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Your Complete Couch Shopping Guide

Apr 12, 2021

Eight different styles of couches on a white background

If you've shopped for sofas at any point in your life, you've come to realize that a good couch is not just a couch. It’s a centerpiece for your living room design. It’s the most popular place to plop down when the family gets together. It’s Nap Central on a Sunday afternoon. It’s also a major investment for your home — one you may have for years to come, so it's important to make a decision that you'll be happy with.

When it comes to style preference, the choice is all yours. There are so many sizes, designs and structures that it’s easy to incorporate couches into your personal desired aesthetic. Choosing a quality couch, however, requires a more objective eye. Check out the following criteria you should consider to make sure you choose a couch that’s amazing inside and out.

1. Know the Size of Your Space

It may seem obvious that before you shop for a couch, you’ll need to be sure it will fit inside of the room you want to put it in. But, you’d be surprised how many shoppers rely on memory or “eyeballing” the space, then come home with a couch that doesn’t fit. Too large of a couch will make your room look smaller and will become an obstacle instead of an asset.

So it’s worth mentioning these two words: Take measurements. Before you head to the furniture store or get online, take a few minutes to get out the measuring tape and get a clear idea of how much room you're working with (including the doorways and entryways you need to get the couch through). Then you’ll be confident that your perfect couch is also the perfect size.

Don’t forget to consult the salespeople at the store; they can provide recommendations based on your space. Some retailers now even offer an augmented reality tool (usually found on their website) that can virtually put the couch in your home or similar space, so you can better visualize the end result.

2. Take Comfort into Account

After a long day, sometimes you just want to head for the couch, put your feet up and unwind. You won't be doing any of that if your couch is uncomfortable. There are certain sofas that, while they may be the perfect pièce de résistance for your preferred interior style, are more for show than for sinking into.   

If you're someone who likes to lounge or prefers the couch to the bed for taking naps, you'll want to make sure that it's conducive for the level of comfort you like. Your height (and that of your family members) is also worth considering here. If you are taller, for instance, make sure to select deeper seats that give you more room.

3. Don’t Forget Framing

The foundation of a good couch is a solid, quality inner frame that holds it all together. Different couches will utilize frames from a variety of different materials, but it pays to do your research to see which will stand the test of time and which you should avoid.

Some of the best couches include a hardwood frame. It’s a solid material that’s able to keep the couch together, sturdy and without wobbles for years, regardless of how much you sit, shift and pile onto your couch. You’ll want to consider the materials of the couch legs as well; they should either be integral parts of the frame or held on with screws or dowels. 

4. Look for Quality Joinery

No, this isn’t the name of a new social media platform, although it does have to do with making connections. The joinery on a couch does just that: It joins and reinforces the joints within your couch frame to ensure solid, quality construction. Frames that are joined with wooden dowels, double wooden dowels, wooden corner blocks or metal screws and brackets, offer long-term structure and keep your couch well held up.

Make sure to avoid sofas that are assembled with only staples, nails or glue. Although these materials may be used to provide additional reinforcement, they should not be the sole materials holding your couch together.

5. Test the Springs

Springs are what hold up your couch's cushions — so, really, they’re holding you up. Nothing’s more frustrating than the feeling that your couch is swallowing you whole. One of the best ways to test the quality of the springs is to actually sit on a couch, feel it out for yourself and determine whether it meets your preferred level of comfort and firmness.

You should notice that good springs will be quite firm and spaced close together for good support. Being able to feel the spring wires through the couch's fabric or feeling as though you are not being supported as you sit are signs of a poor construction. So unless you are buying a couch just to look at and admire (and who does that?), keep shopping.

6. Check Out the Tech

For those just as interested in tech features as they are in relaxing and recharging, power reclining sofas and sectionals are a popular choice. They allow you to adjust the footrest, back, headrest or all three in a variety of reclining positions at the touch of a button. Some even come with adjoining consoles that may include storage space, cupholders, USB phone-charging ports, headrest speakers and more — creating the ultimate setup for couch-potato living.

If this type of couch is on your bucket list, you’ll want to give them a test drive yourself to make sure there are no technical glitches and that they operate smoothly and easily. Motion styles like these are generally more expensive, so you definitely want to ensure the quality you are paying for is what you are going to get.

Bottom Line: Get the Best Quality Couch for Your Hard-Earned Cash

Another important factor to consider is price, which (of course) can vary based on some of the criteria listed above. However, keep in mind that even when you’re trying to stay within a spending limit, a less expensive sofa won’t be worth the savings if it’s not constructed with quality materials and built to last for years of enjoyment.

You’ll find so many couch styles and sizes on your shopping excursion that it may be overwhelming, but hopefully this buying guide will help you find a couch that not only provides the comfort you want, but is available at a price you’re comfortable with as well. At Acima, we check off that box, too. Start shopping at one of our over 15,000 retailer partners to find your perfect couch — with a flexible alternative to financing that will help you rest on that new couch a lot easier.