Forking over more than $1,000 for a sofa may seem extravagant when many stores sell whole living rooms for almost that price. But a pricey sofa is the more cost-efficient investment to save money in the long run.
Before you have that bargain sofa delivered, check it for what the American Home Furnishings Alliance's hallmarks of quality: firm arms, a heavy, sturdy frame and straight fabric seams. Interior designer Matthew Keller in Kansas City, Mo., adds to the list corner block reinforcements; joints that are glued and screwed together; eight-way, hand-tied springs; and lined-up patterns.
Keller says a "very good" sofa will cost you $1,800 to $2,000. And while the home furnishings association says you can find quality at every price point, a $400 sofa won't likely be as durable as a higher-end version. It's the construction of the frame and cushions, not the look of the fabric, that counts.
"Even if you were to wear out a fabric, a good-quality sofa and cushions can be reupholstered," Keller says.