Whatever name your family gives it—sofa, settee, divan, davenport—a it’s significant financial commitment. These five steps will help you get the greatest seat for your money.
1. Examine the Frame.
A durable frame ensures a sofa’s longevity. Soft wood, like pine, is inexpensive, but after five years it may distort or sag. Hardwood that costs more, such kiln-dried oak, ash, or beech, is more robust. Avoid using frames made of metal, plastic, or particleboard as they may warp and shatter. Legs shouldn’t just be attached with glue; they should be a component of the frame or secured with screws or dowels (pegs).
Advice: To check the stability of the frame, lift the sofa’s front corner or leg off the ground. The other front leg should have lifted as well by the time you’ve raised it by six inches. The frame has too much give and is fragile if it is still in contact with the ground.
Ask About Joinery 2.
A securely built frame has joints joined by wooden dowels, double wooden dowels, wooden corner blocks (the tag can say corner blocks glued and screwed), or metal screws and brackets.
Tip: Ask your salesperson for written manufacturer information on frame joinery.
3. Examine the Springs
Most couches use pre-built, snaking wire spring units known as sinuous or serpentine springs. They offer good support, but if the metal isn’t heavy enough, they might eventually press on the frame or sag. “Eight-way hand-tied springs” are a common feature of upscale sofas. Some experts believe they are no better than serpentines while being comfortable but pricey. Feel the springs through the upholstery; they ought to be strong and closely spaced. Webbing or mesh sofas with no springs are unpleasant and weak.
Advice: Firmly take a seat on the outer or corner of any sofa you’re thinking about purchasing. Squeaks and creaks could be the result of springs being positioned improperly or colliding with the frame.
4. Check the Fillings
A cheap and simple-to-maintain cushion filling is polyurethane foam. However, low-density foam is softer and degrades more quickly with repeated usage, whereas high-density foam is more resilient but might feel hard. Although slightly more expensive, high-resilient (HR) foam is more pleasant and durable. Although polyester fiber is equally cheap, it flattens out quite soon. Although comfortable, goose and duck feather fillings might clump. The best material is a mixture of feathers and goose down, the soft undercoat of the bird. The combination is deliciously plump, pricey (nearly twice as much as foam), and high maintenance; cushions need to be fluffed frequently. Although a down-poly blend is less expensive, it flattens quickly.
Tip: Here are two comfy, budget-friendly options: HR foam wrapped with a down layer and regular foam
5. Locate Durable Textiles
Durable fabric is necessary for everyday usage sofas. Winners include cotton and linen (although loose weaves should be avoided as they can snag). Synthetic microfiber, which can resemble most fabrics and is stain-resistant, is also fantastic. According to Kathleen Huddy, director of textiles, paper, and plastics at the GH Research Institute, cotton and linen can be treated to be stain-resistant, but even then they aren’t as easy to clean or as durable. Within a year, blends of natural and synthetic fibers start to pill. Wool and leather are attractive and durable yet pricey. Silk is elegant but delicate. Compared to fabrics with printed patterns, fabrics with woven patterns typically last longer.
Tip: Request a larger-sized piece of cloth than the typical swatch from the store. Where the sofa will go, place it there. See how you feel about it after a few days by viewing it in both natural and artificial light.