Dear Stumped, thanks so much for your question and for bringing up a topic we've been itching to discuss here on AT Boston: local chain furniture store. You can't watch TV for more than 20 minutes here without seeing a commercial for Bob's, Jordan's, Bernie & Phyl's, or all three. They blab on and on about discounts and can't-beat-em prices but it all makes us wonder what you are paying for.
Some years ago we owned a sofa "set" from one of these places and while the look was "contemporary" and the price fit our limited budget, they were not pieces we wanted to keep (nor were they all that comfy) and we upgraded at the soonest financial convenience. Looking back, we wish we had held onto our money (and our secondhand couch) a little longer to invest in a piece we truly loved, not just something we could afford.
If you're willing to spend $1000 on a single sofa, we would highly suggest taking your time and looking beyond these discount stores. Spend that hard earned money at a store that advertises furniture above IMAX movies and free popcorn. We know Room & Board gets a lot of grumbles because there's not one in Boston but our first "graduate" sofa was the Archer from Room & Board for $1199 and we invested the $20 for a roundtrip bus ride to NYC just to sit on it before we bought it.
We'd love to hear your opinions and experiences on local discount stores vs. higher quality retailers. What was your first "IKEA Graduate" sofa and do you still have it?
Check out these great threads to kick-start your search: