It’s difficult to describe the kind of disappointment you feel when you order a new piece of furniture only for it to arrive at your doorstep and fail to meet expectations. But, as the pandemic continues, shopping online may feel like your only safe option for buying furniture. While it’s certainly convenient to pick out a new living room set from the comfort of your computer (and current living room set), there’s undeniably a risk involved when you can’t check it out in a storeroom first. Namely, you could end up with a whole room’s worth of furniture that isn’t as comfortable as you hoped, despite all the reviews you pored through first.
It bears mentioning that, obviously, you can always return the offending items if they’re not up to your standards. But, if you’re set on making do with what you have, here are a few tips to get started. And, if all else fails, there’s always the floor.
1. Throw Something On
A new sofa, no matter how uncomfortable, can always benefit from a few throw pillows—and if they make lounging more appealing while also zhuzhing things up, all the better. Line them up along the backs of your furniture or use them to cushion hard-angled armrests. And, while you’re at it, a throw blanket can add another fine layer of comfort and warmth, whether you lay it across the back or seat of your couch. One that’s on the chunkier side will make a bigger difference than something lightweight, especially if you fold it up to serve as a makeshift blanket “throne.”
2. Pad Up
If the average throw pillow isn’t doing the trick, you may want to level up and try something more ergonomic. Pillows designed specifically to cushion different parts of your back can simultaneously make a lumpy couch more comfortable and improve your posture. Consider a narrow but long lumbar pillow to target lower back pain; or look into a larger, denser pillow if you just want more back support overall. Seat cushions also make a great addition to your work-from-home setup (especially if said setup also happens to be a hard kitchen chair). Orthopedic options will up the comfort and save you from developing unpleasant pressure points as the work day wears on. If you're worried about leaving less-than-decorative pillows out, throw them in the bottom of a blanket basket or in the closet at the end of the day.
3. Stretch Out
When you shop for furniture online, it’s easy to overlook the finer details that you’d only notice while trying something out in-store—seat depth, in particular, comes to mind. If your new couch arrives and you find that you have to perch, rather than actually sit on it, you might be able to find some relief by adding a footrest to your setup. Not only will you create more room to recline, but you’ll cultivate a cozy sectional vibe in your living room, too. If you’re working with limited space, a foldable stool or an ottoman that doubles as a storage container could be an exceedingly efficient solution.
4. Slip On A Cover
Similar to seat depth, you can’t know exactly how upholstery will feel through your computer screen. Luckily, a slipcover can compensate for seats that end up feeling too sticky, nubby, or downright rough. Look for one that’s easy to clean and made to fit your furniture’s dimensions. There are actually brands who specialize in making custom covers for a huge selection of IKEA's most popular couches, which contributes to a much cleaner feel overall.
In addition to the comfort and convenience it can provide, a slipcover can also cover up a fabric that may have looked good online but doesn’t measure up IRL. Consider it a one-two punch for your furniture’s practicality and aesthetics.
5. Call In Reinforcements
It’s one thing if your new couch features lackluster upholstery or less-than-cloud-like cushions, but it’s a whole other issue if it doesn’t feel stable when you sit on it. Make sure the legs are even and, if needed, balance them out by placing shims or pads under legs that measure too short. You can even flat-out replace them with a whole new set of legs (there are some especially cute options available. Heck, if you need to tighten any rungs or if you can add right-angle braces to reinforce where the legs meet the seat. According to Popular Mechanics, you can fix these issues yourself with a few commonplace items from the hardware store. Yes, you!