A Couch Consideration: Use the Positions Test!

Buying a couch is scary. Most people will start buying at the ₱4k range (and that’s already a big investment), and moreover, it dominates the room it’s placed in. It’s a big purchase with a big impact. This couch I bought is a learning experience.


The couch was bought as a 3-piece set for ₱6.5k with one 2-seater couch, and two upholstered cube stools. The 2-seater couch is one whole piece, meaning there are no separate back or seat cushions. I chose the set in a dark blue, but the store will give you a few choices and will have swatches available. The shape is straight forward. 

The arm rests rise 18cm from the seat. Inside the arms and backrest, the seating area is 53cm x 120cm.

The legs are plastic

The fabric is soft and surprisingly durable. After 5 years, there are no loose threads, except for the seams.

What I can feel of the foam is that it’s quite thin but passable.


It was a budget set, and two get 3 pieces that serve the function to provide seating is really not bad. The soft but durable fabric is good as well. The pieces are also very light, so it was no problem to move.


The big quality issues are the foam and structure. The foam is thin and it’s particularly bad in two places. First, over time the foam of the actual seat has flattened, and you can feel the support structure at some places. It is quite uncomfortable. Second, even when the piece first arrived, the foam in the armrests seemed thinner, and shifting about as we do when sitting, you will always end up feel a sharp corner. In terms of the structure, the right side arm rest is flairs out in a weird angle (asymmetric to the left side arm rest).

The bigger issue however, is a design one. First, the back rest needs some incline because while we do sit upright, we also tend to lean back as we shift about. Couches with back cushions or a thicker foam (if one solid piece) allow us to push back a bit to get an incline. This couch however has neither, and one is forced keep upright. To make it worse, the width you’re working with is only 53cm, so you either keep a straight back or have a portion of your upper legs extending outside the seat. This works badly with one intended configuration where you rest forward and use one of the cube stools as a footrest. We cannot sit with one’s legs extended straight and simultaneously keep a straight back at a 90 degree angle for long: it’s quite uncomfortable: we need that incline.

Second are these arm rests combined with a 2-seater length. The arm rests are not good to lay your head because they are rise too tall for that. Combined with a short width, lying down across the couch is just not comfortable.

Last are the cube stools. In concept it should work as a this modular-adaptable part of the set. You can use it as a footrest for example, or as separate seating. And in this regard, this couch only succeeds in the latter. In fact, I’ve also tried sleeping with one side of the couch and these two cube stools in one line. It also isn’t comfortable. First, you do feel the parts where you go from couch to stool to stool. Second, you don’t stay still sleeping, and shifting about moves the stools. It just isn’t a secure configuration.


□□□□ Not a good buy.

It’s a bad buy. Yes, it’s cheap, and I’m okay with the fabric, but you have both quality and design issues. The design issues are particularly bad because it makes the only permissible position an upright one.


I think the best way to summarize the learning is what I will call the positions test. Because we tend to linger in the living room as we entertain guests, watch movies or play video games, we shift around and change posture to ease muscles that are tensed for long to maintain one position. This means that one important thing to consider when buying a couch are the positions it can allow for us to be comfortable.

  • Upright/slightly inclined sitting with legs on the floor: this checks if you have good seat width and you have some space to get an incline when you want to.
  • The side incline: this checks if you have comfortable armrests that you can lean on sideways, bonus points if you can comfortably have your legs extended side ways to.
  • Lying down: this checks if you can sleep on the couch, either because the couch is long enough, or because of arms rests that are not too high that you can rest your head.

To set expectations, only big couches can fulfill all positions for one person, or even multiple people. However, some smaller couches are better at allowing most of these positions. For example, couches with separate cushions are more adaptable (you can take out a back cushion when sleeping so you get more width). Or, couches with no armrests can be more adaptable: you have a greater length to stretch out and even lie down, and when you need arm support, you can just buy a separate piece. In the end, just think of your priorities about how you want to use the couch.

So you add this to the other checks:

  1. Size and shape: this is the first consideration because this will capture even the possibility that you can fit your couch in, as well as how many people it can seat
  2. Position test: this is second most important because this check how you will use the couch
  3. Aesthetics: and then you check if it looks good
  4. Quality and maintenance: finally don’t forget to check quality, durability and how you will maintain (clean, re-upholster) the couch
Link: I bought the couch a few years from this store, but they no longer carry the product https://sogofurniture.com/

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