How to Choose a Living Room Couch

How to Choose a Living Room Couch

Great living room furniture starts with a comfy and well-made couch

By Kaye Morris

Couch and Lavender Pillows
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A living room couch is often the largest piece of furniture in the room and can be the focal point around which the rest of the room is decorated. For many families, the living room is a highly utilized area, so choosing a couch for looks as well as durability is important. While taking a trip to a furniture store and walking down the aisles of couches is one way to see what's available, it's also a good way to confuse you. Before you make that trip, make some determinations about what you're looking for in a couch.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Decide on the required specifications you need in a couch. Will it need to endure pets and/or children? Are you limited by your budget? Is there a certain cover or fill material that you prefer? Answering these questions will help narrow your search.
  • Bring a tape measure whenever you shop for a couch. Measure any couches you are considering to see if they fit your space.

Step 1:

Measure the area of your living room where you plan to place the couch. What looks reasonably sized on a vast showroom floor can easily overpower a room in a residential home. If you want to purchase a sectional for your home, make sure you measure for both sides of the sectional to determine available space.

Step 2:

Assess the wear the couch will receive in relation to the amount of time you plan on keeping the couch. For a higher price tag, couches are available with heavy duty fabric and frame construction that will last for decades, even with heavy usage, but decide for example if you plan on keeping the couch for 20 years. If you like to redecorate a room every couple of years, or you only plan on keeping the couch until the children are older or gone from home, then spending more money on a couch with high durability may be a waste of money. The durability of a couch is determined by the quality of the frame, fabric, cushion stuffing and springs.

Step 3:

Select a style for your couch. Decide if you like a firm seat or if you want to sink into cushions when you rest. If someone in your family has back or knee problems, a couch low to the ground with giant, squishy cushions may be difficult for them to manage. If your couch will be used as a focal point, then think about the decorating style of the rest of your home and select a couch that fits the existing dcor. If your home is decorated in a formal fashion, an ornately framed couch with scrolled legs may be a good choice, but if your home is casually decorated, an overstuffed couch with no visible legs is a better choice.

Step 4:

Select a fabric and fabric color for your couch. Good quality leather is more durable than other fabrics if it is properly maintained and is the best choice if you have pets or household members with allergies. High quality, durable cotton, linen and wool are available, but will cost more than lower quality, less durable versions. Dark-colored fabrics and prints will hide stains easier than light-colored solid fabrics.

Step 5:

Sit on a couch that interests you for at least 10 minutes to determine the feel on your body and to check how the cushions respond after sitting. Narrow your choices to a couple of couches and ask a salesman for the warranty information on each of them. Never purchase a couch that does not come with some form of warranty from the manufacturer. A store warranty is only good as long as the store is in business.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Before committing to a purchase, ask the store for a large piece of fabric (not just a swatch) that covers the sofa. Place it where the couch will go and see how much you still like it in the lighting of your home.
  • To test the strength of a couch's frame, lift one front corner or leg of the sofa six inches off the floor. Look to the opposite front corner to see if it's leg has risen, too. If it's still touching the floor, it's a sign that the frame is weak because it has too much give.

About the Author

Kaye Morris has 20 years of real estate development experience and is a regular contributor to DexKnows.

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