The purchase of a new sofa often depends on the available budget. In today’s interview with Kai Büker, Managing Director of Interliving Möbel Eilers in Apen, the question is how much you have to or should spend on a sofa set. The raison d’être of the stationary furniture trade is also discussed.
Hello Mr. Büker. Please introduce yourself briefly.
My name is Kai Büker, I am 56 years old and have been working as one of 4 managing directors at Interliving Möbel Eilers for over 30 years. We are a full range store with furniture, kitchens and a large boutique on about 20,000 sqm. Currently 110 employees work in our house.
Our furniture store is located in Apen, in the beautiful Ammerland between Leer and Oldenburg in Northern Germany. Our family business has existed since 1909 and is now in its 5th generation.
How much should I spend at least on a sofa and does a good couch always have to be expensive?
The pricing of the sofa manufacturers depends on several factors. Seating comfort, material composition and country of origin are the cogs through which the price of a sofa is determined. Often, the brand name also plays a role.
In our furniture store, the customer can buy single sofas in fabric from about 700 €. Leather sofas start in the price range from 1000 €. Corner sets or angle groups in fabric are available from 1000 € and with a leather cover from 1500 €.
For orthopedically shaped sets and sofas with functions, you have to spend much more money.
How can I recognize a high-quality sofa and which components and materials should I pay particular attention to?
In furniture stores, high-quality upholstered furniture is usually recognized by its price. The higher cost can be justified by a higher quality material composition. Covers, upholstery and spring materials are of better quality in more expensive sofas. Especially in the case of functional sofas, attention should be paid to the high quality of mechanical components.
Another indication of high-quality upholstered furniture is the “Golden M” quality mark. It can serve as a reliable guide for consumers when buying new furniture. Products bearing this seal of quality have been put through their paces by an independent institute.
Are there only cheap fabric sofas or is leather an alternative in this price segment?
If you have to pay attention to the price and buy rather in the lower price segment, you will go for a sofa with fabric cover. Real leather sets are about 30% – 50% more expensive in relation to the identical fabric set.
Do I have to compromise on quality with less expensive upholstered furniture?
No, not necessarily. Good quality can also be found in lower-priced imported sets. However, it is important to look carefully. In case of doubt, the specialist consultant can help.
Do cheaper sofas always come from the Far East?
The imported clothings, which are often in the lower to medium price range, come from Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Belarus.
If I buy a cheap couch, do I have to worry that it is contaminated with harmful substances? Are there quality standards that every sofa must meet?
No, here the doubts are often not justified. The production of most of the trimmings we import is carried out according to standards similar to those in Germany. Upholstery sets are additionally subject to the labeling obligation. With the quality mark RAL-GZ 430/4 the defined quality criteria of the production are marked or monitored.
Which quality seals are important in Germany and what do they say?
High standards have been created through the above-mentioned quality seal “The Golden M”. The production facilities are inspected during visits, which are often unannounced.
Der blaue Engel (The Blue Angel) is a german seal of approval for compliance with standards that contribute to healthy living. In the upholstery sector, the focus is on low-emission manufacturing as well as low pollutant content.
Is an expensive sofa always worth the price?
After the experience with the upholstered sets from our house, I can answer this question quite clearly with yes. A higher price is associated with better quality and / or better design.
Nowadays it’s easy to buy a sofa online. Why should I still buy it in a stationary furniture store?
Buying furniture is a matter of trust and starts with good advice. This sentence may sound a bit trite, but its content is justified.
Only the specialized trade offers individual advice. In dialog with the customer, the salesperson can address the advantages and disadvantages, dimensions and room situation, lifestyle habits, budget, seating habits and functional wishes for the set. In addition, the customer can convince himself of the seating comfort and quality directly on site.
Another disadvantage of online retailing is the wasteful use of our resources. Frequent returns, combined with collection (possibly dismantling), packaging and fuel consumption, leave an alarmingly high ecological footprint.