I just want to buy a new sofa.
November 20, 2020 11:09 AM   Subscribe

I am ready to buy a sofa. The one I liked was $700. I could pay 6x as much for my perfect unicorn sofa that will last a decade or more.

I am beyond needing to buy an adult sofa that will last a while rather than a $100 one from an upstairs neighbor. The last new sofa I bought was a Manstad from Ikea. I used it even as a bed for many years and I loved it. I liked the way the sofa portion and the bed portion were the same make-up. I didn't mind the firmness but the fabric discolored with a normal cleaning product and my husband found the fabric scratchy and rough for anything beyond sleeping. I also didn't love the color.

I basically want the Manstad but maybe a teeny bit bigger/deeper for cuddling and napping and in a fun color like orange, yellow, peacock, or emerald. I am a little scared of tufting and buttons and the ones from Joybird I like have buttons on the seat and the back. Maybe that isn't the issue that I imagine? I have a 3 year old and a cat and we are not careful or still or small or anything like that. Ha.

I do like this one from Pottery Barn but how are you going to have 50 fabric choices and they are all incredibly boring?

I think I do want some kind of sleeper for sure but in theory a deep enough seat for two people to nap on is also ok. The storage chaise isn't absolutely mandatory but it's helpful with our small house. A storage ottoman or just a regular but big matching ottoman may suffice.

I feel like I am going to be on this terrible but free futon forever because I can't find what I want. I am in San Diego if anyone has particular local advice.
posted by stormygrey to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
With a three year old and a cat, I'd not spend a ton of money, though $700 isn't a lot for a sofa, especially if it's a sleeper. My best advice isn't about what specific sofa to get, but to get one where the style will be around for a while and that has washable or at least replaceable covers. And maybe buy a different set of covers right away or keep an eye out for them in a few years, to make sure the style isn't discontinued. I had my Ikea Karlstad for several years and it got pretty trashed by kids and dog (mostly kids), but a new set of cushion covers gave us a few more years before the leg busted under the weight of several large teenage boys. I think it lasted about nine years? And that was a cheapie.

So I'd go to Ikea and maybe check out the various configurations of the Kivik and other sofas and see if they're cozy enough without being a sleeper, and check out the sleeper sofas too. They usually have some brighter covers and they introduce new bright covers pretty regularly.

Also, with a kid and a pet: a cover with some texture or pattern can help. A solid in a smooth fabric isn't going to look good for very long.
posted by bluedaisy at 11:32 AM on November 20, 2020 [5 favorites]

I have my eye on the Interior Define Maxwell for when we eventually replace our sofa. I've heard amazing things about the comfort level of their couches, and the service the company provides in helping you get exactly what you want in terms of size, leg style, etc. Here is an example of that sofa in a deep blue jewel tone (scroll down) as an example.
posted by stellaluna at 11:39 AM on November 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

We went from a futon to a Crate and Barrel Lounge sofa 10 years ago. It's deep and long enough for two to nap (with the back pillows off the 83" has about as much room as a twin bed), super comfortable, and is still in great shape even with heavy use (large pets, small pets, babies, kids, etc.) They also have ottomans, sectionals, different lengths in the collection.
posted by The Shoodoonoof at 11:43 AM on November 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

Oh, and I'd second bluedaisy - a fabric with texture/pattern doesn't show stains as much. We got a dark wide waled corduroy fabric, not sure if they offer that now, a peacock version would be lovely. They have custom fabric samples at the store you can look at and the site says they'll send you small samples free.
posted by The Shoodoonoof at 11:53 AM on November 20, 2020

Everyone I know who spent the $$$$ on a Room and Board sofa describes it as money well-spent. (Ok it's only two people, but they're both choosy types.) There's a store in San Diego, too.
posted by minervous at 12:09 PM on November 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

Don't feel bad. Purchasing furniture for your living area is a big deal because, well, you need to live with it for a long time. There is a lot of pressure to select the correct comfort level , design, size, price point, colour, etc.

My wife and I famously took weeks to replace our toaster, we'll be dreading the time we have to replace our couches.
posted by McNulty at 12:28 PM on November 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you ever have plans to visit Seattle, we designed a super comfortable, modern leather sofa at this place up in Ballard. You can put together dimensions, style, materials, all of it. They build it to your specifications, and ship it about 8-10 weeks later.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:45 PM on November 20, 2020

As a person who recently bought the Joybird Eliot sofa, despite being worried about the buttons on the seat cushions, I can say I don't recommend it given your fear. I love the sofa, and it's great quality, but I'm currently awaiting a replacement cushion because of getting the buttons caught on my pants pockets.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 1:18 PM on November 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I’d buy a vintage sofa, made with kiln-dried hardwood, hand-tied springs and get it recovered and have a washable slipcover made. I’ve had my made-in-North Carolina sofa for 25 years and had it re-upholstered once. New furniture unless you’re buying very expensive stuff is pretty much junk.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:29 PM on November 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

We have gone through some sofas due to the having a very large person in our household and we have kids and a dog. We ended up going with a This End Up sofa and working with a local upholstery repair provider to create fabulous cushion covers in durable fabric we provided, as well as a set of two more covers that we have rotated in. So far we’ve lost one seat cover to wear and tear, but it’s going strong. It has twin bed length and is comfortable for sleeping, but is not a conventional bed/sleeper sofa - it’s a sofa. Also, there a services available online that will sew cushion covers for you.
posted by childofTethys at 1:55 PM on November 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

If you're serious about being willing to spend $7k, you can get a truly custom sofa made for that amount, with whatever dimensions, filling, and fabrics you want (within reason — some would drive the cost higher). We have a custom sofa in one of our rooms, and it's great. We did have a designer we were working with who did the drawings and interfaced with the builder, but I'm not sure that's totally necessary.
posted by primethyme at 3:19 PM on November 20, 2020

I really enjoy my Joybird tuft-less Lewis sofa which also comes in a sectional. It is fantastic for sleeping because of the single unified seat cushion. It's much nice to sleep on than the 2 or 3 cushion sofas with their uncomfortable cushion gaps.
posted by dum spiro spero at 4:06 PM on November 20, 2020

I am using the sofas my parents purchased in the 60s. They are solidly built and though I finally reupholstered them, after nearly 50 years of use they definitely needed it, I expect to pass them down to my children. They were not cheap, but purchased from quality manufacturers and retailed by places like Pottery Barn and West Elm, but not those companies. Quality chains, in other words. To replace my sofas with comparable new ones I would expect to pay north of $4000 per sofa. Kiln dried wood, quality manufacturing, durable pillow construction (not foam) and quality fabric cannot be gotten for nothing, and if you really want quality you'll have to pay for it. If you do find something you want, ask if there are any returns (often for crazy reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the sofa, like the couch didn't fit up the stairs or through the door, or the upholstery is wrong. Still, can't be sold as "new"). You can score big savings that way. You can always reupholster an otherwise perfect sofa.
posted by citygirl at 4:58 PM on November 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've heard a lot about the idea of buying a great sofa and having it reupholstered, but it can be quite expensive to do so. Might be worth it in the long run, but it's worth looking up the costs in your area before you plan for this.
posted by bluedaisy at 5:23 PM on November 20, 2020

Could you get the ikea one again and have it reupholstered with a fabric you like?
posted by shadygrove at 6:13 PM on November 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

There are online companies like Bemz who make custom ikea covers. So buy the sofa you want, but get a set of amazing covers. My ikea sofa covers are machine washable, which comes in handy, (Disclaimer, I ordered fabric samples but never actually bought new covers. We still have the ikea basic ones, but the sofa is now 5 years old and totally fine)
posted by Valancy Rachel at 7:37 PM on November 20, 2020

The Lounge II from crate and barrel is awesome.
posted by slateyness at 8:29 PM on November 20, 2020 [2 favorites]

I spent a lot of money (for me) on a previous year-model Innovation Living Sofa that I use as my everyday bed and fold up every day as a sofa.

I will say, it would be looking better these days if not for my cat (and this is with protective measures)! I spent about $2k on it. Totally worth it even with the wear and tear, but I would need to be a lot wealthier than I am to feel the same way about a $7k purchase.

It has been great. Especially during the pandemic being home all the time, having a sofa that felt like a sofa has been terrific, and it helped my one room really feel like two. But I have a small NYC apartment.

Anyway, I did a lot of research at the time and it seemed to me that the Innovation Living brand was the best bet for easy to convert sofa beds that fit in smaller places that are maximized for the bed experience as well as for the sofa experience.
posted by Salamandrous at 9:21 AM on November 21, 2020

Another way to save money, if you figure out a model you like that's too spendy, is to check outlets for floor models that are scratched and dented. We have a Crate and Barrel Petrie that I got negotiated down to about a third of the new price because it had some scratches and some missing buttons. I would NOT recommend anything with tufted buttons though. They are almost all gone off the seat cushions now, eight or nine years later, and we didn't bother sewing them back on because they like to bite butts when you squirm around and it hurts.
posted by bowtiesarecool at 12:37 PM on November 21, 2020

I feel like I am going to be on this terrible but free futon forever because I can't find what I want. I am in San Diego if anyone has particular local advice.

Go to Jerome's. Even with the lockdown, you should be able to go in person and see what you actually like, which helps a lot. The prices are definitely 'I have a three-year old and a cat' but the quality is usually there, too. Bonus, they're often by a bunch of other similar retailers (I'm in North County, so in San Marcos they're part of Furniture Row). They have the worst salespeople, though, so skip them if you're not up for that.
posted by librarylis at 10:53 PM on November 22, 2020

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