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Pros and Cons of Ex-display Sofas

What is an ex-display sofa?

Any furniture shop with physical ‘bricks and mortar’ stores, like Darlings of Chelsea, will have a number of sofas on display at any one time, allowing customers to see the real product before they buy. At the end of a season, these display sofas are usually made available for sale and much-reduced prices, meaning that they often represent an absolute bargain.

Sofas included in an ex-display sale may also included ones that have been returned by customers. This may be because of a defect, which will always be clearly marked, but it could simply be that the sofa didn’t fit or the style turned out to be wrong. In this case, the sofa could be almost as good as new.

What are the advantages of buying ex-display items?

Sofas that have previously been on display can often be heavily reduced, sometimes to as little as half price or even less, for an item that is more or less identical to the full-price piece. They have also, of course, already been made and are in stock in shops, meaning that they can be purchased immediately without the delay that sometimes comes with buying a brand new sofa, especially from a manufacturer that custom-builds to order like Darlings of Chelsea.

Because sofa shops usually want to be able to show customers representative pieces from their whole range, you’re not necessarily limited in choice either. Almost any model could potentially be available on an ex-display sofa sale, including some of the most high-end pieces that can be expensive brand new.

What are the disadvantages of buying a sofa in an ex-display sale?

One of the obvious disadvantages of buying an ex-display sale is that it may have a little wear and tear or fading from being in the shop, where it will have been sat on by customers, moved around, and potentially exposed to direct sunlight. This shouldn’t be too noticeable of course, but ex-display sofas won’t be quite as fresh and new as one straight from the warehouse or custom-built for you.

That leads on to the other issue, of course, which is that with ex-display sofas you are limited to what the sofa shop has on sale, with no flexibility to customise them. Display sofas are often in more neutral and widely-popular colours, which can be a good thing for someone looking to buy one, but if there’s a sofa you particularly want, you’re likely to be limited to the one colour and size that was on display in the shop.

You can also sometimes find that it is hard to buy matching sets, if that is what you want. An ex-display armchair may not have the matching sofa or a second armchair available unless you buy new, or it may even be in a range that is discontinued and so not available at all.

So is it a good idea?

Overall, buying ex-display sofas can be a great way to get premium, designer sofas at a far more affordable price, and without any delay. They may have a little wear and tear, but they would get that in your home eventually anyway. You just have to be prepared to accept that you won’t have quite as much flexibility to choose options, sizes and colours for a given style of sofa.