If you haven’t purchased furniture for some time or your last purchase was for your first apartment, it’s a good idea to have a sense of what you get for your money before you buy. The internet is not a good option for shopping for furniture; what you see is often not what you get!

The tricky part about knowing what’s what with upholstered pieces is that the most important components are what you don’t see. And, sadly, you won’t get much information about that on an internet site or a big box furniture store. It’s best to work with someone who is very familiar with the product line and manufacturer.

I generally recommend a starting price point of $2000 to purchase a sofa with a solid wood frame, good spring system and quality cushions. Prices can easily go up from there depending on materials and craftsmanship. Plan to spend at least 20%-40% more for a quality leather piece.

There are many ways to cut corners when producing upholstered furniture that compromise the structural integrity of the piece and leave you having to replace it in a couple of years. If you are looking for disposable furniture, you will end up spending more money in the long term if you under-buy. If, on the other hand, you select a good quality piece from the beginning, it is well worth having it recovered as fabric wears or color preferences change over time! Read about the care of upholstered furniture here.

It’s impossible for the consumer to know what goes on behind the scenes and how pieces of furniture are made. A good design professional who is knowledgeable about the product lines they work with can end up saving you a great deal of money. In most cases, if they prevent you from making one costly mistake, they have earned their fee.

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a sofa and a couch? Learn more here.

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[Photos (and sofas) by Leathercraft Furniture and Bernhardt Furniture]