Tips for Buying a Couch

Hey there-hope y’all had a great weekend! I enjoyed low-key hangouts with friends on both Friday and Saturday night, then spent the rest of my time relaxing and getting some things done at home. Anyways, today I’m excited to tell y’all more about a very adult thing I did this past month. I bought a couch on New Year’s Eve, and I received it two weeks ago! If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ve already seen some sneak peeks of my new couch. In this post, I’m sharing additional details about my couch-buying process. Hopefully you will find my tips for buying a couch helpful if you’re in the market for a new one soon.

Ashley Home Store couch

(This post contains some affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a small commission, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra. Thanks so much for your support of Palmettos & Pineapples.)

Determine your budget.

The first of my tips for buying a couch is to determine your budget. Your budget will guide all your other couch-buying decisions, so it makes sense to decide this first. This streamlines the process because you won’t waste time seriously browsing couches at places you know you can’t afford. For instance, I knew that Pottery Barn, West Elm, and Restoration Hardware would not have any couches in my price range, so I didn’t bother looking at those places. Ashley HomeStore, Rooms to Go, IKEA, and Wayfair were more in my budget. I ultimately ended up buying my couch from Ashley HomeStore because there is a location near me where I could see the couch in person, and they offer home delivery that includes assembly. Although I have a Rooms to Go near me, they didn’t have as many options within my specifications.

Decide on upholstery.

You have two main choices for couch upholstery: leather and fabric. Within the fabric upholstery category, there are multiple variations. If you get a leather couch, make sure it’s 100% genuine leather. I will explain more in my next tip on why you should avoid leather blend couches. A genuine leather couch will be significantly more expensive than a fabric couch. I knew a leather couch would be way out of my budget, so didn’t even bother looking at them. Also, budget aside, I didn’t want to have to worry about the care and conditioning required to maintain a leather couch. My living room gets a lot of direct sunlight, so I worried that would take a toll on leather anyways.

Avoid bonded leather couches.

If you can’t afford a genuine leather couch, stick to fabric upholstery. DON’T buy a bonded leather one. Basically bonded leather (also called leather blend) consists of scraps of leather bonded to a backing, whereas genuine leather consists of a single sheet of material. This article explains bonded leather in more detail. It’s essentially a more economical way to achieve the look of leather.

However, bonded leather is not as durable as genuine leather, and is very prone to unsightly peeling. My previous couch was actually bonded leather. It was a hand-me-down in nearly new condition when I inherited it a little over four years ago. It looked nice for about a year or so. Then I noticed the seat cushion bubbling. I tried using leather conditioner, and even placed a throw over the spot to help protect it. But it only got worse and eventually started peeling. After I had owned the couch for around two years, I bought a slipcover for it, because the throw was no longer sufficient for hiding the peeling. Then about a year later, I noticed the slipcover starting to look worn, so I replaced it. My second slipcover held up better than my first slipcover, but after about a year it started to show wear and tear.

At that point I decided I just need to buy a new couch rather than continue to buy a new slipcover every year. Even though the slipcover hid the peeling, it was a nuisance to constantly readjust it after sitting. The seat cushion also continued to peel underneath the slipcover, so flakes ended up all over the floor. Furthermore, due to the peeling upholstery none of the donation places with free hauling services would accept my couch. Luckily my dad and brother were able to come haul my couch off for me so I didn’t have to pay for a junk removal service.

Decide on a color.

Once you’ve determined your budget and desired upholstery, the next step is to decide on a color. Choosing a couch color involves finding the balance between aesthetics and practically. As much as I love color, I prefer my couch to be neutral so that I have unlimited options for throw pillows. Although I love the aesthetic of a white or beige couch, I know that having a couch that color would make me very nervous about dirt and stains. So I chose dark brown. Also, my previous couch and slipcover were dark brown, so I already knew that worked with my living room decor.

Schedule delivery for a day you can be at home all day.

The actual couch buying process was super easy because I walked into Ashley HomeStore knowing my desired budget, upholstery, and color. Delivery was a bit more complicated, however. My couch was originally supposed to be delivered between 10:30 and 1:30 on a Wednesday, and I was told I would get a 10-30 minute courtesy call before the delivery people arrived. Long story short, but the day turned out to be really stressful due to a string of miscommunications. I didn’t get my couch that day, and I ended up having to be away from the office almost the entire day. Luckily my workplace is very understanding, and I was able to do some work from home. And fortunately Ashley HomeStore was able to reschedule my couch delivery for Saturday, just three days later.

In retrospect, I wish I had scheduled my original delivery date for a Saturday. Even though they give you a three-hour window for delivery, both days the delivery team showed up at my place 30-60 minutes prior to the start of the delivery window. Therefore, it’s simply a lot easier if you plan your couch delivery for a day that you can be at home all day.

Definitely don’t let my stressful delivery experience deter you from shipping at Ashley HomeStore though. The salesperson I bought from was very apologetic about the delivery hiccup, and I am very happy with my couch so far!

My New Couch

I ended up purchasing the Darcy Sofa in Cafe from Ashley HomeStore. This same couch comes in nine colors, so you have lots of options. I especially love the overstuffed back cushions and the armrest cushions, especially because I tend to sit in the corner of the couch.

Tips for buying a couch

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I love to accessorize a neutral couch with fun pillows. I had the Lilly Pulitzer pink & green pineapple pillow and the small pineapple pillow (from Palmetto Moon) on my previous couch. After my old couch was hauled off, I moved my pink Kate Spade decorative pillow to my bed and decided I liked it better there. So I bought a new turquoise Kate Spade pillow to put on the couch. Here’s some close-ups of my couch pillows:

Kate Spade couch pillow

I love how the turquoise Kate Spade pillow says “Relax” on it. It’s available here. I got the small pineapple pillow at Palmetto Moon in Wilmington, NC a year and a half ago. Unfortunately they don’t have any decorative pillows online, but if you live close to a store (there’s 22 locations in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida) you can check out the selection in-store.

Lilly Pulitzer couch pillow

I’ve also had this Lilly Pulitzer pineapple pillow for about a year and a half. It actually reverses to the same print in white and gold. Although this particular print is no longer available, Lilly does have this reversible throw pillow on their website right now.

I hope that y’all have found these tips for buying a couch helpful! I’m looking forward to having friends over to hang out on my new couch in the near future. Have you bought a new piece of furniture recently, or are you planning to buying some soon? I’d love to hear about your experience!

-xoxo Liz


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I'm Liz- and I'm here to inspire you to embrace the simple joys in life and encourage you to be your authentic self!

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  1. Thank you for the advice that it would be best to select a couch that would fit your lifestyle and keep in mind the care and maintenance it would need to last for a long time. I’ll definitely share this with my daughter, who recently moved into a new apartment and has been wanting to buy her own furniture, to bear in mind when she goes to buy one. I’ll also look into furniture shops where she might go to purchase one.

    Posted 9.4.23 Reply