Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Sofa Saga

A couple of months ago I mentioned that we had purchased a new sofa for our living room. Choosing a sofa is without a doubt one of your most important decorating decisions as it is one of the main features in your living room and can make or break the whole look that you are trying to achieve. I know a little about this as we have had several (nine at my last count) sofas since moving into our current house. I know this sounds indulgent but I can explain! I thought it was time to share some of the lessons I have learned and laugh at some of the mistakes I have made. Everyone knows that I love a good bargain so my first place to look was on Trademe. In fact, all the sofas we have had at this house have come from Trademe, apart from the one we have now...more on that later.
Our cream macrosuede sofa which showed marks easily

The tricky part about choosing a new sofa has been our oddly shaped living room. If I had my way I would have a modular sofa in a L shape but sadly, this room is not cut out for that. Funnily enough, this knowledge did not stop me from trying out two different Freedom modular sofas in the room, just to confirm that they indeed did not work. :)
Macrosuede also requires a lot of  'brushing' to get the nap of the fabric looking decent
This then took me to sofa suites. I wanted something good quality and durable so I chose high end pieces (from places like Living Edge and The Design Store), often coming from the holiday homes of the affluent who were upgrading. What I failed to recognise was that these homes usually featured no children and were not suited to life with two littlies! It was back to the drawing board again.
In a brave moment I went for teal macrosuede, obviously I hadn't learnt my lesson...

One thing you should know is that this acquiring and culling process did not cost any money. When I purchase things from Trademe and find they are not suitable, I am sure to sell them for at least the amount I bought them for and more often than not, for more. This was a danger in itself as it made it far too easy to keep searching for the elusive "perfect sofa"! After yet another failed experiment (the teal one to be exact) I had finally had enough and decided to get the sofa I wanted, rather than search for a second hand sofa that did not tick all the boxes.
I loved this sofa but it was a little to modern for me and the low back was not comfortable...
One Saturday I pulled out all the back issues of my favourite interiors magazines and searched for a sofa colour, shape and style that I really wanted. It soon became apparent to me that I was after a very simple square armed sofa with a comfortable high back and in a textured light coloured weave. I popped into a local furniture store (not an expensive one) and found what I wanted, chose the fabric and in a few short weeks, it was ready! As soon as the delivery guys brought it in the house, we knew we had found what we had been looking for. It is a plain, simple, comfortable and versatile. We love it!
Finally, the "right one"!
Anyway, some tips I have learnt along the way regarding sofa shopping:
I know, it looks similar to the cream one at the top but it is the fabric that makes all the difference in this one. :)
  1. Just because it is cheap, it doesn't mean you should get it.
  2. Just because it is a designer brand, it doesn't mean you should get it.
  3. Despite what experts might say, macrosuede marks easily and has a nap to the fabric that you will forever be 'brushing' to try and get it looking good.
  4. Low back sofas look great but are incredibly uncomfortable.
  5. When buying from Trademe, what constitutes "no marks and new condition" varies greatly between sellers.
  6. Hiring a trailer and picking up sofas from people's homes WILL require a loving and patient husband. :)
  7. Sometimes it is a false economy to buy second hand, especially when the item doesn't meet your needs.
  8. Leather is always the best option with kids (though I haven't followed this advice in our latest purchase!).
  9. Shop around for the best deal on what you want.
  10. It is worth paying a little extra to choose the fabric and colour you want and have it custom made. It is money well spent it in the end.
Hope some of you can learn from my mistakes! :)

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