Sitting Pretty

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In
March 16, 2014

Buying your first set of adult furniture is a well-known rite of passage. When it comes to choosing that perfect couch, these strategies ensure sofa success

For much of my adult life, I’ve looked at my home furnishings as temporary pieces to get me by until I settle down and buy “real stuff.” But the truth is, now that I’m on the brink of a major milestone in my age, I am feeling that it’s time my furnishings grew up with me.

I read an article recently that said by the time you reach the age I’m about to reach, a person should have some basic home essentials: a real couch, candles that get regular use and matching towel sets. I couldn’t help but hone in on the couch. It’s something I’ve always revered; yet also something I’ve had trouble investing in. It’s where friends gather, but it’s also where I can spend some quality alone time, too. Like most things in life, a good couch that will last will also cost a bit more than its flimsier counterparts. When shopping for a couch you plan on keeping for years, keep these things in mind:

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Assess how you’ll use it. Do you eat while on the couch? Do you have or plan to have kids or pets? Opt for stain-resistant upholstery. An out-of-the-box option to consider would be outdoor fabric. Many lines have options that are soft enough to use indoors. They resist stains and fading and can be cleaned easily.

• Fake it. Get a big roll of paper and cut it to match the size of the couch you are considering. You can also fold a sheet to match the dimensions if you don’t have the paper. Move it around the room to see just how much space it will take up and how you will arrange it. Test the fabric, too. Ask the store for a large fabric swatch in the upholstery you like. Take it home and see how it looks in the various forms of light and whether you still like it after a few days.

• Skip the trends. Color or pattern fads come and go, but a couch worth investing in will be with you for the long haul. Go classic, and if you must participate in the trend, do it with throw pillows that you can swap out later.

• Mind the details. The frame is what will make this piece last. Ensure it’s strong by lifting it up. Lift one front corner off the ground. When it’s between 5 and 7 inches off, the other front corner should lift, too. If it doesn’t, the frame isn’t strong enough.

Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.