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What is a Discount Sofa? Are “Sale” Sofas Really Bargains?

By Jeff Frank

Furniture sales that offer deep discounts on sofas are generally marketing gimmicks.

There are some genuine bargains available if you are willing to buy floor samples or discontinued items.

  • Furniture stores can afford to make little or no profit on single pieces that they want to get rid of.
  • They cannot afford to take substantially lower markups for Sale items that they sell in large quantities.

Photo by Design Wonderland from Pinterest
There are many sofas available in the $399 – $799 price range that can be considered “discount” sofas.

  • Sofas in this price range have an average lifespan of 3 – 5 years.
  • Sofas that have been “marked down” from a higher “manufacturer’s suggested list price,” into the $399 – $799 price range will still have an average lifespan of 3 – 5 years.

Another way to get a bargain on a sofa is to shop Craig’s List, thrift shops, estate sales, etc. for an older high quality sofa in poor shape.

  • If you are not a furniture “expert” the best way to find a high quality older sofa is to look for one that is “heavy.”
    • That will indicate a solid wood frame and a sturdy foundation.
    • If you are not sure whether or not a particular sofa feels “heavy,” then it is not heavy enough to be a top quality piece of furniture.
  • You will need to replace the cushions, padding and fabric, so those items are not important.
    • Note – It is not usually a good idea to purchase used upholstered furniture that you intend to use “As – Is” unless it has been certified “clean” by someone you trust.
    • Used sofas can be hiding all sorts of nasty bugs, rodents or mold that can spread through the rest of your home.

    In most communities you should be able to find a local upholsterer who will re-upholster the sofa for you at a very reasonable rate – as long as you provide your own fabric.

    • Most people who reupholster their own furniture buy designer fabrics, which can cost anywhere from $500 – $2000 for a sofa.
      • If you are looking to save money, check out the heavily discounted discontinued fabrics that can be found at fabric stores and online.
      • A large selection of discontinued fabrics (including designer fabrics) are usually easy to find at $5 – $10 per yard, and sometimes even less.
        • That translates to a total fabric cost of $75 – $200 for your reupholstered sofa.
        • See Are 90% off Online Fabric Sales Really A Good Deal?for more information about shopping for discounted fabrics.
        • If the sofa design is not terribly complicated and does not require replacing an 8 way hand-tied foundation, the total cost for a high quality sofa that will last 10 – 20 years may not be much more than what you would pay for a cheap “discount” sofa that lasts only 3 years.
        • You will want to check with your upholsterer to see how much fabric is actually needed.
          • Most sofas require 15 – 18 yards for a plain solid colored fabric.
          • You will need additional fabric if you choose a pattern that needs to be matched.
            • If you select a patterned fabric that requires matching, you will also pay more to the upholsterer.
            • Matching up fabrics can double the time it takes to upholster a sofa.

            Once you have selected your fabric make sure you spend a little extra to get the best possible cushions.

            Spending an extra $100 for 2.5 density foam or spring down construction can mean the difference between cushions that need to be replaced 3 years later or cushions that will last for 10 years and more (and feel more comfortable at the same time.)

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