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5 things to consider when purchasing a sofa online

Couch feeling a little crusty? Sectional seen better days? Lounge longing for some love? Alright, you probably get the drift. If you’re reading this, you’ve likely realised it’s high time to get rid of your old sofa and invest in a new one.

Fortunately, you don’t need to wander from showroom to showroom perusing prospective couch after prospective couch. In fact, it’s much simpler and quicker (with some cheeky benefits they won’t tell you in-store like *ahem* mark ups) to just pick up your new sofa online.

To help make the process a total cinch, we teamed up with our Design Manager, Adam Harrigan, and Product Manager, Kellie Hawkins, and put together a few handy tips. You’re very welcome.

1. Focus on your goals

Koala Coastal Sofa in Milk Bar

“Focus on your goals?” we hear you ask. “I thought this was a guide to help me buy a sofa and couches online, not a motivational pep talk.” This’ll soon make sense, we promise. 

With so many sofas to choose from online, we get that it can be tricky narrowing down your search. That’s why one of the most crucial steps when considering a new sofa is to think about what you’re using it for and who will use it most.

Will it be the focal point of your living room where everyone parks their bums for a rainy day movie marathon? Will it be sitting in the guest room for when your mother-in-law comes to stay? Or will it be a cherished arvo napping spot?

Your sofa’s main purpose will help determine things like size, firmness, functionality and even fabric. For example, if you and your family plan to spend several hours on it watching the entire LOTR trilogy, you’ll want something super-soft, super-sized and made with super-durable materials. If your MIL plans to visit regularly or you want a second spot to lay your head, a comfy sofa bed or corner sofa is pretty much a no-brainer.

Luckily, this is something we know a lot about, meaning whatever your choice from the Koala Sofa Range, you’ll be guaranteed to love it. 

“We consider all the ways you would interact with the sofa: how you sit, how you lounge, how comfortable the sofa will be after a 12-hour Netflix binge,” says Kellie. “We look at different fibre fills and foam layer construction that will give you the support you need.”

2. Consider the dimensions of the couch and your space

Koala Modern Sofa in Hawky

When you’re purchasing a new sofa, you want to make sure it’ll suit the size of your living room, spare room, bedroom or what have you. If the sofa is too big, it may not even fit. If it’s too small, it might not work with the proportions of your space. Wrong shape and it’ll just look… off. 

But if it hits that sweet spot? You’ll be rewarded with a couch that you’ll love to sit on, sleep on and look at for many years to come.

This is where the dimensions of both the couch and your space become very important, advises Adam: “Think about the space and check the size in relation to where you are going to put it,” he says.

“This is a big investment, so take the time to make sure it will fit your space correctly,” agrees Kellie. “First, understand the measurements of the sofa. Before purchasing your sofa, measure the size of the living room. Mark out the space of the sofa with string on your floor to understand exactly how much space the sofa will take up.  

“This is one of the main reasons people return a sofa, as they didn’t understand how big it would actually be in their home.”

Living in a cosy apartment? Here’s a bonus tip from Kellie: “If you’re living in a small space, consider sofas that don’t sit directly on the floor. 

“Products like Koala’s Compact Sofa and Lounging Sofa have higher clearance under the sofa. This means they will make a room look larger and give the impression of air and light under the sofa, which will keep your furniture from looking too heavy and taking up too much space visually.”

3. Think about your style (and maybe even your 10-years-from-now style)

Koala Cork Sofa in Jenolan Black

Sure, comfort is key, but so are a sofa’s looks. After all, this may be a feature in your living room  that you’ll have to look at every day, for a bloody long time. So, you’ll probably want to like what you’re seeing.

Adam suggests assessing the main colour scheme you’ve adopted in your home to help figure out the best couch. “Have a look at the colours in your home and pick a sofa colour that will complement your other items, floors and walls,” he says.

And because a new sofa is quite a major purchase, Kellie says you may also want to think about how the couch will look in the future.

“When purchasing a sofa, you are considering a product that is going to be a part of your home for a long time,” she says. “This is not a throwaway item, so consider what colour you are going to be able to live with that will not date and will suit your style.”

4. Rely on reviews

Koala Cushy Sofa Bed in Ink

The process of buying a sofa online is a time to really lean on the couch-buying community. And by that we simply mean: read the reviews. 

While anyone—including us—can easily tell you that you’ve come across the best darn couch ever, reviewers will give you cold, hard, honest insight. They’ll let you know what they genuinely think of the comfort-factor, quality and appearance of your prospective couch, as well as the customer service they received. 

Many online retailers include reviews on each product page (well, we do!) but you can also take your internet sleuthing one step further by checking out product review sites and forums.

The other great thing about reading reviews is that many reviewers will include a photo of their couch at home. This means that on top of seeing the sofa in an online catalogue, you’ll get an idea of how it’ll really look once you unwrap it, plus some bonus styling tips. Because we appreciate that you want to see Koala furniture in its natural habitat, we provide this functionality in our review section, too.

And not to brag (or maybe we are meaning to!), but as the home of over 50,000 five star reviews, we like to think our customers know a thing or two.

5. Get a feel for the customer service

Koala Lounging Sofa in Icy Pole

When you’re furniture shopping online, good customer service is key. From browsing to buying all the way to bringing your new sofa into your home, you’ll likely be communicating with customer service remotely—so you’ll want to ensure the support you receive is solid. This includes things like delivery, aftercare, warranty and returns. 

These are the questions you should be asking, according to Kellie:

“Check the store’s return policy and reviews,” she says. “How easy is the company to deal with if there is an issue? What have other customers’ experiences been? If something does go wrong, how quickly can they replace the sofa? Most furniture retailers make you wait 3-4 months minimum to get your sofa, so what happens if they have made a mistake? Do you need to wait another 3-4 months to get what you ordered?  

“The majority of retailers make good-quality furniture, but understanding their aftercare and how they deal with issues gives you the confidence to purchase.”

Not to toot our own horn, but we realise that these are some of the most common frustrations when buying a sofa online. So, we offer some pretty fab benefits to make online couch-shopping—and your life in general—a heck of a lot easier: 4-hour delivery in metro areas; easy assembly that’s devoid of Allen Keys; complicated instructions and arguments with your significant other; and of course, fuss-free returns. Chuck our multi-award-winning Customer Service team, you can shop comfortably knowing you’re in good hands.

And like any good long-term relationship, we also let you get to know your new Koala sofa before committing to it.

“Take advantage of companies with 120-night trials,” says Kellie. (Oh hey, that’s us!) “Because seeing a sofa in a store does not always give you the feel and impression of how the sofa will look in your home.”

And if you need a little help determining which Koala sofa is right for you, you can read all about them here.

Written by Gemma Kaczerepa. Gemma is a freelance writer based in Canberra. She’s madly obsessed with all things home, design and lifestyle, and gets a real kick out of writing about all three. You can check out her work at www.gemmakaczerepa.com.

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