Finding the right sofa and the right price

Settling On Your New Sofa

by Debra Karplus

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It has been nearly 30 years since you bought your living room sofa, and no matter how many times you have rotated or rearranged the sofa cushions, there are places that are visibly threadbare. It may be time to replace your sofa. According to, a new sofa can be expected to last about 7 to 15 years these days, depending on its quality and its use.

You can buy something used perhaps from a yard sale or a thrift shop, but you risk getting a sofa they may have an insect infestation such as fleas or difficult to see urine stains. Getting a new, good quality sofa may be the most cost effective way to replace your current aging couch. Where do you begin in your search for a new living room or den sofa?

What are you looking to buy?

Are you looking for just one couch, a sofa and matching loveseat, or an entire furniture ensemble that includes pieces such as coffee table, end tables, and often even lamps? If you need more than just the sofa, you will get better value per item by buying everything you need at the same time. This especially holds true if you need your purchase delivered to your home and the store charges per delivery stop rather than a separate charge for each item. And do not be surprised to discover that though a loveseat is typically about 2/3 the length of a sofa, there is seldom much of a price differential between those two pieces of furniture. Your furniture store professional probably cannot come up with one good reason for that!

Remember to consider size, style, color, and material of your new sofa.

Before you leave home and head for a store that sells furniture, you have a few tasks to accomplish. First, determine the minimum number of pieces you need (possibly just one sofa) and the maximum (an ottoman and comfy matching chair). Next, decide which colors you are trying to match. Do you want a solid color or a pattern? Take into account your floor color and pattern, window treatments, and anything else that needs to be matched. If you can, take a throw pillow or drapery tie to the furniture store when selecting a sofa.

Settling On Your New Sofa

There are a couple more things to do before you head out to buy your new sofa. Be sure to accurately measure the length of the area where the sofa will sit as well as the depth. For tinier people, sofas are made and sold that have less depth. If you are of petite build, it may be that you need a less deep style for your own home.

The other thing you should consider before furniture shopping is the desired style and material of the sofa you want. Leather is very popular these days and is very easy to take care of and keep clean, but it adds a considerable cost to your sofa. If you look online, you will quickly learn that there are many options, such as stationary, reclining, sectional, sleeper, and more. Sectionals give you the option of rearranging periodically, but they are almost always more expensive than a traditional stationary sofa.

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There are several things to do while at the furniture store before you settle on your dream sofa.

Start by wandering into the scratch-and-dent room. You are likely to be attracted by some incredibly low prices on sofas that visually seem just fine. However, be sure to ask about the quality of the wood underneath the sofa. The quality of the sofa often rests in its underside and the quality of wood that supports it. Do not be tempted into buying a cheaply made sofa, or you are likely to be replacing it in just a few short years!

The other thing that may or may not seem obvious is to remove your shoes and simply lie down on your possible new sofa as you might at home while watching TV. If it is a good fit, you will know instantly.

Should you only consider a sofa with a brand name? Though the name brands are typically made better and cost more, sofas with names that are less known can be a good buy as well.

As with any other major purchase, take your time when shopping for your new sofa.

Debra is an occupational therapist, accountant, teacher and freelance writer. She is a writer for Advance for Occupational Therapy Practitioners. She also writes for Grand Magazine, has some items (fiction and non fiction) selling on (kindle), has written several travel articles for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette and several articles for and volunteers as a money mentor for the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension money mentoring program. Learn more about her at

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