How To Buy a Sofa That Will Last: Epic Guide

How To Buy a Sofa That Will Last: Epic Guide

14 minute read

Knowing how to buy a sofa that will last is quite important. For some people, their sofa is one of the most important pieces of furniture in their homes. There are lots of good reasons why, but here are five compelling ones to keep your couch looking its best.

  • Your Sofa is the Most Expensive Piece of Furniture you Own

If you rule out electronics, your sofa is probably the single most expensive object in your living room. It represents a sizable investment, especially if you bought it new or made of leather. Even if your sofa comes in second to a pricey antique or painting, it still probably costs you a pretty penny. That is why it makes sense to protect that investment with precautions like fabric protection. Fabric protection can keep a small food or beverage malfunction from turning into a new sofa bill.

  • Your Sofa is the Most Used Piece of Furniture in your Home

A sofa is a heavy-traffic item. If you are single, it is your guest center, and if you have a family, your kids pretty much grow upon it. If you have pets, your sofa is most likely a highly contested trophy with ever-changing owners. If you entertain, your sofa may also double as a table or a wine bar. Your sofa is a highly likely candidate for a rip, scuff, stain, or burn with all that activity. Lucky thing there are furniture pros who can repair your couch for less than it would cost to buy a new one.

  • Your Sofa is Comfortable

Okay, you may love your recliner, but if you want to sack out in front of the TV, where are you going to crash? Why, on that cushy couch, of course! A large sofa can (and often does) double as a second bed. There may even be enough room for two family members to cuddle up there. Three, if you count your dog.

  • Your Sofa is an Anchor Piece

No matter what style of furniture you have in your living room, the sofa is most likely your anchor piece. It is the piece around which all other pieces are arranged. The style of the sofa establishes the mood in a living room and is therefore particularly important. While it might be possible to get away with imperfections in other pieces of furniture, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to create the impression of a stylish, attractive living room with a ripped or stained sofa.

  • Your Sofa is the Largest Piece of Furniture

Your sofa is more or less the largest piece of furniture in the room. It makes sense to keep it a well-groomed, attractive piece of furniture by keeping it in good repair and protecting it during any moves.

Buying Guide: How to Buy a Sofa that will Last you a Lifetime!

Since the sofa is a piece of furniture that is important in any home, it is important for you to know how to buy a sofa that will last you a lifetime! Here are some tips on how to buy a sofa that will last. 

  • Look for a Sturdy Frame

A well-made sofa has a sturdy frame, so it will not warp or crack with use. For a sturdy couch that stands the test of time, look for a frame made of kiln-dried solid wood. Kiln-dried means it removes the moisture that can cause warping and crack and squeaky couches. You also want to look for a frame held together with dowels, wood corner blocks, or metal brackets. Anything held together by only staples, glue, or nails can fall apart or come undone much easier. A heavy couch is a good indicator that it is sturdy because it is made of dense, high-quality materials. Since you cannot see inside the couch because it is covered up by fabric, ask the salesperson or check the manufacturer’s website to determine whether or not the sofa is made of kiln-dried wood and dowels, wood corner blocks, or brackets. A quick tip is for you to lift one front leg of the sofa 6 inches off the ground. If the other front leg stays on the ground, the frame has too much give and is weak.

  • Comfort is in the Cushions

What is inside the cushions can drastically affect the price and quality of the sofa. Most cushions have a polyurethane foam core – the denser the foam, the heavier and longer it will last.  Cheap sofas have the poly foam core, and that is it. In higher-quality furniture, the polyfoam core is wrapped with batting. There are tons of options to choose from as far cushion content, but the two most recommended in terms of quality, price, and comfort are high-resilient foam with a batting layer of down and conventional foam wrapped in polyester batting. Another thing to consider, sofas with back cushions unattached make cleaning and fluffing much easier. The best way to find a couch you like that is comfortable is to sit on a bunch of different ones and see what cushions fill you like best.

  • Consider Timeless Upholstery

Upholstery is the element that affects a sofa's cost most. You want to make sure an expensive piece of furniture you are investing in has a durable fabric and can withstand daily use. Performance fabrics are stain-resistant and can even be bleached without affecting the color. These are some of the most durable types of fabric, although quite expensive. If that is not in the budget, cotton, cotton blends, leather, and wool are good options. I suggest choosing a neutral color that will not go out of style for years. If possible, get a swatch of fabric you are considering and bring it home. Compare it with the other items in your room and set the swatch where the sofa will sit. Notice how the color/fabric looks in different lights to make sure you like it.

  • Size Matters

Consider the proportions of the room and the other furniture in your space when looking for sofas. You want a sofa that feels proportionate to the rest of the space. In other words, you do not want a small-scale chair sitting next to an oversized sofa with huge cushions because it will look off. Another thing to note is that not all sofas are the same depth. Some have narrower seats than others, and this can affect overall comfort. The best way to know how wide of a seat you like is to sit on many different sofas and measure the seat cushion depth on the sofa you find most comfortable. Using masking tape, mock up a footprint of the sofa to see how it fits in your room. You can even "build" the sofa out of boxes or other furniture to get a feel visually for how much space the sofa will take up.

15 Types of Sofa for your Home

With so many designs and styles of sofa out there in the market, it can be quite difficult to choose the best sofa that will suit your needs. Here are fifteen different types of sofa. Hopefully, you can choose a sofa that can last a lifetime!

  1. Slipcovered Sofa

For a farmhouse or cottage look, a slipcovered sofa is a win-win. The relaxed construction delivers a comfortable, welcoming look that invites all to sit down and kick back. Because slipcovers can be easily removed and laundered, you do not have to worry about messy kids and pets, especially if you choose a durable fabric such as cotton duck or twill. Do not be afraid to go with white upholstery. It is the best choice for longevity, as you can easily and affordably change out throw pillows when your tastes change. Thanks to the magic of bleach, that white will remain crisp and fresh for years to come.

  1. Leather Sofa

A soft-as-butter leather sofa is a go-to choice for bringing warmth and texture to a family room or den. While leather sofas of the past may have been oversized and bulky, today’s choices offer frames in all shapes and sizes. Much like a well-loved farm table, these sofas only get better with age and use. Leather is a great material for a busy household with lots of traffic, but you need to appreciate the character of a well-loved leather sofa like this Modway Furniture Loft Leather Sofa in Black.

How to buy a sofa that will last

  1. Modern Chippendale Sofa

The modern Chippendale sofa is a streamlined bench-style sofa, a modern take on the classic Chippendale sofa. Its simplified lines deliver the signature thin arms and high, curved back but without some fuss, making it a solid choice for a smaller library or sitting room. You can take inspiration with this Benzara Button-Tufted Chair in Oatmeal for a modern Chippendale sofa.

  1. Bridgewater Sofa

Simple in shape and modest in scale, you cannot go wrong with a classic Bridgewater sofa. With details like low arms, a softly rolled back, and a tailored skirt, this sofa delivers a pretty, inviting seat that’s ready-made for both easy conversation and a night of binge-watching. You can customize the look with the cushion configuration where two is more relaxed and casual, while three is more traditional. The Bridgewater is also a great sofa for introducing some patterns. You can go bold with a stripe or floral.

  1. Camelback Sofa

Appropriately named, the camelback sofa is distinguished by its gracefully arched back. Thanks to exposed legs and scrolled arms, this stately sofa shape remains as popular today as when Thomas Chippendale first introduced the design during the 18th century. Bring the historic shape up to date by upholstering or slipcovering it in a solid fabric. Its more upright structure makes this a top choice for a room used more for conversation than lounging. A great example of a camelback sofa is this Baxton Studio Gwendolyn Modern And Contemporary Grey Fabric Upholstered Daybed With Trundle

  1. Chesterfield Sofa

The hunky Chesterfield sofa always makes a strong statement. Characterized by its high arms, deep seat, and diamond-tufted back and arms, its wraparound design provides a cozy seat ample for the whole family to pile on. Keep in mind that its generous scale means this sofa needs a room of some size to help maintain balance. You can take inspiration with this Modway Furniture Viola Chesterfield Button Tufted Loveseat Performance Velvet Settee in Dusty Rose.

  1. Rattan Sofa

Woven furniture is not just for porches and patios! Bring a rattan sofa inside to give your family room a casual, laid-back vibe. Keep the finish natural for a more rustic setting, or choose a crisp white paint finish to bring in a hint of cottage charm. A cool rattan sofa for your living room is this Flash Furniture 4 Piece Outdoor Faux Rattan Chair, Sofa, And Table Set In.

  1. Tuxedo Sofa

Like the chesterfield, the sexy tuxedo sofa's arms and back are the same height, which creates an upright, boxy shape. While they are often tufted, skipping the tufts and adding cushions makes this modern shape feel more relaxed. You can take inspiration with the Homeroots Brown Contemporary Polyester Velvet Fabric Upholstered Button Tufted Tuxedo Sofa for your living room.

  1. Upholstered Settee

Suppose you are tight on space, you can head straight to the cute and petite settees! They deliver all the style and comfort of a full-size sofa in a slimmed downscale that is perfect for a bedroom, office, or anywhere you want to add a little comfy landing spot. You can use a great upholstered settee for your living room: the Benzara Fabric Upholstered Wooden Settee With Button Tufted Wingback Design Backrest in Gray And Brown.

  1. French Cabriole Sofa

Bring on the romance with a curvy French cabriole sofa. Its exposed wood frame often boasts pretty carvings, which look great painted for a more feminine feel or left natural for a French Country vibe. Keep the back upholstery tight and choose a single bench cushion for a modern look that reads way more chic than shabby.

  1. English Roll Arm Sofa

If your idea of a perfect Sunday involves a good book and a cup of tea, then the tight-back English roll arm is the sofa for you. Its deep seat, soft curves, and low-rolled arms make this the sink-in, curl-up sofa that still delivers plenty of styles thanks to detailing such as exposed turned legs, pleating around the arms, and optional tufting. A great example is this Harbor House Donovan Transitional Fabric Lounge.

  1. Midcentury Sofa

If your style leans to the modern, look to mid century-inspired designs. These low-profile, clean-lined sofas are perfect for smaller-scale rooms or even nestled against a stairwell. Finishing details such as tapered legs, piped edges, and shallow button tufting adds to the tailored appearance. If you are pairing it with other furniture, make sure your chairs and side tables have a similar scaled-back size so everything feels cohesive. You can take inspiration with this Moe’s Home Maslow Sofa.

  1. Cane Sofa

Caned furniture is making a big comeback, and a cane-back sofa delivers a sophisticated style that is the perfect blend of traditional and modern. You can soften the structured, woven-wood frame with a loose-filled bench-style cushion and piles of pillows.

  1. Sectional Sofa

If you have got a big family and the square footage to match, go ahead and say "yes" to the more-the-merrier sectional sofa. It is like the minivan of sofas. It is practical with plenty of seating, and it is also going to become your favorite spot in the house. With so many options available, you do not have to sacrifice an ounce of style. You can opt for a variety of big, fluffy back cushions and throw pillows to make your sectional even more of a sink-in spot. A great example of a sectional sofa is this VIG Furniture 0985 Sectional Sofa.

  1. Deconstructed Sofa

If you love the look of drippy chandeliers and chipped finishes, then consider a deconstructed sofa. Stripped of its upholstery, hence its name, deconstructed furniture celebrates the beauty of craftsmanship and humble materials like raw wood, natural muslin, and burlap. Be careful not to go too shabby and keep frayed edges short. Layer lots of cushy pillows for added comfort.

How to Take Care of your Sofa

Knowing how to buy a sofa that will last is only the first step. It is up to you to take care of and maintain such an expensive piece of furniture. With the steps below, taking care of your sofa will be a breeze!

  • Flip Your Upholstery Cushions Over

You should regularly flip your upholstered cushions (both the seat and the back cushions) depending on the frequency of their use. You will find that your upholstery will wear out evenly, and your cushions will maintain their shape for longer.

  • Invest in Stain Protection Products for Your Upholstery

Ask your furniture seller and professional upholstery cleaners about the nature and material of your upholstery and the stain protectors best suited to it. Professionally applied stain protection helps make your upholstery easier to clean because they provide a slick extra layer between your upholstery and materials, potentially staining it. Such stain protectors will also assist in slowing down damage from ultraviolet rays in sunlight.


Knowing how to buy a sofa that will last is important because your sofa is one of the most important pieces of furniture at home. But more than that, it is also equally important that you invest in the right type (and design) of sofa for your home, including knowing the different tips on how you can maintain your sofa to be clean in the long run.

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