Why sofas are crap

Sofas are crap now: it's all compressed wood put together with the cheapest brackets and screws known to manufacturing. Even if you get spendy, it'll just be the same easily-shipped junk with nicer upholstery, which will soon deteriorate because its been tacked onto particle board. Dwell's Dan Nosowitz explains the economic incentives that have made real quality unattainable short of spending many thousands of dollars.

"Don't even bother," the upholsterer told me. I was on the phone, asking for a theoretical quote to reupholster a five-year-old or so midrange sofa, which cost more than $1,000 when new. That task, the upholsterer told me, would run me several times more than the couch was originally worth, and, owing to its construction, it was now worth nowhere near its sale price. The upholsterer proceeded to lecture me, in a helpful, passionate, and sometimes kindly manner, about how sofas made in the past 15 years or so are absolute garbage, constructed of sawdust compressed and bonded with cheap glue, simple brackets in place of proper joinery, substandard spring design, flimsy foam, and a lot of staples.

The West Elm couch from Hell, nearly a decade old, is now every affordable couch. An exception might be the real-wood stuff at Ikea, where vast economies of scale limit prices but the design is what it is.

Everything is midcentury modern (or "Japandi" if the veneer is paler) now because the parts are interchangeable to create many "models", and it's cheap and flat to ship. Perhaps there's an example here of the general homogenization of culture now that the internet's dissolved everything into a universal mush of gray and beige for the billionaires to press into more useful shapes.