Sofa Series Part II: 5 Tips to Consider When Buying a Sofa


Welcome to Sofa Series Part II! If you’re playing catch up, you’ll want to click here to check out Part I first.

So now that you’re all caught up and know the different sofa styles, it’s time to go shopping. Below are 5 key tips to consider when buying a sofa.

Sofa Tip #1: Choose Your Style

There are so many things to consider when choosing your favorite style. There are pros and cons to each and depending on your needs; you’ll want to choose one that fits perfectly with your lifestyle. For example, if your goal is comfort and to find a sofa great for napping; you may want to pass on the Tuxedo or Camelback due to its awkwardly high and narrow arms.

Sofa Tip #2: Measure Your Space

This rule should be obvious but many people overlook it. So many returns have taken place because folks forget to measure and then bring home furnishings that are too big or too small for a space. First, measure your interior space. If you already have a sofa in the room that’s an ideal size; write down those measurements and take them with you when shopping. A measuring tape will also come in handy while shopping so make sure to bring one to measure your new sofa.

Sofa Tip #3: Check the Construction

It’s all about the inner workings of the sofa. This is the frame, joints, and springs. All these things combined will determine the durability and longevity of the sofa.


You’ll want to make sure your frame is a kiln-dried hardwood. And…plywood isn’t one of them. Some popular and reliable ones are oak, poplar, and maple due to them being less resistant to cracking over time. The goal here is to ensure your frame remains intact and durable over the long haul.


The old school way of building a sofa used mortise and tenon joinery. The current trend is to now use staples and glue to hold them together. This results in a sofa that is built to last for a few years top, as opposed to a quality sofa that can be handed down for generations to come (think Granny’s furniture she kept in the formal living room).

So no one really goes around knowing this stuff off the top of their heads. Therefore, always ask a sales person to provide the specifications when shopping. If they don’t know or can’t provide, its probably best to move on.


This is hard to test because so many companies tout themselves on using some form of a 8 way hand tied system; which is the gold standard. One way though is to lift the cushions of the sofa and press down on the seat. You should be able to feel the springs; they should be close together and evenly spaced. And they absolutely should be springy.

Sofa Tip #4: Choose Your Fabric

The choice of fabric will depend on your lifestyle. There are a plethora of materials to choose from however; I will caution that families who have children and pets should definitely look into a performance fabric or genuine leather. Both are kid-proof, stain resistant, and do well with pet hair. Just be sure to keep Fido’s nails groomed.

Sofa Tip #5: Test Drive the Sofa

Once you’ve figured out all of the above, it’s time to give your new found love a spin. This is not the time to play coy either. The tests below will help you determine if you’re a match made in heaven.

You’ll want to sit for a while and see how the sofa performs. How do the cushions feel on your tush? Are they too firm? Or do you feel like you sink into the sofa? Recline in a variety of positions and see if you feel comfortable.

Bounce on the sofa a bit to check the suspension. Does it squeak? Does it feel springy enough? The suspension directly relates to the coil system and how much pressure/weight your sofa is equipped to handle.

Last but certainly not least, grab an arm and try to wiggle it from side to side. A well built frame should not wiggle. Also take a look at the stitching or patterns; they should line up properly and be centered.

I hope this series has been helpful and allows you to become a well informed buyer on your next sofa expedition.

If this has been information overload and you need help along the way, my Decor Sessions are the perfect solution to providing expert advise on an as needed basis. Go forth and shop!!

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