How to Buy a Good Couch: A Comprehensive Couch Buying Guide(2022)

A couch is one of the significant investments in the furniture you will live for years, so it is essential to put much energy and time into the selection before buying. People have their personal preferences for the style of a sofa. You'd better refer to some objective criteria to ensure you get a good sofa when choosing a high-quality one.

Think twice before buying a couch:

There are many considerations such as the usage, the space, the style, the size, the cost, and so on.

Here is a couch-buying guide that offers comprehensive instructions on how to buy a good couch. It lists all the necessary elements that you need to consider before purchasing sofas, helps you have a good knowledge of couches including the types, basic components, where to buy, etc., and aids you to distinguish the good products from shoddy ones, choosing a perfect one that fits you.

Luxury Green Velvet Upholstered Sofa 3-Seater Sofa Solid Wood Frame 82.7" Sofa

Luxury Green Velvet Upholstered Sofa 3-Seater Sofa Solid Wood Frame 82.7" Sofa

Is Couch the Same as Sofa?

In the U.S., both couch and sofa are referred to as the same item, a piece of long and upholstered furniture designed for sitting. However, throughout history, the two words were distinctively different. The English word "couch" originated from the French word "couche" which means furniture without armrests for sitting like the present chaise lounge. The English word "sofa", meanwhile, derives from the Arabic word "soffah" which means the protruded part of the floor, used for sitting and overlaid with ornate carpets and cushions.

Categories of Couches

Sectionals

Unlike a traditional sofa, sectionals are a versatile type with multiple individual components which can be arrayed in various ways. To create a comfortable setting for conversations, sectionals are commonly designed to be configurations in the shape of "L" or "U". This type of sofa satisfies the customer who has a large family or has a frequent need for entertainment. Also, reclining sectionals can add comfort for people.

L-Shaped Sectional Corner Modern Modular Sofa with Pillows in Gray

L-Shaped Sectional Corner Modern Modular Sofa with Pillows in Gray

Modular Couches

Modular couches, as a novel type of sofa, developed recently, allow buyers to choose a couch style freely and build their ideal couch shape and size by adding several pieces. Buyers can add, remove, and rearrange the separated building blocks of the sofa to make a variety of couches in different sizes and shapes. For the reason that they can be separated into smaller pieces to facilitate moving, these multi-functional couches are very suitable for growing families and frequent movers.

Sleeper Sofas

If the space for your sofa is limited or you often offer overnight accommodation to guests, sleeper sofas are an optimal choice. Because sleeper sofas have built-in beds which can fold to save space, their plush surface is almost as wide as a mattress in full size. This type of sofa was once notoriously uncomfortable, but now it has improved into sofas with comfortable sleeping surfaces.

81.1" Blue Arm Full Sleeper Sofa Bed with Storage&Side Pockets

81.1" Blue Arm Full Sleeper Sofa Bed with Storage&Side Pockets

Reclining Couches

Some couches are equipped with seats on either side of the sofa with built-in recliners. The comfort and the mechanism of these styles are the same as reclining chairs, but their width is in line with a sofa. Thus, recliners fit people who like relaxing at the end of the day, saving the space of owning an ottoman. Also, reclining couches are a good option for households with a home movie theater, benefiting from lying with ease while watching films. Moreover, resting with legs up on a reclining couch can relieve people with bad circulation.

Outdoor Couches

It is great to buy a couch that can be used indoors and outdoors and works well in crowded or convertible spaces. The outdoor couch is improved a lot in terms of couch fabrics that they are not only as luxurious as indoor ones but also easy to clean and more sturdy.

Futons

Technically, compared with buying a couch, buying a futon is an affordable choice. For instance, it can cost $300 for a futon. Futons offer more customization options. You can purchase the separated couch cushion and frame instead of a fixed one. As its cushion and frame are convertible, a futon has two functions: it can form a surface used as a bed if laid flat; it can be used as a sofa if raised upright. This kind of dual-purpose couch helps to save space and adds more functions to small spaces. Futons tend to be durable due to their thick and firm frames. Although a lot of futons are without armrests, some are with armrests. Metal or steel are also utilized to fabricate less expensive futons.

Contemporary Cotton&Linen Full Sleeper Sofa Convertible Storage Sofa Bed

Contemporary Cotton&Linen Full Sleeper Sofa Convertible Storage Sofa Bed

Before Replacing Your Couch

Couches can last for several years, but as time goes by, they are inevitable to wear and tear, especially in families that raise kids or pets. Luckily, you can take action to refresh an old couch. For example, you can revive your sofa to make it plush and comfortable again by restuffing couch cushions. You can reupholster it, change it into a new look or replace worn, torn, or stained fabric, and even fix any sagging.

However, compared with reviving an aging couch, sometimes replacing a new couch is more cost-effective. You’ll want to change a new sofa when your current sofa has suffered serious damage so that it is beyond repair, or its sofa shape or style is not what you want now, or its size is too small to meet your needs. If you haven’t owned a couch, it’s time for you to purchase one as you will have a central gathering spot in your home.

Questions about How to Choose a Couch

Among the various limitless alternatives of couches, there must be one that is your cup of tea. What is challenging is to pick out an ideal one: it satisfies your taste, works its functions, has a proper size, and is within your budget. Thus, finding a perfect sofa is not a piece of cake. You can think about the following questions about how to choose a couch to figure out what kind of sofa you want.

How Will You Use Your Sofa?

The first thing you need to be clear about is the usage of your sofa. By asking yourself the question “How will you use your sofa? ”, you can figure out most other features you want your sofa to have. Will you use your sofa only for doing daily routines like relaxing, reading or watching TV or only for seldom formal occasions? A casual couch used for relaxation is deep and comfortable with loose cushions; a formal one is decorated with upholstery in high quality or a sculptural frame and is more interesting, and less comfortable.

Who Will Use It Most?

When choosing a sofa, you are supposed to make sure your sofa is suitable for all your family members. For example, if someone is tall, a sofa with a deeper seat will be appreciated. For people who have bad knees, a sofa with a shallow seat as well as a tight back can help people more easily raise from the sofa. Families who adopt pets or kids may want a sofa close to the floor so that it is easy for pets and kids to climb onto. Given that you have frequent guests staying overnight at your home, it is suggested to buy a sleeper sofa, in particular, if there is no guest room in your house.

What Does the Rest of Your Space Look Like?

When selecting a sofa color or fabric pattern for your sofa, make sure to consider any colors or patterns that already exist in your room. If you want to express your bold characteristic, you can pick a sofa in intense colors with simple lines. It's safest to select neutral colors in most rooms, particularly smaller ones, but you can decorate your sofa by adding pillows or cushions with brighter colors and patterns. Patterned fabrics are also good at hiding tiny stains in areas where they are used frequently.

92.1" Green Tufted Chesterfield Sofa Microfiber Leather Upholstered 3-Seater

92.1" Green Tufted Chesterfield Sofa Microfiber Leather Upholstered 3-Seater

How Long Do You Plan to Stay Where You Are?

Before buying your couch, you have to consider the period of staying at your current home, because if you transfer to another living place, it may be a challenge to move your couch. Whether your sofa can fit into your new home cannot be guaranteed. Therefore, frequent movers can buy modular sofas. They can rearrange modules according to their personal needs and living space. Or, you can consider buying a low-cost couch, and when you move home, you can donate or resell it.

Luxury Blue Velvet Sofa Set 3 Pieces Living Room Set Curved 3-Seater Loveseat & Sofa

Luxury Blue Velvet Sofa Set 3 Pieces Living Room Set Curved 3-Seater Loveseat & Sofa

Factors Needed to Consider When Buying a Couch

Space

It is indispensable to consider the size of your couch. Make sure it is not too big or too small. To achieve this, you can measure the width and length of the space that you will put your sofa in before shopping. Measure the height, width, and diagonal opening of all doorways in your house, too. Keep these data in mind as you select and buy your sofa.

Due to the improper size, over one sofa couldn't get through the doorway when delivered to home and then was returned to the shop. Many couches with unscrewed and removed legs are more easily delivered, however, there are some couches with fixed legs that make the delivery more difficult. If the door at your home can be removed from its hinges, you can shift it to expand the opening space for squeezing a couch.

Style

You should take the style of your sofa into account. There are a variety of couch styles such as contemporary style, mid-century modern style, Victorian style, and so on. Take some time to select a style you like best and then narrow down your alternatives to match your style.

Materials

Importantly, select the right fabric to make your sofa look its best. For households with children or pets, sofas made of materials that have good durability and are easy to clean are the optimal choice. Fabrics that are difficult to maintain like silk, are most suitable for places not often used. Microfibers that are attractive and easy to clean are great for high-frequently used places. Textured fabrics are less likely to wear and tear, compared with smooth ones, and leather featured as longevity is the best option if you don't plan to change it for a long time in the future.

85" Luxury Sofa Nappa Leather Upholstered Sofa 3-Seater Modern Sofa-White

85" Luxury Sofa Nappa Leather Upholstered Sofa 3-Seater Modern Sofa-White

Like a tailored garment, patterns and stripes should be a good match. While it may not immediately attract your attention, mismatched patterns or stripes can result in a sense of something being wrong. A well-produced sofa is equipped with stripes that match the seams, the centered pattern, and all straight seams and welts. If the manufacturer tailors the cover poorly, welting and seams will be uneven, pulling to one side. Higher thread counts can make the weave denser and the fabric more durable.

There is a highly controversial topic about the best stuffing to produce sofa cushions. Upholstered sofas or very comfortable cushions are the preference of a majority of people. Among all the stuffing types, polyurethane foam is the most heavily-used material. A firm foam can last for a long time, but it has the weakness of being too hard; a soft foam can be comfortable but is very vulnerable, breaking down quickly; thus, finding a balance between the two types of foams is essential.

High-resilient (HR) foam, used to improve the comfort and durability of cushions, is a further development of polyurethane. A type of durable and comfortable cushions made of HR foam covered with down and feathers is recommended by some experts. Usually, the stuffing of expensive sofas is goose down and feathers. However, if you buy such a luxurious couch, you will pay a high price for this costly couch, and you have to frequently plump the cushions to keep them loose.

You can replace upholstery fabric and cushions as they age and wear. A sofa that is considered good should have a solid interior frame of good quality. If buying a good sofa is your objective, take a close look at its frame first. The frame of cheap sofas may be made from particleboard, plastic, or metal, while that of good quality sofas is made from solid hardwood, ideally "kiln-dried" hardwood frame whose material is oak, beech, or ash. Although pine frames are featured as being economical, they are not durable, and have a high risk of warping and wobbling around five years.

Size

Choose a couch size that works best for you when you entertain, relax, read, etc. You should consider all members of your family when picking the seats to make sure that seating is comfortable and large enough for everyone. If you have a lot of entertainment needs, you are suggested to purchase a couch of a bigger size or add some extra chairs that are easy to store. According to the golden rule of room proportionality, the size of your sofa should be around two-thirds of that of the wall it is against. There should be space left on each side to avoid the sofa filling the wall.

The depth of the seats is another dimension to consider. Choosing a deep or shallow seat depends on your height. If buying a recliner sofa, you should ensure that lying in each position is comfortable. It means that when your feet are flat on the floor, the back of the couch should provide full support for your back, with your knees slightly forward. If you are fond of taking a nap on the couch, lie down and see if the length of the sofa fits you to have a comfortable snooze.

Features

Think about your current couch or used ones and if there is anything you want to add. A variety of features of sofas including cupholders, reclining chairs, built-in beds, replaceable covers, and built-in storage are designed to meet buyers' demand, offering buyers opportunities to buy personalized sofas, for instance, sofas with built-in coolers and plugs for charging. Knowing your favorite features can help you filter.

Cost

A basic sofa costs between $700 and $2,500. If your budget is tight, you can go to a clearance center or find a floor model. Sometimes, good deals are sold at special events. Buying a futon can save half money of buying a traditional sofa.

The price of stylish or high-quality couches can be over several thousand depending on different designers or retailers. Try to buy a sofa of the best quality within your means as it will accompany you for a long time. A sofa can be used for seven to fifteen years based on its original quality, its upkeep, and its level of use.

Depending on the designer or retailer, stylish sofas made of high-quality materials can cost thousands of dollars. Buy the best quality you can afford; You will live with your purchase for a long time. Sofas can last anywhere from seven to 15 years, depending on the degree and quality of use.

Cost is often directly related to size: a small sofa is cheaper than a large one. Sofas can have a more expensive price if it has a variety of features. For example, a sleeper or recliner sofa is often more expensive than a standard sofa although their size and make are the same.

In the United States, every year around Memorial Day, Presidents Day, and Labor Day, major furniture is on sale. Every Black Friday and Cyber Monday, discounts on sofas are offered by many companies. If you’re on a tight budget, you can purchase your sofa around these dates. However, sofas may be in short supply because lots of people time their purchase around these dates, and you have to experience delivery delays.

Where to Buy a Couch

A couch is a purchase in a large size and a big cost. A majority of buyers prefer to see the real products displayed in stores to ensure they choose the one they like before purchasing. By doing this, they can avoid the trouble of returning a large piece of furniture after it has been delivered home. But some buyers who have less free time or like online shopping prefer to opt for products and order for delivery online.

Buying a Couch Offline

Feel free to ask questions if you go shopping in the offline store. Sellers at furniture stores are qualified to answer your questions about sofas as they are proficient in the factors in making or breaking a good couch. They can not only help you find a suitable sofa but also customize your purchase. Do not hurry to select and buy while shopping. Take your time and try various types with the consideration of the following features:

Buying a Couch Offline

Frame

Evaluate the frame of the sofa while purchasing, and make sure the legs of your sofa are an integral part of its frame or secured with screws or wooden nails. Don't buy a sofa with glued legs.

A simple way to test whether the frame structure of your sofa is solid is to lift one of the front corners or legs about 6 inches off the floor. If the other front leg fails to leave the ground quickly, the frame seems to be twisted and weak. Do not buy a sofa that is twisted or squeaky.

Joinery

While the method of securing frame components may not be obvious, the salesperson should know the information, or that is written on printed specifications. Sofas assembled with wooden frames like wooden dowels, double wooden dowels, wooden corner blocks, or metal screws and brackets tend to be more solid and stable, so try to look for these sofas. Avoid a sofa assembled only with materials such as staples, nails, or glue which may reinforce the stability of the sofa.

Arms

Although a sofa with a hardwood frame assembled with dowels or corner brackets should have a good quality, it is necessary to test the arms of the sofa by force to check if they are solid enough and do not loosen or wobble while you are lying on them. If your family has active children, apart from the upholstery of your sofa, the arms are the part which is most possible to be broken. Thus, avoid buying any sofa that is not firm to prevent your children from getting injured.

Springs

There are three levels of quality of the springs that support the sofa cushions. The cheapest options have no springs, replaced by webbing or mesh, so they are the least durable. If you want to buy a good-quality couch, avoid these choices.

Serpentine springs, sinuous pieces of snaking wire, are commonly used in most sofas, spanning the gaps between the frame components. Couches with serpentine springs can have good support, but if the metal is without a large size, in the long run, the springs are likely to sag.

Luxury sofas are very comfortable due to their eight-way hand-tied springs, but they cost a lot. There is debate among some experts on whether hand-tied springs are more comfortable than good serpentine springs, so try to buy a sofa that integrates the advantages of both types of springs.

You can test and feel the springs when sitting on the upholstery. A good spring should have good firmness and good support. You shouldn't pay much attention to extensibility when sitting on the sofa.

Padding and Cushions

The frame and all the corners of the couch should be well padded. Run your hand over all corners to make sure you can't feel the edges of the frame through the upholstery. If you can feel the frame, the upholstery may wear down quickly, and your couch will not be very comfortable to use.

Cushions should be strong and elastic and fit the frame of the sofa well. They can get back into shape after you press and release it. You will feel uncomfortable sitting on a sofa whose cushions stay the same when pressed down but quickly flatten, being ugly. Cushions will be out of shape in no time if they fail to fit the sofa frame closely, its edges becoming unsightly.

Good cushions should be upholstered in the frame of the sofa. Touch all corners with your hands to check if there are edges of the frame upholstered. If there are, it gives the sign of the upholstery wearing out soon and your sofa less comfortable to use.

Operating Mechanisms

Generally, motion or reclining furniture costs a lot, and what you should pay for is a mechanism that functions well, and runs smoothly. If you buy a recliner or sleeper sofa, use it repeatedly and aggressively, which guarantees the smooth and easy operation of the mechanism. If there are any mechanical glitches or rough operations, do not ignore them and pay much attention, because after using the mechanism repeatedly, these problems will often be more obvious.

Upholstery

Evaluate the upholstery to check if the buttons sewn on a sofa are secure because loose buttons are more likely to come off and be lost soon.

UFAC Tag

Taking fire safety into consideration, it is advised to buy cushions tagged by the gold Upholstered Furniture Action Committee (UFAC), which certifies that the sofa manufacturer uses UFAC methods to manufacture cushions. UFAC, established in 1978, intended to achieve the goal of improving upholstered furniture’s resistance to ignition caused by smoke and fire. Since these standards were implemented, home fires have been greatly reduced, as UFAC claims.

Buying a Couch Online

It is sensible to do research when buying a sofa at online stores. For example, you can read reviews posted by buyers and all the information about the product. While selecting, make full use of the aid offered by the virtual assistant and look through all the questions and answers posted on the website. If there is a nearby showroom that sells the type of sofa under your consideration, you can visit the offline shop and try it out.

Once you've made up your mind, pay attention to delivery options and return policy. In terms of delivery, some companies provide white glove delivery service which means a delivery team is dispatched to ship your sofa to your home and then assemble it for you. Some even offer the service to remove your old sofa. Some just deliver the sofa and put it in front of your door, and the rest is beyond their service. So the best delivery option tends to avoid hassle and save time, and always be concerned about the return policy of your selected sofa, ensuring that you can return the sofa if it's different from what you want it to be.

You can try visit Wehomz to buy a couch you like! The store offers over 300 sofas styles for selection. Apart from the variety, our sofas are all of the good quality. We also provide a new buyer with a $500 coupon.

Summary

Not only most major furniture retailers but also some start-ups sell sofas offline and online. It is easy to find sofas sold at yard sales, estate sales, and other secondhand shopping places. You have a lot of choices. The key to buying a good couch is to find a sofa with your favorite style, multiple functions, good comfort, and affordable price.

92" Blue Velvet Modern Chesterfield Sofa 3-Seater Button Tufted Back Leath-Aire Fabric

92" Blue Velvet Modern Chesterfield Sofa 3-Seater Button Tufted Back Leath-Aire Fabric

FAQ

When to change a new couch?

Although couches especially those made well in good quality can extend their life after being repaired, the life span of most sofas is limited, failing to last forever. If your sofa doesn’t work well anymore, such as being sagging, worn, uncomfortable, or broken, and at the same time, you are unwilling to spend time and effort fixing your sofa, or it cannot be repaired, it's time to buy a new couch.

How to deal with my old couch?

It is one of your responsibilities to dispose of your old couch. Based on the condition and quality of second-hand or old sofas, owners can resell, donate, or discard them to a landfill. It’s better to reuse or recycle your old couch before throwing it away as far as possible. Moreover, check if there is a section in your city or town that provides free services for picking up bulky items. Different places have different regulations on waste. If all of these don’t work, you can remove your old couch by hiring a junk hauler.

How to clean a couch?

You are supposed to regularly care for and maintain your sofa depending on the material it is made of. Sofas covered with fabric upholstery have different cleaning instructions from leather sofas. So look through carefully the manufacturer's instructions and the matters needed to attention before cleaning your sofa. Also, you need to clean your sofa thoroughly before using it if it is a used one.

Written by Hailee Mercer

Hailee Mercer has been writing about home design, travel and fashion for four years. She combines her training in interior design with experience working at a furniture store to create compelling articles that connect with readers on an emotional level.

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