Laying around like a grown-up
October 5, 2014 4:49 PM   Subscribe

I dream of a sofa; a down-filled, velvety-covered, charcoal grey or peacock-colored, high-armed place to lounge, read, and nap. Do you know where my dream couch can be found?

My 10-year old grad student special couch has performed it's service admirably, but it's high time to retire the poor, stained, uncomfortable thing. I have couch dreams, and wonder if they can be met, and if you have any ideas where and how. My perfect dream couch would have the following:

1. A single, bench-style cushion, because I hate that thing when you sit on a couch and one cushion sinks and the other stays in place and suddenly there's a weird ledge.

2. A single back cushion, or no movable back cushions at all. Sad old couch has removable back cushions, and I always hated them, so have just sat on the couch without the back cushions for years. Which leads to...

3. Extra deep seat. As sad old couch has no back cushions, I've gotten used to an effective seat depth of 28" (vs. the standard of ~23"). I almost never sit like a grown-up, with my feet on the floor - I'm usually sitting facing forward, with my legs crossed beneath me, and it seems odd to have my knees poke off the edge of a couch now. Also, I want it wide enough for napping.

4. High armrests. Because if I don't have my legs crossed under me or I'm not taking a nap, I'm probably sitting sideways, leaning back against the armrest.

5. Down-filled. Not down-wrapped, but seat and back cushions actually stuffed with down. This is basically my luxurious dream for napping perfection. I want this a whole lot. I also realize I probably won't get it.

6. 80" - 90" long. For the napping, and the scale of my current living room.

7. Available in something velvety, either in charcoal grey or peacock blue (I do not have children, children do not visit my home, and my dog hates being on the couch, so practicality is not really a concern here).

8. Reasonably affordable for the quality. I'm looking for something ideally under $1,500 (which is a big fat splurge for me), but could maybe go a bit further for something that will last until I die with occasional reupholsterings over the years.

I found this Bijou couch at La-Z-Boy, which satisfies everything except #3 and #5. And though the pictures are meh, it's pretty gorgeous (and comfortable) in person. West Elm has the Dunham, but it's pushing my price range, and I feel like I've heard their quality isn't fantastic? Is that true to your experience?

Where do you look for grown-up furniture, MetaFilter? Do you know where my dream couch can be found? Do you know of the perfect or near perfect thing?
posted by amelioration to Home & Garden (21 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know the magic answer, but have you had down filled before? Because I hadn't, and I bought one because it was super discounted, and now I have stray feathers everywhere, and my sofa magically deflated itself. It isn't even a year old. My previous not down filled lazy boy was much better, even though in brand it isn't as respected as what I have now.
posted by cestmoi15 at 4:58 PM on October 5, 2014 [7 favorites]

1. A single, bench-style cushion

3. Extra deep seat. ... Also, I want it wide enough for napping.

6. 80" - 90" long.

These three things suggest to me that you might want to search for daybeds, rather than couches. I find them more comfortable for napping and often for sitting, and they span the full price spectrum from DIY to "if you have to ask..." territory.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:14 PM on October 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I am intrigued by this daybed suggestion, especially upon seeing this, which looks nothing like the daybeds of my youth. Other daybed suggestions would be welcome as well, especially if, like this one, they look more like a couch than a bed.
posted by amelioration at 5:32 PM on October 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, chaise lounges or divans might fit the bill.

Check out this link for the kinds of things that might work and once you have the word for what you want, you'll be more likely to find it!
posted by zizzle at 6:20 PM on October 5, 2014

By the way, the terminology for a back with no cushions is "tight back."
posted by primate moon at 6:27 PM on October 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

The sofas at Restoration Hardware are kind of massive, so might be a good place to look regarding size issues. I'm guessing they'll almost all be out of your price range, though... but maybe there will be a sale?
posted by wyzewoman at 8:00 PM on October 5, 2014

I was saying Restoration Hardware for every point until #8, price. I have seen the exact sofa you are describing in their catalog (grand scale items) but it was closer to $2500.
posted by saradarlin at 8:18 PM on October 5, 2014

For example the Belgian Shelter Arm 7' in grey velvet, down filled and 37" deep will cost $3800. If you live near to an outlet you might be able to find one in the mid $2k if you are patient.
posted by saradarlin at 8:26 PM on October 5, 2014

This one comes close but is a little pricier.

Just here to reiterate what cestmoi15 said--I have a down couch with a single long cushion. Feathers poking out have always been a problem and now we have the lumpy, saggy problem. Plus, it makes me hot when I nap on it. I'm planning to get foam the next time.
posted by biscuits at 8:55 PM on October 5, 2014

I also have down in my Ethan Allen sofas and while they don't shed their feathers, it does require work to keep them looking nice. I beat the shit out of them weekly, whether I'm mad or not. I don't mind, really, but I think I would if each couch had a single long cushion. If you've found a sofa that hits everything but the down, I'd say you've found your sofa.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 9:01 PM on October 5, 2014

Everything about your post screams Barrymore to me, except the budget. The company will make furniture to your spec, so if you want a deeper seat or higher armrests, just ask. You can pick pretty much any upholstery of any pattern or colour. They used to do full down for the cushions and back padding. Now I'm seeing an option that combines feathers and another stuffing, but honestly, I'm sure if you really, really wanted all down, that could be arranged--for a price.

There are lots of basic styles (which all can be highly customized) but the Chippendale Camelback Sofa and the Telford Sofa are two that are shown with a single seat cushion and no back cushions (you may have to scroll through the pictures to see them in that configuration).

It has been a while since I've been in the showroom, but if I had to guess at the current prices, I'd say $5,000-$8,000 should be in the ballpark (depending on your fabric choices), but I could be very, very wrong about that.
posted by sardonyx at 9:03 PM on October 5, 2014

As for the poking feather issue, the Barrymore pieces I'm familiar with (owned by relatives) are roughly 20 and 40 years old, and the feathers and down haven't escaped, poked through or caused any discomfort.
posted by sardonyx at 9:05 PM on October 5, 2014

I have a down couch from Norwalk furniture. It's about 10 years old. The feathers poke out a bit but the couch has kept it's shape and is perfectly comfortable. It's a velvety plum. Ten years ago I bought it in your price range. It meets every requirement except single bench, high arms (the low arms are good head rests for naps, comes with cushions for back rest in more upright position) and also seat depth (I just sit sideways). I am in fact sitting curled up on it now. A+ would buy again.

I discourage 90 inch couches. This one barely fits in doors at 80". It is the realistic max size couch for twisting in hallways with a two person carry.

If you have a norwalk nearby check it out, I thought this couch is great value for $$.
posted by crazycanuck at 9:44 PM on October 5, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the fascinating input and eye candy. Budget is definitely my strictest constraint, and I'm okay with not meeting every other criteria in order to accommodate that one.

And wow, it sounds like the quality of down filled upholstery has plummeted in recent years. I'll keep an eye on construction of the cushion covers if I go that route.

One last clarifying question: I'm going to try to check out the West Elm pieces in person, both of which have hardwood frames. Is their quality reasonable, meaning that I could expect to get 10-15 good years out of a piece?
posted by amelioration at 2:49 AM on October 6, 2014

You might be able to get a couch that doesn't meet criteria 1 and then replace the seat cushions with a long bench cushion. It will be..challenging... to match the fabric, though. Or, you could find a couch that you otherwise like and see if the manufacturer has a bench cushion on any other couch (with the same fabric) that they might sell you separately.
posted by anaelith at 5:13 AM on October 6, 2014

Since you are in Massachusetts, I would recommend stopping in at a Jordan's and Boston Interiors. While I can't confirm they have the style you're looking for, I've had sofas from both over the years and they have held up really well and the sales people are very helpful and not pressure-y.
posted by FreezBoy at 5:39 AM on October 6, 2014

If the down/feather cushioning is something you really want, consider using a Feather Bed as a cushion-topper to an inexpensive couch. A Twin Extra-Long size will roughly fit the your proposed couch size with some overlap, or it will perfectly fit over a daybed.
Here's a Feather Bed example on Amazon.
posted by Ardea alba at 6:06 AM on October 6, 2014

If you can give on 1, 2 and 5, the Liam sofa from Mitchell Gold might work for you. I have it in charcoal grey velvet and it is great for napping (and sitting on sideways using the armrests as a back rest). It's held up well so far (I've had it 4 years, 3 of those with a large dog who digs under it and naps on top of the back rest cushions ). I can't remember exactly how much it cost, and the website doesn't say, but I think it was either right at your budget number or just a bit over.
posted by snaw at 6:28 AM on October 6, 2014

West Elm has been very iffy for me wrt quality over the last 3-4 years. We got a lot of their living room stuff for the executive offices here and there has been disparate quality between identical pieces receiving similar use. Also iirc all of their down cushions are the down/feather combo, which is technically better for long term fluffiness, but is what contributes to the sharp little featherstabs that all their pillows poke you with IME.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:45 AM on October 6, 2014

Best answer: Is "new" a requirement? Because you and I have similar couch dreams and I totally have your couch! I'd encourage you to look at mid century couches, almost all of which do have down filling and the unusually strong upholstery and support to contain them. Squishy velvet couches are totally a mid century modern thing. You'll probably have to get 3 - 5 cushions, but they do not make furniture like this any more (except see below!). My beloved burgundy velvet midcentury couch has just died an untimely death because my husband slept on it for the better part of a year - it is more comfortable to him than our plush latex bed! That thing was only ~$300 + some upholstery repairs and it is a TANK. Nonetheless, I have moved it about eight times. I still can't justify reupholstering it for ~$1500. But, with that kind of seriously solid furniture, I have never seen a single feather.

I've known I need to replace this couch for awhile but I've been in denial. Here's my pinboard of mostly down filled big lounging velvet couches (though I was looking for sleepers; it does include day beds too). Room & Board, in particular, does some great mid century knock offs and they use down - they are super comfy. Some are in your price range and may be a really good option (they have quite a few lengths). We are going to get a Peggy couch from West Elm in green velvet - it's on order. Our decorator (who isn't affiliated with west elm) thinks that particular couch is pretty good quality wise. It looks just like our old couch, so much that we wonder if people will notice we got a new one - we gave it the lay down test as well. With our decorator discount it will be $899. Less than we planned on spending, but that is a good thing!

Something else to consider is custom furniture, given your requirements. It's not as outrageous as you think! There are a couple places here that beat out, say, Crate & Barrel or Restoration Hardware by a lot and tend to be more ethical. Our local place is Couch Seattle. They do not ship to where your profile says you are, but you could ask for a referral. They seem to be really enthusiastic folks. The online purveyor of totally custom furniture I know of is Joybird Furniture. Our decorator sent us there, first, before we went to west elm and fell in love with the other couch. Their couches are all above your named price, but they constantly send me 20% off coupons, have no sales tax, free shipping and run other specials. It seems like a solid operation, particularly for somebody with picky requirements. You can entirely customize length, fabric (down to sending them your own!), filling, etc. It's good to be picky! That couch is going to live with you a long time - congrats on this rite of passage into adult laziness! memail any time. I have spent waaaaay too much time thinking about velvet couches.
posted by sweltering at 2:18 AM on October 8, 2014

Also, re: day beds, I'd hesitate to recommend that. It seems like a good idea but it never worked out for me. I got a very stylish day bed (a lot like this one) and I was the only person to ever sit on it for the two years it was in my living room. We had it piled with decorative pillows and bolsters, it had a tasteful cover, it had a very nice mattress, etc -- but to our guests, it was always a bed. In the living room. A seriously awkward piece of furniture. I traded up for a chaise lounge, which doesn't seem so untouchable by guests. YMMV. If you want better napping/sleeping surfaces, get a better bed. If you'd like a comfy couch, get a comfy couch. A day bed is more of a guest room purchase, in my mind.
posted by sweltering at 2:27 AM on October 8, 2014

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