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Buying a sofa, what to look for before you buy

Updated on October 23, 2012

Who would ever think there is an art to buying a sofa? Don’t you just visit a furniture store, choose a sofa you like, sit on it, decide if it’s comfortable, take out your wallet and arrange delivery?

Your sofa purchase is something you’ll have to live with for possibly four, five or even more years. Other than your wide screen TV, your sofa will be central to the appearance of your living room or lounge.

Here are five tips to consider before you make your decision which sofa(s) to buy so you don’t make a decision you’ll regret later:

  1. Determine if there are any size restrictions for your chosen sofa. Do you have to move it up a flight of stairs if your living room or lounge isn’t on the ground floor? Will it fit into your living room or against the wall facing the TV?
  2. Consider the colour. Bright red – if in fashion today for example, could look ghastly in the next two or three years. If you choose a colour that’s neutral you can update it simply by changing your cushions/pillows. This will work out cheaper than buying a new sofa.
  3. Think about the upholstery. Tough leather is a great choice if you have small children or pets. Light cotton colours should be fine if you plan to eat in the kitchen or dinning room, reducing the risk of spills from red wine.Patterned or two tones and multi-coloured fabrics will hide stains more effectively than solid colours. While on the subject of the upholstery, when you sit on the sofa make sure it isn’t scratchy or itchy - if it is give it a pass. You’ll either end up sitting on the floor when it’s delivered or covering the sofa cushions with a blanket.
  4. While in the store remove the sofa cushions if you can. There shouldn’t be any bare wood visible, just upholstered surfaces without evidence of sharp protrusions.
  5. Ask the salesperson about the construction of the sofa. You want to look for a sofa where the frame is constructed with wood, corner blocks and glue. Give a pass on sofas constructed with nails, staples or un-braced joints because they can wobble. You don’t want your sofa turning into a rocking chair in years to come.


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