Buying couches the Boglehead way

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camillus24
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Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by camillus24 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:16 pm

Hi all,

Just bought a new home (our first) and am trying to get it furnished. Couches / sofas seem pretty pricey and so wondering if there were good-quality Boglehead options out there (or what others did in this situation).

Context is family of 4 (two young kids) with plenty of visitors. Ideally getting seating for both a home theater and for our living room.

Thanks in advance!

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bottlecap
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by bottlecap » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:17 pm

We bought ours at Costco almost 6 years ago and they are holding up well.

JT

alex_686
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by alex_686 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:21 pm

My family favors IKEA. Good value for the money.

RoadHouseFan
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by RoadHouseFan » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:22 pm

Only buy Lazyboy leather furniture. They are the best!

anil686
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by anil686 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:24 pm

Have one of both from the companies listed in the above posts - have one from Costco that is great five years in - holding up well, all leather and is very comfortable. In fact, there was a defect in one of the cushions with a hole and Costco sent a third party vendor over to the house to sew it up after two years - so I have been pleased with that.

IKEA is great value but it is not comfortable for us. It is great for the kids as the couch sits lower to the ground. We have gone through many uncomfortable couches - JMO - but Costco had the best price with the best quality - the price may seem high but it has lasted so far very well and has been the most comfortable we have had. Hope it helps...

tech_arch
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by tech_arch » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:26 pm

We bought ours at Rooms To Go about nine years ago. We did microfiber with the anti-spill treatment because kids. They're now at the end of their life; cushions are getting saggy, can't really keep them clean anymore, and one has a broken support (I suspect from abuse, not shoddy craftsmanship.) We're not sure what we'll get, but since we have a toddler it definitely won't be forever furniture - but something relatively inexpensive that can take some abuse for several years. We'll probably check out RtG again since they have great financing, Costco, and Ikea.

poker27
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by poker27 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:55 pm

When we bought our first home we found a sectional we liked. Looked nice and was comfortable. However it was waaaay to cheap for my liking. I tried telling my gf that and that we will be replacing it within a year. Well within 6 months the foam stuff was shifting, parts were sagging, etc. We then upgraded and paid around $5k for our current sectional. Happy with the 2nd purchase!

goingup
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by goingup » Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:09 pm

Room and Board. Relatively high end and high quality. Living room furniture lasts us 10-15 years so it pays to choose wisely. :beer

avalpert
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by avalpert » Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:20 pm

I found this write up helpful when I was shopping for one last year.

Personally, I find Ikea to be poor quality for the price - you can get that level of quality for less. Costco tends to be good quality for the price on furniture but what they have is usually on the pricier side to begin with - so if you want to go with that level they are a good source but you can get acceptable quality at lower price points.

For furniture I think you get best value in mid/low-mid range - the quality is good enough to last a long time without the premium style that drives up the price - what the linked article categorize as Hondas and Mazdas.

123
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by 123 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:26 pm

Though we very much liked the styles available at Room & Board but all their cushions were too soft and cushy for us. We found a could style we liked at Macy's that was firm enough for us.

At Macy's everything seems to go on sale frequently so consider that if you shop there.
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Loik098
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by Loik098 » Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:31 pm

I think it depends on what your "two young kids" will be doing on them, and thus how long you expect/hope them to last.

Purchasing high-end stuff for the whole house is not practical with kids. Since you're getting seating for two different rooms, you could get one nicer set and one cheap set. Let the children play around/on the cheap set in one room but teach them that the nicer set isn't for play. Visitors can spend time on the nice set, or you can tell them the purpose behind the two sets are if you're worried about appearances later.

We bought our cheap set (Ashley...not even leather, but we made sure the cloth covers can unzip and be washed) from American Furniture Gallery, spent less than $1k for two couches. Kids are climbing on it all the time; dirt/spills are infrequent but happen....and we don't care. For the room it's in, we'd rather enjoy the kids than constantly yell at them about what not to touch.

We bought our nice leather couch/recliner from a private furniture gallery and spent $7k. Power seats on both. Our children are allowed to sit on the nice set, but no drinks, toys, shoes etc are allowed in that room. It also happens to be furthest away from the entry points to our house, so the likelihood of dirt being tracked in is minimal. We spend equal amounts of time in both areas, although Dad spends ALL of his time in this room when the kids are asleep :-)

Personally, we don't care what people think of our arrangement; it's our house, and we actually live/play in our house. I'd encourage you to make a similar decision; don't let "keeping up with the visitors" make your uncomfortable in your own house, or think you "have" to spend a certain amount on anything.

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Pajamas
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by Pajamas » Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:00 pm

It may be cheaper to have a sofa custom-made locally. You get better quality, and get to specify the exact dimensions you want, filling and density of the cushions, and all the other details. Plus you can have it covered with any kind of material that you can find if you don't like what is in stock. You can get matching pillows and have other pieces of furniture covered in the same fabric. If you want slipcovers, you can get those at the same time and they should fit perfectly. You may even get a discount when it is time for reupholstering.

2tall4economy
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by 2tall4economy » Mon May 01, 2017 1:25 am

Sofas are a focal point and get major (ab)use, so I don't skimp on them. I skimp most everywhere else though. Other than poor supported tables (generally those with a single center support vs four legs) even the cheap stuff lasts forever.

I personally have Ethan Allen (living room) and pottery barn (family room) couches. Pottery barn is a repeat buy after selling my favorite sofa of all time (Pearce microfiber suede oat L sectional) when I left to go overseas, Ethan Allen because the house I bought came with a lot of Ethan Allen furniture and I love the formal/traditional look. I didn't flinch spending nearly $10k on these.

Everything else thoug is in the $200 or less club (chairs, tables, rugs - especially rugs, hutches, etc).

I didn't buy my dining room table but that would be another where I'd spend big bucks, as well as my matress. The rest I'm a tightwad.
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motorcyclesarecool
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Mon May 01, 2017 5:43 am

As a bachelor moving into my first condo, I bought two couches and two love seats at Big Lots for a song, and by a fluke also got 30% off that day's purchases for signing up for their rewards card. 4.5 years later, and with a wife and kids in the mix, all four pieces are still going strong. Carpet spot cleaner takes care of our children's various fluids. Zero sagging. Bonus, I screwed baby gates into both ends of one couch to subdivide the room and make it a kid safe zone. It can be luxurious not to have to worry about ruining furniture either as a bachelor or with little kids in the mix.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

bluebolt
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by bluebolt » Mon May 01, 2017 7:18 am

If you live in a nice area, check out Nextdoor. In our neighborhood, I see folks selling nice furniture in excellent condition for a good price regularly.

onourway
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by onourway » Mon May 01, 2017 7:56 am

I mentioned it in another recent thread here about couches - but about 6-7 years ago we purchased a couch online from one of many websites that appears to buy direct from the furniture manufacturers in NC that make many of the couches for the big names. It was fully customizable from size to covering to cushion type and density, and cost about 1/3 what the same couch was selling for from the name-brand places. Even after years of little kid abuse it looks as good as the day we bought it and I fully expect it to last 20 years or more.

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leeks
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by leeks » Mon May 01, 2017 9:46 am

With a toddler and infant, I wanted something with a washable cover and we needed it to serve as a guest bed too. We got a used one last year through AptDeco for under $200 including delivery in NYC. It's peer-to-peer used furniture but AptDeco handles pick up and delivery. Their staff verifies the condition (and allegedly they know how to check for signs of bugs, etc). They texted us about a small stain (really minor) not disclosed in the seller's listing so we were able to negotiate another $20 off on the day of delivery. They have nicer quality things on the site but we went with an outdated Ikea model as it is the right size for our tiny living room, has a pullout bed, and the slipcover and zip-off cushion covers are all machine washable.

I agree Ikea quality is not that great, but it seems good enough if you go with models that have years of good reviews and the design is usually quite functional, particularly for smaller spaces. When purchased used the price is great. In urban areas, used Ikea stuff is everywhere and also seems easy to resell if we are ready for something different.

We could afford to buy new, and were drawn toward locally-made options with environmentally sustainable materials and "lifetime quality", but nothing had all the convenient features of the Ikea (small footprint, pullout bed, washable cover). It also seemed silly to spend thousands of dollars for something that was going to have rough treatment by little kids and be regularly soiled with food/mud/paint/etc.
Last edited by leeks on Tue May 02, 2017 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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prudent
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by prudent » Mon May 01, 2017 10:28 am

Topic moved to Personal Consumer Issues.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by unclescrooge » Mon May 01, 2017 10:53 am

Bought Natuzzi leather four years ago from Macy's during a sale. Very happy with purchase.

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unclescrooge
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by unclescrooge » Mon May 01, 2017 10:56 am

avalpert wrote:I found this write up helpful when I was shopping for one last year.

Personally, I find Ikea to be poor quality for the price - you can get that level of quality for less. Costco tends to be good quality for the price on furniture but what they have is usually on the pricier side to begin with - so if you want to go with that level they are a good source but you can get acceptable quality at lower price points.

For furniture I think you get best value in mid/low-mid range - the quality is good enough to last a long time without the premium style that drives up the price - what the linked article categorize as Hondas and Mazdas.
LOL, what I thought was high-end is actually Honda-level!

jambadoc
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by jambadoc » Mon May 01, 2017 11:14 am

I own a little bit of everybody else's couch, that way I am fully diversified.

In all seriousness, we got our last two couches from a local furniture store (broyhill - we have small kids and have been pretty happy with the durability). We've gotten other furniture ordering from Costco and have also been happy.

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Go Blue 99
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by Go Blue 99 » Mon May 01, 2017 1:09 pm

Sofas get a lot of use in our household, so we are fine spending more for a higher quality item (we buy cheaper stuff for guest bedrooms, dining room, office, etc). Think about cost per use.

We bought our current sofa from Haverty’s and it’s holding up well after 9 years. We are moving into a new house in Sept and will need a larger sofa. We are looking at the Axis sectional at Crate & Barrel. It’s not cheap but the reviews I’ve found on the web are excellent.

Old Guy
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by Old Guy » Mon May 01, 2017 2:21 pm

Don't care for Costco furniture. I find the design too conservative and boring for my taste.

SuperGrafx
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by SuperGrafx » Mon May 01, 2017 4:05 pm

Big Lots if you have one nearby.

Good prices, decent selection, and most of their couches are made in the USA (Simmons brands mainly).

mega317
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by mega317 » Mon May 01, 2017 4:14 pm

Don't get white. Although our problem hasn't been the toddler or dog as much as my wife's wine.

daveydoo
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by daveydoo » Mon May 01, 2017 4:32 pm

bluebolt wrote:If you live in a nice area, check out Nextdoor.
This. Nextdoor is great. Doesn't (yet) have the creep factor that Craigslist has. It's very local and you can control how local it is. People just give stuff away. I know because I'm one of them. We had a perfectly serviceable dining room table and chairs (paid few hundred bucks second-hand -- mostly solid wood and in nice shape). We got word that the shipping for its replacement had been expedited, and spouse was in a panic about having the extra set sitting in the garage for weeks or months (kinda my MO, I admit). So I listed it on Nextdoor for free. Three quick inquires -- first one within 15 min. It was physically out the door within 30 minutes of listing.

I've since looked at a few free and for-sale things and missed out on a crazy-cheap Thule roof box. For big, bulky things that you can't eBay or even throw away (like sofas), I think it'd be a great resource.
Last edited by daveydoo on Mon May 01, 2017 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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pennstater2005
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by pennstater2005 » Mon May 01, 2017 4:33 pm

I bought mid range from Value City. I expect maybe 8 years or do which is fine. I don't want furniture that lasts 20 years. Too boring :P I want to freshen up the room every once in awhile.

Well, that and my furniture upstairs will migrate to the family room in the basement. That stuff is rough and needs upgraded.
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selftalk
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by selftalk » Mon May 01, 2017 4:34 pm

Go to furniturelandsouth.com

veindoc
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by veindoc » Mon May 01, 2017 7:14 pm

Great deals can be had at wayfair.com and overstock.com.

Home goods and big lots if you prefer to buy in store.

No reason to spend a lot of money. The cheap stuff really does last forever. Bought a couch and love seat from Walmart in 2003. Survived multiple moves and l currently have it in my basement. Going strong. IKEA dresser, night stand and desk is circa 2006. Still going strong. I had a an IKEA dinette I purchased in 1996, that looked great when I sold it at a garage sale three or so years ago. We've upgraded a bit and the "cheap" stuff has been relegated to the kids who are very hard on furniture and the furniture is still standing.

One caveat: bought some bar stools with the fake leather in 2013 and they look awful. The leather split, foam coming out from everywhere. They weren't cheap so that was very disappointing. The kids are all over the bar stools and the room gets drenched in sunlight for hours at a time so was probably a poor choice.

Doesn't pay to buy expensive stuff with little ones. And if you care about "trends", it's very easy for decor to look dated after a few years.

protagonist
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by protagonist » Mon May 01, 2017 9:17 pm

The great thing about used furniture is that:
1. It depreciates considerably as soon as it leaves the showroom
2. Unlike cars, computers, etc. it is easy for a layman to assess condition, and fairly easy to assess quality. If it looks and feels good and comes from a reliable manufacturer it will probably serve you very well.

The downside is that finding just the right item can take time and effort, which may or may not work for you.

Check out estate sales, craigslist, etc. There are some great bargains out there.

brennok
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by brennok » Mon May 01, 2017 11:04 pm

If you want to deep dive on it, check out http://www.myfurnitureforum.com/. I learned about this forum from here and you will learn possibly more than you ever wanted.

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Watty
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by Watty » Mon May 01, 2017 11:33 pm

A couple of points.

1) Do not compromise on it being comfortable. You will need to sit in a couch for at least ten minutes to be able to tell that. If you are likely to lay on the couch or put your feet up then try those positions out too.

2) If you are getting leather then be sure to read up on what all the different grades and types of leather to figure out what you are really getting. Many grades involve vague(to me) leather componentes bonded with other synthetic layers.

3) Think through how you will get the couch into your house. If you are in a condo with a small elevator or a house with narrow doors then you may want to get smaller furniture.

traveltoomuch
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by traveltoomuch » Tue May 02, 2017 5:08 am

Costco tends to have big furniture like sofas in the warehouse twice a year. Around here, that's around January and July. They get one shipment and when it's gone, there is no more. On the other hand, you can pick individual pieces that way, and at better prices than the sets they sell online. If you're considering that path I'd ask your local warehouse when they expect their summer shipment and plan to show up within a few days of it going onto the floor.

The past couple of years they've had leather reclining sofas for $800-900, loveseats for $700-800, and recliners for about $500. Unlike the ones in higher-end furniture stores, they have mechanical recline controls rather than powered. They've also had recliner fabric sofas and sectional fabric sofas.

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climber2020
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by climber2020 » Tue May 02, 2017 6:16 am

camillus24 wrote:Just bought a new home (our first) and am trying to get it furnished. Couches / sofas seem pretty pricey and so wondering if there were good-quality Boglehead options out there (or what others did in this situation).
Consider getting a Flexsteel (or two). You can search their website for local stores that sell their sofas. I bought one based on recommendations from other Bogleheads.

It's the best, most comfortable sofa I've ever owned, and from what I've heard and read, they're supposed to last forever.

As an added plus, it was actually cheaper than the piece-of-garbage sofa it replaced that I bought at Rooms To Go a few years back. I was expecting to pay a whole lot more, but it ended up being around a thousand bucks minus delivery.

wfrobinette
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by wfrobinette » Tue May 02, 2017 9:58 am

camillus24 wrote:Hi all,

Just bought a new home (our first) and am trying to get it furnished. Couches / sofas seem pretty pricey and so wondering if there were good-quality Boglehead options out there (or what others did in this situation).

Context is family of 4 (two young kids) with plenty of visitors. Ideally getting seating for both a home theater and for our living room.

Thanks in advance!
We are on our 3rd couch in 15 years. With a kid and pets we go cheap (500 to 600) with a nice look and darker in color. I've never been a fan of higher end furniture in the family room because of the nicks, dings, spills, high use, etc. Maybe it will change once we no longer have a kid in the house or dogs. You'll also tire of the look/color after a while.

We've had living rooms in the past . First one we furnished(Never again). We often found that we and the guests would congregate in the kitchen/family room, back porch rather than sit in the living room. Unless you want to buy furniture that won't be used often or at all turn the living room into the playroom, office, etc. and save the expense.

Don't get me started on dining sets. I got a hand me down from 1976 in 2001 that we finally sold on the last move(2016). Wife had to have a new table and chairs but she stayed reasonable. Been in the house for 18 months and only had 1 dinner in there(Thanksgiving). Unless you want to display china you'll likely never use, skip the hutch. Next time this will be used will likely be Thanksgiving again.

Guest bedrooms are another money waster. A simple bed and dresser is plenty good enough. NO tv necessary either. Hand me downs work well here too.

You could easily spend 15k or more trying to furnish a house. Keep it simple only buy what you need and will use regularly. Put the rest of cash into a 529, IRA or 401k.

magazinewriter
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by magazinewriter » Tue May 02, 2017 3:07 pm

I suggest getting a sofa with tight back cushions not loose pillows. Loose pillows will always look messy.

I like Ethan Allen but I'm not sure if the quality is as good today.

Loik098
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Re: Buying couches the Boglehead way

Post by Loik098 » Wed May 03, 2017 1:24 pm

Really think people should qualify whether they've had kids on their furniture before posting a suggestion here. Probably more relevant to the OP.

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