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Buying a Recliner Sofa - Points to Consider

Updated on March 4, 2017
The two seater sofa.
The two seater sofa. | Source

Be prepared to shop around when buying a recliner sofa.

Our first trips to sofa stores were disappointing. We wanted to buy leather sofas. It seemed our preferred styles were only available as recliners, which we hadn't set out to buy. This added to the price.

We found another store with three comfortable sofas. Again, only recliners were available, either manual or electric. The electric versions were smooth and effortless, if a little remeniscent of the dentist's chair. The price was considerably more. Having to have your sofa plugged in to mains electricity also bothered me. Then we realised that the sofas would have to sit away from the walls in order to recline fully. This didn't fit well with the smaller room we were furnishing.

(It did seem easier to have the footrest at any angle you choose with the electric recliners. Some of the manual recliners pop right up rather than stay halfway out.)

Persistence Pays

The search continued. Again, results showed leather sofas were difficult to buy as non-recliners. Then, bingo! An ex-demonstration combo of 2 and 3 seater leather sofas, bargain price, which happened to be manual recliners.

Give the seating a thorough trial.This is not the time to sit neatly, you're not at an interview. Slouch, slump, lay down, if that's how you use your furniture at home. The salesman isn't going to object if there's a chance of a deal. These sofas passed the comfort test. As they were roughly half the price of any other items, including uncomfortable non recliners, we took the plunge.

It's worth considering all options of where to buy your sofa. You never know where a bargain may appear.

Recliners versus Non Recliners

Non Recliners
more expensive
greater choice of material
extra seating positions
greater choice of styles
more space needed
can use a table in front
generally heavier
generally lighter
extra comfort
no moving parts to maintain

Living with our first recliners has been a Learning Curve

This model, strictly speaking, is more of a leg rest out type than a lean back, which suits our space better. It means leaving the two seater slightly away from a side wall so we can reach the handle. It also means you can't pop a little table just in front of the sofa to hold a drink. When the leg rest is extended, the table gets knocked over.

Possibly due to being an ex-demo model, the two seater has a slight fault*. You think the leg rest has clicked back into place, then it will spring out again, keen to keep you on the seat. This problem seems to be settling down, the sofa is becoming house trained.

(* To update - the fault may have been partly ours, not pushing the rest back fully. The action seems different on each sofa, so learn how to use yours correctly.)

Handle with care - Mind that Manicure!
Handle with care - Mind that Manicure! | Source

Watch those fingers

* Pulling the lever to raise the leg rest requires careful placing of fingers if you have long fingernails, so the nails don't get broken. That may sound a girlie thing to say, but it can be painful.

* Pushing the leg rest down is quite strenuous on legs and abdomen. We're getting the knack now, shuffling forwards in the seat to have more leverage. I'm fairly short, so it's particularly apt for me. An elderly person may well find the process difficult.

* The back of the sofa moves a little when the leg rest is out, but not enough to tip you backwards. It's very comfortable, you can have your legs at the angle of choice. When using a footstool, legs tend to be out straight, which can result in painful knees.

Measure carefully. Ensure there's room for your furniture.
Measure carefully. Ensure there's room for your furniture. | Source

* An unexpected benefit with the sofas is that the seats are essentially separate from each other. If the person next to you moves about, it doesn't effect your seat, there's no jiggle factor.

* On the minus side, this does also mean that there's an extra gap for the TV remote to slip down between the seats. A bookmark has disappeared completely.

* Watch out for Kitty investigating the gap under the sofa when the leg rest is extended, as our cat did.

*My laptop cable also found its way under the leg rest, and was in danger of being trapped in the mechanism. I'm not ready for the electric chair.

* These sofas are much heavier than our old ones. The metalwork and recliner action add weight. If you like to re-arrange furniture, it will be harder work to man-handle the items.

In conclusion

We didn't set out to buy reclining sofas. If that was the case, more research would have been appropriate.This may sound like I'm highlighting more negatives than positives. They are just points we hadn't considered before purchase. There are no regrets. The sofas we did buy are extremely comfortable, and are a welcome addition to the house.


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    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 4 years ago from uk

      Tylah, I would start by speaking to the store it came from. They should be able to put you in touch with the manufacturer, or know someone who does repairs.

      If you go on YouTube and type in " fix recliner sofa" it comes up with a couple of videos. You may be able to have a go yourself. Best of luck!

    • profile image

      Tylah 4 years ago

      How do you fix a sofa that has a broken leg rest? It's the lever that clicked and broke? Do you know why and how. Please answer thank you

    • innerspin profile image

      Kim Kennedy 5 years ago from uk

      Thanks for your comment, Xenolit. We didn't expect recliners to have so many differences from static sofas. There is more floor space in the room now we no longer have a footstool. A fold down tray sounds useful, don't think we saw any with that option.

    • Xenonlit profile image

      Xenonlit 5 years ago

      Well done! You did thorough research and gave me some points to ponder. I never fit in recliners and always break down the footrests, but I am thinking about a double recliner sofa with the fold down tray in the middle. It can't be ugly, though.