My Dream Couch Turned Out to Be Just That

My Dream Couch Turned Out to Be Just That

Clicking “purchase” is the easy part. Carrying 120 lbs of sofa up a flight of stairs is another story.

Welcome to Sofa Sagas—stories about the circuitous search for a very important and occasionally fraught piece of furniture.

The first time I saw an ad for a Floyd sofa called "The Sofa" on my Instagram feed I thought it was the cutest thing ever (sofa category). It was as if the Mazda Miata was reincarnated as a couch, or something out of a Calico Critters dollhouse. This was peak-COVID era, September 2020, and I was also coincidentally about to buy the first sofa of my adult life. I’m not a logical shopper; I had no idea where to start. I had until then lived a life in a bed. The Sofa, by dint of being cute, immediately appealed to my base emotions. And although I didn’t let Instagram autofill my credit card information at that moment, I knew it would only be a matter of weeks before I did.

Founded through a Kickstarter in 2013, Floyd takes a low-frills approach to furniture, ensuring that all of its wares can be assembled by the average upwardly mobile millennial with a creative arts degree. The Detroit-based company’s first product was a $179 set of steel legs that can be clamped to any flat surface to create a table. In recent years, they’ve expanded to lamps, credenzas, modular sofas and even a $695 beanless-bean bag. Floyd promises furniture that is simple, durable, low-maintenance, and sturdy—a less-shitty West Elm for those beleaguered by supply-chain delays.

Don’t worry. I didn’t buy The Sofa without doing any due diligence. I measured. I even outlined the sofa’s projected footprint on my floor with painter’s tape. I lounged in the outline, took some photos. I watched more than one YouTube video of people sitting on the couch and talking about how it felt (really comfortable!). I compared it to other couches on the market. The Sofa—I chose the three-seater/chaise option in off-white, you can also get it as a two seater or a three-seater without a chaise—ran about $2,000 with tax and promotional free shipping. It was a better deal than the Crate & Barrel one I had considered, and would take considerably less long to be delivered. Not only that, the delivery did not need to be scheduled in advance and there were no extra fees. (I neglected to think what this might actually mean when it came to the couch being delivered—more on that in one paragraph.)

I should have known. The idea that buying an Instagram couch would have a happy ending was rationally far-fetched but emotionally tantalizing, and my dreamy journey with The Sofa deteriorated quickly.

Paying for delivery is probably worth it

So I ordered The Sofa. I couldn’t wait. It came much quicker than the promised six weeks, which was gratifying. But things went downhill from there. It arrived via UPS in seven boxes, the most substantial of which was 126 lbs. The delivery woman, as she heaved each box to my stoop, looked displeased that she had to do Floyd’s sofa delivery for free. "These are very heavy," she said. "Good luck."

I suddenly wished I had been able to pay $250 or more for someone to bring the boxes up one flight of stairs to my apartment. Instead, I convinced my downstairs neighbor to help me hoist the heaviest one to my door. Between us, I think we almost died three times trying to lug the box upstairs. At one point during the struggle I would have given my life for the Floyd couch if only so my neighbor didn’t have to lose his in vain.

Easy to assemble, hard to sit on

Once in my apartment, I discovered the best part of the couch: that it was extremely easy to assemble. It took me about 30 minutes, no hard hat required. Kudos to the Floyd people for this engineering feat and being able to make their customers feel like geniuses. The couch lived up to its aesthetic promise. It was adorable, and I couldn’t wait to sink into it and watch Below Deck, as I had dreamed of doing for so many weeks. But when I did, I didn’t exactly sink. I kind of thudded. The pillows—they were like Chiclets. Generally, I prefer a couch that cradles your body in fluff; not one that requires an active breaking-in period. I tried to recline. No such luck. With one Chiclet pillow behind me and one under me, the couch had the depth of an airplane seat. If I moved the back pillows to the floor, the depth was more comfortable. But then I was sitting on a $2,000 couch with no back pillows. The most comfortable option was to remove all the back pillows and sit with my legs up on the couch horizontally. But that effectively made a three-seater couch into a one seater, and I’m only 5’3.

Beware your own hubris

Perhaps the most profound disappointment of all is squarely on me. I knew what I was getting into when I bought an off-white couch. I fully admit that. With a caramel-colored dog, I was prepared for frequent maintenance. I have a Dyson. I thought it would be fine. Floyd says they designed the The Sofa "with four-legged friends in mind!" But I found the upholstery exceedingly difficult to clean. The fabric seemed to weave my dog’s hair into itself.

Further, the cushion covers were susceptible to staining. Floyd says that the cushions are "coated with short chain fluorocarbon-based treatment for stain resistance." Again, it’s on me for not calling scientists to inquire about what short chain fluorocarbon-based treatment for stain resistance means. As a wide-eyed consumer I assumed it meant that at least the couch would be relatively unaffected by whatever my dog’s little paws carried into the house. Instead, the couch became a palimpsest of dog paw prints atop a layer of dog hair. The cushion covers are not removable and for a "deeper clean" Floyd recommends calling in the professionals.

It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that I spent more than $2,000 on a couch made of dog hair that I saw on Instagram and didn’t sit on before I bought it. Everyone makes mistakes, and I am learning how to forgive myself. I sold The Sofa on Facebook Marketplace. I now have a couch from Crate & Barrel. It’s not all that comfortable, either, but it was carried up to my apartment by two strong men, cleans easily, and my dog loves it.  

Top illustration by Giada Maestra


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