Buying The Perfect Sofa
Ok, you’re a man now; the days of dorm furniture and futons are over. Presumably you’re not bringing drunk college girls home anymore, and you’re dealing with actual adult women now. Unfortunately for you, their standards for decor are quite a bit higher.
Picking the right size
There are three main factors that go into picking the size of your couch:
- How big is your room? Furniture stores are usually way bigger than your living room, and the furniture looks smaller than it actually is. So, make sure you measure before leaving home (length, depth, and height).
- How big & tall are you? If you’re tall (like me) make sure you pick a sofa that is high and deep enough for you. It is easy to overlook this while you’re distracted in the store. Then, the thing gets delivered and you realize it is just not a comfortable size for you. I am giving you this advice from personal experience/mistakes. Make sure the cushions are big enough for your thighs, and lean back to make sure you can do so without your head hitting a wall.
- Will people be sleeping on it? This is important because some sofas are simply too short to sleep on. If you don’t have a guest room, this sofa will likely be your guest room and it should be long enough to comfortably handle a sleeping person. Don’t buy a pull out sofa as your primary sofa; those are shitty sofas and even worse beds.
Picking the right style
If you’re recently out of college and/or just not loaded, it can take a while to accumulate a full set of furniture. This means, it may not all be from the same place and your tastes may change.
So, when deciding what style sofa you want, it’s important to not just buy the first cool thing you see. That super-modern sofa might look cool in the store because it’s staged with all the right accompanying pieces… but unless you’re buying everything, it will probably look different in your house.
This is an oversimplification, but typically sofa styles fall into three main categories:
- Classic – Probably the type of sofa your parents have. Classic sofas tend to have more ornate features, possibly curved arms and legs, or decorative stitching. They also tend to be more plush looking. Classic sofas can be perfectly comfortable, but do not look like something a typical dude would be attracted to. Ironically, many women are drawn to more classic style furniture.
- Contemporary - This may end up being your safe spot. Contemporary sofas usually take the timeless aspects of classic sofas and mix them with the appeal of more modern sofas. For example, a contemporary sofa might be made out of a soft fabric with overstuffed cushions to make it comfortable, but the shape of the sofa is more like that of a modern piece. Instead of using metal legs like a modern sofa, or ornate legs like a classic sofa, a contemporary sofa will often have basic block-like wooden legs. Such as the one pictured above from Design Within Reach.
- Modern – Sharp lines, often leather, frequently with metal legs. Modern furniture can be really cool, but you need to dedicate yourself to it. You shouldn’t buy a super modern sofa if you don’t plan to maintain that theme in your other furniture. There are clearly exceptions to this, but some women don’t care for ultra-modern furniture because it doesn’t give off a cozy vibe, so you might want to keep that in mind.
Picking the right fabric and color
The majority of today’s sofas are made of either leather or some sort of synthetic blend.
Varieties of synthetic materials have become very popular because they are easier to keep clean. You’ll often see the term “microfiber” when sofa shopping. This basically translate to “easy to clean, suede-like material.”
In terms of color, staying neutral would be my recommendation. If you’re particularly sassy or like a specific bright color, go for it. However, if you’re going to own this sofa for a while, picking neutral color will probably payoff in the long run.
Many stores, such as Crate and Barrel, will stock a couple fabric colors but offer many other special order ones to choose from.
A few words about price
I want to mentally prepare you for this shopping expedition. Nothing says you have to spend a ton of money on a sofa, but a good one is not cheap. Unless you go to ikea, work on wrapping your mind around spending $1,000 and up. $1,000 to $3,000 is a pretty typical range for a good sofa. Some obviously cost more, especially higher-end leather.
Don’t buy a use sofa, that’s gross. Think about all the stuff you end up doing on your sofa… now think about some other dude doing it first and then selling you his sofa. Ok, end of discussion on that one.
Where to buy?
Here are a few places to start looking: