Unless you live alone and have deprived yourself of furry companionship, alcohol and friends, there are a few things you need to know about buying the perfect sofa for your living space.
Durability doesn’t need to be synonymous with drab. In fact the right lounge will create a swish pad quicker than you can muster, “Would you like to come up for a drink?”
So take a walk with us as we look at some thrifty choices when it comes to style, function and durability.
Never Fear Leather
Leather and luxury go together like Friday arvos and beer. Animal hide may not sound appealing, but we all know the sex appeal of a good leather jacket. Inject that same sense of cool into your living room to achieve a polished look and watch that special guest swoon.
Leather lounges stand proudly at the top of the sofa ladder and will give your home an instant facelift. They can cop more abuse than Mayweather and remain standing with barely a scratch. Spills basically slip off and make cleaning a non-issue (almost).
Natural fibres always hold out longer than synthetic ones and it’s estimated the lifespan of a leather-upholstered sofa outweighs that of its microfiber, polyester or cotton counterparts by up to 50%.
From bonded blends to top grain Italian leather and everything in between, be sure to do your homework and shop around before laying down the dosh, particularly at this time of year when there are so many bargains to be snapped up.
If possible, avoid bonded and faux leather (when the price seems too good to be true, it likely is) and opt for the highest quality leather your budget permits. Soft and flexible top grain leather is always preferable.
Tip: Anyone residing in humid parts of the world should never dismiss the sticky potential of SAS (Sweaty Ass Syndrome) and perhaps consider microfiber.
Because of leather’s durability, second-hand pieces shouldn’t be dismissed. You can wipe away the previous owners SAS and be on your way for a fraction of the price. eBay and Gumtree are good starting points, and with a spot of luck you could inadvertently buy an antique, adding character and life to an otherwise inanimate object.
It could also be an interesting talking point. I.e. “I bought this lounge from a crazy old guy who used it to smuggle cocaine across the Mexican border.” That could happen, right?
For those unable to afford leather, microfiber is the next best thing. Microfiber-covered furnishings have the advantage of costing notably less than leather couches in the same style. Plus, they’re ideal for hot and humid conditions.
Often hailed for their easy-cleaning properties, the nature of woven textiles means stains will be a problem if not tended to immediately. However, microfiber will withstand non-human wear and tear (we’re looking at you, cat) more effectively than leather. If you own a domestic beast that takes pleasure in lacerating your lounge, leather is not your friend.
Persistent felines will eventually gauge their way through microfiber, but it will be much less heartbreaking and costly to replace than wounded leather. An emerging trend is the use of leather-like-microfiber that mimics the look and feel of leather.
Sofa Bed Sessions
As a perfect choice for anyone strapped for cash or space, the super versatile sofa bed or sleeper sofa has enjoyed a place in family homes and share houses for decades. Longevity is a side effect of the sofa bed’s functionality, but forget the old spring-laden contraptions of your youth; the technology behind foldaway beds has advanced significantly.
Contemporary alternatives are so cleverly designed they don’t need to be relegated to the spare bedroom. Indeed, they can replace a traditional sofa entirely.
The Cozy Mattress Company developed the unique Z-Spring technology that uses a telescopic dual inner spring system to make thick, comfortable, and ergonomic mattresses possible. An impressive 8.5-inches can now be had, and the technology has been adopted by most modern manufacturers. Mates won’t dread kipping on these, and complaints about sore necks and coil indentations are a thing of the past.
Sectional Sofa Resurrection
A revival of the modernist movement prevalent in the mid 20th century has seen the streamlined, uncluttered nature of the sectional sofa become indispensable when contriving a contemporary room.
Eliminating the need to buy multiple pieces of furniture to seat family and friends, sectionals are sensational money-savers. You can pick one up for as little as a few hundred dollars, or as much as ten grand for a quality piece that will go the distance.
With so many variations available, make some enquiries before hitting the shops. If storage is an issue, find a lounge with built-in or hidden storage areas. Social butterflies who welcome frequent guests might be better suited to a sectional couch that incorporates a sleeper sofa.
Then review your room’s dimensions and take accurate measurements. While the couch will be the centerpiece of the room, it shouldn’t FILL the entire room. Most sectionals are large, so take detailed calculations of small spaces.
The most common configurations include the ubiquitous L-shape that will suit most rooms, along with the semicircle and U-shape. With a little imagination and resourcefulness you could create a number of interesting combinations.
Chaise or recliners can be separated and placed around the room to suit the occasion. Evaluate the style of your room before picking a winner.
Indulge your inner pimp and look for a sectional with magazine/remote shelf, cup holders, cooling door (aka mini bar) and drop down table. You’ll have a comfortable cocktail party at your fingertips.