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Take a Load Off... picking out a new sofa.

25 January 2011

Picking out a New Sofa
By Remodelaholic

Okay, so I think I am finally ready to take the plunge of buying a sofa for our living room (which we have been working on lately, Part 1, Part 2 and looking for rugs.)

What the heck right?

Splurge a little.

We have been married for ten years this May, so it is about time I get to buy a sofa, right... not premature.  (I've never bought a "new" anything... accept an ottoman I got for cost during my internship in college, I have been patient)

I have been around to a million "sofa" places over the last few years, and never really seen anything that I like- well, I should say that I would be willing to fork over the cash for.   I do not want a large sofa, nothing overstuffed... which is EVERYWHERE- seriously the only thing I have seen in all those big box stores.  They say everything is bigger in Texas, and seriously scale wise there is nothing that you would call small. So, I have had a hard time locating a decently priced version of something I want.

I also have these prejudices against cheap disposable furniture and dreams of 8 way hand tied, down-insert, kiln-dried hard wood framed, heirloom quality pieces...  Basically I need to find a real sofa manufacturer, and I used to have some good sources when I worked for a designer, but I don't have those now....

Which means, I have been looking around online, and was wondering what your opinions are of some of the sofa's I like, not sure if the one I will buy is in this lot- or how soon we will buy it... I need the cash first, which I just spent on the new flooring OOPS!

OR if you have some good sources for properly built sofas for a reasonable price, I would love to hear about them.  Either that, or I need to find some auctions/estate sales of antique heirloom pieces...

But anyway here are the sofa "looks" that I like, I am not sure they meet all my standards, but I like the look.. They would be done in a neutral color, no print...

Please tell me your favorite, and why... just wondering...
(the number is under the picture, just FYI)

That is it for now, I don't know how soon we will actually buy a sofa, in my wildest dreams it would be ordered this week, but since I have obviously waited ten years, it probably won't kill me to wait a few more months.

Please tell me what you think!


alissa January 25, 2011 at 7:28 AM  

Hi Cassity - This is such a great post. I think sofas are definitely the hardest piece to pick out. I am in desperate need of a new sofa too - I hate mine but it's going to be a while before I get a new one! I love all of your choices but my favorite is the one from Room & Board. They are one of my favorites - Made in the USA, great quality, and a good price point!
Happy Tuesdays!
P.S. - Just went and nominated you - glad for the reminder because I meant to do it the other day but I forgot!

AJ January 25, 2011 at 7:49 AM  

From experience, if this is to be a frequently used couch, you will not want 1, 3 or 7. The arms are so short that there's nothing to lean against and pillows often fall off the sides. If the purpose is for a formal not-to-be-used-daily couch, that may not matter as much (but honestly, who does those formal off-limit rooms any more?!).

Good luck!

Samantha January 25, 2011 at 7:55 AM  

I'm liking the arms on #6, but not the slipcovered bottom. I have a sofa from Arhaus Furniture. It is very well made. Not sure if you have that in your area though!

Pamela Marie January 25, 2011 at 7:56 AM  

If it helps, I have a 3.5 year old and put an ivory colored slip cover on our dark brown couch to protect it. That lasted a few weeks because I had to wash it every day to every other day because of his dirty hands and feet. Granted my son is a little wild, but it's been my experience and that of my friends that light colored sofas and kids don't mix! I'd either get something dark or get a light one but keep it slip covered. That's just been my experience, but I've seen others with light colored couches so maybe not everyone has this problem!

Peggy January 25, 2011 at 8:01 AM  

I like #1 best, for these reasons: I like a sofa w/ separate back cushions because it just looks more comfortable (all your other choices have tight backs). Also, since I slipcover furniture, I like to have that option available when the piece gets old. The style is classic, but also modern.

Kendra @ House of Ficek January 25, 2011 at 8:14 AM  

I am feeling you! I live in Texas too, and I don't know the exact name but there is a company that'll custom make a sofa for about the price of a Pottery Barn sofa.

I like the look and shape of option 1. It has style and looks comfortable!

Judy January 25, 2011 at 8:56 AM  

My pick is between number 1 and number 7. They have similar looks and can adapt to any style of decor in your room. Nice lines to both sofas.

Anna January 25, 2011 at 9:01 AM  

Have you looked at bassett furniture? Really great quality and made in the USA. They have very similar styles to the options you like. We have loved our sofas we got from them.

Wenderina January 25, 2011 at 9:03 AM  

I hate to admit it, but I like the Dylan Sofa (4) by Pottery Barn. I'm also in the market for the perfect sofa and buying on line scares me as i need to sit on it, but that one has all the features I want. I want no skirt, two cushion, slightly curved arms, but not overstuffed, the color here is too light for me, but with a little pattern or golden color would be perfect. My husband is 6'4" and I'm nearly 6', so having a couch with enough room for us, the right height back, and yet that fits in our little cottage home is a tough one. Good luck!

J and Company January 25, 2011 at 9:18 AM  

I am de-lurking because I had to tell you that I went through this whole process a few months ago and felt like I looked and sat on every couch known to man. I also wanted something quality that wasn't too trendy (or too boring). I ended up at Ethan Allen and I LOVE LOVE LOVE our sofas. They were comfortable from the first day, have gorgeous fabrics that clean well, and I think they were worth every penny. I sat on Pottery Barn couches, convinced that was the way I was going to go when I saw them online, and when I sat on them in person they were not nearly as nice as I had hoped. Just my humble opinion. :) Good luck!

Laree January 25, 2011 at 9:42 AM  

For me it depends on how you use a sofa. I like the design of #7 the best and think you could change the whole feel of your room in the future and still have it tie in. But to me, it's a great sitting sofa, but not such a great lay-down-and-take-a-sunday-nap sofa. My current sofa has high arms like that, and it's a bit tricky to get comfy for naps. If your family is big on that kind of sofa use, I'd go for #2

smagann January 25, 2011 at 9:52 AM  

I agree with Peggy....buy a couch that you can rotate the cushions. People tend to sit in the same place on couches and if you can rotate the cushions it helps from getting a warn look in just one place. Plus you can makesslip covers it easier than the tight backs.
Good luck...they are all very pretty but make sure to sit on them first if you can.

Michelle @ Dream Home DIY January 25, 2011 at 9:56 AM  

I personally love #4 from Pottery Barn. Im not a huge fan of skirted bottoms, and I love that its a combo of a few of the others.

autumn January 25, 2011 at 10:24 AM  

so many great choices, but i might have to pick #4. room and board has such great customer service, a ton of fabrics to choose from, decent prices, and i love the quality!
i really do think that any of the sofas would look great though!
hope you are doing ok my friend!!

AntiqueChase January 25, 2011 at 10:24 AM  

Probably prefer #5. I am not a fan of "T" cushions so I would not consider those ....

3krazychics January 25, 2011 at 10:30 AM  

#5 is pretty similar to my sofa, in color as well. So I pick #5. We bought our at Macy's Furniture store and it was under $800. I love, love it cause it's kid friendly!

Tatum January 25, 2011 at 10:37 AM  

Hi there!

I really like 4 and 6,but definitely a darker color safety reasons. I am not a fan of the short arms on some of the others. I wish you luck on your purchase. I am in major need of sofas in our family room...but then again we also need carpet in that room too (which is why I haven't blogged about that room at all yet lol). One day we'll finally get to it.

Have a great day!


Cassie @ Primitive & Proper January 25, 2011 at 10:43 AM  

before we got our sectional we had number 4 from pottery barn and it held up beautifully and was comfy, classic, and chic. we just needed to have a bigger couch for our bigger family, and the dogs had kinda sat on that one too much. :)

Sara January 25, 2011 at 10:57 AM  

I like #3, #6, #8.

#3 - Nice colour, I like the sloping arm.
#6 - West Elm has great design, but recently was there trying out sofas, and the quality is reflected in the price. The Hanover is an inviting sofa,
#8 - this is a beauty. Would you get red? Love it.
#1 is also nice, smiliar to #3

I have been in search of a sofa for several years and have failed to replace mine because it is completely fine, but drives me nuts. The back is too high and it is not neutral enough. And, I haven't found the perfect replacement sofa... The ones you have chosen are very similar to the style I like : 2 seat cushion, lower back.

Sofas I have come across that may be of interest:
The Vaughn Sofa by Crate and Barrel is similar to the styles above. I love the grey wool flannel fabric and it is super soft and comfy (if you want a harder seat, forget this one.)

The Luna sofa is a more modern minimalist design, but still has wooden legs and two seat cushion.

The Belgian Slope Arm by Restoration Hardware...Pricey, but looks really comfortable (although I don't like skirted bottoms).

I do recommend trying out sofas. Go to your local furniture store and you may find very similar designs and be able to try it out.

Kelsey January 25, 2011 at 11:02 AM  

I love #8 (link is wrong though). Love that the cushion is one solid piece...less cracks for *stuff* to get into and easier to seat more people. I also love the idea of slipcovers, but only if they look nice. #6 looks really nice:).

sarah @ realestatestyle January 25, 2011 at 11:18 AM  

Have you heard of Best Slipcover Co? I am a dealer for them, and they have some great options! Prices are similar to Pottery Barn depending on the fabric. Check out www.bestslipcovercompany.com, and the styles you may like ar the Charles, Taylor, Monica, and Grant. Let me know if you would like some pricing!!!
Sarah www.realestatestyleblog.com

About Last Weekend January 25, 2011 at 11:39 AM  

I love the Crate and Barrel one, it looks most elegant and sleek and best colour especially if you have kids and dogs around. I know what you mean about overstuffed sofas, everyone sinks in...

Mary January 25, 2011 at 12:14 PM  

I like number 7 the best, I don't like skirts on sofas because dog hair collects underneath them (don't ask how I know this). Mary :)

Kori~Q~ January 25, 2011 at 1:07 PM  

Have you thought about Calico Corners? I haven't gotten anything from them personally, but I have several friends who have gotten custom sofas through the Austin location and they have been very, very pleased with the experience, workmanship, fabrics, etc.

Good luck on your sofa hunt!

Erin @ The Impatient Gardener January 25, 2011 at 2:12 PM  

I like the Crate and Barrel sofa the best, but I go for cleaner lines in sofas (having been through my huge-armed, overstuffed, crazy-big sofa phase). I also know that my next sofa will have a tight back. I have a very clean-lined sofa now but if I want it to look halfway decent I need to fluff and rearrange pillows for a good 15 minutes. Between the cat laying on top the back cushion and me lounging on the couch, it gets very messy.

CannyCole January 25, 2011 at 2:46 PM  

I really like all of the sofas!! Wow, lovely! I would have to say #1 is my favorite though...i love the lines!

lisaroyhandbags January 25, 2011 at 3:00 PM  

I agree with AJ and would not get 1, 3 or 7 for a family sofa because the arms are too short to lean against and you can't properly get comfy. Slipcovers are great for washing so you can lean towards lighter colours and also look cute made to expose the legs. A tight back sofa is more tailored and will always stay looking nicer than one with big back cushions, but make sure the seat is deep enough to accommodate some throw cushions to make it sink-in comfy. :)

Laura January 25, 2011 at 3:06 PM  

Guh!! Couch shopping nightmares!!

My fiancé and I just bought our first home 2 weeks ago - went from one living space to 2... And with the way the rooms are configured our couch is in the upstairs room and the tv went downstairs! Now we are in desperate need of either a couch downstairs or a TV upstairs!

My fiancé wants a big-ugly-fluffy-monster of a couch and I just want something that is comfy but looks nice!

Is that so much to ask for?! Plus they are so expensive.... Makes me sad - causes fights too!

Good luck!

Anna January 25, 2011 at 4:10 PM  

I love love love #1. It's very classy and timeless. You might also like some of these Martha Stewart couches: http://www.bernhardt.com/marthastewartfurniture/group.php?COL=Upholstery&CAT=Upholstery&SUBCAT=Sofas

We've been married for 6 1/2 years and we still have a "college-looking" black leather couch. I hate it so maybe I'll tell my husband that at 10 years I'm getting a new couch. I like the way you think. :)


sarah January 25, 2011 at 8:29 PM  

I like 1, 5 or 7.
I just bought my first new sofa ever too! I have been married 7 yrs and my previous sofa came with the marriage. It was in the bachelor pad!
Anyhow I found a company from Canada called Stylus. I worked with a designer who helped me with the size based on my overly small room. I chose the width and depth but not the height. I picked the fabric and the pillows. One of my favorite things is that the fabric under the cushions is the same tough fabric all over. No cheaper, thinner fabric underneath. And the back is finished too! They have a website and will help you find a seller near you. It can be difficult but worth it! I live in Dallas and the nearest dealer was an hour away but I'll buy another Stylus sofa in another ten years! Good Luck.

Jen January 25, 2011 at 9:55 PM  

I really like couch number 1! Have you seen this couch by Candice Olson? It's very similar and made by Norwalk Furniture which is very high quality. The price is a bit higher, but if you want a couch that's built to last, they are the one's to go with.


Ann's ART January 25, 2011 at 10:32 PM  

I am with you on the overstuffed. I looked for the perfect small-scale sectional that wasn't overstuffed or overly fancy. I decided that since I have little kids, I will only do leather, but I didn't want it to look like leather. I am so sick of the dark brown or black leather, and there are no other choices at any stores. I also wanted something that was soft to the touch and didn't feel like plastic. I finally had a sectional made. It was by Decoro (www.decoro.com). It is seriously beautiful. It is in a soft, buttery camel color, and it is very rich to touch. Not super cheap, but I HATE cheap furniture too!

orange sugar January 26, 2011 at 8:04 AM  

I've been casually browsing for sofas. I can't stand the one we currently have. It's a sleeper and the cushion will not stay in the couch. I want something stylish and comfortable which apparently is nearly impossible to find.

I absolutely love Macy's Chloe sofa. It's comfortable but I would worry how it would hold up over time.

I liked PB's Comfort Slipcovered Sofa. Sounds cool that you can just take the cover off the couch and wash it. But it has some terrible reviews and it seems like once you wash the covers you might not be able to get them back on.

Anonymous,  January 26, 2011 at 11:08 AM  

Love, love these choices -- My sofa is very similar to your #1, except mine's by Vanguard, and is a 3-cushion rather than 2, and has arms like #7. I've got down in my cushions, and I swear it's the most comfortable thing I've ever sat on. (And it's also the best place in the house to nap!) I've never had problems with stains - it's Scotchguarded, I think. (Hey with quality sofas- they cost more, but you really DO notice a difference!!)

I found mine for a ridiculously low price by taking a trip to Furnitureland in High Point, NC. They have a bazillion choices, and a 2nd huge warehouse just for clearance. If you ever get the opportunity to go out there, I HIGHLY recommend it.

Lisa January 27, 2011 at 3:52 PM  

I'm loving 1, 3, and 4. If it helps at all, we have a couch from Room and Board and the quality is outstanding. We have two dogs(a pug and french bulldog) who fashion it their couch and like sit on the back pillows. Our 2 year old likes to jump on it from time to time and through all of this it has held up amazingly well.

Suki January 30, 2011 at 7:01 PM  

#8 happens to be my favorite (not particularly the color). These are all totally the style I'm looking at for the future (yup, probably 10 years from now). Some of the others have short arm rests which seems impractical. And I don't like the cover to the floor. I like couch legs!

Momma Jess July 18, 2011 at 8:46 PM  

I would warn against any couch with a skirt. Mine have them and have looked slouchy and messy since the first year we had them. They drag on the ground at the center of the couch, even on wood floors, so you can imagine how cruddy they look on carpet. They also catch everything (pet hair, dust, etc) I'm loving your non skirted choices! Good taste.

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