Buying A Couch

Buying A Couch



The Best Couch for Your Home: 6 Questions to Ask to Pick Right

By  | Oct 17, 2017

What's the best couch for your home? Homeowners often take sofa shopping seriously, as well they should: Surveys show the average American spends about two hours a day on their sofa, and 4 out of 5 of us have fallen asleep on the couch sometime in the past month. (Hey America, get up and move a little!)

If you're going to spend all that time there, your couch had better be comfortable. And stylish. And fit with the rest of your home decor. That's a lot to ask, so the pressure is on! Here are some questions to ask yourself to find the best couch—one that will suit your tastes, complement your home decor, and fit into the space just right.

1. Who's doing the sitting?

Before you hit the stores, it's important to determine who will be using the couch. If you have children who'll be eating meals and watching TV while lounging on the den sofa, for example, you might consider a fabric that's more durable than you would for a piece that will be used only for entertaining adult guests in a formal living room.

You'll also want to consider both the age and height of people in your family, says Gale Sitomer of G Sitomer Design in New York City.

"Just because you love a low, modern sofa doesn't mean it's easy to get up from them," she says. "Taller clients need deeper sofas. Shorter clients need less deep sofas so their feet touch the floor."

2. Will the style match the rest of your home decor?

A couch should complement the decor of your room, but with thousands of sofas on the market, where do you even begin?

Courtney McLeod, founder and principal of Right Meets Left Interior Design in New York City, says there are some common styles that suit certain tastes:

  • Traditional: The English roll-arm style is a classic that is always in  demand.

  • Midcentury: The Knoll-style sofa is a popular pick.

  • Tailored but comfy: The track-arm style is widely liked. Especially in fashion these days is the style with a biscuit-tufted seat cushion.

  • Casual and beachy: A big and soft slipcovered sofa is a go-to.

3. Did you pick the right fabric?

Mohair and silk can be beautiful on a couch, and they're probably fine for a sofa that's meant to be seen—but not actually sat on much.

But if you have kids or pets or your couch will see fairly regular use, you're going to want to get familiar with the term "performance fabrics." Once reserved for outdoor furniture that had to withstand inclement weather, they're being used more often on indoor furniture, and they're extremely hardy.

"The fabrics clean easily and last a long time," McLeod notes. "The only downside is they can sometimes feel a bit stiff and less soft to the touch, but the latest introductions are solving this problem beautifully."

4. Did you consider the cushions?

It's not just what's on the outside—what's on the inside also counts when it comes to picking a comfortable couch!

Cushions range from ultrasoft 100% feather and down to stiff 100% foam. One of the most popular cushions falls right in the middle of the two: Spring/down combo cushions have foam-wrapped coils in the center, akin to a mattress, surrounded by a layer of down and feathers and a layer of batting. This is what McLeod recommends.

"It provides a sink-in feel when you sit, but springs back to shape when you stand," she explains. [It's] "the perfect balance of comfort and easy maintenance."

While we're on the cushion topic, here's another thing to consider: Some couches have loose back cushions, while others have tight or fixed back cushions. Whenever possible, the experts advise going for the tight back cushion, paired with loose seat cushions that can be removed for cleaning (and fishing out loose change).

"Down the road, less expensive sofas with loose back cushions can lose their shape and begin looking disheveled and messy," McLeod says. "The tight back cushion ensures the sofa keeps a fit look, while the loose seat cushion provides comfort."

5. Did you measure?

Scale is key when it comes to buying a couch. Measure the space where you plan to put the couch, then tape off the area. Now try walking around it. Have you left yourself enough room to get through with a full laundry basket in your arms? How about if you're carrying hot cups of coffee?

Once you've ensured you've left enough room to navigate the space with the furniture in place, lie down in the taped-off area. (Don't be embarrassed.) Is your new couch going to be big enough for a nap, if sofa snoozing is in your future?

The room where the sofa will live is not the only measurement to take. You should also know the size of your doorways—and any elevators or stairwells—to ensure your new sofa can actually make it into your place.

Yes, couches can be turned on their sides, and sometimes parts can be removed (most typically, the legs). But don't leave this to guesswork! Otherwise—yes, it happens—your delivery might not get through your door.

6. Should you buy online?

It's OK to buy a couch online for the sake of convenience or saving cash, but if you must go this route, McLeod suggests visiting a few stores and testing the display models first. You'll want to consider the proportions when you're testing. Does the pitch of the back feel comfortable? How about the seat depth and the overall height?

"Find one you like, and make note of key measurements," McLeod says. "Use these measurements to compare with sofas you find online. Of course, nothing beats trying a sofa in person, but using these measurements as guides can help tremendously with an online search."

Darik Steinbach Headshot
Phone: 952-239-4290
Dated: October 18th 2017
Views: 128
About Darik: I have been selling residential real estate in Minneapolis full time for 10+ years. I constantl...

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