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House & Garden Today

Finding a sofa you love is like making a new friend. Over the years you will share many memories, and being together will be...well, just so comfortable. But not all friendships are meant to last forever, and there will come a time that you will have to bid adieu to your beloved sofa.


If you have difficulty figuring out when it is time to move onto something new and fresh, there are a few telltale signs that it is time to replace your sofa, with some being a lot more obvious than others.


It's More Old-Fashioned Than Retro


Retro (or vintage) is stylish, and almost timeless in design; you can reupholster a retro sofa, and it will still look great. Old-fashioned, on the other hand, will look dated no matter how you try to dress it up. If your sofa would look more at home on the set of The Golden Girls than that of Mad Men, it's old-fashioned, not retro. Similarly, our taste in decor changes, and what seemed stylish and timeless in one decade, could suddenly become quite tacky or out-of-place with the rest of your decor.


Comfort has Been Replaced by Discomfort


Over time the webbing, springs, and foam in your sofa will stop doing what they were designed to do: offer support and comfort. Even though these are often hidden from view, there are obvious signs to their failing. These may include cushions that are flatter than they once were, no matter how many times you try to fluff them up. Or you and your guests sinking deep into the sofa, being poked by springs, or hurting your back just by spending 5-minutes on the sofa. And if your guests insist on standing whenever they visit, or fight over who gets to sit on your dining chairs, it's definitely time to replace your sofa.


It's Covered in Stains


Despite your best intentions, your fabric sofa will attract stains, some of which will be impossible to clean. And although a strategically placed fabric throw or pillow might hide a few stains, there will come a time when this no longer works. You may even associated each stain with a precious memory, but your guests are unlikely to share the same sentiments; so when the number of stains on your sofa start resembling a design pattern, it might be time to actually replace the sofa.


It Doesn't Really Fit


Sofas are frequently bought according to needs and space. But our needs change over time, and our careers and/or a growing family sometimes force us to change homes. And this means that the sofa that was once perfect, is now either too big, or too small. Depending on the style of your too small sofa, it might be possible to add a new sofa - and other seating arrangements - to fill the space. But there is no easy way to fix a sofa that is too big, other than to replace it with one that fits in better with your new home's proportions.


The Colour has Changed


Unless you've reupholstered your sofa, having the colour of the fabric switch from ruby red to flamingo pink is definitely a telltale sign that it's time to replace your sofa. It's quite natural for the colour of fabric to change, but a noticeable shift from one shade to another takes years. And if the colour of your sofa has changed dramatically, there's a very good chance that there are other signs of wear and tear too.


The Frame is Creaky


It's possible to try and extend the life of a favourite sofa through new upholstery, or by replacing the foam or cushion fibres. But there is very little you can do to extend the life of a worn-out sofa frame. The occasional crack or pop from a sofa frame is fairly normal, but if the frame creaks every time you sit down or shift your weight, it is a very obvious sign that the sofas structure is starting to break down. And it is a sign that you should start looking at something new, rather than waiting until the sofa literally collapses around you - or a guest.


Finally, it's worth remembering that even well-made sofas will seldom outlast more than 15-years of regular use, so a less obvious sign that it might be time to replace it, is if it is now older than your teenage children.



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