Buying the Perfect Sofa


Whether you’ve just moved into a new home, or it is simply time for a change, purchasing a new sofa can be a daunting task.  A sofa is an important piece to the room, sometimes acting as the anchor.  It needs to have just the right proportions, comfort and style.  These tips should guide you the right direction to find the piece that is best for you.

First of all, consider your budget and purchase the best quality you can afford.  Not all sofas are created equal, but the better qualities will have similar features.  Consider how long you feel you’ll keep this piece of furniture – is it to get you by for the next three years while you finish grad school, or do you plan to sit on it daily for the next 10 years?  If the answer is for a longer period of time, then you definitely need to consider better quality.  The other important factor is who uses it – kids, pets, avid sports fans?  Do you entertain often?  Will someone be napping on it regularly?  These are all questions that define what will need.

A great sofa is one that has kiln dried hardwood construction.  Joints need to be screwed together, as well as glued.  Eight-way hand tied springs are the best, but you can also consider some less expensive spring systems, such as "sinuous springs." These are heavy-gauge steel springs that have been heat formed into continuous "S" shapes

The types of cushions are also key to the longevity of a sofa.  A spring-down cushion will hold its shape the longest and give you soft, comfortable seating without flattening out.  This type of cushion employs a spring system wrapped in foam that is then wrapped in a channeled down ticking.  This is typically available for an upcharge.  If that doesn’t fit your budget, then look for a better quality, dense foam that is wrapped in Dacron to soften the shape, and give it comfort.


Buying a sofa doesn’t just involve the guts.  While you’re more interested in the style and color, don’t just purchase on impulse because you like the fabric.  This can lead to an expensive mistake.   Look at the size – do you need a three cushion, vs. two?  What is the best dimension for the room – is 84” going to work or do you need a different size?  Look at the size of the arms, and consider the back height – all important factors in how it will sit.  Try to sit on various styles to help in deciding what is best, as well as seeing a look that fits your room.

Lastly, consider the fabric – I almost always recommend a sofa in a solid texture or leather, which allows you to mix up pattern on pillows, drapes, other upholstery, and accessories.  Look for durability.  By working through these simple suggestions for buying a sofa, you should be able to make a purchase that brings you satisfaction for years – and then you can recover it!

– Jan Finlayson

Categories: Furniture Buying Tips

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