Sofas and Couches Buying Guide

Whether you know it as a sofa or a couch, this comfortable piece of furniture will be a fixture in your home. Most of us inherit our first sofa from relatives, a roommate, or the apartment's previous occupants. When it comes time to purchase your first sofa, or to replace an old or worn-out sofa, you should be warned that buying a sofa is harder than it seems. In this guide, we'll spell out the challenges to finding a good one and ease the way for you.

Types of Sofas and Couches

Types of Sofas and Couches

What distinguishes one sofa from another is not the style. There is any number of sofa styles in every category of furniture, from the low end of the price range ($800-$1,000) to the upper end ($10,000-$20,000). It's the constitution of the piece—the frame construction, the springs, the fill in the cushions, and the upholstery—that set apart one sofa from another. These often-invisible features can be difficult to evaluate. Here are some strategies.

Hardwood or Kiln-Dried Wood Frame

The frame of the sofa is the skeleton that supports the entire piece of furniture. A solid-hardwood frame—or, better yet, a kiln-dried hardwood frame—is the most sturdy and durable type. One test to determine if the frame is hardwood is to lift one corner of the sofa a few inches. The entire sofa should rise in one solid piece without sagging. Any bending or bowing you feel indicates the frame may be made of particleboard or a soft wood, such as pine. Another check is to feel under the front of the bottom edge of the sofa. The wood frame you feel there should be at least an inch thick, and you should not be able to press a dent in it with your fingernail.

Springs

At the lowest end of the price range are sofas made without any springs and that use a webbing system of interwoven fabric strips. The fabric strips will warp, sag, and tear far more quickly than metal springs, so this type of sofa will endure only the most casual, infrequent use. In the middle of the range are sofas made with serpentine or zigzag springs, which are flat pads of springs formed from one interwoven wire. Mid- to high-end sofas boast eight-way hand-tied springs, meaning the springs are individual coils anchored to one another. In truth, the way the spring is formed is less important than the sturdiness of the wire. The wire used to form the springs should be thick enough to resist compression over time. To test this, ask the salesperson for the gauge of the coil suspension. It should be at least 8-gauge steel, which is springy when you sit on it; 11- to 13-gauge steel is firmer and will stand up better over time.

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Borgo28
$2518.41

Naxos loveseat. Fully upholstered seat, arms and back. A combination of hardwood, soft wood and engineered wood are kiln or air dr...ied to ensure integrity of the frame. All critical joints are double dowelled, stapled or screwed and glued for maximum strength. Removable seat cushions are slip covered and closed with a zipper. Bottom finished with black polyester dust cover. read more

Chelsea Home Furniture
$1,582.99 $1219.99

Dimensions: 87L x 37W x 39H in.. 69% polyester, 31% cotton. Choose from available fabric options. Accent pillows included. Heat te...mpered coils are individually pocketed for durability. High-density foam and quilted padding offer comfort. Traditional style. Sturdy hardwood and engineered wood frame. Nailed and corner blocked joints provide strength. Simple and traditional, the Chelsea Home Furniture Drummer Sofa makes a chic addition to your casual living room. This beautifully crafted sofa features plush cushions, rolled arms, and tapered wood legs. A pair of accent pillows completes the sophisticated look. Color: Reina Brown/Marocco Spring. read more

PORTFOLIO
$469.99 $422.99

The transitional Portfolio Redmond SoFast sofa is covered in a luxurious soft spring green velvet fabric. This comfortable and sty...lish sofa features flare arms, two decorative throw pillows, 8 layers of comfort seating and is so easy to assemble. Part... read more

Borgo28
$2,641.63 $2636.80

Ascot sofa. Hardwood frames are joined together with a combination of screws, glue and dowels. All critical points double dowelled..., stapled or screwed and glued with corner blocks for maximum strength. No sag seat construction with "s" springs on both seat and back. Removable seat cushions are slip covered and closed with a zipper. Walnut stained, turned, tapered and fluted with hardwood legs with nylon glides. read more

$199.99

Personalize your living area with this mini futon. The compact, collapsible frame accommodates small living spaces, and arm rests ...adjust to your preferences for convenience. Soft microfiber cushioning provides a comfortable seat. Chair Type: Lounge... read more

PORTFOLIO
$469.99 $422.99

The transitional Portfolio Redmond SoFast sofa is covered in a luxurious soft spring green velvet fabric. This comfortable and sty...lish sofa features flare arms, two decorative throw pillows, 8 layers of comfort seating and is so easy to assemble. Part of the Portfolio Furniture Collection Compact size is perfect for small space living Will fit up to 2 people comfortably Includes two 20 inch pillows covered in a spring green and creamy white herringbone pattern Sofa features 8 layers of comfort seating-Layer 1 is fabric, Layer 2 is polyester fiber for comfort, Layer 3 is a soft layer of polyurethane foam for comfort, Layer 4 is a firm layer of foam for support, Layer 5 features wrapped pocket coils for individual comfort, Layer 6 is densified fiber to insulate springs, Layer 7 is polyester woven fabric and Layer 8 is sinuous springs for a personalized seating experience Handy Lock no tools locking system for easy assembly - just click and slide together All steel seat and back frame for long lasting superior strength Polyester hollow fill fiber back cushions Engineered, padded hardwood frames Dark espresso all wood legs for design and strength Our efficient product and package design allows us to use less fossil fuel throughout the entire supply chain than standard, set-up furniture uses Materials: Polyester Finish: Dark espresso Upholstery color: Spring green Upholstery fill: Plush foam, fiber and independently wrapped pocket coil spring system Seat dimensions: 20.5 inches high x 61.5 inches wide x 20.5 inches deep sofa Chair dimensions: 36.5 inches high x 72.5 inches wide x 33.5 inches deep Arm height: 25.5 inches high Assembly required read more

Borgo28
$1588.33

Naxos loveseat. Fully upholstered seat, arms and back. A combination of hardwood, soft wood and engineered wood are kiln or air dr...ied to ensure integrity of the frame. All critical joints are double dowelled, stapled or screwed and glued for maximum strength. Removable seat cushions are slip covered and closed with a zipper. Bottom finished with black polyester dust cover. read more

SoFast
$469.99

Find Indoor Seating at Target.com! The Randy SoFast Sofa's eight layers of sumptuous comfort seating feature pocketed coils at its... core, with layers of foam and fiber to maximize this luxurious seating system. Add a steel seat and back frame with sinuous springs, and you have the ultimate sofa. Better materials and better engineering add up to a better sofa. Rolled, welted flair arm design. Covered in a luxurious soft spring green velvet 100 percent polyester fabric for a durable easy clean. Dark espresso solid wood tapered legs offer great design with durability. Our “handy Lock” no tool feature makes assembly a breeze, just click and slide together. Polyester hollow fill fiber back cushions, All steel seat and back decks for strength and durability >Hardwood Arms for added strength >Innovative engineering and packaging design enable the sofa to be easily assembled in the actual room >Our efficient product and package design allows us to use less fossil fuel throughout the entire supply chain than standard, set-up furniture uses >Break it back down to recycle at the end of use for additional peace of mind >Ships in one (1) box >Instructions and tools for assembly included >Imported >In stock items ship within 1-2 business days >Patent Pending read more

Borgo28
$2631.74

Ascot sofa. Hardwood frames are joined together with a combination of screws, glue and dowels.. All critical points double dowelle...d, stapled or screwed and glued with corner blocks for maximum strength. No sag seat construction with "s" springs on both seat and back. Removable seat cushions are slip covered and closed with a zipper. Walnut stained, turned, tapered and fluted with hardwood legs with nylon glides. read more

Borgo28
$1659.99

Ascot sofa. Hardwood frames are joined together with a combination of screws, glue and dowels.. All critical points double dowelle...d, stapled or screwed and glued with corner blocks for maximum strength. No sag seat construction with "s" springs on both seat and back. Removable seat cushions are slip covered and closed with a zipper. Walnut stained, turned, tapered and fluted with hardwood legs with nylon glides. read more

Office Star Products
$553.49

Amazing, affordable style arrive in the form of this easy-care faux Leather Sofa. This savvy furnishing features box spring seats ...that provide for sturdy comfort and is outfitted with sleek barrel shaped silver color legs that elevate the height of... read more

Cushion Fill

There are three main types of sofa cushions: synthetic fill, natural or down fill, and a blend of both. Each feels different when you sit on it, so you'll have to determine which is most comfortable for you. Less-expensive cushions with synthetic fill contain slabs of foam and clouds of polyester fibers. They have a fluffy and bouncy feel, but over time as they compress, they begin to flatten and feel more solid. Expensive cushions with feather and down fill have a dense, cushiony feel. They compress over time but can be refluffed with a few tumbles in the dryer. A cushion with a blend of both typically has a foam core wrapped in thin layers of polyester batting; it's then fluffed with an outer layer of feathers or down.

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Abbyson Living
$1228.49

The James sofa is wrapped in a textured linen fabric and includes two back pillows for extra support The tufted back cushion and f...lared tapered legs adds a stylish touch to the sofa Cushions are filled with high-density foam for a soft touch and a co... read more

Abbyson Living
$1297.39

The James sofa is wrapped in a textured linen fabric and includes two back pillows for extra support The tufted back cushion and f...lared tapered legs adds a stylish touch to the sofa Cushions are filled with high-density foam for a soft touch and a co... read more

Flash Furniture
$499.99

Make a statement with this impressive HERCULESLaceySeries Loveseat Thisloveseat is perfect forthe office waiting room or even your... home Theloveseat features durable and sleek integrated stainless steel legs The button tufted seat and back is upholste... read more

Coaster
$424.99

The Jasmine 78 Sofa will make a wonderful addition to your living room or den Its contemporary shape enhances any room with big pl...ush back cushions and box seat cushions A stitched design adorns the back cushions as well as the outsides of the square... read more

Signal Hills
$1,199.00 $1079.10

Update your family or living room with this stylish and comfortable cotton sofa from Signal Hills. The crisp and clean design is s...ubtle and elegant, easily lending itself to any style, whether it be modern, classic, transitional or vintage. The cotton... read more

Flash Furniture
$499.99

Make a statement with this impressive HERCULESLaceySeries Loveseat Thisloveseat is perfect forthe office waiting room or even your... home Theloveseat features durable and sleek integrated stainless steel legs The button tufted seat and back is upholste... read more

New Classic Home Furnishings
$474.99

This reclining loveseat features split back cushions plush padded arms and microfiber upholstery The Sinuous spring no sag support... memory foam topper and fiber fill backs provide additional stability Pocket coils ensure maximum conformity to body con... read more

Signal Hills
$1199.99

Elegance and style has never come easier. The Lionel sofa features craftsman-built construction for durability and stability. The ...sleek silhouette features low and wide track arms that can be styled to fit any space. The off-white brushed cotton fabric... read more

Upholstery

If the sofa will be your everyday lounging spot, you'll need upholstery that is durable, soft, and resistant to stains. Microfiber suede, cotton velvet, or cotton slipcovers that can be tossed in the washer may be your best bet. Leather, a pricey option, or faux leather can also stand up to heavy wear and tear. Avoid fabrics that are fragile, such as silk, or have looped or woven patterns, as they will easily snag. And watch for upholstery fabrics that are a blend of natural and synthetic materials (cotton and polyester, for example) because they will pill quickly.

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Concord
$1449.99

Constructed with a solid wood frame and upholstered with premium quality wool, this timeless piece makes a stylish addition to any... setting. The sofa consists of a wide low back design, attached solid cushioning with soft tufted seams, and is supported... read more

Modway
$798.98

Style and comfort come together with this chic Empress upholstered sofa. An angular design paired with tufted buttons gives this p...iece a retro-inspired aesthetic, while thick padding offers hours of comfortable lounging. This contemporary sofa is... read more

Modway
$798.98

Style and comfort come together with this chic Empress upholstered sofa. An angular design paired with tufted buttons gives this p...iece a retro-inspired aesthetic, while thick padding offers hours of comfortable lounging. This contemporary sofa is available in various upholstery colors, allowing you to easily choose the one that complements your existing decor the best. Set includes: One (1) sofa Materials: 100-percent polyester Leg finish: Brown Upholstery color: Azure, dorma, granite, lagua, wheatgrass Deeply tufted buttons Fine fabric upholstery Seat dimensions: 23 inches long x 75 inches wide x 19 inches high Dimensions: 35.5 inches long x 84.5 inches wide x 34.5 inches high Assembly required read more

Modway
$844.99

Style and comfort come together with this chic Empress upholstered sofa. An angular design paired with tufted buttons gives this p...iece a retro-inspired aesthetic, while thick padding offers hours of comfortable lounging. This contemporary sofa is available in various upholstery colors, allowing you to easily choose the one that complements your existing decor the best. Set includes: One (1) sofa Materials: 100-percent polyester Leg finish: Brown Upholstery color: Azure, dorma, granite, lagua, wheatgrass Deeply tufted buttons Fine fabric upholstery Seat dimensions: 23 inches long x 75 inches wide x 19 inches high Dimensions: 35.5 inches long x 84.5 inches wide x 34.5 inches high Assembly required Color: Blue. read more

A.R.T. Furniture
$2010.00

Decorate your home the country style of this St Germain Siene Pewter Upholstered Sofa. Featuring a rich seine pewter, this piece a...dds elegance to your home. Crafted of hickory and pecan veneers with radiata solids, the St. Germain collection is offered... read more

Velago
$2051.49

Complete your living room with this three piece set featuring a loveseat, sofa and armchair. This living room set will delight not... only with its precise workmanship of soft and high quality material, but also its elegant and classic look. All external... read more

Modway Furniture
$1,128.00 $715.00

Paddle your way upstream with an organically designed mid-century modern style sofa. While designed to portray a sportsmanlike sen...se of endurance, Pace also imparts a more gentle and natural message. Thoroughly a modern piece set in ancient times, when furniture was pieced together from the findings in one's own backyard, Pace's expansive yet branch-like solid ash wood armrests easily flow between both temporal extremes. The generously padded and spacious cloth cushions provide the perfect dugout for the ambitious soul who likes to sail the waves. read more

Ballard Designs
$1599.00

World-class, curl-up-for-the-weekend comfort makes our Baldwin Upholstered Loveseat a family room favorite. Its traditional good l...ooks come from tailored rolled arms and a crisp kick pleat skirt while the gracious, deep-cushioned design lends unparalleled sink-in comfort. The 67" width seats two comfortably. Baldwin Upholstered Loveseat features: Available in our Ballard Select Fabrics at the starting price, or customize it from more than 200 fabrics or send us your own. Bench made and expertly upholstered in North Carolina. Certified sustainable engineered hardwood frame is kiln-dried to resist warping and cracking for lasting durability. Reinforced joinery is glued, doweled and screwed for strength with corner blocks for added stability. Superior, sag-resistant steel grid spring suspension provides maximum seat support; seat backs have sturdy webbing. Eco-friendly, high-resiliency polyurethane foam seat cushions are wrapped in hypoallergenic down blend and fiber encased in channeled down proof ticking for sink-in comfort. Down blend back and fiber cushions encased in down proof ticking offer relaxed comfort. Generously padded frame is hand-upholstered to ensure a smooth look and finely tailored seams. Includes 2 matching throw pillows with channeled down blend and fiber fill. Collection also available in a slipcovered body style. read more

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

Once you've settled on a sofa that looks good and feels comfortable, here are the questions to ask before you make the purchase.

Will it fit?

Measure to see if the sofa will fit in your room. Is there enough clearance between it and the other pieces of furniture in the room? Is it a comfortable viewing distance from the television? If so, the next measurements may be the most important: Will it fit through the doorway? If you live in an upstairs unit, will it fit in the hallway, the turn of the stairs, or the elevator? Measure the piece from the outside edge of one arm to the outside edge of the other arm, and then from the top of the back to the bottom of the feet. You may be able to remove the feet of the sofa.

How long will it take to get my sofa?

When you purchase a sofa that's in stock in a furniture showroom, you will be able to get it as soon as you can arrange delivery. If you are picking from a select array of frames and a provided selection of fabrics, the delay may be four to six weeks, or even less since the manufacturer is accustomed to these choices. However, if you are having a sofa custom designed and upholstered, the time may stretch to six to nine months, depending on the manufacturer.

Can I return it if I don't like it?

If the sofa is a special order with custom upholstery, you will likely have to keep it. But always talk this over with your salesperson and make sure you are clear on the store's return policy. If the sofa is a stock piece, the return might be easier, but you may have to pay a restocking fee.

What is the warranty?

Most furniture showrooms offer warranties that cover the sofa's frame and suspension from breakage or measurable sagging for up to 10 years. Others offer more limited warranties. And some stores offer warranties that are different than what the manufacturer offers. Discuss these differences as well as the fine details with the salesperson before you purchase the sofa, and be sure to keep the paperwork on file.

Furniture on sale

Better Homes and Gardens
$399.00 $299.00

The Better Homes and Gardens Grayson Loveseat with Nailheads is the perfect combination of style and practicality. The Grayson Lov...eseat features an individually-set antique metal nailhead trim, beautiful linen-look fabric, and nicely padded foam filled seat cushions with a spring core for extra support. The loveseat's deep, plush seating is spacious enough to accommodate two people comfortably and its sturdy construction will ensure years of reliable use. Make this the focal point to your living space or combine it with other Grayson Collection pieces for a complete living room seating solution. read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$399.00 $398.46

Better Homes and Garden Griffin Sofa, Multiple Colors:Upholstery grade woven fabricTool-less assemblyRemovable coverSolid wood leg...sPocketed coil seat cushions1-year limited warranty read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$349.00 $333.61

Better Homes and Garden Griffin Loveseat, Multiple Colors:Upholstery grade woven fabricTool-less assemblyRemovable coverSolid wood... legsPocketed coil seat cushions1-year limited warranty read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$399.00 $345.04

Better Homes and Garden Griffin Sofa, Multiple Colors:Upholstery grade woven fabricTool-less assemblyRemovable coverSolid wood leg...sPocketed coil seat cushions1-year limited warranty read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$398.57 $389.45

Better Homes and Gardens Campbell Sofa, Multiple Colors:Faux wool fabricTool-less assemblyRemovable coverSolid wood legsPocketed c...oil seat cushions1-year limited warranty read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$398.57 $389.45

Better Homes and Gardens Campbell Sofa, Multiple Colors:Faux wool fabricTool-less assemblyRemovable coverSolid wood legsPocketed c...oil seat cushions1-year limited warranty read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$355.71 $347.57

Better Homes and Gardens Campbell Loveseat, Multiple Colors:Faux wool fabricTool-less assemblyRemovable coverSolid wood legsPocket...ed coil seat cushions1-year limited warranty read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$355.71 $347.57

Better Homes and Gardens Campbell Loveseat, Multiple Colors:Faux wool fabricTool-less assemblyRemovable coverSolid wood legsPocket...ed coil seat cushions1-year limited warranty read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$399.00 $398.46

Better Homes and Garden Griffin Sofa, Multiple Colors:Upholstery grade woven fabricTool-less assemblyRemovable coverSolid wood leg...sPocketed coil seat cushions1-year limited warranty read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$349.00 $333.61

Better Homes and Garden Griffin Loveseat, Multiple Colors:Upholstery grade woven fabricTool-less assemblyRemovable coverSolid wood... legsPocketed coil seat cushions1-year limited warranty read more

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