Why Are Couches So Expensive? (Find Out Now!)

why are couches so expensive

Recently, my husband and I have been thinking about upgrading a little bit of our furniture. More specifically, we want to get a new couch or daybed for our living room. So, like most people on a budget, we went to Ikea…only to realize that most couches we liked were super expensive. Much like others, we had to wonder what made these items so pricey.

Couches are expensive for two main reasons: the materials as well as the need to sell at a higher margin to maintain profitability. Since most people do not get couches every day, they have to be priced higher in order to keep the furniture store in business.

A quick walk-through of a typical furniture store will give you a lot of insight into what you are getting. Let’s talk about a typical price point.

How Much Does A Typical Couch Cost?

This all depends on how much quality you’re willing to invest in. Most couches will start at a bare minimum of $200. A typical “budget” couch will range from $400 to $1000, depending on the size and material.

Mid-range couches tend to be between $1,000 to $2,000—provided that they are larger in size. From there, the prices can skyrocket. Upscale luxury designer couches can easily top $10,000 or more. 

What Makes Couches So Expensive?

Couches get a high price tag for a wide range of reasons. To make things a little easier to digest, we’re going to put some of the biggest reasons for a hefty price tag in bullet points below:

  • Couches have to be sold at a higher profit margin to ensure the store that sells them stays in business. Most people will buy a couch every five to 10 years. For a store to stay in business, they have to sell them at a higher profit margin than, say, a can of beans. So, expect a high markup regardless of the brand.
  • Moreover, couches will also cost more based on their materials and workmanship. A leather couch is not easy to make. Heck, even high-quality upholstering is going to cost a pretty penny. This is going to be true of any major furniture item. With couches, you absolutely get what you pay for.
  • A general rule of thumb is that most (but not all) couches are also made of better materials. They tend to be made from hardwood bases, rather than plywood. They also tend to be made of stain-proofed materials like microfiber and padding that’s designed to keep its shape for years. Higher quality goods will cost more to source.
  • Transportation also tends to be part of the price tag. It takes a lot more money to cart a bunch of couches from Point A to Point B than it does a bunch of cans of tuna. This price has become a bigger part since rolling supply chain shortages became a thing.
  • Finally, branding matters. A couch that comes from a famous fashion store is going to cost a lot more than one that came from a third-rate store. It’s just the way things are.

What Is A Reasonable Price For A Couch?

This all depends on how upscale you want your couch to be and how long you want it to last. For the most part, you can expect to get a decent couch for around $600 to $1,400. At this price point, you won’t find many brands that will cut corners noticeably. Of course, the more you invest, the longer you can expect your couch or sofa to last.

If you want to buy a couch that is made from real leather or suede, expect to pay slightly above. Both of these materials tend to fetch a premium price on the market.

How Long Should A Couch Last?

The time a couch can last depends on the workmanship. A mid-range couch typically lasts for 10 to 15 years. However, it’s not unusual for a beloved family couch to last as long as 20 if you really invest money into keeping it pristine. (Obviously, pets can play a role in its deterioration, but hey, we’re being generous.)

The only time that you will see a serious decline in couch quality fast is with the ultra low-end ones. If you get a super-cheap couch, then you might see it break within five years.

Is It Worth Investing In A Couch?

Outside of a bed, chances are that your couch will be one of the most popular places to rest. This means that you are going to spend a ton of time on it. It also happens to be, all things considered, it makes sense to invest good money in a couch for a number of reasons:

  • Durability. You definitely get what you pay for in terms of durability. If you pay more, your sofa won’t look like crap in a year. Top-tier couches can last decades and are also easier to clean.
  • Appearance. With few exceptions, you can always tell a high-end luxury “sculpted” sofa from a simple box sofa like the ones from Ikea.
  • Warranties. Some companies will offer longer warranties on couches from their luxury lines.
  • Resale Value. Yes, it is possible to sell an old couch if you don’t use it much. A high-end couch will retain some of its value. A crap couch won’t.

Do Couches Come With Warranties?

Unless you are buying a couch from a “bottom of the barrel” brand, you should expect to see it come with a warranty of some sorts. Most couches have a one or two-year warranty. If you have a couch from a better retailer, then you might have a five-year warranty. You can also extend most warranties through a third party if you so choose.

What Do Furniture Warranties Cover?

Furniture warranties only provide minimal protection against mishaps. They are there to cover breaks and damages caused by manufacture defects. For example, this would cover getting your couch delivered, only to realize that the seams started to fall apart near the bottom of the couch.

Is It Okay To Buy A Used Couch?

It can be. Antique stores occasionally sell vintage couches and sofas. Moreover, it isn’t that unusual to see couches being sold at a great discount at estate sales, auctions, and consignment stores. If you are on a very limited budget, this could be a good way to shave off a serious amount of money. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You have to inspect the couch thoroughly to determine if it’s worth fixing. Is it stained? Does it already have dents in it or have areas where the springs have clearly sunk in? If so, you need to think about how you will fix it, and if it’s even worth fixing.
  • Never, ever buy a couch that has any evidence of a bed bug infestation. The telltale brown smears of a bed bug infestation should never be ignored. Even if the bugs are gone, the odor from the stains could attract more bugs to you.
  • Always try to buy from a reputable reseller. A good couch reseller will make efforts to sanitize and refresh your couch before it gets taken home with you. If you don’t, you run the risk of unsanitary or even pest-filled couches.
  • Ask about the history of the couch before you buy it. You don’t want to buy a couch that spent time in a flooded area or that was linked to a home with a pest problem.

Related Questions

How much does it cost to reupholster a couch?

This depends on who you hire as well as the material that you choose to reupholster your couch with, but it’s not going to be cheap. It takes anywhere from $400 to $1,600 or more to professionally reupholster a couch. This often means that getting your couch a facelift can be the same price as buying a brand new couch!

Unless your couch is a major antique or has been in the family for ages, your best bet is to look into getting a new couch instead. It’s just cheaper to do that way.

Is it worth getting a couch from a yard sale?

In some cases, it can be. However, there are a lot of risks involved with getting a couch from a person that you don’t know. You don’t know whether or not they have bed bugs, and you might not be able to guarantee the quality of the couch that you’re getting. If you absolutely love the couch and have done a thorough inspection of it, you might be okay.

Can I reupholster my own sofa or couch?

It’s not easy and in many cases, is not advisable. Reupholstering is a skill that takes a ton of practice to master, not to mention a lot of design prowess to do well. If you want to get good at this, it’s best to do trial runs on an old chair before you try to do it to your sofa. This way, you’ll have a little bit of experience before you actually try it yourself.

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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