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Before You Buy a Sofa

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Before you buy a sofa, take some time to read about some sofa buying basics. The sofa you buy should be chosen based on such factors as how you are going to use it and what sofa style would be best for your room.

Since a good quality sofa can last you for years, it is important to learn about quality and to determine a budget for your sofa.

Sofa Usage

Determining usage before you buy will help you select all the other features of your sofa.

  • How will you use your sofa? Will it primarily be used for everyday activities such as relaxing, reading, or watching TV, or will it be used only occasionally in a formal setting?
  • Who will be using it? Pay attention to any special considerations if you want your sofa to be a good fit. Use deep seating for a very tall person. For someone with bad knees, shallow seating and a tight back make it easier to get up.

Sofa Shape

Once you’ve determined how it’s going to be used, pick a shape that best serves that purpose.

  • A sofa that will be used for relaxation can be deep and cushy with loose pillows. A Lawson sofa, with arms lower than the back, is a versatile choice for both formal and informal settings. A rolled arm sofa is a also a good choice.
  • A camelback sofa has a curvilinear shape, shallow seating, and a tight back. It is better in a formal and traditional setting.
  • Sectionals come in many configurations and profiles, and are good in cozy, conversational settings. For added comfort you can have reclining sectionals as well.

Sofa Size

The size of your room is a good guide for the size of your sofa.

  • Make sure its size doesn’t overpower the room or impede the flow of traffic. Measure the entire room, especially the wall against which you will place it, before you go shopping.
  • A tight back sofa works well in a tiny space because of its low profile.
  • A sectional might be perfect for a larger area.

Sofa Fabric

To keep your sofa looking its best, it is important to select the right fabric.

  • Use high maintenance fabrics, such as silk, only in areas that are used infrequently.
  • Microfibers are great in heavy usage areas, look attractive, and are easy to clean.
  • Textured fabrics show less wear and tear than smooth ones.
  • Leather is a good option if you are looking for longevity. There is now a large selection of colors and textures, so you are no longer confined to tans and blacks.

Sofa Color and Patterns

To select a sofa color, or fabric pattern, always take into consideration any preexisting colors or patterns in the room.

  • Neutrals work best in most rooms, especially small ones, but you can dress up your sofa by using more vibrant colors and patterns in the pillows, or adding throws.
  • A patterned fabric works well in heavy usage areas as it can hide minor stains.
  • Go with a strong color if you want to make a bold statement, but if you do so, consider buying a sofa with simpler lines.

Sofa Quality

The real quality of a sofa comes from how it is put together on the inside.

  • A good quality sofa is heavier because of its sturdy frame which is constructed of kiln-dried hardwood that is free from knots.
  • The legs will be part of the frame and not screwed on.
  • The cushion should retain its shape when you sit down, and not curve up. A combination of down and dense foam will let the seat maintain its shape for a long time.
  • You shouldn’t be able to feel the frame through the padding.
  • When you check the back, make sure it doesn’t feel hollow, as that is a sign of inferior construction.

Indoor/Outdoor Sofas

Buying indoor/outdoor sofas, is also an option.

  • Outdoor fabrics have improved to the point where they are just as luxurious as indoor fabrics.
  • They offer ease in cleaning and sturdiness, so you might want to consider them for high-traffic areas.
  • If you are going for a relaxed, resort-style look you may be able to find plenty of choices.

Sofa Budget

You can expect to pay anywhere from $700 to $2500 for a basic sofa. If you’re on a tight budget, visit clearance centers or ask for floor models. Sometimes, you can find good values at special sale events.

Make sure to buy the best quality you can afford, as you’ll live with your purchase for a long time. A sofa can last you anywhere from ten to fifteen years.

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