Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How to Choose a Sofa - 7 Things to Consider

We recently got a new sofa for the living room.  It really can be overwhelming because a sofa is such a staple and a real investment for your home.  Here were the things I considered before making the decision:

1. Style.  There are lots of silhouettes I gawk after, but overall I'm typically drawn to mid-century inspired sofas.  My only fear was "would I tire of it later?". So I tried to keep myself in check by picking something that was true to my style, but is lasting for several years... even if my constantly evolving tastes change a little.  And lastly, after looking at gazillions of photos I realized I prefer two-cushion sofas instead of three-cushion sofas.  Don't go looking at your sofa and hating it because I just said that... It simply ended up as a feature on my wish list. :)

Petrie Sofa, via Apartment Therapy
2. Cleanability.  Our previous leather sofa was pretty ideal in this regard.  For the most part, any spills would wipe right off with a paper towel.  The only issue were little claw marks from Bonniegail (our doxie).  Brown leather sofas can be beautiful, but I wanted something lighter for our space, which of course made the cleanability issue even more important.  Bringing me to the third item on the wishlist....

3. Slipcovered (?).  For the same reasons mentioned above, it would be nice to toss a custom-fit slipcover into the washing machine.  But wow... that really, really narrowed our options.

4. Price.  Lots of plans for our place, I tell you! Meaning I have to spread the budget across several rooms, accessories, and pieces of furniture.  I've always been frugal.  Just ask my family.  I almost didn't go to Junior Prom because the idea of spending that much money on a dress was ridiculous to me.  (I finally went after getting a bridesmaid dress on clearance, getting some rhinestones sewn on, and buying $15 shoes). On the other hand, would skimping on the price mean skimping on the quality of a piece that we would be sitting on daily?

5. Size.  Every now and then I found some good finds on Craigers, but they were either too big or too small. It needed to be around 78"-86" in length.

(By the way, in case you haven't noticed... yes, I can absolutely over-think these things.  But it's a big deal, sheesh!)

6. Quality. I'm not an expert here, so I'm not going to elaborate much.  I just Googled my brains out and paid close attention to customer reviews, as well as the advice of local experts.

7. Will it fit? Make sure to take proper measurements of doorways and hallways, especially if you live in an apartment or condo.  Even the interior decorating shows have made this televised mistake from time to time.  Save yourself the money, time, and distress.  Also, some sofas have removable legs for this very reason, so check ahead of time before marking your favorite off the list.

Here are a few that caught my eye in our search. 

1. The Petrie Sofa from Crate & Barrel.

Petrie Sofa from Crate & Barrel

Another image:
via Apartment Therapy
       Loads of it. Mid-century lines. Precious tufting. Sexy legs.
       Like I said, precious tufting that I love.  But that means it can't be slipcovered down the road (if need be) and could look dated in a few years (I think?).
Cleanability:  The website boasts "Stain-resistant finish for maximum cleanability"
Slipcovered:  Nopers.
Price: $1,599 + $ 279 ($1,878 total). More than I'd like to spend. 
Size:  Just right.

2. The Loring Sofa from Room & Board
Loring Sofa from Room & Board
     Pretty sweeping arms
     Two cushions (which I prefer)
     More formal than my other considerations. But that don't scare me, boy.
Cleanability:  It comes in velvet.  That does scare me, boy.
Slipcover:  No slipcover, but if necessary I could have one made.
Price: $1,199.00 + $129 delivery
Size:  Just right.

3. Corona Sofa from Macy's

Corona Sofa from Macy's

     Mid-century lines
     Three cushion design (I'd prefer two, but I like the overall design so it's not a deal-breaker)
Cleanability:  Not completely sure, but I think Macy's offers a stain protection program (or something) for another couple-hundred dollas. Don't quote me on that.
Slipcover:  No slipcover,
Price: $899, on sale for $699!  Heck to-the-yeah!
Size:  A few inches smaller than our other selections, but would work perfectly...

4. The Avenue Sofa by Avenue Six

Style: Similar to the Petrie at a much lower price.
Cleanability: Comes in micro-suede, which is apparently marvelous for cleaning.
Slipcover:  No slipcover.  But at the price, it's less of a concern.
Price: $500-$750
Size:  79".  A little smaller than our other selections, but it would work.

5. Jasper Sofa from Room & Board

Jasper Sofa from Room & Board

I'm sorry, you guys... just give me a second... I didn't expect to get so emotional. 
Okay (sniffle) I'm back now.

Jasper Sofa from Room & Board

     Mid-century lines
     Two cushions instead of three
     The prettiest legs in Alabama.
Cleanability:  The most cleanable fabric is at least $200 more than the standard fabric.
Slipcover:  YES! And you have a few color choices to choose from. But it's an additional $399.
Price: $1399 for the introductory fabric (that's less stain-resistant than some others) + $129 delivery.
Size: Just right (86") if we remove the end table

Any favorites out there?  Did I miss anything on this list?

Pssst.... I bought one!


  1. We got a very special package in the mail from you -- thank you. You are so very thoughtful. These couches are great -- can't wait to see what you picked. I will say we used to have a microsuede couch - stains wash over pretty well but dog hair sticks like crazy and is super hard to get off. Don't let those cute little buggers near the new couch if its microsuede!

  2. Very good to know! Heavens knows I base half of the major decor decisions on them. (That's not a joke, unfortunately. Probably 50%. Ugh.) Tomorrow I shall reveal the chosen one.

    And you are more than welcome, Cara. :) Thinking of you and Mark. (Hey everyone-that-doesn't-know-what-we're-talking about, check out Cara's blog here)

  3. Hi Erin...

    I never would have thought of all these factors! Especially the "will it fit" section... wouldn't have thought of that. Thank you.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. @Anonymous, you are more than welcome! Thanks for the comment! ;)

  5. Hi Erin,
    I found your post while researching sofas. Did you get the Jasper? How well has it worn through the years?

    1. I sure did. Check out my post on it!

      I bought mine on Craigslist so a review on durability isn't fair, but I love style. I really think you would love it.

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