Furniture Shopping 101: What to Look for in a Couch

Furniture Shopping 101: What to Look for in a Couch

The most expensive sofa in the world, a stainless steel modeldesigned by Ron Arad, sold at a 2007 auction for $409,000, according to But don’t be frightened by that number, you won’t have to spend that much money since the average cost of a new sofa ranges from $700 to $2,000, but you will want to spend your money wisely. Use this handy sofa buying guide to find the perfect sofa for your budget and lifestyle.

Test the Frame

Without a solid frame, a sofa will collapse, warp or swell. A sturdy frame is made of kiln-dried or engineered hardwood, such as ash, beech or maple. These woods won’t shrink, warp or swell like plastic or particle board will. Additionally, ensure the joinery includes double or triple-doweled wooden supports and metal corner blocks that are screwed, glued and stapled into place. To test the frame’s durability, lift one of the sofa’s front legs about six inches off the ground. If the other front leg doesn’t also rise off the floor, the frame is weak and won’t last long.

Sit on the Springs

Deep in the sofa’s inner workings, a spring network attaches to the frame and affects the comfort you feel when you sit down.

  • Coiled springs attach to the frame, offer firm support and include a resilient design that helps the sofa retain its shape.
  • Sinuous springs produces that cushy feeling and they form s-shaped or zigzagged rows across the sofa’s seat or back frame.

When you sit on the sofa, you shouldn’t hear any squeaky springs or feel them through the fabric. If you do, buy a different sofa.

Style Matters

Don’t invest in a sofa that doesn’t match your style or existing décor. Find sofas at where the selection should include traditional, contemporary and classic sofas. Consider size too: Only two people can fit on a sofa with two cushions, but one with a bench cushion accommodates more people.

While you’re at it, measure the depth of a sofa that’s comfortable to you. Start at the inside of your knee and measure to the where your lower back and the sofa’s back meet. That’s the length you should choose so that you can sit comfortably on your new purchase.

Enjoy Cushion Comfort

A piece of solid polyurethane foam or high-resilient foam forms the cushions’ core that is embraced by feathers, polyester, Dacron batting or cotton. You’ll find the plushest and most expensive cushions, though, when you buy ones filled with goose down and feathers that don’t flatten fast like foam-only cushions do.

Choose the Upholstery

Durable upholstery increases the life of your sofa, so consider microfiber that’s strong, soft and stain-resistant. You can also choose leather since its high-quality provides unmatched durability and provides each piece with a unique look and feel. After you choose the upholstery, pick a color. Neutral colors never go out of style, and you can always add pops of color via throw pillows. Easily choose upholstery that works for your home and style when you place an enlarged fabric swatch in the living room where the sofa normally sits and examine it both in natural and artificial light.

You probably can’t afford the most expensive sofa in the world, but you can afford one that is comfortable, sturdy and stylish if you’re careful during the shopping process.

Contributed by Lauren Rose, Content Advocate, SocialMonsters,

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