If you’ve been searching for well-made, stylish couches or sofas for your home, and can’t find what you want, consider the option of custom-made couches. While most regular shops, on the high street or in real-life shopping malls, offer relatively limited ranges, there are all sorts of other possibilities to explore.
For example, you can have sofas designed especially for you, or you can ask a manufacturer to imitate an existing look. Alternatively, many companies have their own specialized ranges with a choice of finishes that they maintain produces a “custom-made” piece of furniture.
What the term custom-made means
When we talk about custom-made items we generally mean that these are made according to the specifications of a particular person who is buying that product. Similarly, when we say furniture and building structures are custom-built we mean that they are constructed according to what the customer wants. The alternative is to buy things off-the-shelf or ready-made. What this means is that you then choose from whatever has already been constructed, manufactured or produced.
In reality, manufacturers of so-called custom-made furniture tend to combine concepts. This is probably why another term, “customer-made” is also used by some contemporary manufacturers. What this relatively new term implies is that you can design your own couch within the parameters set by the company that will actually make it for you.
The procedure to be followed when looking for individualistic couches and sofas for customer-made pieces could follow this basic process:
- choose the couch design you like best,
- specify the size of the couch according to set dimensions,
- choose a fabric or leather to be used to cover the couch,
- decide on your personal level of comfort which will determine the way the couch is made.
You will probably agree that this sounds like an excellent concept.
Custom-made versus off-the-shelf
The main difference between any type of custom-made and the usual off-the-shelf furniture (be it couches or dining room suites) is that with the former you are offered some sort of exclusivity and/or individuality. The latter might cost the same, but it is possible for all your friends and neighbors to buy exactly the same stuff. If you are wanting “custom”, chances are you won’t want your neighbors to copy.
This isn’t where it stops. The custom-made concept also relates to the size of furniture that is made especially for you.
You may, for example live in a tiny apartment that simply can’t accommodate the dimensions of a sofa design that you love. By going to a specialist manufacturer you can have what you really like, but on a smaller scale – provided of course the scale actually does work in your home.
Just be careful of con artists who promise to do the job but don’t understand how design factors (specifically size and scale) work. You might end up with something that looks really awful after spending a whole lot of money. If your aren’t sure, buy what you can see and sit on before you pay for it
What to look for when buying a couch
Whatever type of couch or sofa you want to buy, first and foremost decide on a style. Also have a good idea of what you want in terms of color and finish. A couch is really what designers call an “anchor” piece, with other chairs, tables and so on adding to the general design scheme. For this reason it is wise to choose the best couch or couches you can afford.
Stores that offer custom-made couches usually display basic pieces in a range of shapes and sizes. Make sure you identify exactly what it is you want. For instance the length of a couch may be anything from 137 cm to 229 cm. Arm and back heights may also vary. You may end up paying a bit more for a custom size, but if it works for you there is absolutely no doubt that it will be worth it.
Even if you only want one couch, consider seating for at least six people. Very few people stay at home alone for their entire lives! Maybe think of buying two custom made couches. Otherwise buy a few single chairs for people to sit on.
Remember that upholstered furniture can always be reupholstered in a different fabric later on when your tastes change or when you can afford something better. With this in mind, it is sometimes better to buy a secondhand piece of furniture that has been really well made, and then have it reupholstered in a trendy fabric or in leather. It might not seem to be “custom” made, but often the older designs are a lot better, particularly when good-quality wood has been used to make them.
Finding a suitable manufacturer
The best way to find reputable, reliable and reasonable manufacturers of custom-made couches and other furniture is often word of mouth. If your friends have had a good experience, then it is certainly worth trying the same company. Another way is to check out advertisements posted or placed by manufacturers who say that they do what you need.
There are numerous manufacturers that will make sofas to order, including:
- Élan Designs Ltd that ship to both the USA and Canada.- www.elansofas.com
- Dumonds, which manufactures comfortable and functional designs that are distributed throughout Canada and the USA. – www.dumonds.com
- The Sofa Company which, based in California, offers a range of services from build-your-own to recovering couches. – www.thesofaco.com
- Van Gogh Designs, a Vancouver-based manufacturer that produces custom-upholstered furniture for both the home and hospitality industry. – www.vangoghdesigns.com