June 15, 2012
by kimberly reuther
A colleague of mine at a furniture store used to cajole customers with a spin on an used car salesman pitch, “What’s it going to take to get you in that sofa today?” It was a nice, light-hearted approach to a process that some may equate to buying a car. A sofa should be an investment and if chosen wisely, will continue to serve its purpose far longer than it is worth. But how do you know what is right for you?
My approach to buying a sofa is to think of it like buying a good pair of jeans or the perfect little black dress. You shouldn’t settle for something that doesn’t flatter you and it should be able to work in many situations. Here are a few key criteria for my clients:
1. Fit – This is different than what you might imagine. I am seriously asking you to make sure it fits through the door/opening/stairs into the room you want. You would be surprised how many people purchase a large sectional or even deep sofa and can’t get it into the house. So, make sure you bring your measurements before you fall in love with something!
2. Function – Consider how you like to use your sofa along with the other members of your household. Does you husband like to put his feet up on an ottoman, could you do a chaise or sectional? Do you need a sleeper sofa to accommodate guests? Can your whole family snuggle up to watch a movie?
3. Fabric – This is important because the fabric often wears out before the sofa does. Do you want easy maintenance but a soft feel? Most people love the properties of leather but don’t like the “coldness” or how it feels agains their skin. How do you feel about slipcovers? They look better than you think! Make sure to consult your husband or partner on this as I’ve seen very strong opinions on fabric selection that were unexpected.
4. Form – Research the construction of the sofa and make sure you have customized the options to your specifications. We all know 8 way hand-tied, kiln-dried frames are the industry standard for a quality product but there is a lot of variance in the cushions. There are down and down-blend options and thankfully, a lot of eco-friendly alternative fills on the market today.
5. Flattery – Just as with the search for the perfect jeans, what works on your friend doesn’t always flatter your figure. Evaluate the overall shape and scale of the sofa against other furniture pieces and architectural details in your home. Does it blend nicely or stand out in a purposeful way? Is it something you will like for the next 10-20 years or does it feel too trendy?
Hopefully, that helps you narrow down your options and make an informed purchase that you will love and enjoy for many years!