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Sofa Buying Guide: 5 Questions to Help You Decide How Much to Spend a New Sofa

With so much of life currently spent at home, it’s more important than ever to have furniture that works for your life. And, after countless TV show binge-watching sessions on our sofas (and some reading of books too—don’t worry!), we’ve decided that a good sofa is worth its weight in gold.

So, it might be time to ask yourself if you have a sofa you love or if it’s time for something new? And if you’re embarking on the hunt for the perfect sofa, you’ve come to the right place.

GIF of different sofas swapping into a room

The “perfect sofa” looks different for everyone—but there are some universal non-negotiables when it comes to finding the right sofa for you. It should be comfortable, fit in your living room, reflect your style, and hopefully last a few years (if not more). Not to mention it should be a price that fits within your budget!

But all that is easier said than done. It doesn’t take long in the search process to discover that shopping for furniture isn’t always simple. There are a lot of decisions to make: Do you opt for a sectional or sofa? Do you try to save some money with a cheap sofa or splurge on a more high-end sofa? Is it even possible to find nice couches under $500—or sectionals under $1,000? Oh, and what about sofa materials??

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Before you get completely overwhelmed by all the possibilities, we’ve found that it’s generally best to start by thinking through your budget and how much you’d like to spend on your sofa before getting lost in the world of sofa styles and materials.

What you choose to invest in a new sofa is totally up to you and your needs. For some people, it might make sense to invest in a quality piece that will last years. For others, buying something that works for right now is a better option.

If you’ve been asking yourself, “How much should I spend on a sofa??” we’re here to help. We’ve designed countless living rooms and have helped thousands of Modsy customers pick the perfect sofa for their style, space, and budget. And we’ve created a sofa buying guide to help you uncover how much money you should spend on a new sofa.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself before you buy a new sofa.

staging velvet sofas

Question 1: How much do you want to spend on a sofa?

It can be hard to wrap your head around how much you should spend on a sofa, especially if you’re not even sure what the average cost of a sofa is. A good place to start is getting familiar with some average price ranges for couches and sofas.

How much does a sofa cost?

Here are the average price ranges for sofas.

  • $1000 or less: The sub-thousand dollar range is what we’d consider an inexpensive sofa.
  • $1000 – $2000: A mid-range priced sofa generally falls in between one to two thousand dollars.
  • $2000 or more: We’d consider anything above two grand to be an expensive sofa.

The Bottom Line: Survey the sofa landscape to help you get a sense of how much you might want to spend.

display of velvet sofas

Question 2: How nomadic are you?

Sofas are large, bulky, and not the easiest pieces of furniture to move. One that works perfectly in your current home might not fit through the doorway at your next. So it’s important to ask yourself if it’s worth investing in a high-end sofa if you move every year or two or if you should look at more inexpensive sofas for the time being. So, think through how nomadic you are and how invested you are in moving a sofa from place to place.

Your solve:

  • I move a lot or will be moving soon: If you plan to only live where you are for under a year, consider skimping on an inexpensive sofa that you won’t have to worry about lugging to a new location.
  • I’m relatively settled: Around five years? Maybe a slightly higher-quality option is the best fit for you. You want something that will last you that half-decade or so, but won’t be missed if you can’t bring it with you.
  • I’m in it for the long haul: Finally, if you are relatively settled in your current home, it makes more sense to invest in a high-quality sofa that will last.

The Bottom Line: Your overall timeline is important to consider before making a big-ticket purchase that isn’t easy to transport with you.

display of linen sofas

Question 3: Are you into interior design trends?

A trendy sofa looks great right now, but you might find you’re sick of it after a short time. Depending on what you think of decor trends, here’s what we’d recommend for your next couch.

Your solve:

  • I love trends: If you can’t say no to a sofa with a bold color or statement pattern, consider opting for a lower-cost option rather than investing in a more expensive one. Unlike decorative accents, you can’t as easily move a sofa from room to room when you get tired of it. Don’t sink your money into something you’ll be sick of in a year. Instead, consider incorporating that velvet trend into a few pillows.
  • Trends don’t phase me: If you’re looking for a sofa that can transcend your current tastes, consider investing in a high-quality option. This can be a sofa with a neutral fabric, a quality leather option, or even a sofa with a versatile shape, such as a chaise that can switch sides.

The Bottom Line: If you want to splurge on a quality sofa, it’s important to find one that works for both now and later.

display of velvet sofas

Question 4: Do you have kids or pets?

Although we love kids and we love pets, it’s a fact that they are the culprits behind a lot of our furniture’s wear and tear. Be sure to factor your real and fur babies into the equation when buying a piece of furniture.

Your solve:

  • Don’t stress: One way around this is to choose a budget-friendly sofa that you don’t mind replacing as it gets worn out.
  • Call for reinforcements: The alternative is to invest in a higher quality option. Opt for a sofa that’s durable and can take whatever your kids/pets throw at it. Consider choosing a stain-resistant fabric or with a slipcover that you can easily toss in the wash. Quality leather is also great for pets. You want something that won’t stain or rip easily and doesn’t attract fur like a magnet.

The Bottom Line: You know your kids and pets the best, so factor them into the picture when deciding what sofa makes sense for your family.

staging velvet sofas

Question 5: How much time will you spend on your sofa?

Just like your mattress, if you use your couch a lot, don’t make yourself miserable with something that’s uncomfortable. (And let’s be real—with the current state of the world, we’re all spending a lot more time on our sofas, aren’t we?)

Your solve:

  • My sofa is just for looks: If you’re always on the go and rarely spend time on your sofa, no need to invest in a high-quality, ultra-comfy option. Something inexpensive but stylish can suffice.
  • My sofa is my other half: If you’re a self-proclaimed couch potato or your living room revolves around TV-viewing, don’t skimp on a cheap sofa that makes you uncomfortable. You can find plenty of inexpensive and mid-range sofas that are also comfortable and of high quality.

The Bottom Line: Invest in quality and comfort for the things you use daily, like your mattress and sofa.

 

Ready to find your perfect sofa?

Read our guide to sofa styles and learn more about how to buy a sofa online to make shopping for this living room staple as comfortable as lounging on it.

Or, if you want some insurance before splurging on a sofa, try on some options in your home before you make the investment. Modsy can help show you how real sofas will look in your actual home with our 3D designs.

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This post was updated on May 12, 2021

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Why Are Rugs So Expensive? A Guide to Buying Your Next Rug

image of a bedroom with different rugs swapping in and out under the bed

If you’ve done any internet browsing for rugs, you might have stumbled across the fact rugs are, more often than not, really freaking expensive.

Even if we exclude handmade oriental rugs, which can easily fetch upwards of several thousands of dollars, a standard 8×10 rug from popular retailers can still cost you a month’s rent. We’ve had more than a couple customers ask us, “Why are rugs so expensive?” But then, occasionally, you’ll stumble across area rugs for under $200. So, what gives? Is a rug’s price totally arbitrary?

The short answer: No. While area rugs cost anywhere from $100 to over $2,000, there’s actually a lot that goes into the production of a rug that is reflected in the price tag. What’s it made of? Where is it made? How big is it? Are we talking machine-made rugs or hand-tufted and hand-knotted rugs? Rugs made of synthetic materials or natural fibers?

To help shed some light on the subject, we’re taking a look at all the reasons why rugs are so expensive. We’re hashing out what factors make up a rug’s price so you can decide which are important for you and ultimately figure out how to choose a rug for your space.

Need help finding the perfect rug for your space? Start a Modsy design project and see expert designs set in your exact room in stunningly realistic 3D! Our designers will show you rugs that fit your style and budget and you can see how they fit in your space.

Coastal living room design with a blue rug, white sofa, and wooden coffee table

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Factor #1: What the Rug is Made Of

What a rug is made of matters. The material a rug is made of will determine the quality of the rug and affect how long it lasts. The main difference between materials often lies in their durability and clean-ability. Materials that are more durable, as well as those that are more difficult to source, drive up the price of the rug.

Rugs are most commonly made of either natural fibers—like wool, cotton, or silk—or synthetic materials, like nylon or polyester. Since the natural fibers in these rugs involve a growth process, these rugs tend to be more expensive. Curious to learn more about different rug materials? Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of each material, which can help you decide between natural versus synthetic rugs.

Wool

A sturdy natural fiber, wool rugs are generally a more expensive option. This is because wool rugs last for decades, are highly durable, and keep their color and pattern over time. (Just a few of the benefits of wool rugs!) In general, wool rugs have a softer and more plush texture than their synthetic counterparts.

Cotton

Soft and fluffy, cotton makes for very soft rugs. Cotton rugs are easy to clean, but they lack the durability of wool and even some synthetic fibers. Because of this, they’re not great for high-traffic areas. But they’re a great option for homes with kids and pets! And if you want a rug made of natural fibers, these are less expensive rugs than wool or silk.

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Jute

Jute rugs tend to have chunky weaves, offering a lot of visual texture to whatever room they’re placed in. A material that’s naturally light brown, jute can also be dyed in a variety of colors. However, this material does shed quite a bit, which might bother the neat freaks. Two other materials of natural fiber rugs that are very popular are sisal and seagrass, which have the same natural woven look as jute, as well as a ton of durability.

Silk

Second to wool in their durability, silk rugs are coveted for their high-shine and luscious texture. Steering away from a super expensive rug? Skip the silk. Silk rugs tend to be extremely expensive and they require professional cleaning—so, not the best fit for homes with kids, pets, or rooms with heavy foot traffic.

Nylon

A less expensive and synthetic alternative to wool or silk, nylon is known for its durability. This makes it a good choice for high-traffic areas. Conversely, the material is highly absorbent, meaning a nylon rug can be easily ruined by spills.

Polyester

Another inexpensive synthetic option, polyester (or PET) is a less absorbent material, rendering it more stain-resistant. It’s also the most eco-friendly synthetic option, as PET is made of recycled plastic bottles! That said, polyester is a less durable material, and rugs made from it tend to have a shorter lifespan.

Polypropylene

A great synthetic-fiber dupe for wool, polypropylene rugs are soft, sturdy, and affordable. And they’re also stain-resistant! However, they’re the chemicals they’re treated with to make this happen are of concern to some households.

teal bedroom design, art deco decor with blue rugShop This Room

Factor #2: What the Rug is Dyed With

Fabric dyes are a really important factor in the price of a rug. Rugs are generally given their color with either natural dyes (usually vegetable-based) or chemical dyes.

Natural dyes tend to be more lightfast, meaning they will not fade over time. This plays into a rug’s durability—and therefore impacts the price. Rugs dyed with natural options also take more labor to produce, making them more expensive.

Chemical dyes are a much cheaper alternative and result in very vibrant colors. However, depending on the dye and method of the dying process, these options tend to fade much quicker (even after a few months of foot traffic and sun exposure).

 

Gossip girls redesigned living room

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Factor #3: How the Rug is Made

The rug production process, or the method by which a rug is made, is also an important factor in determining its price. A rug can be completely handmade, fully machine-made, or a mixture of the two.

The more expensive options tend to be loomed by hand and can take days to months of labor to complete. Often, these are referred to as hand-knotted rugs. These rugs contain a high knot count, which results in that amazing plush texture and their rich colors. Handmade rugs are more durable and can last decades if cared for properly.

The alternative to costly handmade rugs are machine-made or power-loomed rugs. While they tend to sit at a lower price point, these options have a lower density of knots and a looser weave, causing them to be less durable in the long run.

You may also hear the term “hand-tufted rug,” which is a process of weaving a rug partly by hand and partly by a mechanized tool.

image of a living room with different size rugs cycling in and out

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Factor #4: The Rug’s Size

It might seem obvious, but the larger the rug, the higher the price point. That’s because rugs are priced by the square foot or square meter. The natural result? Larger rugs will be more expensive. Check out our rug size guide if you’re wondering how to choose a rug size.

Factor #5: The Rug’s Country of Origin

In the rug industry, labor costs and the skill of workers varies quite a bit. What does this mean for how much rugs cost for the consumer? Consider this: a hand-knotted rug made by a third-generation rug artisan in Morocco will cost more than an area rug that’s power-loomed in China, where a specialized skill set isn’t required and labor costs are lower.

industrial living room design with a blue accent wall, blue rug, and leather sofa

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Other Things to Consider When Rug Shopping

The Ethics Behind Rugs

Another component behind the cost of rugs is the ethics behind their production. Rugs made in factories with child labor are able to be sold at an extremely cheap price point. Before you purchase a rug, consider doing a bit of research on its production methods.

Value Over Time

While not so much a factor in the cost of a rug, another point to consider before you make a purchase is that rugs keep their value over time.

Like investing in a piece of art, high-quality rugs, when cared for properly, will last for decades and can be passed down as a family heirloom. They can even be resold later and retain much of their original value.

But you may not be in the market for an heirloom. If you just need a quick fix or a rug that will last a couple of years, consider that in the rug (and price point) you choose.

So, why are rugs so expensive?

When it comes to the question of “why are rugs so expensive?”, the materials, the dyes, the method of production, the rug’s size, and the country of origin all impact a rug’s price. The decision to splurge or skimp on your next rug? That’s up to you.

 

Need help finding your perfect rug?

Modsy designers are standing by to help you find the perfect rug—or sofa, dining table, or bed frame—for your style and budget. They’ll show how different options look and fit in your exact space, so you can shop with confidence and skip the stress.

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This post was updated on July 9th, 2021

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Skimp or Splurge: 4 Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Rug

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If you are in the process of designing your home, you might have discovered the dirty word that is “budget.” Furniture is expensive, and the reality of designing a home (without spending a small fortune) often means making trade-offs. One of our stylists’ favorite tricks for designing quality spaces on a limited budget is to use a mix of budget-friendly and investment pieces.

In our new “Skimp or Splurge” series, we’ll tackle different items from sofas to storage, and show you how to decide where to spend and where to save your money.

This week we’re taking on the question of rugs. Available in an impossibly wide range of prices, it can be difficult to know how to choose an option that is right for you. We asked our stylists how they decide when to splurge and when to save on rugs.

1. What do you want from your rug?

The main difference between an 8’x10’ rug that costs $300 and one that costs a month’s mortgage payment is quality. High-quality rugs have a richness of color and a plush texture, and they can last you a decade or more if you care for them properly. Low-cost rugs, on the other hand, will fade and pill quickly and need to be replaced more frequently.

If you are working with a tight budget, but don’t want to completely skimp on quality, consider a flat-woven rather than a tufted rug. Flat-woven rugs tend to be available in larger sizes at lower price-points, and their tight weave renders them more durable.

Stylist Tip: With so many options on the market today, you don’t have to sacrifice style for budget. Our stylists can recommend budget-friendly rug options that work for your space and style.

2. What’s your timeline?

As with any big ticket furniture item, how long you plan to live somewhere is an important factor to consider before making a purchase.

If your living situation is temporary, you might consider skimping and going with a cheap option. If you’re settled down or plan to live in the same place long-term, investing in a quality rug makes more sense.

Also consider that rugs, unlike other pieces of bulky furniture, are relatively easy to move. They can be rolled up making them much easier to transport and store. Unlike other items, if you get tired of seeing your rug in the living room, it can be repurposed in another room.

3. What room will the rug be in?

Where you plan to place the rug is also an important factor to think about when considering whether to invest or save your money. Ask yourself if the room where you plan to use the rug will get a lot of foot traffic.

A place like your entryway might not make the most sense for an investment rug as it is more likely to get stomped on and worn down from heavy use. Conversely, your living room or bedroom might be a great place for an investment rug.

Stylist Tip: Also consider if you are a shoes-on household. Habits like these are difficult to break (especially if you live with other people) so consider how your lifestyle might affect the lifetime of your rug when deciding if it is better to skimp or splurge.

4. Do you have kids or pets?

Often people say they don’t want to invest in a rug because their kids and pets are prone to messes. One way to confront this conundrum is to go with a lower cost rug that you won’t miss when it gets destroyed. However, this approach might cost you more in the long run, as cheap rugs tend to fall apart quicker and are often made of materials that absorb stains easily.

Rather than replacing a $200 rug every six months, consider investing in a high-quality rug that can stand up to the messes and won’t get destroyed immediately by your children or furry friends. Natural fibers can be a great option, as they are sturdy and are easy to clean.

If you have young children, also consider that cheap rugs are often made of synthetic materials, which can be potentially toxic. If you have a little one who is an avid crawler, it might be worth investing in a high-quality rug that is free of toxic protectants and fire retarding chemicals.

 

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