Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes


The Sofa Fund

Photo above, Paul Costello for Domino.

When it comes to decorating, my friend Carson has a serious investment strategy. After college graduation she started a sofa savings account, with the goal of acquiring a classic "forever" piece. By the time she was 25 she had a custom Baker.

Carson would rather live in a room with only one piece she loves than a room filled with many things she doesn't. She also has been on the move since her boarding school days; work, marriage and grad school keep transporting her from city to city, and yet another beige rental. So, it serves her well to focus on basics (sofa, chair, coffee table, bookcase) and avoid not-so-mobile elements like curtains. Wise to the core, nearly a decade before having children she chose a raspberry Brunschwig-upholstered sofa that is now totally kid-friendly.

Obviously, very expensive sofas aren't for everyone. But I thought some of my teen readers might be inspired by the idea of a sofa fund. (Carson started collecting inspiration tear sheets at age 16. ) Your goal might be Pottery Barn, or a vintage sofa from a favorite local shop. Domino has a great online sofa guide.


Wes said...

I think that is a great idea. I'm 22,still at home with my parents, and when I think back to all the money I have spent on Redecorating mine and my parents home I could have bought a couple sofa's.

style court said...


I always love candid comments like this! It's never too late to start a furniture savings account. Just gets harder as adult obligations mount :)

Sarah Jennings said...

Very wise advice! Do you have any sofas that you would recommend as 'forever sofas'? I love casegoods, but I am hopeless at finding good sofas.

The Peak of Chic said...

This is an excellent idea!!! True too about buying the best that you can afford. When I moved into my first apartment, I kept getting comments about how I must love minimalism- def. not true, but I didn't want to waste my money on things that weren't classic.

style court said...

Jennifer, so funny!!


Hard to answer because of the huge range of options out there. I think a while back did a review -- sort of like a Consumer Reports version for quality/price etc. And of course Domino did their Sofa Guide.

I think Baker's online guide is helpful to study, for style lines, even if one has no intention of buying a Baker. Hickory Chair and Baker are available retail and do always get positive reviews in terms of lasting forever. Then there is the ultimate: George Smith. On the other end, Pottery Barn is begining to offer very classically proportioned sofas too.

robyn said...

This is a great post! I'll pass this on my 3 daughters. I didn't know about Domino's online sofa guide. Thanks so much.

style court said...


Hope it inspires them!!

Cote de Texas said...

Courtney, I covet a George Smith sofa. Do you? I want one big and cushy. I would love one with a kilim upholstery, but it wouldn't go with my decor, but I love that upholstery fabric. btw, they have lovely, lovely fabrics, too. Beautiful toiles and stripes. George Smith, all the way.


style court said...

Joni, I agree with you! My personal favorites are the George Smiths upholstered in Raoul Textiles, or just a simple solid too. But SOOO expensive :)

Fairfax said...

This pink one is just lush!

Suzy said...

That's such a great idea. I totally agree that one great piece that will be with you at rental property after rental property will not only look great but make it feel like your home.

Kathleen said...

I started a fund when I was saving for a couch. I told all of my friends and actually saved money earned babysitting for an entire year. I saved $2000.00 and bought a great sofa.

I bought this one:

I couldn't afford the one I really wanted, but mine has the same look:

style court said...


That's wonderful! What an accomplishment. Thanks for sharing this!

style court said...


You made such an elegant choice!