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Will An Expensive Sofa Retain Its Sturdiness Over Time?

By Jeff Frank


Thank you for your article about the best American-made recliner sofas; very informative.

Living in Hawaii, our choices are very limited. No store here carries the top two brands. One store carries one American Leather model (Chelsea) for $10K. We need two. Not sure I can get my wife to sign off on such a big purchase.

We bought two Natuzzis three years ago for $2,600 each because we liked the design, and they are shot. They sag terribly, and the frame on one is broken.

Do you think the $10K American Leather sofa will hold up long enough to justify its price? $10K is a lot to spend on a sofa that won’t hold up (not sag) for a substantial period of time. I would appreciate your thoughts on that.

How I even came across your article was by Googling “sturdiest reclining sofa”. Sitting on these sagging sofas, that is our biggest concern. Any advice? Thanks so much!


May 19, 2020


Natuzzi makes good looking leather furniture with substandard chipcore frames. Staples can easily pull out of the chipcore when stress is placed on them (by sitting or moving around.) That loosens the webbing providing the seat support and causes sagging.

Many Natuzzi sofas use good leather that will last 20+ years, over a cheap frame and cushions that can fall apart in 3 – 5 years. Check out this YouTube video of a Natuzzi leather sofa to understand what this means.

Most leather specialists in the American Leather price range have solid wood frames and 8 way hand tied foundations. They are also more traditional than modern in styling. (8 way hand-tied foundations are too big to fit in most streamlined modern styles.)

American leather uses very high quality plywood frames. They make an excellent product and they make it very quickly compared with other custom manufacturers. Their furniture should hold up far longer than your Natuzzi (without sagging.)

Also, if your American leather furniture does have a problem over time, it can be repaired. Natuzzi is more difficult to repair and is rarely worth the cost.

Natuzzi sells many different leather qualities, beginning at the very bottom. American Leather restricts its leathers to the top 10% of hides. With care and regular maintenance this leather could last 50 years or more.

Buying two $10K sofas is a major sale for most retailers. It represents a pure profit for the store of at least $8000 to the store. That is very important right now when retail stores are hurting because of the Coronavirus.

There is a very good chance you will be able to get a discount of at least 10% off from the normal sale price. With luck, skill and patience you may be able to get 20%.

Negotiation Tips:

1) To get the best possible discount, you need to speak with someone as close to the top as you can. The store owner is best, followed by store manager, followed by sales manager. Salespeople have very limited (or no) authority to give discounts. Sales managers have limited authority. Store managers have wide discretion. Owners have no limits.

2) To get the best possible discount, you need to create a good relationship with the person who has the authority to negotiate. Let them know how much you love the furniture. Let them know how much you enjoyed shopping in their store. But also let them know what it is you really want (2 leather sofas) and how it just exceeds your budget by too much (and that you really need to buy 2 sofas.)

Don’t demand anything! Don’t threaten to shop a competitor! Don’t try to force the price down! The best discounts are those where the owner or store manager wants to help you out as much as he (or she) possibly can because they like you.

3) They probably won’t ask how much you can afford to spend, but be ready in case they do with a price that is about 25% off the sale price. (Don’t give a percentage. Be ready with an actual dollar amount.) It would be very unusual if they actually agree to sell to you at the price named, but now there is a starting place from which you can eventually negotiate the best possible discount.

4) This can take time. Be prepared to walk out of the store if you don’t reach the price you need at first. You can always come back if you don’t immediately get an acceptable offer.

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