5 Warning Signs You Bought the Wrong Sofa

Sofas either make people very happy, or, you curse at it each time you catch sight of it in your living room. Who knew that this 300 pound wad of lumber, padding, springs, stuffing, batting and fabric could be the stuff dreams are made of, or the bane of your existence?

Here are 5 warning signs that you bought the wrong sofa.

#1) It doesn’t fit in the front door.

You laugh. But just last week, we had to call a client to say that the delivery truck carrying their furniture would be late. The reason was because they were held up at the previous delivery site with a sofa wouldn’t fit in the front door. Thankfully, not one of my clients! Do yourself a favor and measure all points of entry to your nest, to include any required 90 degree turns enroute to the sofa’s final destination. Do this BEFORE you place your order. A designer will know to do this. If you’re working solo and you know upfront there could be an issue here’s the million dollar tip: remember to ask if the legs can be removed to accommodate delivery.

#2) It’s squeaking.

No mice infestation here. The culprit is frame problems. Just like your old bones squeak and crack, the places where wood pieces are joined together – called “the joining” – are the weakest spots on your sofa. The lower the cost and quality of your sofa, the lower grade “joinings” were likely used when it was manufactured. In all likelihood, that squeak is telling you that your wood is warping somewhere and your frame is getting weaker as a result. Chances are, it’s a joining.

#3) The seat cushions look smashed and it’s less than 3-5 years old.

All you and I are to a sofa is “a load”. That’s not an insult. It’s a truism in the sofa-engineering world. The spring system inside your sofa is working 24/7 to “disperse your load”, and your poor cushions have the thankless job of cradling your dead weight. If your seat cushions are made of foam, over time they can compress. The cheaper the sofa, the lower the grade of foam used in cushions, and so the sooner they will degrade. If your cushions are down filled, you will need to beat them to a pulp to reinvigorate the loft. Me? I’m a fan of the spring wrapped seat cushions for high-use upholstery. Here, each seat cushion contains a group of springs, which are then wrapped in foam and Dacron®, or feather or some combination of these to cover the inner springs. Spring blend cushions cost more upfront, but they will hold their tailored shape exponentially longer than their spring-less cousins. Want a tip to prolong the life for all seat cushions? Flip your seat cushions at a minimum of twice per year (Thanksgiving and Mother’s Day for the forgetful) or every 2-3 months for softer cushions.

#4) It’s uncomfortable.

This is a tough one. My best advice is this: don’t sofa shop when you’re tired and numb. Go when you feel really alert. And when you are “test driving” a sofa, sit on it for a few minutes. Try reclining. Know that it will break in slightly with time and use, but not more than about a 10-15{f0f90fd3e82a96211df869c745b8e3cf072bbb42a0f0dc8deabfe3a234d4f3bd} differential. If it feels hard and stiff in the showroom or store, take a pass. Also, be careful of sofas that are too deep for you as these will require pillows for proper support and comfort or your lower back may other you.

#5) It’s just plain, old, ugly, or out of date.

Can’t help you here. However, rather than trying to enliven a ready-to-be-put-out-to pasture sofa by purchasing new items in the room around it, know when to throw in the towel. Either reupholster or replace. Nothing looks worse in a room than a worn, tattered or badly dated looking item. After all there’s a collector’s item – and then there’s old, worn or dated. Continue to try to ignore a large, bad item like a sofa in a room’s over all schematic and you’ll be throwing good money after bad trying to step over the dead cow in the room.

Hopefully these Sofa Tips will help keep you sitting pretty – and comfy – for a good 10+ years. That’s the minimum amount of time I’d like to see your ideal sofa look and feel great for you. Do you have a sofa you love or hate? Send me a picture and tell me in 75 words or less why you love it or hate it. The best photo & and essay answer of 2014 will get a prize.

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