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Bulat Tretyakov
Bulat Tretyakov

How To Buy A Sofa That Will Last

Let's face it, when it comes to furniture, there are only really two important pieces worth investing in. First, your family room sofa or sectional and second, your kitchen table. If you have a young family, these two pieces will be the workhorses in your home (more on the dining options later, when I feel inspired).

how to buy a sofa that will last


Most families start here. They want the biggest sofa they can get with the lowest cost. They see the prices at Pottery Barn or other discount chains and don't know what they don't know, namely asking questions about the longevity of their furniture. The rationale I hear most often is "my kids are young, they will destroy it". Well, my first reaction is to leave the eating at the dining table and you will shave YEARS off the wear of your sofa. Let your kids vacuum it every once in a while and the fabric will stay debris free (plus they love doing this. We used to find more hair ties, pennies and pens/pencils under the cushions than we ever thought possible).

The fabric you select will make the difference between your absolute destruction or sofa that lasts for years. My favorite story is when a client emailed me after I talked them into a polyester velvet in a light aqua blue color. They said their 3 year old decided he wanted navy instead and used an ink pen to try to color it in. His email was not to yell at us, but to praise the selection we had made because with a sponge and some soapy water, the sofa was back to its original color. Phew. Most people love the look of a woven fabric or a light linen, and if you have older children, they can be great options, but for younger families, a polyester and/or acrylic fabric will be most durable. Selecting the color is a whole other ballpark.

Here it is, I had one client sit in three types of cushions and her husband said, "now commit that to your butt memory" and I'm pretty sure we all cried laughing. There are several types. Foam: Soft, Medium, Firm. Cushions are made of a few kinds of materials: Down-wrapped, Trillium wrapped (synthetic down), and in varying densities: 1.8 or 2.0. Density is like a cake mix. If you spend 5 minutes whipping the batter it will have more air pockets in it. If you don't, it will have less. 1.8 foam is less dense than 2.0.

A designer steps in to put all of these selections together in a customized way based on your needs. If you invest in a good frame and a good fabric, there is no reason your sofa can't last for longer than industry lifetime. There are many more considerations you probably have never heard of (why would you? It's not your everyday), like the pitch of the sofa back for comfort, what type of welt to use (there are about 6 options) and frame heights for comfort. Check out our selection document to see more, then work with a designer on your needs to find that next sofa member of the family. I promise you will make many memories on that sofa, and hopefully not hate it in 3 years.

Burrow is known for offering incredibly high quality modular sofas at at affordable price point. Their M.O. is long-term practicality, so their sofas are designed to move with you, grow with you, and withstand everything that comes with a dynamic, ever-changing life.

How long a sofa will last, and retain its shape, depends largely on the frame. A high-quality sofa will always have a strong, sturdy one. Better yet, choose a frame made of kiln-dried hardwoods.

The interiors market is flooded with brands selling sofas and couches in all shapes and sizes, in a vast array of colors, fabrics and finishes, that it can prove extremely difficult to know how much to budget for your new purchase.

Helen Pett from Arteriors London (opens in new tab) agrees. 'The sofa is the centre piece of any living room, the bigger ticket investment design that will ultimately provide a point of focus as well as a mood to decorate and accessorize around.'

'Aesthetic and style is key,' adds Helen, 'and with that comes detailing, the defining features which make a sofa stand out from the crowd. From sweeping curves through to pleats or fluting, the detail is what counts, and is what is worth investing in.'

There are plenty of sofas available that cost less than $1,000. Beautiful as many of them look, they're often mass-produced and may not be built to last, so if you're buying the family sofa, we'd recommend you aim to spend more.

How big or small do you want your sofa to be? Looking for a love seat, a three-seater or a corner couch? Need a sofa bed or a sectional? The size and functionality will all inform the price. If you are looking for a unique, custom-made piece that needs to fit to exact measurements, then your budget will need to reflect this.

'If you are buying a couch for a small living room, you will benefit from selecting sofas with slimmer proportions and sleek, clean silhouettes. Choose a model with elegant tapered legs which raise the frame from the floor to give the illusion of more floor space.'

'If you have a larger room, it will often benefit from the use of modular designs or, for a more formal look, a pair of sofas with accented armchairs. These larger scale pieces feel more statement and create an anchor to design around without overpowering a large living room. They also help zone, effectively acting as a room divider,' adds Patricia.

Remember though, your sofa will need to fit through your front (or back) door and have enough clearance indoors to fit into your living room so measure up if you're unsure. Most larger designs break down into several pieces to accommodate this.

From classic rounded edges to contemporary linear shapes, curved sofas and button-backed styles, the more details a couch features or the more unusual the shape will usually have a direct correlation on the price.

However, if you do spend above the odds on your couch to begin with, the bare bones of the sofa should last you a lifetime. If you love your sofa and it fits in your home perfectly, consider getting it refurbished, instead of buying something new.

What matters is that you purchase it from someone who understands how foam density, fill, depth, arm height, and seat height will impact you physically based on the way you sit and your physical build.

If your sofa has a sturdy kiln-dried frame, the joint construction is particularly important because these are points of weakness no matter how hard the wood. In the joints, look that they are dowelled, glued or stapled, and screwed. This three-part punch will ensure your sofa stays steady for years to come.

The other option for your fill is a down or down alternative. This makes for the most plush sit and feels incredibly luxe. The great thing about down is that you never have to worry about foam replacement. With a simple fluff each week your sofa will look and feel as good as the way it was made.

Realistically, when the sofa fabric is torn or worn out, the only option to fix it is to get a new slipcover or reupholster it. The only problem with reupholstery is that it usually costs a bomb, sometimes even as much as the sofa itself.

Remember that since a slipcover rejuvenates the fabric/leather portion of the sofa, they will work best when the frame and cushions are still holding up. They are the best option when it comes to extending the life of sofas with dull, faded or torn fabric.

The vast majority of modern couches tend to use some sort of polyurethane foam for the insides of their cushions. The density on that foam will be the biggest factor in determining how long the cushions last.

When I posted a question about family sofas on Instagram, my DMs exploded. So many parents chimed in with stories of sofas they regretted buying: Annoying cushions, terrible fabrics, and buttons that popped off on Day Two. It seemed that no one was happy with their purchases. Clearly, this was a subject worthy of a Cubby buying guide!

In the National Portrait Gallery, there is a picture painted by James Tissot in 1870 of the army intelligence officer Captain Frederick Burnaby, airily waving a fag as he lounges languidly on a sofa. Burnaby was famous for his physical prowess (he is supposed to have carried a pony under one arm) and given that he was 6ft 4in and 20 stone, he looks remarkably comfortable on a modestly proportioned sofa.

Anyone who has ever succumbed to the cosseting embrace of a duck and down-stuffed Victorian sofa will be aware that traditionally made upholstery is supernaturally comfortable. The vast amount of Victorian upholstered furniture still being used on a daily basis (notably those made by Howard, which regularly pop up at auction) bears testament to the fact that a well-made sofa can have considerable staying power. The sofa on which I spend many of my evenings was acquired by my great-grandfather in about 1900. What is more impressive is the fact that he bought it second-hand.

Interior designer Miss Craig has an intimate understanding of all four, having launched Ensemblier (, which makes headboards, sofas and chairs with the potential to pretty much last forever, with ingredients including horsehair, linen and hessian webbing and beech frames. As can all traditionally made furniture, they can also be easily and effectively restored.

There are two routes you can take when it comes to buying a sofa with kids and pets. You can buy a lower-quality sofa because the chances of it getting a paint job or scratched by dirty paws are pretty good. Or you can invest in a high-quality fabric sofa that will last a long time. Performance fabrics (olefin, acrylic, nylon, etc.) have stain-repelling qualities, repel moisture, and are known to be very, very easy to clean. They can even last 10 times longer than standard fabric! This fabric may cost you a little more, but the cost will be well worth it in the long run.

Shopping for a sofa is similar to shopping for a car. When shopping for a car, you can add additional functions and safety features, like keep-lane assist, backup cameras, sunroofs, etc. These additional features will increase the cost of your new car. The same goes for sofas. You can get a standard sofa, or you can get the same sofa with power footrests, massage functions, and in a sectional. These extra features will add to the price of your sofa, but they will make the sofa more comfortable and personalized to you and your lifestyle. 041b061a72


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