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Tips for Your Next Sofa Purchase

SofaBuying a quality sofa involves more than just dropping by the closest furniture store. When making a significant purchase such as this, get the most for your money with some savvy shopping.

Sofa Style

Because sofas are large, they are often the focal point of the room. Make sure your sofa makes the impression you desire.


You must consider not only the amount of seating desired, but the specific room you are decorating when choosing a sofa. The sofa should be proportional with the other furniture and the space involved.


Sofas can be light or dark, patterned or plain, textured or smooth. And they always make an impact. Figure out what look and feel you’re going for and choose accordingly.


Consider the comfort, number, and style when looking at your next sofa purchase. Note the height from the floor. Sofa cushions come either loose or attached. Decide on your preference.


Sofa arms can be curved, rolled, straight, or missing altogether. They can be have pleated or flat fabric. Consider not only the look, but the feel. Check the height for comfort.


Do you prefer a style with visible legs or one that is skirted to the floor? If the former, what kind of legs will give the look you want? You can vary shape and finish to create the look you want.

Sofa Construction

Buying a sofa involved more than just style and color. When you venture out to make your next sofa purchase, consider the quality of the manufacturing. Sofas are available with fine craftsmanship and also with shoddy construction. In either case, they are an expensive investment.


A frame should be sturdy and strong. Hard woods are your best bet here. Be careful of soft woods, junk particleboard, or plastic.


Check how the frame is held together. Good: wooden dowels, wooden corner block, brackets, metal screws. Not so good: glue, staples, nails.


First, make sure you actually do have springs (webbing/mesh, not so comfy). Second, test them out. They should be close together and have a firm, supportive feel.


You want filling that is not only comfortable, but long-lasting. Prices vary. Good possibilities are foam wrapped with polyester batting and high-resilient foam wrapped with down.


The textiles you choose to cover your sofa depend, to a large extent, on your needs and use. A family room sofa in a home with small children would likely be very different from a formal library sofa in a home with a retired couple. Still, look for durable fabrics that have tight weaves and patterns that are woven into — rather than printed on — the fabric.

You’ll have your next sofa for years to come. Make sure you do your research first, to capture just the right mood for the long haul.

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Stephanie O December 1, 2009, 5:07 pm

    We have young kids and dogs, so we got a sofa upholstered in ultrasuede. It is incredible – liquids ball up and roll off rather than soak in, dried on oatmeal wipes off with a wet rag, and I’ve even scrubbed *ball point pen* marks off! It’s not a woven material, so the dog hair doesn’t stick on it or get embedded. It is a wonderful fabric for some tough conditions!

  • Alison Moore Smith December 1, 2009, 5:24 pm

    Good to know, Stephanie! With six kids, we definitely need something just like this. I’ll put it on my list.

  • Alison Moore Smith January 23, 2010, 1:20 pm

    Kenny, thanks for the kind words.

    When we bought our first couch many years ago, we went on price and style alone. Bad idea. Trust me on that! 🙂

  • Kenny Silva January 23, 2010, 12:33 pm

    Great article! There’s a lot more that goes in to purchasing a couch than I normally think of. I’m looking to go out and grab one soon, so I really appreciate the info. I’ll keep it all in mind next time I’m out furniture shopping. Thanks!
    .-= Kenny Silva´s last blog ..Never Bought a House Before? Don’t Be Scared! =-.

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