less money!
- Decide on your budget. Are you looking for an investment piece or something practical and economical?
- Who will be using this sofa the most? Do you have pets or kids?
- What size should it be? Remember that furniture stores are usually huge spaces and your sofa will probably look a lot larger once you get it home so you may want to take measurements of your space to be sure it will fit. If you live in an older apartment building you may be particularly interested in whether or not you will be able to get it up stairs, down halls and through your door!
- Are you looking for a set? Do you need a matching recliner or loveseat?
Do Some Research on Sofa Construction
- What do you know about fabrics? Cloth is prone to stains and holds odor, leather can be scratched or punctured and will require occasional treatments, dust and pet hair are attracted by the static in microfiber. If you opt for cloth make sure you ask about the quality and care of the fabric. Some fabrics wipe clean easily while others may require a professional service, some materials will start to pill and stretch in no time while others may fade and crack in direct sunlight. Is the material synthetic? Is the weave tight? Look at the seams and patterns. Are they straight?
- Consider the frame. Is it hardwood? Are the corners reinforced? How are the legs attached? Pick up an end and give it a jiggle. Does it feel heavy and sturdy?
- How are the cushions filled? Is there a high or low-density foam core? Can you unzip the cushions?
- What spring system was used?
- What does the warranty or guarantee cover?
- What is the style of your room? Comfy? Classy? Modern?
- Do you need to match the color of the sofa to an existing color scheme?
- Does it suit your personality?
Test it Out
- How comfortable do you feel? Is it too soft or too firm?
- How deep is it? Would someone with longer or shorter legs be uncomfortable?
- Sit on the sofa with a few people to see how much room each of you have and whether or not you will “bounce” when someone sits down beside you.
- Lay down. Is it long enough?
- Have a list of questions ready to ask the salesperson.
- Take a photograph of the sofa. (Mobile phone cameras are great for this!)
- Visit several different furniture stores to compare price and quality.
- Look online to research a particular brand or style you are interested in.
- Ask friends and family about their sofa sets. What do they love about it? What do they dislike? Would they buy the same sofa again?
Take a Second Look
- Ask the same questions to a different salesperson. You might be surprised to get a different answer. Some salespeople will be more informed than others. You may want to ask to see the manufacturer’s book.
Make a Decision
- Sit at home with your notes and photographs of your favorite sofas. Compare price, quality, comfort and style. Ask your friends and family for their opinion.
- Give yourself at least a day or two before making your final decision. For most people this is a major purchase.