Easy Living: Do’s and Don’ts When Buying a Couch

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Welcome to Easy Living, my new lifestyle column all about the things that make nesting fun and will make your home both unique and beautiful. Here I’m going to cover the things that new homeowners don't think about initially, moving tips, awesome products, good luck items for your home, finding the best rugs and furniture and mattresses, trends in kitchen, bedroom and bathroom décor, cool home products like candles and bed sheets and towels and cookware, tips on hosting the best cocktail party and setting a perfect table, and where to find the coolest products and most awesome deals to beautify your home!

I’m writing this from a broken couch. The first couch I’ve ever bought. The only couch I’ve ever bought. It’s been an excellent piece of furniture for a decade now, but the end was inevitable. This good thing is about to come to an end. It’s almost time to go couch shopping, and I’ve learned some valuable lessons from this old broken couch upon which I sit. The next time I go to buy living room seating, here’s what I’ll consider. Check out my do’s and don’ts!

Do think about durability. Yes, a white couch is elegant and beautiful and looks amazing in photos. Ask yourself – do you live a white couch lifestyle? If you’re prone to eating pasta in your living room and drinking red wine and/or coffee – maybe reconsider. If you’ve got pets, you definitely have you consider your fabric choice carefully. Cats love piercing through leather furniture with their claws and certain dogs love chewing on fabric furniture.

Do anticipate repairs. The first couch I ever bought was a plush recliner, and I got it at a generic furniture store where brands were not a question. It was basically a question of sitting on the couch, realizing it reclined, leaning back and then saying “yessss, I’ll take it.” Not smart. Reclining couches are great at the beginning but finding replacement parts can be difficult years down the road. Also, not every furniture repair person is willing to undertake fixing reclining furniture. Know your brand before making that purchase.

Do go to a store and sit on it. There are so many amazing furniture deals to be found online nowadays, and there are detailed customer reviews to guide you through the shopping process. But there’s so much to be said for sitting on your soon-to-be couch before paying for that big ticket item. If you see a sweet online deal, look to see if the manufacturer has items for sale at a nearby store, so you can give it a test drive before getting the e-discount.

Don’t shop based on looks alone. Sure, mid-century modern might be your aesthetic. Or minimalism might be super trendy at the moment. You may be tempted to go with a couch that will pull your interior decorating vision together. But first, consider form and function. You still need to be able to sit comfortably on this thing, and nobody likes a super stylish couch that feels like you’re sitting on rocks.

Do your research on the brand you’re buying. Here’s what I learned the hard way – so many furniture manufacturers are tiny companies that don’t have staying power. You might buy a couch at a standard furniture store with a ton of TV ads, and years down the road when you try to find out what kind of couch you got or where to get replacement parts, you’ll discover that the company shut down years ago and there’s online complaints about their business. Don’t be like me! Ask smart questions when making the investment on a couch. Like, “who makes this brand? Where are they based? What kind of materials did they use? How long is the warrantee good for and who upholds that in the long term?” Things like that.

I’m taking my own advice and going couch shopping soon! What are your couch shopping do’s and don’ts? Any couch recommendations?

Contributing Editor, Patrice Grell Yursik is the creator of Afrobella.com, one of the first blogs to celebrate the beauty of natural hair and ladies of all skin tones and sizes. Affectionately called the Godmother of Brown Beauty Blogging, Patrice takes her readers inside unique beauty, fashion and cultural experiences.