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Of Couches and Costs

emp123emp123 Registered User regular
I'm moving into my own apartment in a couple of weeks and I need to buy a sofa. I basically know nothing about furniture and I've never purchased a sofa before so I'm only now realizing that these things are pretty damn expensive (I'm sure my preference for leather is entirely to blame).


Are stores like West Elm and EQ3 worth their mild price premium over Ikea (I'm seeing a 2-500 difference)? Ethan Allen/Crate & Barrel/Pottery Barn are only a couple hundred dollars over that.


I'm torn between not wanting to spend an arm and a leg and wanting to not end up with something thats going to fall apart in a couple of years. Googling reviews hasnt been super helpful because apparently everybody hates everything (I'm well dissatisfied people are going to be more vocal than happy people, and when it comes to furniture I have no idea how people are using their stuff and what their budgets were so).


And before anyone tells me to just troll craigslist until I find the perfect sofa, I'm not fundamentally opposed, but come Feb 1 I basically wont have anywhere to sit, I dont own a truck, and I dont know anyone who owns a truck.

Posts

  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    I pretty much walked into a dozen furniture stores, even different stores of the same chain, as different locations have different selections, sitting down on several dozen couches before I found one I wanted. There's definitely a big jump in quality from the low end stuff to the mid end stuff, but it's less noticeable between mid end and high end. For sure, I seriously doubt you'd be happy with any sofa cushions from Ikea. Additionally, I doubt you'd be happy with any sofa beds either, as sofa beds end up being a compromise, worse as a bed, worse as a couch.

    iTNdmYl.png
    ElvenshaeBouwsT
  • emp123emp123 Registered User regular
    Yeah, definitely dont wants a sofa bed (have a bed, I'll probably buy an air mattress for guests).

    Whats considered a mid tier sofa manufacturer?

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion A fixed point in space and timeRegistered User regular
    Realistically assess what you're going to use the furniture for. If you're a single guy and you don't necessarily have a lot of people over who need to sit on the couch together, something cheap that you rarely use is not a bad idea (IKEA is good for this kind of thing). Especially if you can just get your own super special recliner seat for your solo gaming sessions in front of the big screen.

    In terms of finding out what you like, your best option is what hsu said - you won't know unless you try them out, so there's no harm in going to several different stores and getting a feel for that directly. The other things to account for are budget and size - you should 100% measure your space and make sure that whatever you get fits within that space comfortably.

    In terms of actually buying something, I've had a lot of good luck with warehouse stores that are tucked away in industrial zones instead of the retail places with fancy showrooms. They get their stuff from the same factories, using the same catalogs, except they save you money on having a lot less overhead.

  • ArtereisArtereis Registered User regular
    edited January 2017
    These are pricey, but I cannot recommend Lovesac's couches enough. The best part is you can start small if you want. Get enough pieces for a loveseat, and you can grow over time by adding more pieces. They're durable as hell, the covers are machine washable and can be replaced if your tastes change, and it's the easiest couch you'll ever have to move since it all comes apart. Hell, when I bought mine I took it all home in my Scion xD, which is not a big car.

    Oh, and if you end up with 4 bases they also sell a feather top that you can add to turn the whole thing into a queen size bed. And that bed isn't crap, either. It's great for guests and they'll actually sleep well.

    And they're often cheaper in the stores than online.

    Artereis on
  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    We recently replaced our This ends up classic sofa and love seat.
    http://www.thisendup.com/collections/1/ClassicCollection.htm

    Reasonably priced, and the reason we replaced it was for a sectional, but these are both still in good condition a decade later. It is heavy as fuck though. Solid wood heavy. Do not move this shit in yourself.

    mRahmani
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    My experience with couches and apartments is the more expensive/heavy they get, the more of a pain in the ass it is when you suddenly turn around and have to move. We have acquired many a couch by swooping in when someone could not get rid of one, and left those couches behind to keep moving expenses down. We moved every other year for a while, though, so I maybe overly cautious.

    If non leather is an option:
    We currently have a futon. I found the frame next the dumpster in our apartment complex (Its actually this one, exactly: Which is pretty lucky considering the price.

    We quickly scuttled the frame up to the apartment, left the pillow that was there in the dumpster, and ran out to a futon store and bought a new mattress for it. They are standard sizes, and the whole ordeal cost us 300ish bucks and the sweat of getting it up to the apartment. All that being said, I'm not really sure why someone left it. It comes apart.


    Personally, or futon is plenty comfortable and pretty utilitarian. We got some ottomans and a bunch of extra pillows to extend its comfort. Had we not found the frame, we would have probably just gotten an Ikea couch


    For normal couches, consignment stores, if you live in the right kinda town, can sometimes have overstock that is decently priced.

    LostNinja
  • VishNubVishNub Registered User regular
    We had good luck at CORT.

    They normally rent furniture, but they have warehouses that sell the used stuff that's in good condition for cheap. What I've seen was pretty high quality.

    Dunno about their sofas.

  • hsuhsu Registered User regular
    edited January 2017
    Note that most couches come in a variety of fabrics and colors, more than what's on the showroom floor, and most of the time, the upgrade cost is reasonable. I think the upgrade cost for my loveseat was around 15% for a custom color in a suede like microfiber fabric. You'll find fabric swatch books nearby all the couches, as couches will be grouped by manufacturer on the showroom floor, with different fabrics in different tiers of prices, including a tier for the base price.

    My living room & bedroom sets are from Bernie & Phyl's while my dining room set is from Jordan's, both New England based retailers. Let me just say, it was really weird spending more on my furniture sets than on my computer.

    As for moving difficulty, since I bought a reclining loveseat, the steel frame came apart right in the middle, so the movers could bring it into the house piecemeal, reassembling it in my living room.

    hsu on
    iTNdmYl.png
  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    some furniture stores do offer warranties and for something like a sofa its worth looking there first

    generally with furniture you get exactly what you pay for, in my experience

    Elvenshae
  • LostNinjaLostNinja Registered User regular
    Iruka wrote: »
    My experience with couches and apartments is the more expensive/heavy they get, the more of a pain in the ass it is when you suddenly turn around and have to move. We have acquired many a couch by swooping in when someone could not get rid of one, and left those couches behind to keep moving expenses down. We moved every other year for a while, though, so I maybe overly cautious.

    If non leather is an option:
    We currently have a futon. I found the frame next the dumpster in our apartment complex (Its actually this one, exactly: Which is pretty lucky considering the price.

    We quickly scuttled the frame up to the apartment, left the pillow that was there in the dumpster, and ran out to a futon store and bought a new mattress for it. They are standard sizes, and the whole ordeal cost us 300ish bucks and the sweat of getting it up to the apartment. All that being said, I'm not really sure why someone left it. It comes apart.


    Personally, or futon is plenty comfortable and pretty utilitarian. We got some ottomans and a bunch of extra pillows to extend its comfort. Had we not found the frame, we would have probably just gotten an Ikea couch


    For normal couches, consignment stores, if you live in the right kinda town, can sometimes have overstock that is decently priced.

    As someone who has moved 3 times in the last year and a half (once to move in with sig other, once when we needed to relocate for a job, and a third when the sig other and I realized we needed more space after the job relocation and getting married), I can't stress the pain in the ass to get in the apartment part enough. If you live in a three story walk up, for the love of all that is good and right, avoid a heavy reclining couch unless you're having someone else do the carrying in or out part :cry:

    I also suggest looking at bargain stores. After we got ours from a regular furniture place I found ones that I actually liked better at places like Big Lots and Sams Club for much less (I can't vouch for how long those one last, though the way I use my couch, even a nice one is only good for a few years). I'd avoid IKEA ones, when I looked there I could not find a single one that was even remotely comfortable, though again there's no harm in just going to the store and finding out for yourself if you like any or not.

  • djmitchelladjmitchella Registered User regular
    We have a leather ikea couch, two young children, and cats; we've had it for coming up on 8 years now and it's been fine despite a lot of being jumped on, etc. That said, I think we got it from the "as is" section, so it was cheaper than normal.

    CelestialBadgerspool32Dirtmuncher
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited January 2017
    Just picked up a couch on Saturday after about 6 weeks of looking.

    A Jonathan Lewis was what I went with, and the brand seems pretty middle grade w/r/to price. Construction/quality was definitely a notch up from the bottom budget lines, but it was affordable enough that I didn't have to finance. I suppose those are all relative metrics though. If you do have to finance the rates can be predatory if you've poor credit.

    Shops I went to had a "custom" side and that brand was on the cheaper end of "custom". The non-custom side were usually models that were in stock and could be picked up or delivered that day (depending on delivery scheduling) and were available in 2-3 colors. Custom couches usually had many color/fabric options, but anything not in stock would take 4-6 weeks.

    One thing a salesperson had said that stood out to me was that she liked how on such-and-such couch the lining underneath (what you'd feel if you grabbed underneath the couch) was higher quality and better attached and since that was a piece you're likely never to see or touch that it may be indicative of a higher build quality throughout. May have just been a line, but it'll be something I look at when next I need to buy furniture.

    Also looked at a brand called Catnapper cause they had couches with sprung cushions (interior springs like a bed mattress). They offer a lot of support and are less likely to deform over time. Most of their options were leather or faux leather (a microfiber that looks and feels like suede) so you might like those.

    Running up to Xmas the delivery charge was $99, but last week they were saying $139 (am in Texas). Those seemed to be negotiable though, especially if you pay cash. Renting a Uhaul and a sixer for a friend to help load/unload would be cheaper.

    I was more comfortable in the local stores than the national chains, though the big chains may carry some of the exact same pieces at a slightly lower price.

    Take measurements. I'm not sure why, but they will sell couches that are very difficult if not impossible to get though a standard sized (typically 36") exterior doorway. Unless you've a sliding/double door exterior door I'd avoid the "overstuffed" style of couch.

    Edit: I'd check consignment stores, but I found the selection to be mostly dated and anything in decent shape was not really cheaper than a new alternative.

    Djeet on
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    LostNinja wrote: »
    Iruka wrote: »
    My experience with couches and apartments is the more expensive/heavy they get, the more of a pain in the ass it is when you suddenly turn around and have to move. We have acquired many a couch by swooping in when someone could not get rid of one, and left those couches behind to keep moving expenses down. We moved every other year for a while, though, so I maybe overly cautious.

    If non leather is an option:
    We currently have a futon. I found the frame next the dumpster in our apartment complex (Its actually this one, exactly: Which is pretty lucky considering the price.

    We quickly scuttled the frame up to the apartment, left the pillow that was there in the dumpster, and ran out to a futon store and bought a new mattress for it. They are standard sizes, and the whole ordeal cost us 300ish bucks and the sweat of getting it up to the apartment. All that being said, I'm not really sure why someone left it. It comes apart.


    Personally, or futon is plenty comfortable and pretty utilitarian. We got some ottomans and a bunch of extra pillows to extend its comfort. Had we not found the frame, we would have probably just gotten an Ikea couch


    For normal couches, consignment stores, if you live in the right kinda town, can sometimes have overstock that is decently priced.

    As someone who has moved 3 times in the last year and a half (once to move in with sig other, once when we needed to relocate for a job, and a third when the sig other and I realized we needed more space after the job relocation and getting married), I can't stress the pain in the ass to get in the apartment part enough. If you live in a three story walk up, for the love of all that is good and right, avoid a heavy reclining couch unless you're having someone else do the carrying in or out part

    Ohh god yes this. I too have a reclining sofa. It is almost never used in reclining mode, and it must weight an extra 200 lbs.

    6ylyzxlir2dz.png
  • emp123emp123 Registered User regular
    LostNinja wrote: »
    Iruka wrote: »
    My experience with couches and apartments is the more expensive/heavy they get, the more of a pain in the ass it is when you suddenly turn around and have to move. We have acquired many a couch by swooping in when someone could not get rid of one, and left those couches behind to keep moving expenses down. We moved every other year for a while, though, so I maybe overly cautious.

    If non leather is an option:
    We currently have a futon. I found the frame next the dumpster in our apartment complex (Its actually this one, exactly: Which is pretty lucky considering the price.

    We quickly scuttled the frame up to the apartment, left the pillow that was there in the dumpster, and ran out to a futon store and bought a new mattress for it. They are standard sizes, and the whole ordeal cost us 300ish bucks and the sweat of getting it up to the apartment. All that being said, I'm not really sure why someone left it. It comes apart.


    Personally, or futon is plenty comfortable and pretty utilitarian. We got some ottomans and a bunch of extra pillows to extend its comfort. Had we not found the frame, we would have probably just gotten an Ikea couch


    For normal couches, consignment stores, if you live in the right kinda town, can sometimes have overstock that is decently priced.

    As someone who has moved 3 times in the last year and a half (once to move in with sig other, once when we needed to relocate for a job, and a third when the sig other and I realized we needed more space after the job relocation and getting married), I can't stress the pain in the ass to get in the apartment part enough. If you live in a three story walk up, for the love of all that is good and right, avoid a heavy reclining couch unless you're having someone else do the carrying in or out part :cry:

    I also suggest looking at bargain stores. After we got ours from a regular furniture place I found ones that I actually liked better at places like Big Lots and Sams Club for much less (I can't vouch for how long those one last, though the way I use my couch, even a nice one is only good for a few years). I'd avoid IKEA ones, when I looked there I could not find a single one that was even remotely comfortable, though again there's no harm in just going to the store and finding out for yourself if you like any or not.

    Yeah, I should probably be factoring in weight since even though the apartment seems totally livable long term (its even rent controlled) theres always the possibility that I may need to move for some reason. But basically everything I read says heavier = better quality.

    And I'm a little wary of going with Ikea in general since most of the stuff they have doesnt seem to be made for a person my height (6'4).


    Thanks for the suggestions guys, I really appreciate it.

    Although I think my question may be more about determining quality than where to find quality. I kinda have the frame stuff down (hard wood, wrapped cushions), but I have no idea when it comes to leather. I guess just scratch test the samples?

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    emp123 wrote: »
    And before anyone tells me to just troll craigslist until I find the perfect sofa, I'm not fundamentally opposed, but come Feb 1 I basically wont have anywhere to sit, I dont own a truck, and I dont know anyone who owns a truck.

    You don't need to! Google "man with a van" for your area and make sure the man will help you move the sofa. Shouldn't be more than delivery from a chain store. Be cautious about bed bugs though.

    I really like my IKEA sofa.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    edited January 2017
    If you're a substantial person, you might like the Ikea furniture less, and it will be less comfortable. It isnt flimsy, but the bolt together nature doesnt make it exceptionally sturdy eother

    But if you are somewhere between 80s heroin Keith Richards and average like me, you'll think their stuff is great.

    JebusUD on
    I don't have courage but I have something else.
    zepherin
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited January 2017
    I've never known a person with a reclining couch that used it, and a decent ottoman does the same job and a lot of them double as storage.

    I'm a person that cant really do used upholstered stuff because the idea of bed bugs and the abuse couches go through kinda squicks me out. That's why the futon works well for us, the frame was free but its so easy to replace the mattress. My boyfriend is also 6'3 with lower back issues, so we actually keep the futon down all the time:


    One upside is we have a big enough room that its not like you are walking around a giant thing all the time. The other upside is BF can lay flat on it to keep him out of the sitting position that hurts him. The only real down side is that we are generally too lazy to make it back into a couch. This isn't a problem for us, but man if you ever wanted to have a clear meter of your friends general spacial bubble, have a bed-couch in your living room. 40% of the people we have over pull over an office chair from one of our nearby desks, its facinating.

    Anyway, That solution works with our artist quirkiness. I really encourage you to buy what you actually need and not buy the biggest, baddest leather reclining couch just because someone will deliver it. Also if you are that tall, you might consider that a lazy-boy style single person recliner will accommodate your height more efficiently, space wise, than trying to find a couch that can accommodate you length wise laying down. I think recliners are mad uncomfortable, personally, but to each their own.

    Iruka on
  • emp123emp123 Registered User regular
    emp123 wrote: »
    And before anyone tells me to just troll craigslist until I find the perfect sofa, I'm not fundamentally opposed, but come Feb 1 I basically wont have anywhere to sit, I dont own a truck, and I dont know anyone who owns a truck.

    You don't need to! Google "man with a van" for your area and make sure the man will help you move the sofa. Shouldn't be more than delivery from a chain store. Be cautious about bed bugs though.

    I really like my IKEA sofa.

    Oh I'm not falling for that again!
    JebusUD wrote: »
    If you're a substantial person, you might like the Ikea furniture less, and it will be less comfortable. It isnt flimsy, but the bolt together nature doesnt make it exceptionally sturdy eother

    But if you are somewhere between 80s heroin Keith Richards and average like me, you'll think their stuff is great.

    Yeah, I'm 6'4 205lbs so I'm gunna go with larger than most. I would like not having to worry about breaking whatever I'm sitting on.

  • DaenrisDaenris Registered User regular
    edited January 2017
    I'm 6', 220-240 depending on the year. I've never broken any IKEA furniture. We have a klippan loveseat that we've had for 10+ years. It was our primary sofa for awhile before buying one 5 years or so ago for our house and it moved to a less used location (though now less used means bounced on incessantly by several small people). We went with the klippan because it had easily changeable custom fit covers, so we've changed out the style a few times over the years.

    If I was in an apartment I'd definitely buy one again. It's pretty easy to move and has been moved several times over the years. And I think the only assembly for it is screwing on the legs and putting on the cover.

    Edit: IKEA definitely does have some flimsy stuff. But if something fells noticeably flimsy in the store, just don't buy it. I feel like a lot of their futons would fall into this category.

    In my experience their couches/etc are prepretty comparable to the low-mid end furniture stores I've been to. And to really get more than marginally better stuff was usually looking at an order of magnitude higer price (I.e. in the thousands+ for a couch).

    Daenris on
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Ikea's seating is not comfortable IMO. We have an Ashley furniture couch that's going on a decade and 6 major moves (including 2 cross country) and it's pretty well done, but still comfortable. Just bought a Pottery Barn that's fantastic, but spendy.
    If you don't know your future more than 2 years out - don't buy a super nice sofa. Find a nice one on CL then rent a truck if you need to (uhauls are like 30-50 bucks for the day). People sell multi-thousand dollar couches for pennies on the dollar every day. Our current place we got a 3k+ sectional for 500 because the people selling the house didn't want to deal with it.
    I generally don't advocate buying nice furniture until you're definitely planning on being somewhere 5 or more years.

    zepherinElvenshae
  • FiendishrabbitFiendishrabbit Registered User regular
    As a 6'2 220 pound guy I'm pretty comfy with my Ikea 3-seater Kivik sofa. It's in Ikeas lower price range for sofas, modular (which also means that it can be partially dismantled if you're going to move), deep enough to be used as a makeshift bed (because sometimes I like sleeping on the couch) and very sturdy.

    However. A sofa is a very personal choice. You need to go out there and test out a couple of different sofas.

    "The western world sips from a poisonous cocktail: Polarisation, populism, protectionism and post-truth"
    -Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of the Church of Sweden
  • emp123emp123 Registered User regular
    I liked the EQ3 sofa I sat on, but its ~$2500 which puts it squarely between the West End sofa I want to try out and the Ethan Allen/Crate & Barrel/Potter Barn sofas I want to try out.

    I just dont know if the EQ3 is worth the money over the West Elm, and if the Ethan Allen/Crate & Barrel/Potter Barns are worth the $500 over the EQ3.

  • ElvenshaeElvenshae Registered User regular
    Ethan Allen furniture is pretty overpriced, in my experience.

    It's nice stuff, don't get me wrong - but you can get something that's basically 80% as good for 50% of the price.

    One thing to look out for in couches are screw-in legs with single, large screws, rather than either integrated feet or feet that are held on by multiple screws. The screw-in legs are convenient in that you can easily remove them to make it easier to fit through doorways, etc., but over time the wood around the screw will break down. I mean, these are couches: you're going to flop into them, bounce on them, push them around the room to get the thing that dropped behind them, etc. All of this wear and tear will cause the screw to slightly enlarge the hole it's in. Then the feet will get wobbly, which makes them degrade the holes faster, etc., and there won't be much you can do about it.

    zepherin
  • MulysaSemproniusMulysaSempronius but also susie nyRegistered User regular
    I got my last really decent couch scratch and dent for rather cheap. You really have to check them out. But cosmetic damage will happen in a year, anyways

    If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing
  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    The markup on furniture stores is ridiculous. You can negotiate with them especially if they're not currently having a sale.

    When you find a couch you like, write down the manufacturer and SKU. (You might need to ask to see the store's catalog to get that info.) Then look around online for prices.

    That said, quality furniture is expensive. What I'm talking about is buying a "$2000" couch for $1k.

    every person who doesn't like an acquired taste always seems to think everyone who likes it is faking it. it should be an official fallacy.
    the "no true scotch man" fallacy.
    Elvenshaezepherin
  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    • If you can, visit different furniture stores to look and sit on couches. This is hugely helpful in determining what kind of couch you find comfortable and to get a better idea of how big it is.
    • Wait for a sale if you can.
    • Factor in delivery when comparing prices. In my area, the delivery charges on Ikea furniture are almost more than the furniture itself. (And Ikea doesn't move the furniture into your home for you.) To the point where getting a comparable couch from Pottery Barn was actually almost the same price.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    Creagan wrote: »
    • If you can, visit different furniture stores to look and sit on couches. This is hugely helpful in determining what kind of couch you find comfortable and to get a better idea of how big it is.
    • Wait for a sale if you can.
    • Factor in delivery when comparing prices. In my area, the delivery charges on Ikea furniture are almost more than the furniture itself. (And Ikea doesn't move the furniture into your home for you.) To the point where getting a comparable couch from Pottery Barn was actually almost the same price.

    Yeah never get Ikea delivered. Always pickup. If you can't dont buy it.

    I don't have courage but I have something else.
    zepherinDaenris
  • emp123emp123 Registered User regular
    Yeah I need to sit on more stuff. I dont think I was prepared for the cost of sofas before I started this venture, I was thinking list price a on a pretty good sofa would be ~$2000...turns out thats just the starting point.

    Granted I know I could save money if I ditched leather, but I'd really rather not.

  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    You sure you don't want to go second-hand? Hiring a van for $100 could save you much, much more than that if you have your heart set on a luxury leather sofa.

  • emp123emp123 Registered User regular
    Yeah I'm tempted to go seatless until I find something on Craigslist.

    While I can afford a brand new sofa, the expensiveness puts it in the what's the point category.

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