One of the first purchases you’ll make when moving in somewhere is a couch.
It’s a comfortable place where you can relax or a few members of the family can use it at the same time.
Couches can also help set the theme of the room.
When shopping for a couch, however, you’ll discover that the price is quite expensive.
You may wonder what makes couches so expensive.
Why Are Couches So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The average couch costs anywhere from $500 to well above $5,000.
Certain factors like the couch’s size, the materials used in production, and whether it’s factory-made or custom-made all impact the price.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. Couch Size
Perhaps one of the biggest factors that can influence the price of a couch is its size.
Smaller couches cost less than large couches in most cases.
That’s simply because larger couches use more materials and require more engineering.
A small couch usually seats two or three people.
Designers build the couch with the expectation that only so much weight is going to be on it at a time.
They’re able to use fewer materials because they know the couch isn’t going to have to bear too much weight.
Larger couches, on the other hand, can seat anywhere from three to six people.
Some can even seat more than that.
Because they’re holding a lot of weight at one time, the materials need to be able to support that weight.
Otherwise, the couch could collapse.
Counterbalancing is also a problem.
If there’s too much weight on one side, then a poorly-made couch will tip over.
As such, more materials and design elements go into larger couches than smaller ones.
That usually results in higher price tags.
If the couch comes with a built-in ottoman, table, or footstool, then that only further increases the price.
Couches are expensive when they’re large.
Another factor that makes couches expensive is when they use real leather.
Faux leather can sometimes be expensive, too, if it’s high-quality faux leather that looks like the real deal.
Leather, itself, is expensive for a few reasons.
The first is that it comes from animals.
Cows and calves are the go-to sources for leather.
However, you can get leather from practically any kind of animal that has skin.
Some people might prefer alligator leather, for example.
Regardless of the animal, leather is expensive because animal rearing for leather is expensive.
Ranchers will spend a good amount of money raising their particular animals to make high-quality leather.
The reason the leather is so high in quality is that the rancher ensured they had good diets.
If the animal doesn’t have a good diet, then they’re not going to have great skin.
If the quality of their skin isn’t good, then the leather isn’t going to be good either.
Giving cows and calves a good diet isn’t cheap.
They can’t just eat grass and call it a day.
They need a well-balanced diet with plenty of nutrients.
Since it costs the rancher more to feed them, they increase the price of their leather.
They also likely get regular vet visits, too, to ensure their cows and calves are in great health.
Those bills add up as well.
Since ranchers spend a lot of money on their cows, they sell leather at more expensive prices.
That means companies that use leather, like certain furniture manufacturers, have to buy it at higher prices.
Since they’re buying at higher prices, they’re going to sell their couches at higher prices to offset their costs.
Another reason couches are expensive is that some of them use velvet.
Velvet is an expensive material because it costs more to make.
It’s also associated with luxury, so anything made with authentic velvet tends to come at an expensive price for that reason alone.
Velvet first emerged in East Asia from silk.
It was the Europeans who started to commercialize it, however.
The first velvet industry started in Italy, and the country became known for producing high-quality velvet products like clothing, couches, and curtains.
The Industrial Revolution further sped up the process of making velvet, but it was still an expensive material to make.
That’s because velvet isn’t flat woven.
Many other types of fabrics are.
To make velvet, a loom first has to have two backings on it.
Then yarn gets knit together between the two backings.
When there’s enough, the velvet gets broken in the middle.
The result is an uplifted pile that’s responsible for giving velvet its signature texture.
A lot of yarn gets used in the process which is another reason velvet is expensive.
Manufacturers have to use more yarn to make it.
Because the loom also needs two backings, it also means that there are more production steps involved.
Both of these factors make velvet more expensive to manufacture.
Since it’s expensive to produce velvet, anyone who uses velvet to make certain products is also going to face higher prices.
Cheap couches don’t use authentic velvet.
Expensive couches do.
Manufacturers of high-quality or luxury couches will spend a good amount of money on velvet to make their dream couches.
They’ll then sell the couch at a high price.
4. High-Quality Wood
Couches are also expensive when they use high-quality wood.
Most cheap couches will use a type of wood that’s common to harvest.
Since it’s common, the supply of wood is large, and it doesn’t cost manufacturers much money to make furniture from it.
More expensive couches, however, use high-quality wood that’s often rare.
They prize these couches for looking great and providing something that standard couches don’t.
For many people, it’s the simple appearance of the couch.
Some rare types of wood may come in a shade of authentic color that furniture makers can’t replicate with common wood.
Others may prize the wood for its durability.
Other couches may break over time due to extended use or too much weight.
That isn’t the case with high-quality wood.
It tends to last longer.
Some of the most expensive types of wood to use in couches are sandalwood, purple heart wood, and bocote wood.
Sandalwood is rare in the world these days.
It used to be in plentiful supply in Hawaii, but deforestation quickly depleted its numbers.
Both fragrances and furniture makers use sandalwood.
That’s because sandalwood has a pleasant fragrance to it.
Due to its regulated use, however, getting your hands on sandalwood is difficult.
Purple heart wood is another rare type of wood.
It’s primarily prized for its unique color.
It has purple wood that can make some unique couches.
Since it’s also rare, it comes with an expensive price tag.
Bocote wood is a unique type of wood that actually has several different species in it.
The result is a unique-looking wood with different grain designs on them.
Since these types of wood are so rare and expensive to harvest and source, the resulting furniture piece is also expensive.
5. High-Quality Foam
Another reason couches are expensive is that some of them use high-quality foam.
The comfort of a couch depends on a few things.
One of those factors is the density of the foam.
If the foam isn’t that dense, then you’re going to feel the springs of the couch whenever you sit down.
If the foam is dense, then it will feel like sitting on a cloud.
The thing about foam is that there’s good foam and then there’s average foam.
Average foam lasts for a few years, but then it starts to quickly deflate with use.
In just a few years, you might start to feel those springs when you sit down.
High-quality foam, on the other hand, tends to keep its shape longer.
This is important if you want to enjoy a comfortable couch for as long as possible.
While you can always replace your cushions, it can be difficult to find the perfect size for your particular couch.
As such, it’s better to buy a couch that uses high-quality foam in the first place.
The problem with those couches is that they tend to be on the more expensive side.
One of the reasons is that high-quality foam tends to be more expensive to make.
It uses materials that are more expensive to source.
Since it costs the couch company more money to make, they charge their customers a higher rate.
Those companies also know that it’s unlikely the customer is going to return any time soon to buy replacement cushions.
As such, they want to make as much money from the original sale as possible.
That also means they’re going to sell at a higher price.
6. Recliner Conversion
A major factor that impacts the price of a couch is whether it converts into a recliner or not.
Couches used to be simple pieces of furniture.
You simply sat down and put your feet up on a table or ottoman if one was available.
In the day of recliners, however, more people than ever want to combine couches with recliners.
It allows better flexibility for the type of family that you have.
For example, everyone gets to sit together, but one person might be able to relax a bit more with a recliner.
Since some couches completely convert into a recliner, you may even have a type of chair where everyone can recline.
These types of couches are expensive because you’re really buying two types of furniture in one.
Designers and manufacturers have to use more materials to make the couch recline.
That adds cost to its production which means it’s going to sell at a higher value.
The weight of these particular couches also makes them expensive since they’re harder to transport.
Finally, recliner couches can also be quite large.
They’re both tall and wide, especially if it’s a couch with several recliners in it.
Since this type of couch is more advanced and complex, it’s more expensive to make.
Couches that convert into recliners are expensive because of their complex manufacturing process.
7. Transportation Costs
Another major factor that impacts the price of a couch is shipping and transportation costs.
Transporting couches isn’t cheap.
They’re expensive pieces of furniture because you often end up having to pay higher shipping fees, too.
Couches take up a lot of room in a truck.
They’re also very heavy.
They usually require two or three workers to load them into a truck, then deliver them to their destinations.
Those workers then need to unload the couch for the client if they paid for moving services.
Since furniture companies usually need to pay more than one worker, it becomes quite expensive for them.
They pass that cost into a service fee, a delivery fee, or into the price of the couch, itself.
Because couches are large and heavy, it also means they can only fit so many into a truck at a time.
That delays how many deliveries they’re able to make or even how much supply they can get into their warehouses.
With a reduced supply, it makes the price of the available couches more expensive.
8. Brand Name
Couches are also expensive when they come from well-known brand names.
Some furniture makers have a reputation for designing and making luxury furniture, for example.
They have unique designs that you can’t get anywhere else.
Brand names also build a reputation for themselves by producing high-quality products.
Since customers tend to consider it less risky to buy from a well-known furniture maker over someone they don’t know, they’re more willing to pay a more expensive price for it.
While couches are expensive in themselves, they can become even more expensive when you choose to include certain accessories.
For example, if you want your couch to be a sleeper sofa, then that’s going to cost you a lot of money.
It requires the manufacturers to essentially build a bed within the couch that you can easily pull out.
It takes more work in the factory and more design work, too.
Even smaller accessories like cup holders built into the couch or a plug-in station can make your couch more expensive.
The manufacturer has to use more materials to make those cupholders or put in electronics to make the plug-in station.
The more accessories you have on the couch, the more expensive it’s going to be.
10. Customized Couches
This means that customized couches are going to be some of the most expensive couches that you can buy.
A custom couch allows you to choose certain design elements like material type, size, and various accessories.
A lot of luxury couches are custom-made couches because they allow the buyer to design the couch that best suits their needs.
Custom-made couches are more expensive because they spend more time on the assembly line.
It’s not uncommon for certain furniture makers to make custom couches entirely by hand.
Because the labor and production costs of custom couches are so expensive, customized couches are expensive.
Couches are a vital part of any home that wants to offer a comfortable place to sit.
However, due to the factors listed above, buying one can be quite an investment.