Being a huge Mad Men fan, every time my client is talking about buying a sofa my memory goes back to the episode where Betty Draper installed the fainting couch to the horror of both, her husband and her decorator. I have to say that it was quite a show to see Betty reclining on a large Victorian sofa in front of the fireplace. How fun! Buying a new sofa can be as exciting as stressful even for experienced professionals.
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Now imagine this in real life. I am sure that the last thing you want is to be stuck with an elephant in the room.
Here are the steps before you buy:
1. Start with a room floor plan
Instead of a trip to a furniture store, do yourself a favor, take a measuring tape and write down all the dimensions of your room as well as locations of doors and windows. Don’t forget to show the way the doors open, i.e. to the right or the left.
2. Browse online for styles and sizes.
When you have a piece of paper with the floor plan of your room, you can browse online. But do yourself a favor- stay away from buying a sofa before you go through all the steps. Most of the measurements show width (length) and depth. Some show height. You will be lucky to find inside measurements, such as seat height, arm height, and depth of the seat. An average outside measure of a sofa is 86 inches wide (long), 38 inches deep and 37 inches high. The inside measures are important because you want to have just enough room to lay down or seat more people. If you are petite, 19-21 inside inches depth is enough. But if you are tall, get a
If you are petite, 19-21 inside inches depth is enough. But if you are tall, get a couch that has 22-24 inches inside depth. The same about the height of the sofa back.
Overall Height: While average height is 37 inches, some contemporary sofas are 33-34 inches. If you choose a couch that is 40-44 inches high, which is quite unusual, make sure you have a place against the wall since it will not look good in the middle of the room, floating.
Overall Depth. A deep sofa that is 42-44 inches deep will look better against the wall in a large room with tall ceilings.
3. Be smart when you go to a furniture store.
Have you ever wondered why your furniture looks so different in a store than in your house? It is simple. Retail store display is a science of its own. Lighting is a major part of a showroom display. It is created by lighting designers for the sole reason to attract your eye to the best feature and create a desire to buy. If you don’t believe me, next time you are at a furniture store, such as Ethan Allen or Restoration Hardware, look up and you will see the whole net of strategically placed lighting systems over your head. Of course, there is music, and other factors to appeal to all six senses.
4. Know the quality of what’s inside your sofa – wood+springs+ foam.
Learn about the construction first. A hardwood frame will last longer than pine lumber. Springs are placed for better support and durability. It can be the eight-way construction or sinuous construction. In less expensive sofas, there could be no springs at all. Also, cushions’ foam varies in density and materials.
5. Find the right upholstery fabric that lasts.
Upholstery fabric determines the price and durability of your couch. The key questions to ask your retailer: Is this material for light, medium or heavy use? Rule of thumb: 100% cotton will fade and wear out quicker. The combination fabric, e.g.: 46% polyester, 36% rayon, 18% acrylic will have a longer life. If you like the fabric, don’t delay the purchase. Here is why: The fabric houses have limited inventory, and your favorite upholstery fabric can be discontinued at any time.
6. Create a checklist consisting of all of the above criteria for your purchase.
It will have the minimum and maximum width of the couch according to your room dimensions as well as your height, desired hardwood, cushions density, spring construction, fabric and legs options. Keep this information with you and start comparative shopping. It will take you some time, but this is the only way to get the result you want and enjoy your couch for a long time.
7. Get a specific manufacturer’s warranty.
Most reputable furniture manufacturers have a warranty. Usually, they are two years for upholstery fabric and four to five years on the frame.
I would love to hear from you. What is your experience of buying a sofa?
Please post your questions here below. I’ll be happy to help you!