5 crucial questions to ask yourself before buying a new sofa

Functionality is key when it comes to investing in a large piece of furniture, so make sure you know exactly what you want from a couch before you buy one

16 June 2019 - 00:13 By Leana Schoeman
Velvet from the Evolution fabric collection; from R931,50 per metre at hertex.co.za.
Velvet from the Evolution fabric collection; from R931,50 per metre at hertex.co.za.
Image: Supplied

1. HOW BIG IS THE ROOM?

It might seem obvious, but, for some people, once they've fallen in love with a specific style, all practical limitations are forgotten. Avoid a nasty surprise on delivery day by measuring the space where the sofa will go before you go shopping. Also measure the doorways through which it will have to fit.

Consider the size of the room and other pieces of furniture that will share the space to ensure you'll have a good flow once you've placed the sofa.

2. WILL IT SERVE ITS PURPOSE?

Functionality is key when it comes to investing in a large piece of furniture, so make sure you know exactly what you want from it.

Consider how many people will be sitting on it together; how long you expect it to last, and what kind of activities it will have to endure.

Deeper and softer options are good for cuddling and binge-watching TV, while more upright and shallower versions are good for drinking and eating. Perhaps a combination that serves both?

3. WILL IT BE EASY TO KEEP CLEAN?

Keep upholstered furniture is not an easy task, but if you start out with the basics you've already won half the battle. If your sofa will be in a high-traffic area (think a family room), go for darker tones, and don't be afraid to choose a texture or pattern as these can conceal many spills over time.

Slip covers are another good option as you can pop them in the washing machine whenever necessary.

Tip: Spot-clean a spill immediately to avoid it setting.

4. IS IT A GOOD DEAL?

Shopping around is a great way to refine your wants and needs and to ensure you find the best deal. Don't just head for the big retail stores but consider all your options - smaller furniture-makers and custom-made furniture could provide exactly what you want.

When you think you've found the one, test it properly. Consider the craftsmanship and structure to gauge its durability and longevity - you want to buy something that will last, even if it means spending a bit more than planned.

5. BRAND NEW, VINTAGE OR RECOVER?

There's a lot to be said for vintage furniture - these pieces have stood the test of time for a reason. Often large-scale manufacturing focuses on aesthetics rather than durability, meaning your investment might only last a few years. Older pieces were commonly made with more durable, solid wood - and you can always change the upholstery to your liking.

In fact, have you considered whether you really need to replace your sofa at all or just to recover it?  We've all had our wars with an "old and ugly, but fine" sofa we'd love to chuck out but can't afford to replace. Remember that refreshing the upholstery and structure can make a world of difference. Many of the fabric houses have local ranges that are affordable and durable, and their annual sales are always worth a look. 

SHOPPING

Clockwise from left: • Arabella low back two-seater R10,036 woodbender.co.za • Kensington two-seater R5,500 mrpricehome.com • Gabriella sofa R7,995 blockandchisel.co.za.
Clockwise from left: • Arabella low back two-seater R10,036 woodbender.co.za • Kensington two-seater R5,500 mrpricehome.com • Gabriella sofa R7,995 blockandchisel.co.za.
Image: Supplied
Clockwise from top left: • Malone 3-seater sofa R24,495 mobelli.co.za • Milchbar velvet mauve 3-seater R33,549 kare-design.com • Chelsea 4-seater R14,999 home.co.za.
Clockwise from top left: • Malone 3-seater sofa R24,495 mobelli.co.za • Milchbar velvet mauve 3-seater R33,549 kare-design.com • Chelsea 4-seater R14,999 home.co.za.
Image: Supplied
Clockwise from left: • Studio sofa chaise R6,500 mrpricehome.com • Infinity velvet modular sofa R30,939 kare-design.com • Solo daybed R12,590 weylandts.co.za.
Clockwise from left: • Studio sofa chaise R6,500 mrpricehome.com • Infinity velvet modular sofa R30,939 kare-design.com • Solo daybed R12,590 weylandts.co.za.
Image: Supplied