Ultimate Sofa Buying Guide

7 Best Tips to buy an antique sofa with high value in affordable price

Antique sofa buying guide

How can I tell if my sofa is an antique? Most antique collectors consider a sofa that has survived for more than 150 years with a good condition and hasn’t changed much as an antique sofa.  Some other people consider a sofa with 100 years as an antique one, but the value is also different. The older the sofa the more value it has. And the sofa over 50 years most antique collectors call it a vintage sofa with less value.

An antique sofa has a unique historical impression and adds charm to a room so that the price is very expensive. With a high price, many people reproduce it that makes new sofa looks similar to an antique sofa. That’s why it is very difficult to tell the difference between a sofa made a hundred years ago and a sofa made last year. 

if you buy the wrong one, and you think of an antique sofa when it is actually a reproduction sofa, this is like spending money for nothing. So, how can you tell the difference between an antique and reproduction sofa?

In this article, we will discuss completely the differences between antique and reproduction sofas to make it easier when buying a high-value antique sofa in the future. Here are tips to distinguish antique sofas and reproduction sofas:

1. Check frame, Antique sofa made from high quality wood

The first thing to identify an antique sofa is to thoroughly examine the sofa frame from the sides of the legs, arms and back.

Antique sofas that can last more than a hundred years are made from frames that contain high quality wood. However, it is unlikely that genuine antique furniture is made with the same type of wood. it was very rare for a craftsman to use such precious wood in a place that no one could see. Check the underside of the chair for a different type of wood. If all the wood is the same as the rest of the piece, it’s probably a reproduction.

2. Check tag, marking and serial number on the sofa

Modern sofas are often identified with a maker label usually on the bottom. Turn the sofa over and look for the label or stamp on the fabric. Determining the manufacturer also the potential date range of the item.

A mass-produced sofa, even an expensive antique item, will most likely have a serial number, look for the serial number near the label or marker, then check this number on the company or collector’s website to determine if the sofa is antique or a reproduction.

3. Check joinery. If it using screw and glue, It is definitely Reproduce

Joinery is an invisible element that affects the strength of the sofa. Sofa with quality wood but with glue and screw joints will easily sway and be damaged in a few years.

Generally, antique sofas and furniture have a very strong dovetail joinery. Modern joints including glue or screws identify the sofa as a reproduction. Make sure the wood and construction match so you can tell if the sofa is modified or reproduced

4. Check the engraving details

Antique sofas are hand-carved and not machine-made so they have a unique handmade carving that is different from using machines that have uniform engraving results

19th century sofas have detailed carved finials, roses, thin lines, and intricate legs. And antique sofas from the 20th century are usually upholstered more heavily and have no visible wood elements on the outside of the legs.

5. Check spring and padding

It is very difficult to find an antique sofa that is 100 percent original, most of the antique sofas have been re-coated to keep the appearance elegant, if you can find an antique sofa that is 100 percent original without ever being re-coated of course it has a very high value and the price will be very expensive.

Look at the cushions and springs to see if the sofa is antique or a reproduction. Older sofas should have strong metal frames and horsehair padding. If the sofa is using new polyester foam it is a sign that the sofa is reproduction.

6. Check fabric condition

As I explained earlier, getting an antique sofa that is 100 percent authentic is very difficult and of course very expensive.

If you can’t get a real antique one, you can also reupholster an antique sofa, this might not be a problem. You can reupholster your vintage sofa with velvet which is often used in Victorian sofas or Wool which is sturdy and practical for an early 20th century vintage sofa. You can also cover your sofa with real leather.

7. Review the whole pieces

An antique sofa that is over 100 years old is handcrafted so it has inconsistent details. Check thoroughly to make sure that the antique sofa has a good structure.

One other indication that the sofa is a new product includes consistent colors, factory rounded corners, and modern screws. Another thing to note is that the new cut has a new paint smell.

Do not buy an antique sofa if the wood or upholstery is moldy, badly damaged or the joints are weak because if you buy an antique sofa that is badly damaged, the repair costs will be very expensive or maybe it is impossible to repair.


The steps above are complete enough for you to use as a reference before buying your antique sofa, but there are various questions about finding antique sofas and furniture. We have collected various kinds of questions and answered them in detail.

Where can I buy an antique sofa and furniture?

You can find antique sofas online at Craigslist and online antique stores. You must check the condition of your antique sofa directly and try it before buying it.

you also can find a wide variety of antique furniture and sofas at antique stores and flea markets in your city, so finding vintage furniture is very easy.

Not all antique stores and flea markets sell antique item. sometimes they also sell reproduction sofas, so it is very important to check the condition of the item and give it a try.

How do I know if my antique furniture is valuable?

There are 4 easy steps to find out if the antique sofa you want to buy has high value:

  1. If you’re in doubt about its value. Get an appraisal from the expert.
  2. If the sofa is older it’s more valuable. antique sofas more than 150 years old will be more expensive.
  3. If the sofa is rare item, it will be more valuable and expensive
  4. Has a good quality and condition

How much is an antique fainting couch worth?

If you are interested to buy an antique fainting couch, it will cost you more than $3000.

There are various things that affect the price of an antique sofa.  Rarity of the item, originality, and build quality.

When you buy a rare sofa and it is still original without any big changes, the price will be higher. Antique rare fainting couches with good quality material will cost you more than $5000.

What is the difference between antique and vintage?

Many antique shops consider a sofa over 50 years old as vintage, while a sofa over 150 years old as an antique sofa

Final verdict

If this is your first time buying an antique sofa, distinguishing between reproduction and antique is difficult to begin with. But with a few tries and judgments you will easily tell the difference.

Finding an antique sofa that is original and has never been reupholstered will be very difficult and expensive. However, if you can find it for a good price it can be a very good investment.

Now there is no need to worry that you will be cheated when buying an antique sofa.

With the above guidelines and a few tries you will easily find a very valuable antique sofa.

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