The Furniture Diaries: chapter 1, the sofa

 Why is purchasing a new sofa,
 one of the most daunting tasks that we face when re-doing a new living room?
Are we really that afraid? 
And why do we seem to love them children...forever?
 Even when we know they have totally outlived their usefulness... 
let alone their style...we keep them.

We would never consider going out on a lunch date looking like this couch...
Yet we own them and sit in them...yuck...and look at them...for way too long.
Is buying a couch really that hard and time consuming?
Is it that big of a leap of faith?
Are we just a bunch of spineless scared-y-cats?

The answer seems to be... for the most part "yes"

It must be like buying a new car...
You're going to be sitting in it for a few years, so you better really like it.
I mean love it...!
as in L-O-V-E love it, like "new boyfriend" love it
And it better be really comfortable...
oh and we better make sure the dog can enjoy the sofa too...

Along with the kids, the neighbors kids and every other goofy guy that happens to stop by...
 to watch football, drink mystery beverages, and shove chips under the seat cushions,
All in your very own living room!
And your mom better approve too.   
Better yet, your boss needs to like your sofa...
It's a total reflection of "you"!

So lets get started...I need a sofa:

The big issue and perhaps the most important to most people, seems to be the cost. 
 Even though a sofa is a big piece of furniture, it's just one component of a great looking room.
But, dollar wise it can take up a rather large piece of the overall budget.

Here are some thoughts on how I began and what my criteria was,
 for a very smallish and beige/boring space:

1.  No big huge arms.  Because of the limited space in our new little place, the ends/arms of the sofa need to be flat.  I personally think big arms are really dated looking...sorry  
2.  I want something grey, no white for this project! But not a drab fabric...something with some texture and interest, but not a print or a stripe
3.  My budget is around $1500 to $3000 retail;  I could go a bit higher though, because I have this little issue with falling in love with things and not looking at price tags until its all over... but the crying.  
4.   Comfort is a must, because this is really our only spot to sit...the living room is around 16 x 12 for every thing! In the house we just sold we had 5 sofas/love seats in various different we are down to just one!
5.  I like down...yes I think down is a must or poly with a down wrap for the seats and cushions 
6.   Slipcovers are not a necessity...but would be nice.  I am leaning towards a more sleek look, however, nothing too slouchy or wrinkled 
7.  It must be contemporary and current and somewhat masculine, to go with some of the other components that have already been chosen 
8.  And finally, I don't want to wait to get this guy for 6 months...8 weeks tops!

Sofa #1:  Pottery Barn; Americas favorite catalog company and one in which I have a love/hate relationship.
The couch above is called the Maxwell.  I can get it in a brushed canvas in a dark pewter color.  It's made with Eco-friendly sustainable hardwoods and is 83"wide and 40" deep.  They don't make it with any down, but that keeps the price lower, at $1699

Sofa #2:  Crate and Barrel;  another catalog type company, but there are many more custom choices available.  The sofa above is called the Lounge, shown in microfiber velvet.  Again, this is made with kiln dried sustainable hardwoods.  The cushions are a plant based poly foam with a down wrap.  Its 93" long and 46" deep and is $1599

 Sofa #3:  Restoration Hardware;  The Maxwell, shown in charcoal Vintage Velvet.  It has all the goods with hand tied construction, solid hardwoods, down, etc...etc.  At 108" long and 43" deep this big boy is...well...big.  As is the cost;  $3405
Sofa #4:  Restoration Hardware;  This is the 9 foot Belgian Track Arm, slip covered sofa.  Down cushions and seats, nice construction but  I'm not sure about the single seat cushion.  It's very sleek looking and very current, but the cost is $4050
Sofa #5:  Crate and Barrel;  This is called the Axis sofa.  Its 88" long and 40" deep.  The cushions are down wrapped and the construction is just like the others... sustainable kiln dried hardwoods... etc.  This one is shown in a stonewashed brushed slip covers available.  Cost $1899
Sofa #6:  This is a custom made couch from a well known design firm.  I can do it in just about any fabric I want.  Its got all the goods in terms of construction, down... etc.  Its 90" long and 38" deep.  This may take a while to get (12 weeks) and will end up costing close to $4000 dollars but it will be a beauty.

Ok so are you totally confused?...I hope not.

A few things to remember:
These prices don't include tax or delivery, which can really add up
When you choose anything that is "custom" you can't return own it!
Order swatches and hold them up in the room to visualize or make a project board, like a designer
And if at all possible...view the product in a show room and test drive it...

I chose one of these...any guesses?


p.s.:  don't forget to enter the "toaster lamp" giveaway...can't wait to announce a winner!
  1. ~*~did you pick #3??~*Love that one!! They are all great though~*~ cant wait to see which one you chose!~*~Hugs,Rachel ;) ~*~*

  2. I have no idea which one you chose BUT.. Kelley, you didn't ask permission to show my groovy 1970's flowered patchwork sofa. Seriously, that is not cool. LOL

    I have one opinion with the Restoration Hardware sofas... the PRICE... too high in my opinion.

    And now you will tell me you chose one of them and I will back out of the room with foot in mouth... sorry in advance!

  3. We have the Axis couch, but in a different fabric. It is now 4 years old, and we still love it! It has held up very well to being used CONSTANTLY (and also to a 3 year old with a dry erase marker, vomit, etc). I'm guessing you picked one of the Restoration Hardware options though. Can't wait to see your choice!

  4. I like #3 but it's too big for your space. #6 looks great but I'm not in love with those high arms. I would guess you went with #1. It looks exactly like the Mitchell Gold sofa I bought and I think they make the furniture for PB. I love my sofa but I have to say I'm really disappointed with the cushions. They haven't held up and after only 7 months, I would like to get replacements. I was hoping they had an upgraded cushin option (like down) but I don't think so. Something to look forward to if you got #1.

  5. Tough decision! I like #2! I don't think it'll be the custom one...arms too high. #3, the arms too low. Can't wait to see what you decide, Good luck! :)

  6. I once read an article somewhere where a girl worked at Restoration Hardware as a sales assoc for the Christmas season just so she could get the good discount on the couch of her dreams! Might bring the price down! :)

  7. Let's see...Sofa #2 fits your requirements. It is sleek, masculine, comfy, the size, color and texture is right and so is the price tag. If it is already a stock color, you can get it now. I know, because I have two Crate and Barrel sofas in Asti. They are the most comfortable sofas ever. And I didn't have to wait. Hope I'm right! I'm having fun following your progress--someday it will be us doing exactly what you are doing. Downsizing! I have 4 sofas at home and 3 in Asti! Yikes!

  8. I'm guessing #2...for no real reason I can think of...but it has style and it has down (even though it is just a down wrap)..Yep-I'm guessing #2-provided you can get it without the micro cover fabric. Let us know....Diana

  9. I like the two from Pottery Barn. The others seem too rigid, too stiff. I'd say either #1,#2, or #5. But that's just me. I had my grandmother's light green custom sofa in here for YEARS. The sofa even had her name on the tag because it was "custom made for her" but OMG! it was ugly. For me, it was always $$ that made me keep it. I couldn't afford to get a new one with being a stay-at-home Mom and only one income and never quite new my "style". I guess it's just rustic hodge-podge. But, I finally got a new one and still shuffled that one to another room. Maybe it was sentimentality that kept it here. We finally took it to the dumps a few years ago! And it didn't hurt like I thought it would (much!).

  10. I really like #2...the arms seem to be the perfect height and has a great modern feel to it.

  11. I think you got 2 or 3 , what fun buying a new couch boy would I love to

  12. I think it is the Axis! I too hang on to sofas WAY too long. I have a gorgeous leather tuck n' roll English style I bought in 1981!!! It is still in perfect condition, in my basement. All 12 grandchildren take off the cushions and slide down my stairs, as thier mommies did before them-lol!

  13. here is a bit more info. I also looked at Mitchell Gold, Room and Board, Ralph Lauren Home and Lee Industries. Another option I looked at, was building/designing from scratch. I have actually done this before when I needed something to an exact specification, but I can say you don't save any money, you just get exactly what you want!

    Thanks for playing along...more photos on the next post!

    kelley : )

  14. i like #1. clean and classic. and if it's temporary then price should be a factor. so that's my guess.


  15. I'm guessing #2 or #3. I really like the Crate and Barrel style. Although #4 WOULD be so up to date. Can't wait to see!

  16. Hi Kelley, I am really enjoying following along with you while you decorate your new place. I know it will be gorgeous!
    Hugs, Sherry

  17. Hmmmm....I think it is #2, but I also like #1 and #6! Whatever you pick will be great

    Sheila from west Michigan

  18. Ok....I'm gonna choose, that YOU chose, the RH p foot belgium looking guy.

    Prey tell!

  19. Oh my gosh I'm not even going to TRY to guess!! I just know that which ever one it is- i'm going to love whatever you do with it! ;)

  20. sofa 5 is my vote...looks comfy ....affordable and i prefer two cushions seating to one

  21. I like the style of 3 and 4 but the grey velvet fabric on 2 is just calling my elegant and cozy at the same time!!!!

  22. I just purchased two MAXWELL"s for a client and they are wonderful...but the wait, the wait, the wait!

  23. Oakdene Landscapes Ltd is owned and run by Stephen Conway in Delgany, Co Wicklow. Oakdene has over 20 years experience in the construction of quality gardens in Ireland. Plantscapes designs

  24. sofa 1, 2 or 6?.....The Crate & Barrel velvet is beautiful and the size is good & has great lines.
    In the Spring you could put a tailored linen slipcover on it too.
    The other sofas are nice too, just thinking they might be too large for your space (without seeing it)....
    look fwd to the final reveal!

  25. Hi Kelley

  26. And they are probably all made by either Mitchell Gold or Lee Industries. You know which one you want. Ann

  27. I think you went with # 1 or 2 based on your space!! The others are nice but in the picture look way to long & seem to long for the condo,fun ! Calinda

  28. I want to say #4, but I think it is way to big for your space. Based on your comment with additional information, I'm going with #1. It has a great price point, looks good, and if it is one of their quick ship items you'll have it fairly quickly. Plus the eco friendly factor. Seems to be right up your alley.

    What a fun post! I get major anxiety when buying a new sofa. I loose sleep over it. I think it is because 1. they cost so much money and 2. I have never actually bought a sofa that I love. I think I'm going to love it and then it arrives 12 weeks later and I hate it. My last purchase was a sectional and I swore it was the one. The one I was going to have forever. It is awful. I wish my dog would chew it up so I could justify buying a new one!



  29. I think #1. Since you're in a bind for room, #1 looks more compact, yet clean and contemporary. Anxious to hear which one you chose! :)

    xoxo laurie

  30. I love this post, it is so true. Just last night I was thinking that my sofa was looking a bit too worn, yuck, I hated that. Most the time, I am over joyed at needing something for my home, but not a sofa! I was thinking about the two dogs...ect everything you said lol As for my guess, I am going to guess you got the 2nd one from Crate and Barrel, but you could not go wrong with any of them. Hey, thanks for the sweet note that you left me.

  31. I'm going through this right now...our wonderful sofa has finally died...a natural death from teenage boys, adult(?) men, dogs, wrestling matches(wink wink) and more. It was a good sofa. And I will miss it. I absolutely HATE searching for a new sofa... But I will most likely order one from NC (cost, plus 10%)if they can get one shipped quickly.
    Jane (artfully graced)

  32. I feel your pain. The problem was that we loved our old sofa - and I mean in love. It was the most comfortable couch known to man. But alas, we wallowed all over it for years and wore the thing out. We literally looked for three years for another one. Bought an uber expensive one at Ethan Allen. It looks good but still didn't have everything we wanted. I have no idea which one you picked but I like #2 due to the low arms and the fact that it looks comfy.

  33. I may be alone here but #5 really makes me want to sit a relax awhile! Beautiful clean lines, I need the down wrap. Can't wait to see which you picked.

  34. Love the looks on # 2 & # 4!! Just my preferences, what is important is that YOU like it!!

    I hope you come enter my giveaway from Empress of the Eye!

    Art by Karena

  35. I KNOW KELLEY!!! I understand completely what you are saying about couches. The first two pictures YUCK!! I dream about our next couch and am determined to stick to my guns in regards to it being white and slip-covered! Have you ever been to a person's place and they have recently purchased a whole lounge suite but they still have the old one in the same room??? I can't help but think get rid of the damn thing already!!! It's not like it's helping the look of the new one....I thought it was an interesting view point that you don't really like chunky arms on the couch...I don't mind them. With the pictures of the new couches, to be honest I hope you didn't pick the couch with one seat cushion right across, didn't like that one at all. The others are alot nicer. I also think with a couch and to keep in mind (not that I'm an expert!!) is how it's going to look after a persons sat on it and gets up off it. For me personally, I don't think I would like a real rumpled one where it all looks sad and saggy, I think that would drive me nuts, but with the pictures above I think they would hold their shape really well. Can't wait to see which one you have ordered.
    Hope you're having a great start to your week.
    Take care
    Tasmania, Australia

  36. #2 - that is the one - it has all the right stuff. Plus I think better to a sofa that is a little shorter 83" (108" is really big) and better to add an additional chair than to buy a sofa too big and be limited in your room options! just my opinion.
    (speaking as someone who bought their living room set when I lived with a bigger living room and had to cram it into my current smaller livingroom!)

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