The challenge of choosing a sofa of good quality and style can be overwhelming ... but it doesn't have to be if you follow these simple steps......
1.) Check the Framing - A good frame is the key to a long lasting sofa. Look for frames made of kiln-dried hardwood ( oak , ash and beech are good examples) Avoid frames made of particleboard , plastic or metal as these can warp and crack. Soft woods , such as pine are typically low cost but may warp in as little as five years.
Tip - To test frame strength , lift one corner or leg of the sofa off the floor. By the time you have raised the sofa 6 inches , the other leg should have risen as well - If it is still touching the floor - the frame has too much give and is weak
2.) Ask About the Joints - A sofa frame with joints connected by any of the following means it is solidly constructed : wooden dowels , double wooden dowels , wooden corner blocks ( corner blocks glued and screwed) metal screws and brackets. Nails or staples might be used for reinforcing the frame - but never purchase a sofa that is soley held together by staples , nails or glue. Make sure to get written manufacturer information on frame joinery.
3.) Test out the Springs - Most sofas on the market are featuring sinuous springs ( also called S-springs or serpentine springs) These springs are units of snaking wire and are nicely supportive depending on the gauge of metal used. If choosing an s-spring sofa make sure to ask about the metal as well as the back springs ( to cut costs , some manufacturers list a sofa as a sinuous spring but the back might still be webbed with mesh - which willnot be as supportive as a spring system) High end sofas often come with an "eight way hand tied spring" system. The main advantage to this system is that the springs are manufactured like a small mattress underneath and give even distribution for weight. The best way to find what is right for you is to make sure to feel the springs through the upholstery - they should be close together and offer support. Sofas without springs - just webbing or mesh will breakdown quickly and are to be avoided.
Tip - Sit down on a corner or edge of the sofa you are considering - If you hear squeaks and creaks this suggests that the springs are not placed well and may be hitting the frame
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4.) Feel the Fillings - Sofa cushions can be made of many things and new innovations are popping up everyday but here are a few tried and true options.. When looking for a cushion filling make sure to ask what your options are ( many manufacturers offer a variety suited to different needs ) Standard cushions are often made with a combination of foam fill and Dacron wrapping and are a great durable option , If you like your seat cushion a bit firmer - you may want to consider an extra firm option - which is similar to a standard cushion just using a higher density foam ( make sure to ask a representative for an HD foam ) , Blend down adds a wrap of down ( usually encased to make sure feathers are not poking through the surface) around a foam cushion - and if you like a more springy or bouncy seat ask about trying a spring down cushion which will have springs encased int he foam surrounded by down . If at all possible do a seat test in a showroom to explore options , everyone sits differently and it is all about finding the right fit for you.
With these tips you will be able to pick the right sofa for your needs and that will stand the test of time.
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