Are there any mid-priced couches that will last a decade? Should I just expect to purchase a new couch every 5 or so years?
How much do I need to spend to get a couch that will give me 20+ years of use?
Jan. 6, 2021
There are many custom built couches that will last 20 years or more. Custom sofas are usually more expensive, generally beginning at prices close to $2000.*
* Important Note – This does not include $2000 leather couches. Many $2000 leather couches are made with good leather that will last 20+ years, over a cheap frame and cushions that will fall apart in 3 – 5 years. Check out this YouTube video of a Natuzzi leather sofa to understand what this means.
For a long lasting couch, it is very important to get upgraded cushions (2.5 density foam or spring down construction.)
Most custom manufacturers offer upgraded cushion options. Not all retailers will make them available.
- Even upgraded cushions may wear out after 10 – 15 years (or sooner for extra-large individuals.)
- One of the differences between high end and mid-priced seating is that when high end cushions wear out, it makes economic sense to have the cushion cores replaced rather than junking the entire sofa.
Kiln-dried solid hardwood frames used to be mandatory on high end furniture. Over the past few years,, more and more high end manufacturers are switching to hardwood plywood.
Although cheap plywood frames may not hold up over the long run, it is possible to make a high quality plywood frame that will last 20+ years.
- Generally high end frames will use plywood that is at least 1″ thick with at least 7 layers of kiln-dried hardwoods.
- Plywood that has more plies and is thicker is better.
- Mortise and tenon joinery, double dowels, screwed corner block supports are all used to reinforce high end frames, whether they are made from plywood or solid wood.
- Mid-range plywood frames generally use plywood that ranges anywhere from 1/2″ – 7/8″ and may have 3 – 7 wood layers. These may be either softwood or hardwood.
- Lower quality plywood frames will usually still hold up for 10 years, although they may feel loose and develop squeaks or other indications of a lack of rigidity.
- Many mid-range frames use engineered woods (such as particleboard.) These break more easily than good plywood and do not hold screws or staples as well.
Interior designers sometimes insist that high end upholstered furniture must have 8 way hand tied foundations to be considered “high end.” I disagree strongly with that.
- My reasons can be seen in my blog article What are the advantages and disadvantages of 8 way hand tied coil foundations?
Most mass produced mid-range upholstered furniture is currently made at a quality level that will last for about 5 years (or less for unusually large persons or heavy use.)
Reclining furniture wears out faster.
- Reclining furniture is heavier.
- The frames are not as sturdy.
- Cushions wear out more quickly because of the added friction caused by the sliding seats.
- Most seat cushions are not removable and cannot be replaced at a reasonable cost when they wear out.
The first part that wears out on most mid-range upholstered furniture is the cushions.
- Most people who have purchased mid-range furniture do not feel that the cost of replacing worn out cushion cores is a good investment. They buy new sofas instead.
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