Entry-level Sofa Woes

sbhaskarFebruary 15, 2010

So, I bought a new home, my first, and have since been in the market for a new sofa to replace my futon which serves as my primary and only sitting area currently. Thanks to copious amounts for reading of this forum, I feel like I have a good idea of what to look for in a sofa. However, after visiting a number of furniture shops around Atlanta and checking out many online retailers, I've come to realize that certain trade offs will have to be made at my price point. Indeed, while $800-$1,200 can get you a nice looking sofa, it seems impossible to get a nice ~80" sofa that doesn't have some sort of flaw. To wit:

Troy sofa at C&B - http://www.crateandbarrel.com/family.aspx?c=932&f=24283 - Flexator spring system

Ian sofa at Room & Board - http://www.roomandboard.com/rnb/product/detail.do?productGroup=3001&catalog=filter&menuCatalog=room&menuSubcategory=201198 - Flexator spring system made by McCreary Modern - questionable build quality

Martin sofa from Rowe - http://www.rowefurniture.com/collections/sofas/martin/default.htm - questionable build quality from Rowe?

In short, is there any solution for getting a sofa for around $1,000 that both looks fairly modern and has the craftsmanship to last a while? I swung by the Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams store today and they have some very nice stuff, but it's all $1,500 and up. Depressing. All the real nice stuff at Pottery Barn, C&B and Room & Board appeared to be the same way. All the Lee Industries stuff seems to be well out of my price range as well.

Additionally, I've also been considering a sleeper and it seems as though the only ones that get consistently good reviews are the Comfort Sleepers, which are all $2,000 and up.

So I ask, are there any good, entry-level options that don't seem like a severe compromise? I can probably wait and scrape together more money to put towards this, but I am sick of having a futon for a couch, and it could be quite a while as I have several other items to purchase for my new home.

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I don't know if you have an Arhaus near you.

A few of their sofas are in your price range. All are made in USA. The more expensive ones are, of course, the better made.

Their Savoy collection has a sale price of $899 and the sleeper is a few hundred more.

In any case, they are made better than an Ashley would be.

Here is a link that might be useful: Arhaus

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 11:16AM
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I'm not from your area so I can't help with pointing you to stores, but I can tell you what I experienced with "low-to mid level" furniture. When I bought my first living room set, it was high end and it last 3 years. Keep in mind, I have no kids and at the time, no pets. The set was badly made even though the brand came highly recommend. When it came time to buy my second set, I had VERY little money due to financial situation so I ended up at a "discount" retailer that is very well known in this area. Everyone warned me not to buy "discount furniture" but I had no choice at the time. So I bought a living room set (couch, loveseat and chair) for $1500. I was worried, yes. But you know what.. BEST PURCHASE I EVER MADE. I still have the set and it's almost 15 years old. The only reason I'm getting rid of it is because I want diff colors and new style. The cushions are STILL like the day I bought them (no sag, etc.). The frame held together beautifully. The Fabric is almost like new (any damage done was by my cat!) In short, you have to buy what's within your budget and just because it's "discount" doesn't always mean it's bad. Look at it carefully, ask the right questions and go for it. I have an uncle who owns two (very high end) furniture stores and he even told me that not all "low-to mid" level furniture is bad. He just told me what look for, etc. (Yes, I can get furniture from him at cost but even that I can't afford! LOL). In fact, he told me that some of the furniture he sells is also found at the discount dealer I went to; the discount dealer just buys overstock, etc. That's the only difference.

So....hope that helps. We all cannot afford a $2000-$5000 sofa and those of us on the "low end" can still get good buys. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 10:30PM
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sbhaskar , your on the right track, just keep searching. Im sorry to say but laurie3333 story is out of the norm and maybe she is just got lucky this time around with the frame and fabric combination, and actually the type of fabric or leather that covers the sofa has more to do with the price once you get past $1000.00
Try finding sofas with hardwood frames, sinuous seat springs, 1.8 or higher density foam in a micro-fiber fabric.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 10:43AM
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Actually, the frame and trim on my living room set IS solid wood and the springs are hand tied. And while I may have gotten "lucky", the fact is the set is now 15 years old and still looks - and feels - like new. I do, agree, however, that you should buy quality furniture if you can afford it. But in today's economy, that's not always possible. In addition, a lot of times, when you buy "high end" furniture, you are paying a premium just for the name.

Good luck with your search! I know you'll find something. : )

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 6:09PM
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I don't think any of the furniture you've mentioned is flawed or severely compromised. A flexalator suspension, from what I gather, is an inexpensive way to keep you from hitting the floor when you sit and isn't something I'd be overly concerned with in a $1000 sofa. You can pay a lot more and get the same suspension. Is the sofa otherwise well made? Is it comfortable? Can I count on the retailer if I have a problem? Those are questions that would be more relevant for me. Both C&B and R&B have great reputations for customer service.

Also, I can't speak for Rowe in general, but I've had a Robin Bruce/Rowe sofa for a few years now. It's very well made - the frame is solid and the upholstery (slipcover's which have been off for cleaning numerous times) is fine. The only "problem" I've had has been the down shifting and clumping in the seat cushions, but that's mostly my fault, not the sofa's.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 1:45AM
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We bought a Rowe sofa in 2006 and by 2008 springs had broken.
This was just from adults sitting down.It was a slipcover one
the fabric did not hold up well. Said washable cold water but
it faded and ripped. Then we decided to get leather and we are very glad we did. We spent alot more but made sure it
was quality so we would not have to think about sofas for a long time. I would go to craiglist and look for Hancock and Moore or Bradington Young used in good shape.
good luck with your search.


    Bookmark   March 2, 2010 at 10:17PM
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I disagree that laurie3333's story is out of the norm. I have had great luck with a $300 sofa from Sears and not so great luck with a much more expensive sofa from a 'real' furniture store. Many of us simply can't afford the 'best' of each and every item we need to purchase and must make allowances. There's nothing wrong with sticking to a budget that's reasonable for you.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 1:11PM
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Everything is a compromise.

Cheaper furniture is that way for a reason; either cheaper labour or cheaper materials, and a lot of the times, both.
Even Bradington-Young (like most manufacturers) don't go all out without regards to price/labour/bottom line.
You have to know the pieces that you are purchasing to determine where the manufacturer saved some money.

Sometimes, reading reviews and sitting on a lot of furniture is the best anyone can do.
Find something you really like, and ask around, then go for it.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 3:12PM
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We still love the sofa we bought at Sears in 1993, before we had any money. It made several moves with us and was downgraded from the living room to the family room to a guest bedroom and the tapestry fabric is woefully outdated but in excellent shape. My two Rowe sofas that I bought in 1999 are still going strong. They were for a family room and living room. Both had the Rowe upgraded down package and for a long time the joke among all our friends was that if you didn't watch out you'd fall asleep as soon as you sat on them, they were that comfortable. One of those two was moved to a master bedroom sitting room and the other was thrown away, mainly because it took a beating and the upholstery was stained and dirty (it lived through our children's 0 - 10 years, between the bottles and cheerios and sticky hands, it was a goner). I've replaced that one with another Rowe. It's from their slipcover collection. Gorgeous white fabric for the living room. Again I've upgraded to the down package. It is the most comfortable thing ever. I have also had excellent luck with Klaussner, I have the British Isles and the Fifi sofas in other parts of the house. Both are inexpensive comparably speaking to Rowe but I am impressed with them. I will say though, regarding Rowe, that I was not thrilled with the chairs I ordered from them. They are called Jackson chairs, I believe, and they are comfortable but not as sturdy as I would expect given the price.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2010 at 11:30PM
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So, 9 months later, I've expanded my budget but still like I'm in the same boat. The Rowe sleeper I looked at, with the down cushion upgrade + tax, comes out to $1580. I figure I could plow an extra couple hundred into it and get something great, right? Nope.

Room and Board, Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams and Lee Industries all start around $2200 for the sleeper. I feel I keep barking up the same trees and getting the same results.

Can someone throw out a few suggestions of quality sleeper sofas at or under $2,000? I would really appreciate it.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2010 at 6:09PM
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