8 Things I’ve Learned about Couches





Advance warning: this post is heavily peppered with the use of sarcasm, which is sometimes my second language. Proceed.

Forgive me for the abundance of interior design-related posts as of late. But you see, we’re in the trenches right now. I want you all to know the absolute honest truth: if you’re in a relationship of any kind, buying a sofa is THE HARDEST furniture-buying decision you will ever make.

In fact, this article at HuffPo made me cry/laugh because OMG. It is so true. And yeah, it was both hahaha tears and OMG, MAKE IT STOP tears.

When we repainted the living room and kitchen, the first thing we both said was, “Eww. Look how gross the brown couch looks in here against the pretty bright white walls.”  To be fair, that couch was the very first piece of furniture we ever bought together as newlyweds. In retrospect, I don’t remember that being a hugely angsty decision, but that’s probably because we were IN LUVVVVVV and also it kinda felt like playing house at that point. Plus we were making out, like, nonstop because we didn’t have a child yet and we were lovestruck newlyweds. Which is how we GOT that child.


Oh, and additionally? We had a decorator friend help us – a brilliant choice because it was like having a furniture shopping referee. Or therapist. Whichever term you prefer.

So now it’s 8 years later, and that couch has seen better days (to say nothing of all the making out). Also – it’s brown. So in my mind, it’s time to get something new to go in the newly-redone gorgeous white living room. Preferably in navy.

You guys, I have scoured the interwebs and I have seen All The Sofas In The World. I even got Simon to go down to Dallas with me for a quickie meeting with a work friend (and, oh yeah, also to go sit on couches) in order to finalize The Big Decision, and we STILL weren’t able to seal the deal.

Here’s what I know about couch shopping and then we’ll get to the roundup of sofas that I’m liking right now —

ONE. You almost always have to sit on a couch to make sure it’s the right one for you. In other words, unless it’s a truly sick deal, don’t plan on phoning this one in.

TWO. Scale is everything. Make sure you know the measurements of the room it’s going in. I also think it’s helpful to know the size of the furniture you currently have so when you look at those measurements of any potential furniture, you can have an idea of whether it will be larger or smaller.

THREE. Not all sofas are created equal. It goes without saying: there’s a definite difference in couches at Ikea versus Mitchell Gold Bob Williams. #duh

FOUR. You WILL spend a lot of money. It’s probably the largest piece of furniture (other than a mattress) that you will buy. Gird your wallets.

FIVE. Reupholstering sounds like a good idea. But think again – by the time you pick out quality upholstery material and pay for the cost of labor for the sofa, it may be cheaper to just go out and buy a whole new one.

SIX. I’m 98% convinced that it doesn’t matter what kind of upholstery you pick: they all show stains/fuzz/dog hair/etc. So go ahead and prepare yourself for the inevitable.  See also: however, white is  still going to be a bad option unless you cover it in plastic wrap.

SEVEN. I will never ever EVER (so Taylor Swift, right?) buy a couch with down cushions again. Take me seriously when I say that the zhushing of the down pillows (read: beating them daily to get them to stay upright and be unsloppy) will drive you to drink.

EIGHT. All the sofas that fit me (at 5’7″ tall) don’t ever fit my husband.


And that is All That I Know About Couch Shopping.

Stipulations for the new acquisition are as follows:

  • It can’t be white. Cross-reference: Jude.  See also: Not brown.
  • It needs to be over 78″ long.
  • It can’t be a sectional due to the layout of the room.
  • I envision something modern-ish, but tailored.
  • It can’t be too large of a scale. Not too deep, not too chunky.
  • But also not too small-scale because I married a 6’4″ tall dark and handsome man who makes everything look like dollhouse furniture, e.g. miniscule.
  • And most importantly, it can’t be ugly.

Let’s take a look at the contenders:



Nothing is 100% right just yet, although I am liking that Norwalk one – you can have it completely customized. My favorites, though, seem to be made by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. The quality is excellent, the price point is right, and they seem like they’d last a long time.

Finally, this story at Victoria Barnes’ blog about tracking furniture down on Craigslist also made me cry/laugh because I definitely could’ve written it. Brilliant.

Got any tips for me when it comes to couch-hunting? I’d love to hear ’em.

with love,

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