Any Recent Experience With Ethan Allen Sofas?

lynninnewmexicoMarch 6, 2012

I am so tired of looking for a sleeper sofa for the guest room/den! I've checked low end, high end and it seems like everything in the middle during the past 3 months.

I'm in the process of selling the oak day bed with trundle and getting a comfortable sofa bed. It should be easy, but it's instead very frustrating!

What I've found is that if the bed part is comfortable, the sofa is uncomfortable to sit on. . . and vice versa!

Finally, I've decided that IF I buy a sleeper sofa, I'm going for a comfortable sofa with a good, fairly thick mattress and I'll keep a rolled up TempurPedic mattress pad stored in the closet to use when we have overnight guests. And, if it comes down to it, I'll get a board to use under the mattress then, too!

What I'm looking for is a smallish (full-size mattress) sofa in a Traditional style that I can get in a good leather or fabric with the possibility of added nail-head trim.

Today, I found one, the Bennett (78" long) at Ethan Allen. I like everything about it. Checked for EA reviews in general and found a lot of negative ones, but none for my local store, just mainly some Back East and in the Midwest. I checked with the local BBB and they have had no negative reviews in the past 3 years (which is as far as I could look back to). It seems to have a good reputation here in town.

Anybody have any recent personal experience with Ethan Allen sofas in general or their sofa beds?

BTW, here's the one I'm considering, the Bennett, but in the full-size, which has 2 instead of 3 back and seat cushions.

Thanks for any and all info or opinions . . . I appreciate it!


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I don't know much about current Ethan Allen quality. I had an Ethan Allen sleeper sofa from 1996-2002, and I would say it was "okay" in comfort of the sofa and of the bed. The sofa sat a bit high and firm for my taste. (I am pretty short and my feet kinda dangled), and the bed was not bad for a sleeper but it seemed better for one person than two.

I have heard very good reviews regarding the comfort and mechanism of beds by American Leather, and they have some that are similar in style to the EA sofa you show.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 8:14PM
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My sister is about to pull the trigger on an American Leather sofa bed. This is one under consideration:
American Leather sofa

She said it was very comfortable as a sofa and the mattress quality was very good for a sleeper.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 8:35PM
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Pal, thanks. I was hoping that you'd respond because I always like to hear your take on things. I actually tracked that sofa bed down at the Tema Furniture in Albuquerque a few months ago. The bed part was the best I've found anywhere, but the seat cushions were, surprisingly, quite uncomfortable. It doesn't make sense to me, as these are high end sofa beds. I asked the salesperson if they were all the same, meaning extra-firm/hard around the edges of each seat cushion and she told me that they were and that this gave them their long-lasting cushion support. It felt, to both DH and myself, as though they had wrapped a firm, open-topped box in batting and then stuffed the middle of it! So, you're always feeling the hard cushion edge under your legs.
The mechanism itself was good,though. In passing, our salesperson mentioned that these are extremely heavy beds, for whatever that's worth.

It's good to hear that you had a reasonably good experience with an EA sleeper sofa, though.

As for the EA Bennett, it's their best-seller the designer at the showroom told me today. They have a sample sofa that I have to tell you about. It was quite amazing, actually. The sample sofa had 3 back and 3 seat cushions, all done in a flax-colored upholstery fabric. And each cushion is a different cushion style(softness/firmness) with the name of each style beautifully embroidered on it! Part has a skirt. Part has nail-head trim. Each cushion has a different welting style or other finish you can choose from. I thought it pretty darn ingenious, from a marketing point of view!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 8:48PM
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That's the sofa bed we looked at in the showroom! As I mentioned in my response to Pal, we thought the seat cushions were hard and uncomfortable around the edges. Hmmmmm . . . I wonder what the difference could be?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 8:52PM
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Not a sofa but we bought a king size sleigh bed ,pretty expensive,They got iot upstairs,of course I had jewelry etc so I wanted to be upstairs.We also bought a set of matresses,box spring tempurpedic,That was wrapped n plastic,he said go get something to cut this off Ill put mattress on bed,I said ok because the mattress weighs a ton...When I walked back in the room they werent expecting me that soon,I said what are you doing,he said oh just touching up,after they left the room I went and looked the whole corner was scun off from bringing it up stairs he was staining it in hopes I would never see it,I wrote the company but never got an answer.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 9:25PM
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I did like the multiple cushion aspect and I wonder if I chose too firm myself, in the end.

Interesting to know about the American Leather, I will have to try that out myself. I was thinking of getting a sleeper for the proposed den in the new house.

It's funny, I don't think I really need any furniture. I sit most of the time I am home in either an upright Stickley chair or on the floor, I sleep in bed, and I nap on the floor. I could probably save a lot of money by having good carpet and leaving it at that.l

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 10:02PM
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I would stay away from Ethan Allen due to past experiances I have had. I bought a chair where the back upholstery was not attached well, they took it back to fix it, it was not a good fix and they refused to do anything else with it. I also bought a side table and the glazing that was on it wiped right off when I cleaned the table, they didn't want to make that right either. I will never buy any of their stuff again, it looks good, but they don't stand behind it at all. At least that has been my experiance.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 10:19PM
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Pal: LOL! You can nap on the floor?!? That's amazing, for someone who's not a kid or a teenager!

Katrina and Bull: thanks for weighing in. I do appreciate it. It sounds like EA has two problems lately: quality control and customer service. How sad!

I think that I need to check out any Hancock and Moore sleeper sofas next. We recently ordered a leather (non-sleeper) sofa for our family room and were very impressed with the quality.

Thank you all again for the info and opinions.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 11:14AM
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My neighbor works for American Leather and I can testify that the sleeper sofa is amazing! Here is their website:

Here is a link that might be useful: American Leather USA made!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 2:26PM
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Maybe my sister is just an oddball? She sure is in other matters. Don't tell her I said so. hee, hee, hee...

She still researching options so I don't know what she'll do yet. It for an extra office/guest room.

I read this on the furniture forum and sent it to my sister. Maybe it will help (or further confuse) you. It was a post about Lee sleeper sofas.

90% of upholstery manufactures source their sleeper mechanisms from 2 suppliers: Hickory Springs or Leggett & Platt.
Of course the largest manufacturers like EA are getting some of their sleeper units from China. Search for these 2 companies HS or L&P and narrow down to the sleeper units to get a idea of the differences. Then compare mattresses as they also source this from different mattress manufacturers.
Its a common misconception that upholstery manufactures makes their mechanisms or mattresses, as they all source from the same suppliers.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 2:28PM
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I have a sleeper sofa from a long time ago, so the manufacturer isn't relevant for Lynn's purposes. However, I found that a fiberbed over the mattress (fiberbed for our guests who are allergic to feathers and down) makes for a very comfortable night's sleep. So my recommendation is to get a sofa that is comfortable for sitting on as a sofa, and use the fiberbed to make the mattress comfortable for sleeping on.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 5:59PM
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Sue: that's a great suggestion . .. thank you! I'm going to look into that tomorrow.

Angie: thank you for that link. They really are a great company and produce well-made furniture overall from what we've seen. All, that is, but the one sleeper sofa bed we saw of theirs. Such a dilemma!

HH: interesting info. I'll tell you, after seeing that sofa bed in person, feeling the weight of it and then observing the mechanism that opens and closes it so smoothly, I agree~ the mechanisms are superb! It's just those seat cushions that put us off. I still can't understand why a company that obviously is focused on quality would settle for such seriously uncomfortable seat cushions.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 10:49PM
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We have a ton of Ethan Allen stuff and have been happy with it. We also had excellent customer service with the one issue we had. But we don't have a couch from them. And maybe we just got lucky, or the local store we dealt with was unusually good.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 2:19AM
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Thanks, Northlut, that's good to hear. I do really like the Bennett and our EA does have a great reputation locally. Hmmmmmmmm.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 1:12PM
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We have purchased a lot from Ethan Allen over the years -- and we keep going back. We have had a nice 15-year relationship with a sales person/designer there -- and we've been happy with our purchases. My husband and I have discussed that there prices are probably high for the quality, but we find it so easy to shop there -- we always go to a bunch of stores and end up right back there. The styles suit us -- and the store near us is so nicely set up with each room looking fabulous. We walk into other stores (many higher end) and are so uninspired by the merchandising (presentation of the goods).

That said, we do not have any EA sofas -- we do have some upholstered chairs that are very comfortable and have stayed looking new. We have a Lee Industries sofa that we've been very happy with as well.

I will add that we have no pets so maybe have not been too hard on our EA stuff.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 1:47PM
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A year ago I stayed overnight for three nights with a distant relative in Colorado Springs. I slept on an Ethan Allen pull out sofa but it had some type of partially air filled mattress on it. They had a pump that filled it up and it never went down while I was sleeping on it. It was exceptionally comfortable. The mattress also said Ethan Allen. I've not looked for this myself but remember thinking that's what I would buy given the experience. They had it in their media room and it was very comfortable as a couch as well.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Well, I'm an Ethan Allen Gal. I have had EA furniture for almost 40 years and it has held up so well that I'm replacing a sofa, loveseat and wing chair simply for a change. I purchased the Bennet sofa four years ago for my summer home; I found it well made and very comfortable. I like the simple, clasic style and comfort of this sofa.

For the living room I'm currently re-doing, I chose another Bennet sofa. It is one of their most popular sofas. My furniture is in, but has not been delivered since the painter just completed painting our living room today.

I've never had a problem with Ethan Allen and I have had four sofas, chairs, and a bedroom set purchased over the years.

Good luck with everything.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:39PM
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Hi Lynn-

If you don't mind me following-up with you, but did you end up getting the Ethan Allen sofa? I am looking into the same purchase and am just beginning my research. Thank you!

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 7:41PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I've heard that ethan allen today is not the EA of yesteryear and a lot of complaints about the quality of their furniture now that it's made overseas.

I haven't bought anything from them or la z boy in years, but I was very happy with my la z boy recliners. Last sofa I bought was from Bassett and we're very pleased with it for durability.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 9:02AM
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I bought a bunch of EA furniture maybe 3 years ago. A leather sofa, looks similar to the one in your picture but more of a reddish brown and not a sleeper; coffee table and two low bookcases. I have been happy with all. The coffee table says "Made in USA" in the inside drawer.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2012 at 9:37AM
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I'm sorry that I missed your follow-up question until this evening Sgame123. I need to get dinner started but will try to answer tomorrow morning.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 8:04PM
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Sorry I didn't get back here on Monday as I'd planned. The hurricane watch all day put this out of my mind.
As to what sofa we eventually bought, no we didn't get one from Ethan Allen. We looked at many of their sofas at our local store, and at many other sofas at many other stores (LOL)! We kept coming back, though, to our concern about the way the frames were constructed. In the end of a too-long search, we bought a leather Hancock & Moore sofa. We've had it for about 18 months now and are still very happy with it.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 10:23AM
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You asked for recent experiences with Ethan Allen, and I have one. I recently replaced all my 35 year old Ethan Allen furniture with new Ethan Allen furniture. I purchased a Bennett sofa, my second one, and two upholstered arm chairs and a leather ottoman.

I travelled to all our neighborhood furniture stores and returned to Ethan Allen. Over many years, I have never had a problem or any issues, except for this purchase.

My Bennett sofa came with two pillows, which were filled with down. I was very happy with the fabric and the quality of the pillows. When I moved the pillows from the sofa, I noticed a line or indentation on the sofa seat. It was from the weight of the pillow. When the customer service person arrived to take a look and to fix the problem, he steamed the indentation. The steamer leaked and spilled the entire container of water on the sofa seat. I wasn't happy....EA replaced the covering on the seat cushion and they replaced the stuffing inside the two toss pillows. It seems to have corrected the problem.

I do like Ethan Allen and I seem to return when I need furniture. I have had no experience with sofa beds.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 6:54PM
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