So you need to buy a sofa and don’t know where to start?
Follow these five easy steps and you can’t go wrong.
- Check the Frame. It stands to reason that a sturdy frame will result in a long-lasting sofa. Try to avoid soft woods such as pine that may warp or bow after a relatively short period of time. These woods are low-cost initially but will result in having to replace the item after only a few years. Likewise avoid frames that are made of plastic or particleboard; they also may warp and crack. Pricier hardwoods like oak, walnut or teak are more durable and make sure the frame is held together with dowels and screws and not glue alone.
- Ask about joinery. Traditional methods of furniture construction and joinery include the use of wooden dowels, double wooden dowels and wooden corner blocks. Staples or nails may also be used for extra reinforcement. Make sure to avoid pieces that are held together solely by staples, nails or glue.
- Test the Springs. Nearly all sofas have sinuous, also called serpentine springs. These are usually pre assembled units of snaking wire. If the metal isn’t heavy duty they can often press on the frame or sag over time. When feeling the springs through the upholstery they should be close together and firm. Sofas with no springs and just webbing or mesh can sometimes feel uncomfortable if not made with high quality products.
- Check your fillings: Polyurethane foam is a low-cost, easy-care cushion filling. But the more durable, high-density type can feel hard, and softer, low-density foam deteriorates more rapidly with constant use. High-resilient (HR) foam is slightly more expensive but more comfortable and long-lasting. Polyester fiber is also inexpensive, but it flattens quickly. When choosing your sofa the quality of cushion fillings can vary greatly. For example Flexform is world famous for its sofas with soft, large cushions filled with feathers and down of the highest quality. These materials bring warmth and softness and are of a guaranteed, certified origin.
- Choose your Fabric Wisely. Sofas are one of the most utilised pieces of furniture in the home so they need to have durable fabric. Cotton and linens are always safe options although they can stain easily if not treated for stain resistance. Silk is sleek but fragile. Blends of natural and synthetic fibers can pill within a year. Fabrics with patterns woven in tend to wear better than those with printed patterns. Always check your fabric in both natural and artificial light and ask for a large swatch to view over a number of days.
Happy sofa hunting!