6 Things to Always Consider When Buying a Sofa

Nidhi Kapur, the founder of new custom furniture purveyor Maiden Home, explains how to buy the right piece for your home.

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Tired of having to decide between buying a sofa from a big box retailer and finding something unique at an antique store? Maiden Home has you covered. The direct-to-consumer e-commerce retailer has partnered with the the top family-owned factories in North Carolina to handcraft a collection of custom sofas and chairs. Every piece is made with premium materials (sustainably-sourced hardwood, high-resiliency cushions, natural fabrics), superior construction techniques (corner-blocked frames, eight-way hand-tie springs), and is backed with a lifetime guarantee. By designing in-house, partnering directly with factories, and selling online, Maiden Home is able to offer this level of quality at approachable price points—chairs start at $950, sofas start at $1,850— and all the pieces are customizable (size, fabric and finish) and delivered in less than six weeks.

Entrepreneur Nidhi Kapur, the brand’s founder and CEO (formerly head of development at Birchbox), gives her pro tips to select the best style that’s right for your home. “Start by thinking about how you’ll live with the sofa and which room it will live in,” says Kapur. Ask yourself questions like: Is it primarily for formal entertaining or everyday use? Do you see yourself lounging, working, eating and/or sleeping on it? “We’ve found that for most sofa shoppers, the answer is yes to all of the above. The lines between formal sitting rooms and casual living areas are blurring, with every room in the house made to be lived in—so customers are looking for pieces that are stylish and comfortable,” Kapur explains.

The Style Should Fit Your Lifestyle

“For a truly versatile sofa, look for clean lines, generous seat depth (23 inches or more means an average height person can curl up their feet) and plushly filled seat and back cushions,” says Kapur. Maiden Home’s Irving Sofa is designed to fit the bill with a smart, tailored frame and soft, deep seat.

Maiden Home Irving Sofa in Slate Velvet/Walnut Finish, from $1,850

Understand Construction Details

“Your sofa gets more wear than any other piece of furniture in your home, so a quality foundation matters,” explains Kapur. “Ask about how your sofa’s frames and springs are made and whether there is a warranty covering these parts. For pieces you’ll live with three years or more, look for 100-percent hardwood frames (kiln-dried so the wood will never twist or warp) and eight-way hand-tied springs, the gold standard for a lifetime of seating comfort.” Maiden Home’s Carmine sofa features both hardwood frames and eight-way hand-tied springs, with a lifetime warranty covering both parts so you can rest easy.

Maiden Home Carmine Sofa in Flannel Velvet/Black Finish, from $2,250

Consider the Cushions

“The style and fill of your sofa’s cushions are most important to its comfort. In general, loose seat and back cushions offer the most casual look and feel and are well-suited for high-traffic living areas,” says Kapur. “If you really want to sink into your sofa, choose down and feather over fiber fill. Maiden Home’s Sullivan Sofa features casually tailored, down-filled cushions plus a single bench-style seat.

Maiden Home Sullivan Sofa, from $1,975

Choose Fabric Color

“Don’t be afraid to go bold,” says Kapur. “Your sofa can be the statement piece in your room. When venturing out from neutrals, blues and greens offer the most versatility. Be sure to order swatches to understand a fabric’s appearance in your home’s light, and check pairings with other items in your room. Place the fabric swatch where your sofa will be—view it in natural and artificial light, and make sure you still love it after a few days.”

Anthropologie Velvet Mina Left Sectional, $4,198

Opt for Performance Fabrics

“Performance fabrics are an excellent choice for households with kids or pets–or anyone that wants to live a bit more stress-free,” suggests Kapur. “So you can choose a light (or even white!) sofa fabric with no fear.”

Maiden Home Ludlow Sofa in Oyster Performance Linen, from $2,250

When to Get a Sleeper Sofa

“If you’re living in a small space or host often, consider a sofa that does double-duty as a guest bed,” offers Kapur. “The latest styles don’t force you to sacrifice design for function—the piece will spend most of its time as a sofa, so make sure you love its lines! The most comfortable sleeper sofas feature real mattresses—innerspring, air-coil or memory foam. Make sure you understand the type of mattress and folding mechanism before you buy and if possible, give it a test drive.”

Control Brand Eriksen Sleeper Sofa, $3,077.99