Upholstered loveseats - where to buy?

JamieNovember 17, 2012

I think I want 2 upholstered loveseats with English arms.

I know I want them to be less bulky than what I see on the showroom floor in places like Ashley. I don't want thick, bulky pieces, and I do want a fabric that has some amount of natural fiber in it.

The last and only time I purchased a new piece of upholstered furn I did not know what I was doing. I bought a Lillian August down sofa with Robert Allen custom fabric. I'm tired of it but it is still like new. I got it because it had the arm I wanted, didn't look cheap, and I could choose an all cotton fabric. It was what I consider very, very expensive. I'm 20 years older now and will probably move again before my final home and I have all the old-age-economics to consider. There must be a middle ground quality that would satisfy me but I really have trouble visualizing.

I'm in the position of being again hung up on a particular arm. I can compromise on fabric this time, but they have to "feel" non-cheap.

I don't see a lot of English arms on the showroom floor. I think I could spend around 1200 - 1400 at a store like Macy's and get loveseats that would suffice but I wouldn't get to see them first, so I'm entertaining other unpreviewable options that cost less.

I'm wondering about clubfurniture.com, where it looks like I can save about $300 per loveseat. I really dislike buying new, but I have been looking for used for quite a while and I've gotten kind of hung up on the Enlish arm. It's the only that looks good to me now. Should I talk myself out of the arm? Should I order from Macy's even though I can't see before I order? Should I purchase from clubfurniture? (Their loveseat is only 55 inches long, which on paper works much better for my space, and which I think I strongly prefer over the 60" and longer ones, but I have such a hard time visualizing)

I want loveseats that look tailored but that lend themselves to being sat in sideways with legs up. I'd also like to be able to rest my elbows on the arm rests and read the paper, so that rules out very high or very low arms.

More questions:

1. I don't like the idea of attached back cushions. Do I need to get over that? Is there a problem with them over time or is that a place I could comfortably compromise?

2. I don't see skirts anymore. I want to use 2 chairs in the room that have a lot of exposed wood -- arms, legs, and backs. Should I seek out loveseats that have skirts to balance things out? This is the only living room in the house and there will be some tables, too.

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For attached back cushions, it depends on what you mean. If you mean a tight-back sofa, that's totally not a problem if it's a well-built piece. I have a tight-back sofa that's had almost 30 years of regular use and the seat cushions have needed redoing, but the back stuffing is still fine.

If you mean the ones that look like loose cushions but are sewn to the sofa frame, stay away. That's usually a way of cheaping out on finishing.

I wouldn't order a sofa from Macy's, myself. I think their upholstered goods are pretty shoddy. At least I've never seen any that weren't.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:34AM
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I am not sure about Macy's either. I had a Macy's sofa before my current one and had great experience with it-- but I was in a showroom just tonight and unfortunately, I don't think they are carrying that quality anymore. I was really disappointed. I have seen a few blogs speaking positively about the martha stewart sofas-- but they didnt have any in the showroom.

I am in a similar position as you-- I am looking for a nice looking sofa for under 1000. I am not looking for something that will last 15 yr.. but I want a certain look and I don't want it to look like a budget sofa. I don't know where I will go next. Do you have a Pottery Barn outlet nearby? I am considering giving them a try. Not all, but some of their sofas are made by Mitchell Gold and that should be decent enough quality (for me) for now. Of course the outlet is hit or miss-- but it's not that far away so worth a look if I can save $600-800.

Sorry, I don't know anything about clubfurniture.com.

How urgent is your need? If you can wait until Jan/Feb a lot of furniture stores do inventory then and run big clearance sales.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 2:10AM
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Yes, writers, I meant semi-detached loose back cushions. I wondered if they'd really bother me after I actually lived with the loveseat, or if I'd get used it. I do rotate my back cushions now, but am not sure if I'd miss doing that.

Funkyart, I saw the M. Stewart upholstered at Macy's. It was ok, I guess. I can't name exactly what I didn't like about them. I visited a PB outlet once. A lot of the case goods were totally splintered and broken down. I'll never buy PB wood stuff. The decor items, de-merchandized and overflowing, looked like so much "stuff" that you wouldn't want. I don't recall seeing any upholstered items. I do see them on craigslist, though.

One thing that bugs me about inexpensive upholstery is the way the foam deforms. Down sags, but in a nice way. I don't know how to tell whether a particular foam is going to dent and harden badly, and whether a particular fabric will crush in a non-complimentary fashion.

My down sofa with cotton tapestry cover ages nicely. Cover and cushion just sort of mush together.

OTOH I had a faux velvet 1980s sofa on which the foam grew unresilient -- I kept trying to push it back into square but it had lost it's memory-- and the welting of the faux velvet didn't move in the same direction. It just looked bad, and not in a good way.

I keep thinking that if I got the right kind of foam and somewhat good fabric thngs would be ok. But they don't talk about the kind of foam used, and I'm not sure how "good" the fabric would have to be.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:14PM
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I ordered 2 small genuine leather recliners (not bonded) from Macy's and so far have been very happy with the quality. However, their return policy is very strict and has a large restocking fee if you don't like them. We actually went to the warehouse for pick-up, unpacked the chairs and inspected them before accepting the delivery. We were told that was the way to avoid a return charge if we didn't want them. And we had sat in them in another color in the showroom.

DD also bought a loveseat (Chloe) from Macys about 5 yrs ago and also has felt the quality for the price has been good. She sat in it in the showroom first.

I also longed for English arms, but had difficulty finding a sofa in the length, fabric, color, etc I wanted in a timely manner. Sooo... recently retired DH insisted on going sofa shopping with me (I about fell over). We ended up with a very nice linen Baker sofa that cost more than I expected, but is very comfortable and WITHOUT my English arms. It is the perfect size, but no heart singing.

You might try finding someone who sells Rowe. They had a sofa that was too short for my needs (more like loveseat) and their prices in some stores were a bit lower. I love English arms and have for years! However, I don't know if the arm height of many of them is conducive to sitting sideways on a loveseat since the arm is sometimes fairly low. But for style and elbow rest, love, love, love them! Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:20PM
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> I meant semi-detached loose back cushions.

The only reason for doing this is to save the small amount it would cost to finish both the sofa back and the back of the cushion. To me it is one of the biggest red flags there can be. Yes, they look hideous in short time. You'll never find down good quality cushions done this way.

Down is always best if you can find it in the style you want.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:36PM
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Also there are still a few other American made sofas, like creative classics, that you might want to investigate.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:37PM
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I ran across clubfurniture when I was looking for Pottery Barn lookalikes; I think I saw the recommendation on gardenweb from someone who claims the same manufacturer makes the club furniture and PB upholstered pieces. To me, the quality and prices seem quite good, and they have a lot of variety. But it is hard to buy without sitting in one!

I ended up with a tight-back apartment sized sofa from Crate and Barrel (the Silhouette), and I like it very much. It's probably longer than you want (about 80") but the taupe is on sale for $799 right now.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2012 at 12:52PM
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Have you considered contacting a local upholsterer, or one who ships, to see if they have a frame that you like, where you could also choose the fabric?

I have always admired this company's work. They are based is Atlanta, GA, and have items on eBay (link below) and also a website and blog. They buy high quality pieces and re-do them, and have 100% positive feedback, AND their shipping is well priced.

I'm sure she has more frames, or can find ones than are not shown on her site, and I bet you'd end up with a quality piece in a fabric you choose, at a price similar to that of a new lesser quality one.

I have NO connection to this company; just have admired their work since I stumbled upon some online years ago.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wydeven Designs

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 10:09AM
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I havent bought anything from Wydeven Designs either but I've watched them for years and also admired their work. I had planned to buy a chair from them a few weeks ago-- and stalled too long. It's been sold.

I think their prices are great--and many pieces are stunning.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2012 at 12:56PM
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