I recall my college days and moving into my first apartment and then my second and third, and on and on. I think I may have moved every 6 months to a year until my son was born, and 3 times since. All that moving got me to thinking about furniture and how much we spend, and sometimes waste, on it based on how we approach the buying process.
When I got my first apartment, I bought this little almost loveseat sized sofa that I thought was just so super cute! I have always been creative and a little “different” and I never wanted to have anything in my place that I might walk into someone else’s place and see. I have also always been frugal with my own personal purchases.
So I ordered this little sofa from a catalog – YES a CATALOG! – and I am certain it cost very little, relatively speaking. It was a neutral color, sort of a light tan, which would allow me unlimited decorating possibilities, AND it folded out into a “bed”! How cool is that?! Ok, so the “bed” was more like a foam mattress on the floor; the seats of the sofa just folded out onto the floor and back up again.
I really loved that sofa and no one else I knew of had anything like it. Most college kids had a futon, which was all the rage, or hand me down furniture from family. Mine was unique, super cute, and extra functional. It was also very poorly and cheaply made.
Fast forward 20 years, and I have learned a few things about purchasing good seating that will last. And now that my oldest son is not too far off from that 1st apartment milestone, I will share a some of the checks we’ll go through that you might not hear or read anyplace else.
Of course there’s all the standard advice to sit on it, lay on it, check for removable covers, possibly washable covers, color, fabric, size, design (arm type, skirted, cushion type, leg style). And all of these are important, but here are a few things you might not otherwise think about.
- Check that the number of legs is proportional to the size of the piece.
- Move the piece around a little.
- Press your knee or elbow into the sides (below the arm) and outside back ever so slightly.
- Take the seat cushions off and check the seat construction.
- Take the back cushions off and check the back construction.
- And while you’re removing cushions, check the stitching (on the cushions and the base).
- Do your homework and ask a million questions!
The final “lesson” of this post is to spend the money up front on good seating or you’ll be sorry sooner (like as soon as you get it home) or later (a year later when you realize you wasted money you could have saved toward a really solid piece).