Author Topic: "BIFL" Sofa?  (Read 7011 times)

ThePauperOfNorthLake

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"BIFL" Sofa?
« on: October 27, 2014, 09:32:12 PM »
Im looking into buying a new sofa (yes I could buy a used sofa and fix it up but my wife is concerned about flame retardants- that's another story). Anyways I've been doing a ton of research on what construction features long-lasting sofas have (corner-blocking, kiln-dried hardwood, legs part of the frame, mortise-and-tenon joints, parts screwed together as opposed to stapled and glued, latex foam, etc). 

Are all these features worth it? I intend to keep the sofa until the frame breaks down and don't mind reupholstering. Its just been incredibly difficult to find any answers. I'm not sure how to separate marketing from fact but I feel that its more responsible to buy a sofa that lasts 30 years instead of 3 sofas that last 10 years each.

coffeehound

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2014, 10:24:06 PM »
Yes, go with the higher-quality materials..........re-upholstering is cheaper, and better for the environment, than a new sofa.  Look for parts screwed together, mix of down and foam in cushions, then enjoy.

posted from a sofa that's older than my husband, that we inherited from his spendy parents.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2014, 10:26:01 PM »
I realize I am not directly answering your question, but do you think your wife would be more comfortable if you purchased it from a storefront as opposed to out of somebody else's home?  I ask because after my divorce I was able to pick up a pretty nice 3-place couch for $150 at a consignment furniture store.  It's a name brand couch and everything.  My mom was shocked at the price, as most of them were going for $400 or so.

Even at that, I recall that when I first got married we had La-z-boy furniture built for us and it was something like $4000 for a single sleeper couch and loveseat.  I think the couch in non-sleeper form was still $1800 if we'd gone that route.  By my math, I can buy 4.5 $400 couches for the same money as a single $1800 couch built to my specifications.  Anyway, not sure I can help much more other than saying that at least in the 7 years we had the La-z-boy furniture, it has been rock solid.  They are really heavy and seem well made, but at a heck of a lot cheaper prices than going to Ethan Allen or any of the other fancypants custom furniture builders.  If you really want a specific wood tone, finishings, and the exact fabric of your choice, then I guess custom built furniture is your only option.

ThePauperOfNorthLake

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2014, 07:19:20 PM »
Yes, go with the higher-quality materials..........re-upholstering is cheaper, and better for the environment, than a new sofa.  Look for parts screwed together, mix of down and foam in cushions, then enjoy.

posted from a sofa that's older than my husband, that we inherited from his spendy parents.
My main concern is the durability of the sofa frame. But it sounds like yours has lasted 20+ years.

The only thing that gives me pause with the sofa I'm thinking of purchasing is that it doesn't have mortise and tenon joinery. But the customer service rep said that you don't need that in a sofa. She went on to say that its something you need in casegoods, not upholstered furniture.  Its hard to make a decision because its difficult to know how much longer the frame would last with mortise and tenon joints.

I could be over thinking this. After all there's no point in making the sofa durable if I'll be long dead by the time the frame breaks down...

ThePauperOfNorthLake

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2014, 07:25:01 PM »
I realize I am not directly answering your question, but do you think your wife would be more comfortable if you purchased it from a storefront as opposed to out of somebody else's home?  I ask because after my divorce I was able to pick up a pretty nice 3-place couch for $150 at a consignment furniture store.  It's a name brand couch and everything.  My mom was shocked at the price, as most of them were going for $400 or so.

Even at that, I recall that when I first got married we had La-z-boy furniture built for us and it was something like $4000 for a single sleeper couch and loveseat.  I think the couch in non-sleeper form was still $1800 if we'd gone that route.  By my math, I can buy 4.5 $400 couches for the same money as a single $1800 couch built to my specifications.  Anyway, not sure I can help much more other than saying that at least in the 7 years we had the La-z-boy furniture, it has been rock solid.  They are really heavy and seem well made, but at a heck of a lot cheaper prices than going to Ethan Allen or any of the other fancypants custom furniture builders.  If you really want a specific wood tone, finishings, and the exact fabric of your choice, then I guess custom built furniture is your only option.
I should look into consignment stores... The only issue is that I'm constrained by the fact that my wife and I are concerned about flame retardants in couches (but I dont want to get off-topic).  Essentially, we've limited ourselves to looking at couches without chemical flame retardants.

I suppose it wouldn't hurt to call up a few consignment stores though.

Mr. Frugalwoods

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2014, 07:28:50 PM »
I realize I am not directly answering your question, but do you think your wife would be more comfortable if you purchased it from a storefront as opposed to out of somebody else's home?  I ask because after my divorce I was able to pick up a pretty nice 3-place couch for $150 at a consignment furniture store.  It's a name brand couch and everything.  My mom was shocked at the price, as most of them were going for $400 or so.

I'd second the consignment store route.  Now that you know what to look for in a quality sofa, you are a shark among minnows when it comes to buying a second hand couch.  Best case scenario is snagging a terrible looking couch with great bones and having it re-upholstered.

You are definitely right when it comes to buying quality though.  My inlaws have a couch that is going on 30 years.  Every 10 years they have it recovered to match the prevailing style and to keep the fabric looking fresh.

pipercat

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2014, 09:11:18 PM »
We got a Quote for re-upholstering our sofa and chair.  It was $900 for the sofa and $400 for the chair. Now, we are certainly Craigslist people, so that total was completely insane to us!  We  got the set for about $300 on CL years ago. My point here is that you may not always save money going the reupholstery route.

 I guess you could choose your own fabric that met your flame retardant standards, though.

MayDay

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2014, 05:53:02 AM »
Reupholstery is more expensive than a cheap couch for sure. Choosing it over a new couch from Ikea is definitely a values thing.

We bought a more expensive couch and planned to reupholster. Ends up, after living with it, we don't love the shape of the couch. If we still have a basement family room whenever the couch gets nasty, we'll put it down there and let the teenagers have it.

chemgeek

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2014, 07:38:34 AM »
We just went through this debate. I hate the idea of dispoable furniture and wanted something well made, and that automatically puts you in a high price bracket. I also despise the texture of microfiber, which is ubiquitous. Add in the fact that my husband is 6'4'' and was demanding a couch that he could fully lie down on and our options were pretty limited. We wound up getting a Century sofa. We lucked out with timing and were able to purchase the floor model for half price. We initially were feeling like we were spending too much (even with the floor model price), but after living with it for a few months, no regrets.

v10viperbox

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2014, 09:49:25 AM »
Depends on your taste but if you are handy there is a ton of Danish or post modern furniture out there that you can get in the 1-2K range restored or 500-700 un-restored. Since most furniture of that era the frames are wood and the fabrics are really easy to have replaced they last forever and hold there value really well if you want to sell them at a later date.

historienne

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2014, 09:56:01 AM »
1 - If the sofa is old enough and hasn't been reupholstered, it will not have flame retardants.  This will be true for most midcentury stuff.
2 - There is a study at Duke that you can send in foam samples to; they will run tests to see if your sofa (or whatever) has flame retardants and let you know the results.  Took me several months, though.

I also care about flame retardants and was all set to buy a new sofa even though my mom was willing to hand hers down.  But then we got it tested and, surprisingly, it had no flame retardants in it!

BooksAreNerdy

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2014, 10:23:14 AM »
Eh, styles change, kids destroy things, dogs destroy things. I'd rather spend $1k every 4-5 years than $10k every 30 years. I have never even seen a 30 year old couch that I would want in my house.

I didn't read the other responses, but I personally think you can get acceptably stylish furniture for less than $2k and then you don't need to worry about it getting damaged or being out of style. We have purchased our last two living room sets at Nebraska furniture mart for less than $1500 each. They each lasted about 4 years. First set was a microfiber sectional and second is faux leather sleeper sofa and two chairs.

They have both been really comfortable and I don't cringe every time someone's kid climbs over the back or jumps on them.

coffeehound

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2014, 01:14:19 PM »
Yes, go with the higher-quality materials..........re-upholstering is cheaper, and better for the environment, than a new sofa.  Look for parts screwed together, mix of down and foam in cushions, then enjoy.

posted from a sofa that's older than my husband, that we inherited from his spendy parents.
My main concern is the durability of the sofa frame. But it sounds like yours has lasted 20+ years.

The only thing that gives me pause with the sofa I'm thinking of purchasing is that it doesn't have mortise and tenon joinery. But the customer service rep said that you don't need that in a sofa. She went on to say that its something you need in casegoods, not upholstered furniture.  Its hard to make a decision because its difficult to know how much longer the frame would last with mortise and tenon joints.

I could be over thinking this. After all there's no point in making the sofa durable if I'll be long dead by the time the frame breaks down...

Actually, the hub will be 45 in May........

dragoncar

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2014, 05:04:37 PM »
Eh, styles change, kids destroy things, dogs destroy things. I'd rather spend $1k every 4-5 years than $10k every 30 years. I have never even seen a 30 year old couch that I would want in my house.

I didn't read the other responses, but I personally think you can get acceptably stylish furniture for less than $2k and then you don't need to worry about it getting damaged or being out of style. We have purchased our last two living room sets at Nebraska furniture mart for less than $1500 each. They each lasted about 4 years. First set was a microfiber sectional and second is faux leather sleeper sofa and two chairs.

They have both been really comfortable and I don't cringe every time someone's kid climbs over the back or jumps on them.

+1, I don't see a sofa as BIFL.   Especially since the price premium is just too high for diminishing quality returns

Thegoblinchief

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2014, 10:22:21 AM »
What's wrong with getting a fabric cover once the upholstery gets/looks nasty?

Furniture is utility, not art.

Posted from a sofa that's part leather, part duct tape...

pbkmaine

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2014, 11:05:58 AM »
 Our living room furniture is A. Brandt Ranch Oak. Think Danish modern with a rustic twist. It's shockingly well made. We got it for free from a family member. The huge advantage of furniture like this is that you only need to reupholster the cushions, which are just rectangular boxes. Anyone with minimal sewing skills can do it.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: "BIFL" Sofa?
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2014, 01:24:51 PM »
Milk crates are pretty damn durable.