Buying a couch online can be daunting. Too often, a cyber search for the ideal loveseat, sleeper sofa or sectional ends in frustration, or even worse, a penitent purchase.
"Ordering online can be a challenge without being able to sit on it and see it in person," says New York-based designer Jenny Wolf. "Make sure you have an understanding of what the fill is in the cushions and order fabric swatches, so you know exactly what you are getting!"
To aid in this endeavor, we called on midcentury modern furniture company , whose offering of well-made, customizable silhouettes are exclusively available via e-commerce, to give us the dos and don'ts of the online sofa search. "The key is to know your needs," says Alex Del Toro, co-founder and visionary behind the brand.
Here, Del Toro shares his expert direction on finding a piece you love, knowing what to look for and most importantly, where to start.
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH.
"Perform a quick online search for furniture stores that grab your attention and fit your style," says Del Toro. Some of our go-tos? , , and, of course, Joybird. Check out their websites, or even better, pay a visit to a local brick-and-mortar to gain inspiration. "Always read the reviews online to find out what people are saying about the item," Del Toro adds. "If the company has a local showing, check it out to make sure you know what you're getting."
2. SIZE UP YOUR SPACE.
The most important advice, according to Del Toro, is to measure your space: "Use measuring tape, paper, and even string to mark your furniture's layout." Also, don't forget to assess the size of your passageways, stairways and elevators to avoid the nightmare of an oversized purchase.
3. GET HANDSY.
Order fabric swatches. "The best way to truly get a sense of what fabrics will work for your home is to see and feel them to experience their colors and textures in person," instructs Del Toro.
4. KNOW WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR.
Familiarize yourself with the buzzwords in the product's description. "Look for hardwoods that are kiln-dried," says Del Toro. This process reduces the moisture content of the wood so it is less likely to crack or split. He adds, "Fabric is often the first thing to show signs of wear and age, so the quality and longevity of the upholstery is just as important as the sofa's construction." He suggests to ask about the double rub count test number—the higher the —and look into the material's fiber content and method of weaving, both of which will contribute to the material's durability.
5. CHECK THE RETURN POLICY. THEN CHECK IT AGAIN.
"The best defense against an unsuccessful purchase is research," says Del Toro. Always check the warranty and return policy on any big purchase, especially a sofa. What's ideal amount of time to "test drive" your piece? According to Del Toro, it's 30 days. He continues, "Check with the retailer before purchasing to avoid any unpleasant restocking or shipping fees, and inquire about any restrictions." At Joybird, you have an entire year to return an unwanted piece. How does this compare to some of our other favorites e-sources? At you have thirty days to decide if your sofa is "the one." At , you have a week, and at , you have a mere 3 days. Always read the fine print!
For more advice on selecting a quality sofa, check out our detailed buying guide.