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Tips for Buying a Sofa

Updated on September 20, 2012

When I first built my house, we went out and bought a number of new pieces of furniture. At the time, my kids were small so we didn't invest in high quality furniture but opted instead for furniture that would at least see them through the rougher years. It saved us a bit of money and gave us time to decide on what we really wanted.

The kids grew up, I divorced and remarried and we got rid of the tired worn out sofa set I had. We have yet to replace it with another one. We live in a rural area where we seldom have company so it hasn't been an issue. If you fill your living room up with enough other stuff people hardly notice that you don't have a sofa.

We know we're going to be moving soon so we just haven't been in a hurry to buy a new one since it would be a piece of furniture we wouldn't have to move..

I have looked around over the last few years and have pretty much decided on what I want. Ekornes makes some exceptional sofas that I have my eye on. Take a look at the video that explains their recliners and sofas. The problem is going to be how to choose only one.

I've put together a list of things I think you should consider when purchasing a sofa.

Tips for Buying a Sofa

Make sure it has a sturdy frame. Not all sofas are made with long-lasting materials. Soft wood, like pine, may be less expensive but it can warp. Hardwoods are more expensive but well worth it. Avoid plastic, metal, pressed board and particle board. To test the strength of a frame lift the front corner and see of the other corner lifts in unison or if the frame sags and allows the other corner to remain on the floor.

Do you want to see the legs and feet of the sofa or do you want it skirted? I think this decision is primarily a matter of taste but there are some considerations. If the sofa will sit against a wall or if it will be out in the middle of the floor, may influence whether or not you want to be able to see under it. If you're going to regularly clean under it, you may want one without a skirt. If you don't want to ever know what's under there, then the skirt is your best option.

Ask how the joints are made. Never buy a sofa that is put together with primarily with staples, nails or glue. Joints should be constructed with metal screws and brackets.

Check the springs for comfort. You should feel them close together and firm. Sit in different positions to check for how it feels. It shouldn't poke you or make squeaks. Some use cheap coiled springs while some use an 8-way tied system.

Check the filling. Polyurethane foam is often used due to its low cost and easy care. You want a hi-resilient foam.

Find durable materials. Watch for loosely woven fabrics because they are prone to snagging and are hard to clean. Wool and leather are strong, but expensive. If you chose a fabric with a pattern, make sure it is woven in rather than printed. Some stores have swatches you can take home to see how you like the color with your interior. Another consideration is the amount of light the fabric will be getting. You don't want to pick a fabric that fades easily if the sofa sits near windows with a lot of sunlight.

Arms. Do you want fluffy arms that you can lie on like a pillow or do you want wooden arms where you can set a glass? Or do you want something in between?

Depth and height factor: Have you ever been to someone's house and sat on their sofa and then had a tough time standing back up from it? Sometimes it's because their coils are wore out and you've sunk too far down. Other times, it's because of how it's made or it just sits too low to the ground. Do you really want to be one of those people? Try sitting and standing up and few times to make sure it's easy to stand up from. Sit all the way back and see how the backs of your knees and upper calves feel. Some sofas are just too deep and would end up cutting off the circulation to your lower legs. You and your guests would always have to sit at the edge to ever be comfortable.

Features: Do you want multiple sections of the sofa to independently recline? Do you want a sofa bed? There are lots of considerations for these features. You have to allow for reclining room when putting the sofa near a wall. Sofa beds are extremely heavy and hard to move.


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    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 6 years ago from Central Texas

      Thanks Linda! I'm looking to buy a new one myself in the next 3-4 months. :)

    • Linda Tadlock profile image

      Linda Tadlock 6 years ago from Atlanta

      Great hub. I'll try to remember and use these tips when I have to buy a new sofa.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Uh oh, turn out bad, Terrylee? Time for another one? :)

    • Terrylee5151 profile image

      Terrylee5151 8 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I wish I would of seen your tips before buying a new sofa.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      I hate hard sofas, Ethel, but I've also seen them where they were too fluffy. I want some firmness there. Thanks for stopping by.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      For me the number one consideration is comfort. Some sofas look the biz but are like sitting on concrete. Good tips in this hub. Sofas can be so expensive these days

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Want to know the best way to get something new? Get rid of the old one before you have the new one. It's a great motivator. However, in my case, I'd really like to wait until we move to get a new one. One less thing to move and I can pick colors, etc. based on the new place.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 8 years ago from Upstate New York

      KCC, honey, now I want a new sofa!!! I keep telling myself, bad girl, down, be happy with the one you have!

      Lovely stuff, just lovely.

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      I'm a tad worried about the price as well, Maggs. I'll have to let you know. I'd volunteer for that test program too!

      Ekornes makes some more traditional styles too if you go to their website. I've always had the more tradional styles and I'm ready to switch to the more modern/technical look. Thanks for topping by Jaspal.

    • Jaspal profile image

      Jaspal 8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Nice ideas. The Ekornes Stressless sofa looks very comfortable, but I wouldn't want something so technical in my sitting room. Maybe one their single chairs for a personal library cum study if and when one has one! :)

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 8 years ago from Sunny Spain

      They look so comfortable I bet they cost a fortune though still I wouldn't mind trying one out. Do you think they need any test pilots for their chairs? lol

    • KCC Big Country profile image

      Karen Curtis 8 years ago from Central Texas

      Me too! I haven't been to a showroom yet to try one out because the nearest one to me is over an hour away. It certainly meets most of my expectations. I just need to see how durable it feels and actually sit it in.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 8 years ago

      Looks pretty comfy. I especially like the sectional