Avoid Buying a Cheap Sofa

Avoid Buying a Cheap Sofa

When you are in the market for a sofa, consider paying a little more for it upfront. The quality of the sofa will pay off in the long run. Yeah, you may get tired of the fabric on it, but at least it will be constructed in such a good way that you can have it reupholstered for a fraction of the original cost.

Here are some things to ask and look for when you are shopping.


The frame should be made of a hardwood like oak, maple, ash, and kiln dried. The kiln drying keeps the wood from warping or cracking during seasonal changes as well as changes in the humidity. The cheaper sofas will be made from a softer wood like pine. The joints should either be screwed or glued using dowel and pins. The cheaper models are stapled together. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you usually can’t see how an upholstered piece is put together so you need to find out.


The cushion support system ideally should be eight-way tied spring coils. These are coil springs that are hand tied to each other. The cheaper sofas will have pre-assembled coil units that is stapled or nailed to the sofa’s frame. These springs will prevent the cushions from bottoming out, even after Fat Aunt Edna has gone home. Pull up the cushions and look at them. They should run from front to back and you should be able to stand on them with no problem. Yeah, I said stand on them. You gotta know if this sofa is going to be able to handle whatever or whoever you throw at it.

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When you are checking out the cushions pick them up and see if they are heavy. You will want a heavier foam Dacron cushion. The firmer the better. The softer the cushion, the quicker your sofa cushions will flatten out and look horrible. Just know, with time the cushion will soften and starting out firmer means you are going to get a longer life out of it.

If you are looking at cushions that are filled with down, remember that you will have to fluff those quite often. If you like having that extra chore, have at it. You also could get the Dacron foam cushion with down on top of that, but you may see some wrinkling in the cushion.

Place the cushions back on the sofa and take a nice big plop on top of it. If the cushion pops up on the other side, move along. You want the cushions to stay in place.

While you are at it, try to get a sofa where the back cushions are semi attached. The loose back cushions are cheaper to make and will break down sooner.

If it has upholstered arms, sit on those, too. If you feel the wood through it in the store, it is just going to get worse with time.


You have two options… fabric or leather. It’s all a personal choice, but here’s what you need to know for either choice.

First, the grade of the fabric is in no way toed to the quality of the fabric. It’s about the cost of the fabric. Think about it this way, silk is expensive and would be considered a higher grade, but we all know that silk is not very durable.

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If you have kids or pets, look at microfiber. It is almost stain proof and feels like sude. The downside is that you will see butt prints on it. If you don’t mind that, go for it.

Better fabrics for sofa use are the blends. Also consider getting a solid color fabric instead of a print. Sticking with a neutral plain fabric will mean that it will stay current for a longer period of time. You can always change it’s appearance with pillows and throws.

Leather sofas will last twice as long as fabric sofas, but that look isn’t for everyone. Leather from best to last in terms of quality are as follows: Full Grain, Top Grain, and split. Now, I am not a leather expert by any stretch of the imagination, so with that said there are all sorts of variances and treatments in between in regards to leather that someone could say well, this is better than this, but that is a whole other article.

Full grain leather hasn’t been buffed and you will see the marks on it. Remember this is a cow’s hide and if the cow had some scratches on him, you will see leather will patina over time.

Top grain leather has been buffed. This leather won’t age as much and will have a greater resistance to stains.

Split grain leather is created once the top grain is removed. They then can add back in a leather grain to it.

When you go shopping for a sofa, ask questions of the salesperson. Make them earn their commission. You need to know what you are buying. If you don’t you may end up buying an overpriced sofa that will fall apart in a couple years. Spending your money wisely on the front end guarantees your investment will go farther.

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