After what feels like months spent painting the living room, it was finally time this week to begin the search for a sectional sofa.
This has been part of the plan for some time, a big dark grey corner sectional. Our living room has kind of an awkward layout, in that a main traffic area passes between the television and the couch where you sit to watch it. Considering that there are also several doors and a fireplace lining the walls, it really limits the furniture layout.
Huge sectionals are out of the question. There is just not enough space. After weighing the options, it turns out that an L-shaped sofa is the best bet, basically a corner seat and two love seats. Any bigger than that and it would be awkward.
Early on we decided that it’s mandatory to actually sit on a sofa before making a purchase. All internet-only options were ruled out, as was IKEA (no local stores). So I started making the rounds to our local furniture stores, starting with the ones that advertise the best bargains. In Knoxville, this would be Ashley, Rooms to Go, and American Signature Furniture. I didn’t even touch Rooms to Go because I knew it was shit. But I did check out the other two. Ashley was awful, full of over-eager salesman types just dying to sell you crap. Really, it was so bad I had to stop the guy and rudely walk out of his store.
I am morally opposed to American Signature because of the god awful commercials they run before every sale, but I went anyway. The couch below was the best bet I could find there, but it was too slouchey and college dorm-ey. (Sorry for sub-par phone pics.)
Let’s also be clear that in these discount furniture stores, what you see is what you get. There is no “does this come in another color?” This one happened to be shown in a dark grey, which did catch my eye. But the upholstery was cheap. It was that kind of “ultra suede” that leaves a different color/mark when you drag your hand across it.
I guess I came to the realization that I wasn’t in the market for a cheap piece of shit that will still set me back a grand. I want a sofa that I will live with and love for many years to come, and if that takes more than $1,000, then so be it.
Next stop was Haverty’s. It’s a respectable nationwide chain, so I thought I’d give it a go. Overall, their stuff was very traditional and stuffy. But this sectional, one of their most popular, had a classic kind of appeal to me, plus it was available in a variety of upholstery options.
But it was still…eh. Kind of blah, right? Even in another fabric, it’s the kind of sofa that’s just part of the background.
Then I made the mistake of visiting the local Ethan Allen store and falling deeply in love with this sectional, which even with my desired configuration and a current sale, would have rung up at nearly $4k. I thought about it, I really did. It’s beautiful. My parents have Ethan Allen furniture from the 80’s that still looks fantastic. It would be a sofa for life. But that price tag hurt. Real bad.
But this Thursday on my way home from work, I made a pit stop at a locally-owned store called Bliss. They have a gift shop and small showroom in market square, and a lovely large showroom in Bearden. I should have just gone here from the start. Their showroom is fantastic, and within two minutes of walking in the door, I found the sectional of my dreams.
The floor model is white leather, but it’s also available in a variety of fabric upholstery choices. It has the perfect compact size and clean lines I was looking for. And the arms are chunky, yet low-profile so they won’t feel too imposing in our small room. Bliss lets you take home fabric samples for free to test out in your room, so I took a few nice grey swatches for the road.
Two days later, I brought Danny in for a test-sit, and the deal was done. With the dark grey fabric we chose plus delivery and a 5-year upholstery replacement deal the grand total was $1,959. Woot!
The manufacturer is Palliser, which is a private label brand available only through furniture stores. They’re going to custom-build our sofa in Canada, and ship it to us in about six weeks. Six long weeks.
In the meantime, I have a fireplace, two windows, and half a room’s worth of baseboards to paint before the sofa gets here. And I would just love to have a sliding barn door solution worked out before then too. And if I’m feeling plucky, four curtain panels too.