You may find yourself looking for a new quality sofa and see what looks like two identical pieces of furniture—but one can be hiding the facts on how long it will hold up and retain the stability and shape for years to come. Test the following areas to determine if you are looking at a well-made sofa, or an imposter that is of poor workmanship.
Test the Frame
The most important feature of furniture is its “bones,” meaning the frame of the piece. You want the frame to hold up for many years of sitting, lying and put up with the activities of your children or pets that are full of energy.
The Type of Wood
The sturdiest type of frame is manufactured from kiln-dried hardwood. Hardwoods include oak, cherry, maple, walnut and other trees with deciduous leaves, meaning that they loose their leaves generally in the fall. Kiln drying is a specialized process to remove all of the moisture from wood to enable it retain its shape and stability for many years to come. Green wood that is not kiln dried can crack and shrink as it dries. Soft woods break and bend easily and knotted wood often cracks over time. You may love the look of knotty pine furniture for its beauty, but it won’t last very long in your sofa.
Examine the Joints
High-quality furniture frames have the sturdiest joints that are given special attention for a long-lasting product. The joints will be attached with dowels, glue and screws to make certain they do not separate, as lesser quality furniture does. Each of the corners underneath a couch should have reinforcing wooden blocks to add strength and support to the piece.
You know you are looking at an inferior frame if it is made of particleboard or plywood, in addition to being fastened together with staples. However, if you are set on a particular piece of furniture that is made of plywood, you can choose one with many layers in the construction of the frame and it will be longer lasting than a single layer.
Quality of Seating Support
You definitely want to purchase a new sofa that feels really comfortable so it will be used often. The seating support also works with the frame and the filling to form an overall quality. You need a sturdy frame to anchor the seating support and the filling in the seat. Always test this aspect of new furniture by sitting on it before you purchase it. Quality seating doesn’t sag and it also has good support in both the back and the seat.
The best support system you can find includes the eight-way hand tied version. Each spring is connected to the adjoining spring with strong twine, which then passes front to back, side to side and finally diagonally in both directions to tie each spring securely to the framework.
Sinuous spring construction includes the use of “S”-shaped springs that run from the front to the back of the seating area. Each spring is supported by wires that cross back and forth side to side. This is also a strong seating option and it is preferred in a modern, sleek style or on a smaller frame, as it requires less space.
Web suspension includes bands of webbing that cross the seat and back of a sofa. The webbing is then attached to the frame creating a platform area for the cushions. Webbing can be either natural or man-made fiber but doesn’t offer very good support on its own. In some of the higher quality sofas, a tensioner fastens the webbing to the frame in a secure fashion, but it is still the least preferred seating support in furniture.
Cushion Filling Choices
The most common sofa cushion filling is high-density polyurethane. The higher the density of this filling, the firmer the cushions will feel when you sit on them. You may find foam cushions that are wrapped in cotton or a softer material, such as Dacron wrapped foam, which is the cheapest option and will not last long.
High-density foam is important as lesser quality foams start to break down quickly, cause sags in the seating and the fabric begins to loosen and wrinkle on the cushions.
The best cushions are made of down. They are the premium choice of furniture seekers and of course the most expensive. The construction of the cushions includes down proof ticking under the upholstery fabric that prevents small feathers from pricking through it. Cushions that are filled with down alone are high-maintenance and need attention almost daily to adjust the down inside of them.
Down plus other materials is a good choice, but also expensive for sofa cushions. Some include pads of Dacron polyester fiber and down together, know as Blendown pads that are then wrapped in high-density foam.
Blendown pads can also be used with springs wrapped in high-density foam, resulting in a soft surface with strong support on the interior. This option helps the cushions to retain their shape and is a good option in seat cushions.
Use these tips to find the perfect sofa for your home. Quality isn’t cheap, but it will last a long time while retaining its shape and staying soft and comfortable. Consider buying the best quality sofa that you can afford for quality workmanship that lasts.