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sofa buying guide

Sofa Buying Guide: Should You Skimp or Splurge on a New Sofa?

sofa buying guideFinding the right sofa for your living room is a little bit like dating. It can be a lot of work to find the one, but once you do, you get to enjoy a lifetime of happiness together.

The “perfect sofa” might look different for everyone, but we can probably all agree that it should be comfortable, fit in your living room, reflect your style, and hopefully last a few years (if not more).

Enjoying your perfect sofa is the easy part. Finding it takes work.

sofa buying guide

While you probably have a good sense of what you’re looking for in a sofa, you might need a little help uncovering how much you should spend on one.

Sofas can be expensive, there’s no denying that. 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. But where do you fall on the spectrum?

Because we’d rather you spend your time focusing on your real dating life (or with your family, pursuing that new hobby, or doing any other activity that brings you joy), we created a sofa buying guide to help you easily understand how much you should spend on a sofa.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a New Sofa

sofa buying guide

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 if you’re not even sure how much the average sofa costs. A good place to start is to get familiar with some average price ranges for sofas.

Numbers to know:

  • $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: Anything above two grand, we would consider 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.

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.

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.

sofa buying guide

Question 3: Are You into Trends?

A trendy sofa looks great right now, but you might find you’re sick of it after a short time.

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.
  • 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 a 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.

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.

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. 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.

sofa buying guide

Question 5: How Much Time Will You Spend on Your Sofa?

If you use it a lot, don’t make yourself miserable with something that’s uncomfortable.

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, don’t skimp on a cheap sofa that makes you uncomfortable. You can find plenty of inexpensive 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 buying this living room staple online to make shopping for a sofa as comfortable as lounging on one.

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 using our virtual design tools. Then, shop directly from your design plans and take advantage of our insider rewards program to save!

Click here to get started, or if you’re already a Modsy customer, head to your studio and ring the assistance bell to see some new products in your space!

Living Room ideas

Everything you need to know about buying a sofa online

How to buy a sofa online

We live in a world where we can buy anything and everything online. From clothing to groceries, furniture is now a category we can add to the list.

But while purchasing a pair of shoes is easy, ordering a large piece of furniture via the internet can feel stressful and overwhelming. After all, you can’t just drop a sofa in the mail if it doesn’t fit or look the way you hoped.

While buying a sofa online might seem terribly risky, it can actually be a simple and easy – even great – experience! Here are five tried and true tips – gleaned from our real-life experience – to help make buying a sofa online as comfortable as lounging on one.

 

1. Shop for What Makes You Comfortable

Are you inclined to recline? Find a sofa that supports the way you like to lounge.

Would you believe us if we told you that you can determine if a sofa is comfy online? Although nothing quite compares to the real life test drive, there are key factors that can help you to gauge a sofa’s comfiness via cyberspace.

Do you want a sofa where you can sit cross-legged and enjoy all the poor-posture slouching you want? Look for an option with a greater seat depth. Do you like to lean back against your sofa’s armrest and stretch out? Be sure to pay attention to the arm height to ensure maximum comfort.

Think about how you really use your sofa and look for the factors that will make it most comfortable for you. Check out this helpful video for a break-down of all your need-to-know sofa stats.

 

2. Read the Reviews

You are not blazing this trail alone!

The next best thing to sitting on a sofa is reading reviews by other people who have sat on that sofa. Just a few of the many things you can learn from the reviews are the quality of the piece, how comfortable it is, and if it looks the same in real life as it’s pictured online. 

There’s no telling how much time, money, and energy you can save by reading product reviews.

 

3. Get Acquainted With the Return & Exchange Policies

Your last line of defense when buying furniture, online or in-store.

Before buying a sofa online, make sure you can answer the question “If I hate it, how easily can I return it?

Many furniture retailers have strict return and exchange policies, so it’s important to do your research. For big-ticket items, like a sofa, some retailers require you to ship the piece back yourself and then pour salt in the wound with a hefty restocking fee.

It’s no surprise then that many people keep furniture they don’t even like simply to avoid the hassle of returning it.

Here’s the good news – many retailers have super generous return policies so you can avoid this sofa-sized headache. Do your research first, then shop confidently.

4. But First, Swatches

Test drive the material before you commit.

Many retailers offer to send you fabric swatches for a small charge or even for free! This is a great way to test drive the fabric you’ll be lounging on, so take full advantage.

Don’t be afraid to get handsy with your swatches and see how they hold up to everyday wear and tear. Spill some wine on them to gauge how easily they stain. Wipe down the fabric to see how easy it is to clean. Even rub them on your pets to see if their fur clings to the fabric.

5. Visualize It

Make sure it looks good and fits in your space.

A customer recently told us that, prior to designing her space with Modsy, she had tried reconstructing the form of her potential new sofa out of cardboard boxes. And we totally get it! Imagining how a big piece will look and feel in your space is difficult, but it’s also one of the most important steps toward buying a piece of furniture online.

Before you buy a sofa online (or even at all) get confident by knowing how it will look and fit in your space. You can use the magical powers of Modsy to see your sofa in an exact 3D version of your actual room. Alternatively, you can always rely on a measuring tape, or even compare the dimensions of your new sofa against another piece of furniture.

Whichever method works for you, avoid having to return your new sofa (even though you thoroughly researched the return policy like a pro) because it doesn’t fit or look good with your wall color/rug/coffee table…

 

Shopping for a new sofa?

Are you in the market for a new sofa? Snag yourself a Modsy design package and try on all your favorite options in a life-like version of your living room. Not sure where to even start looking? Our designers can help recommend sofas based on your style and budget. 

Design in 3D, Shop With Confidence:

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A Simple Solve for a Common Living Room Dilemma

For many homeowners, having a large living room can be a conundrum, especially when it comes to figuring out the best seating and furniture arrangement. And it often starts with where the sofa should be placed. Not surprising, given it’s the largest and most essential furniture piece in every living room.

It’s almost instinct to place a large-scale furniture piece, like a sofa, against a wall. It’s a practical approach that essentially helps guide where everything else in the room would go.

However, as this before-and-after scenario proves, there’s more you can do with a sofa than just pushing it up against a wall in a large living room—which ultimately results in a much more relaxed and welcoming space.

 

BEFORE: An Imbalanced Use of Space

Having your sofa against a wall is a great way to carve out an intimate seating area in a large room, but it also leaves a lot of underutilized space in the rest of the room.

In this living room, the sofa may be perfectly positioned against the wall, but everything else around the room feels out of place. There’s a lonely tall bookcase has no place to go but a wall in between two doorways, which feels random and out of place. Similarly, a large cabinet ends up blocking out half a window on the other side of the room because there’s no space for it anywhere else in the room. The result is a layout where the focus is on the sofa, but the rest of the room feels impractical and imbalanced.

AFTER: A Perfectly Welcoming, Multi-use Space

Consider floating your sofa in the middle of a large room rather than placing it against the wall instead. Designers often float a sofa as a way to create a room within a room, to delineate different areas in a large space, or simply to center the focus. If your large room features architectural elements like a fireplace, you can use it as a visual starting point to inform your sofa placement—either one opposite the mantel or two perpendicular to it.  

Additionally, if you want to formalize your living room, floating your sofa will give it an elevated look, as it helps establish the room as a dedicated place for lounging and conversation.

This Layout Works Because….

 

It Takes Advantage of the Fireplace

For any living, family, or sitting room where there is a fireplace in the middle (or designated spot for your TV), floating your sofa opposite it will help to centralize the layout. Here, the fireplace and the sofa immediately establish a sense of welcoming balance in the room and create a centralized focal point.

It Opens up the Flow of the Room

By floating your sofa, you’ll have a much better flow in a large living room and there will be no awkward unused areas. The arrangement allows you to create other smaller vignettes, such as a wall lined with tall bookshelves or a reading corner by the window, as seen in the layout on the right. It also provides you with more room to walk around the furniture and the space, so you can easily move from one area to another. Think of the sofa in the middle of the room here as the one piece that unifies the overall space.

It Makes Better Use the Walls

Before, the large cabinet in the room was relegated to a space that blocked one of the windows. By floating the sofa in the room, it opens up the entire wall space for a storage and display area that can even accommodate an additional bookshelf, creating a symmetrical arrangement. Unlike the lower-profile sofa, these tall bookcases help to fill out the large empty walls given their height and draw the eye up.

It Creates Space to Lounge

By floating your sofa in the center of the room, it also frees you up to spread out your seating to create mini lounge areas. Previously, this armchair was placed in a cramped spot in the seating area. In this new arrangement the chair can be pulled up to a window to become its own independent reading nook.

Want help finding the ideal layout for your space?

 

A Petrie-Perfect Living Room

 

Cropping up in practically every living room pin and many a home tour photo essay, we are seeing Crate & Barrel’s Petrie sofa everywhere. Why? The Petrie’s Mid-Century Modern form, updated with a transitional edge, makes it utterly versatile and it is the perfect combo of comfort and style. It’s available in a plethora of sizes, shapes, and colors, making each Petrie sofa a unique bundle of joy that is suited to fit any interior.

 

We took our Petrie sofa out for a spin in three different spaces with three very different styles, and – spoiler alert – it looked equally amazing in each. So if your style is transitional, industrial, or eclectically modern, we’ve got a look to make your space Petrie-perfect.

 

mod-enthusiast

For our first space, we wanted to start with a basic transitional living room. And while such a style might easily feel boring or “vanilla,” we think the addition of the Petrie sofa transforms it into the best, slow-churned, locally raised vanilla ice cream we’ve ever had. We opted for the corner sectional version of our Petrie sofa to maximize seating and style. With this as our base, we layered in additional furniture with a Mid-Century edge. Keeping a neutral color palette with a few pops of color helps the space feel fresh. We love this look for anyone who gravitates towards a Mid-Century Modern vibe, but wants to live in a space that feels more contemporary and inviting.

 

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Anthropologie

Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

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Anthropologie

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Artfully Walls

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And on the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got the silky smooth dark chocolate gelato version of the same sofa. Here’s a space that will satisfy the cravings for raw materials and hard lines of our industrial enthusiasts (sorry, ice cream not included). An aesthetic that can feel a bit cold, here our Petrie sofa makes industrial look comfortable (you really CAN have it all!). We chose a dark charcoal fabric to compliment the moody grey-scale palette of our industrial interior. The industrial look is all about raw materiality, so we suggest selecting pieces with lots of metal, unfinished or reclaimed wood, and aged leather.

 

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BoConcept

Restoration Hardware

Restoration Hardware

Minted

Crate & Barrel

Restoration Hardware

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Crate & Barrel

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Plopped inside this sweet little living space is the final iteration of our Petrie sofa. A golden yellow hue reminiscent of bold Mid-Century interiors, this version of the Petrie is “seated” inside an eclectic living room. This space is comprised of a mix of materials, colors, and styles, which mesh together and create a playful and invigorated living room. The consistent color palette of yellows and blues here keeps the space feeling cohesive, while the intentional combination of Mid-Century forms – such as the Petrie sofa, the tripod lamp, or the Beverly Hills Hotel artwork (to name a few) – give our living room an air of design sophistication.

 

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Anthropologie

Crate & Barrel

Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.

 

Wall Seeking Sofa: A Living Room Love Story

One of the greatest challenges people face when designing their space is choosing a color palette. There’s the sofa, the rug, the throw pillows, the wall color – so many variables to account for that it makes the process overwhelming. So if you suffer from decidophobia or just want to give your space an air of design confidence, try on the idea of a monochromatic living space.

Why do we love this look? The matching sofa and wall color combo envelope your space in color and create a sense of luxury. There is a sort of “casual drama” to the look, as the heavy saturation pushes dramatic, while the lack of contrast pulls minimal. Less visual information for the brain to digest, the monochromatic palette promotes pattern and texture from sidekicks to stars.

Browse these 8 perfect pairings below. And if you’re feeling adventurous, see it in your space with Modsy.

Stylist tip: If the idea of a color-drenched interior makes you seasick, try limiting it to just one accent wall behind your sofa.

1. Navy

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2. Sage Green

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3. Camel Brown

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4. Slate Grey

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5. Purpler3189_shot05_f

 

6. Teal

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7. Cerulean

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8. Chartreuse  r3189_shot08_f

 

Want to try a daring paint color, risk-free?
See it in your space first!