Finding the Perfect Sofa

In anticipation of moving into my next apartment this October, I decided I wanted a new couch. Five years out of college, it was time for me to move on from my starter couch. Obviously, researching would be essential. One thing is for sure: a sofa is a serious investment. And finding the right one is no easy task. So here are a few tips from me to you on finding the perfect sofa.

Price

It is easy to be swayed by the price tag when shopping for big ticket items like a couch.  Keep in mind that the cheaper you go, the quality is typically lesser.  That being said, its important to determine your budget. And be realistic. You won’t find a quality couch for less than $500. There are plenty of nice couches for under $1500 though.

On the low end (under $1000)

These are the perfect option if instant gratification is a necessity, as you can often go out on a weekend and come home with a sofa that day. The frames for these sofas are made mostly overseas. The frames might be stapled together rather than glued, dowelled or screwed together. The material that the frame is made of is cheaper and not as durable for long term.

Mid Price Range ($1000-$3000)

Frames in this price range are manufactured overseas and in the USA. The frames won’t be stapled together, and they are generally made to order rather than being pre-made and stacked in a warehouse. These sofas have a wider range of fabric options as well.

High Price Range (Over $4000)

The high price range finds sofas that are designer or designed specifically for you, with frames often manufactured in Europe or locally made. Custom fabrics, foam, and design are all available in this price range.

Size

If you have a bigger living room, you’ll need to decide exactly how much of the living room you want your couch to fill. Do you want to include other couches or chairs? Do you want a coffee table?  If you have a small living room, odds are you’ll need a smaller couch. The living room at my new apartment is fairly small, but I had my heart set on a sectional with plenty of seating for me, Mike, and Rory. I was willing to sacrifice other chairs for one big, comfy couch.

Style

Choose a style that complements your home. It can be a little hard to nail down your own personal style, but go with your gut when picking the type of couch that will fit naturally in your home. If your style is sleek and modern, pick something that reflects that in clean lines like this modern and simple sofa seen at Lightbox apartments. Similar couch here. If your home is an eclectic mix of colors and designs, a couch that combines several styles (such as a vintage couch re-upholstered in a colorful fabric could be the perfect expression of your taste. Personally, I am a bit more traditional- and so I prefer a classically structured sofa in a durable and neutral fabric will stand the test of time and will work well with various colors and complementing pieces. (I love to switch throw pillows out frequently.)

Lightbox in Seattle, WA

Lightbox Apartments in Seattle, WA

Fabric

Sofas for everyday use need durable fabric. Cotton and linen are both good options that usually come in a variety of colors. Wool and leather are handsome and strong but expensive. Velvet is sleek but fragile. Since Rory loves to sit on the couch, I decided to go with microfiber. It’s about as close to “pet proof” as you can get.

Cushions

Polyurethane foam is a low-cost, easy-care cushion filling. Polyester fiber is also inexpensive, but it flattens quickly. But the more durable, high-density type can feel hard. Softer, low-density foam deteriorates more rapidly with constant use. High-resilient (HR) foam is slightly more expensive but more comfortable and long-lasting.  Goose down is the top of the line. The combo is plump and cozy. But EXPENSIVE (about double the price of foam), and high maintenance; cushions need frequent fluffing. A down-polyfiber blend is cheaper, but it flattens fast. I opted for down-polyfiber blend. Rory jumping on the couch does the fluffing for me.

Frame

A sturdy frame means a long-lasting sofa. Soft wood, such as pine, is low-cost, but it may warp or wobble after five years. Pricier hardwood is more durable. Avoid frames made of particleboard, plastic, or metal; they may warp and crack. A frame with joints connected by any of the following means is solidly constructed: wooden dowels, double wooden dowels, wooden corner blocks, or metal screws and brackets. Staples or nails may be used for extra reinforcement, but never buy a sofa that’s held together solely by staples, nails, or glue.

Color

Bright, printed or neutral? If you’re like me and you’re too nervous to experiment with bolder colors and patterns in your sofa, you can always opt for a funky ottoman or throw pillows. White is technically a neutral, but it makes a bold statement. As seen in the living room of this Huntington Beach apartment.  Similar couch by Birch Lane

The Residences at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach, CA

The Residences at Bella Terra in Huntington Beach, CA

Now go sit back, relax and enjoy some TV on your perfect sofa!

Amy Johnson

is UDR’s budding social media guru, and has been instrumental in constructing the brand’s content strategy. After graduating from University of Colorado- Boulder, she started working for UDR as a marketing intern. When she isn’t perusing the web for the perfect pins and Facebook posts, she can be found hiking somewhere with her dog Rory.

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