Chelsea Sofa Review

It's been almost a year since I first posted about the Chelsea Sofa. This fantastic looking sofa with a $649 price tag sparked a lot of interest, and a few brave readers took the plunge and ordered. The initial reviews were positive but I still wanted to see it for myself. I've had my Chelsea sofa for a good month now, if you want to know what I think, read on..

First off I'd like to thank Fashion 4 Home for providing the sofa so I could review it. They went out on a limb shipping it to me knowing that I was going to provide an objective review that they didn't have any control over.

As far as the ordering and shipping goes, I was very impressed. Some prior GRM readers that ordered their sofas had to wait a long time to receive them. The Chelsea I ordered was in stock, and I got it in a couple of short weeks. The delivery company called me to arrange a time to drop it off, and the guy was nice enough to help me carry it into my building, up the elevator and all the way into my front room. Nice.

The sofa was inside a sturdy cardboard box, and it was also wrapped in plastic to keep it clean. The only assembly needed was attaching the 4 metal legs. Assembly was straight forward and easy.

As I said before, I've had the sofa for over a month now, and I've put it through it's paces, watching movies, reading, computering, even a little fort building with the kids. Here's what I think about it.

Style: The good looks are obviously the thing that first caught my attention about the sofa. In real life it has lived up to my expectations. The overall shape and proportions are as expected, no surprises at all. If I had to pick one thing to complain about it would be the legs. Don't get me wrong, they are fine. But that's almost the problem. The sofa looks much more high scale than "fine". A pair of nice dark walnut legs would really take this sofa to the next level. I've even thought about maybe trying to modify some to fit. Still for the price, I think you are hard pressed to find a better looking couch.

Comfort: Obviously comfort is a very subjective thing. Personally I prefer a nice firm couch over the overstuffed RC Wiley TV marathon versions. The Chelsea is definitely firm but comfortable. The foam in the cushions feels like it is good quality. Definitely not like the cheap couches I've sat on at Urban Outfitters where if feels like you are sitting on plywood with 1" of cheap foam. I've sat through an entire movie without feeling uncomfortable at all. Also, for me the proportions feel good. Not like my KRAMFORS from Ikea where I always felt the bottom cushion was too deep.

Quality: The construction of the sofa feels quite sturdy. It's not a very heavy sofa, two people can easily carry it, and one can slide it around a room no problem. The legs are solidly mounted as well. It's not the kind of sofa you are going to worry about having your extra large aunt May sit on. It can take the weight. The tufting is well done as are the pillows.

If I had to complain about the quality of one thing it would be the fabric. I suppose I'm not sure if it is really a "quality" issue or if it is just a style issue for me. The fabric used on the couch is a "high quality upholstered finish with hand stitched imbedded buttons" made of "60% cotton, 10% linen, 30% viscose rayon". It definitely has the linen sort of look. The weave is looser like a linen and because of this in some area's you can vaguely see the stitching between pieces. I imagine that this looser weave along with the light color may make it harder to keep clean, especially when compared to a microfiber or leather couch. It certainly doesn't look "cheap" though and it seems to be holding up well. I have noticed that the front seam is starting to slip down a little from use. You can see it in the pictures, it just ruins that night straight cushion line a little. I honestly have never noticed it until I started taking pictures last night.

Value: As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. This is certainly a case where I feel you really are getting more than you paid for. It's easy to sit around and nit pick little details about something, or find something that is better. I would absolutely admit that this couch doesn't compare to a nice B & B Italia piece. At the same time, the prices aren't even in the same league. That doesn't mean though that one has more value than the other. I fully intend on dropping several thousand dollars on an Eames Lounger in the next year or two. To me it will be good value because it looks amazing, has amazing heritage and will last me my lifetime. Yes lifetime. The Chelsea Sofa, as handsome as it is probably won't last a lifetime, and that's ok as long as it's not your expectation. I would say that it will last just as long as anything you could buy at Ikea or the like, and it will probably look a lot better. Ikea does have some good looking couches, but none that come close to this for the money.

A word about pricing. When I originally found the Chelsea sofa it was listed at an amazing $649. It is not listed at $799. My first thought was "Ahh they figured out how awesome the couch is and now they are jacking the prices up." Luckily I found out that's not really the case. Originally it was $649 plus $155 in shipping. It's now $799 but shipping is only $44. That makes the total price shipped $843 vs the old $804.

Options: It looks like they are offering the sofa in a couple different fabric colors. Personally I think the dark grey looks fantastic. They also have a black leather version. Real leather. It looks amazing but it will set you back an extra $600. Still it would be a good deal I think. The Chelsea range also includes an armchair for $369 in fabric or $669 in leather. Both of them are equally attractive and would look great paired with the sofa.

Available from Fashion 4 Home.

More photo's including high res shots on my flickr page.

Please excuse me while I pay some bills...