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How Much Do I Need to Spend to Get a Good Quality Sofa?

By Jeff Frank

How much should I spend on a new sofa?

I currently have a beautiful sofa that’s been in the family for over 20 years. It’s frame and support is just fine, but it needs new cushion upholstery and cushion insides. We would reupholster, but the size is too large for our new space.

So my wife and I are looking for a new sofa, hopefully of close to equivalent quality, but in an “apartment-size sofa.” 

EVERY brand seems to tout itself as something akin to “old world craftsmanship”.

We’ve looked at an England sofa. We liked the looks of and it felt comfortable, but not sure of the build quality at around $1400).

We also saw a Kincaid at $2100 and a Lee Industries sofa for around $4000.

We’re planning a visit to a Mitchell Gold & Bob Williams store as well.

I’m not sure if more money is going to get me a better, longer lasting sofa or not.

We’d consider spending up to about $4000 if really needed, but we’re not sure how much more, if any, spending the extra money will get us.

I haven’t found any professional reviews of England or Kincaid sofas. I have seen positive pro reviews of Lee sofas, but I’ve seen anecdotal complaints about all three of these companies as well.

The only company I have seen consistent mentions as close to best in its class is Lee, but again, seen complaints, and mentions that their quality ain’t what it used to be. 

I don’t think ANY of these sofa brands use fully solid wood for their sofa frames, instead using plywood, engineered wood (better plywood?), or a combination of solid wood and plywood. Mortise and tenon construction is touted in the Kincaid and Lee.

Can you help?

Check out my article, 65 Bad, Better & Best Sofa Brands.

The article answers most of your questions. Reviews are divided into 3 price categories:

Sofas under $1200 (fabric)

Sofas $1200 – $3000 (fabric)

Sofas over $3000 (fabric)

 I rated each brand from 1 to 10 for both quality and value, in comparison to other similarly priced brands.

England – Quality Rating: 7 Value Ranking: 7 – This is average, middle of the road mass produced furniture, similar in quality and value to Flexsteel, Bassett, Craftmaster, etc. The quality is also similar to its sister company, LaZBoy. The difference is that LaZBoy sells more reclining than stationary sofas and sells for higher prices because of the name.

Mitchell Gold confuses me. They make excellent mid-range quality sofas but the listed prices are out of the stratosphere.

They have huge discounts if you join their membership club, which may make them a good value, but it also makes it very difficult to compare them with other brands.

Kincaid, another LaZBoy company, gets 2 sets of ratings in my review. With a sinuous wire frame and standard cushions, it is good quality mid-price range furniture, with a 5 – 7 year expected lifespan. Upgrading to 8 way hand-tied with upgraded cushions elevates it into high end territory, but it will last 15+ years.

Lee is one of many high end brands at the $4000 price range. In addition to quality, you’re also paying for customization, which does not seem to be one of your big priorities. It should last 15+ years, but so will most fabric sofas sold at $4000.

My review article highlights several brands in the $2000 – $3000 price level (for fabric) that equal or exceed Lee’s quality.

Some of these lower priced, high-quality brands include:

Mantle is a true high quality, Direct-to-Consumer custom manufacturer, selling 8 way hand tied foundations and premium quality (15+ year) cushions for about $1000 below the prices for similar quality furniture sold through retailers. The drawbacks are a limited product line and fabric selection.

Check out my article, Where Can I Find a High Quality Sofa for Less than $3000?

Other high-quality brands in the $2000 – $3000 price range, include:

Medley Home offers a 10% discount to my blog readers. This brand has a big emphasis on eco-friendly furniture.

Simplicity Sofas builds furniture that lasts forever. This is the best quality, most durable sofas available in the $1800 – $2400 price range. Simplicity Sofas is offering a 10% discount to my Insider’s Guide to Furniture readers.

King Hickory  – 8 way hand-tied foundations, solid hardwood frames. Just make sure you get the upgraded 2.5 density foam or spring down cushions.

Maiden Home  – Several different constructions. Most are very well built.

Smith Brothers – Solid hardwood frames, coil spring foundations, 2.5 density foam cushions.

You may also want to check out my article, Sofa Lifespan vs. Cost: Buy a Long-Lasting Couch at the Best Possible Price.

Don’t worry about solid wood vs. plywood.

The standard 7/8″ thick plywood, made with 5 – 7 plies, found in $1200 sofas will hold up for 10 – 20 years.

Some mid-range brands feature 7/8″ plywood with 11 – 13 plies. Those will last 20+ years.

Avoid frames made with particle board or chip core.

The top high end upholstery makers used to make frames using 5/4″ solid hardwood that lasted 50+ years.

Most of the manufacturers still using solid wood have gone down to 4/4″ thick hardwood lumber, saving several hundred dollars off the price of a sofa.

4/4″ solid hardwood should still last 20+ years (about the same time period as a good quality plywood.)

If you like my Insider’s Guide To Furniture please encourage your friends and family to check it out.

My 45 years in the furniture industry have provided me with a detailed knowledge of furniture brands, construction, quality & value.

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