How to choose a sofa

While it is important to get a sofa in just the right colour, it is just as important to get one that will last. Inexpensive furniture can break, pop springs, and look out of shape after a year of constant use. Quality construction will offer years of enjoyment and has enough good “bones” to allow you to recover it periodically.

Choose the style of cushions

First decide if you prefer the look of loose back cushions or attached. Loose cushions give you the option of turning the pillows as needed, while attached backs won’t need fluffing or rearranging. Be sure to sit in the sofa you are considering. Is it comfortable? Are the arms the right height for taking a nap or reading a book?

How many cushions?

How many seat cushions would you like? One cushion offers a clean modern look while two or three are traditional. When you sit on the cushions, do they stay in place or do the corners flare up? Are they attached to the frame with a clip to hold them down?

What style of arm do you like?

Choose an arm style: armless, traditional rolled arm, curved English arm, or a straight Parsons style. The rolled arm has a flat front panel and is often outlined in cording. English style is rounded at the front, with fabric formed into sunburst-type pleats. Straight arm sofas are most often seen in contemporary settings.

Skirted or bare legs?

Do you want a skirted sofa or one with visible legs? Choose from leg styles that vary from heavy square chunks and wide bun feet to more delicate tapered legs or carved and curved formal versions. Legs are usually available in a number of finishes as well.

Understand frame construction

Ask about the construction of a sofa under consideration. The best are made from kiln-dried hardwoods (oak, maple, poplar, etc ), while inexpensive furniture is made from softer pine lumber. Interior construction is important as well. Cheap furniture is stapled together and has haphazardly constructed corner bracing. Better frames are securely screwed together.

Understand seat construction

Find out how the seat support system is made. Often a furniture store will have a cutaway model of the interior of upholstered pieces. Does it have quality eight-way tied springs, or cheaper wire coils?

Choosing the cushion and pillow filling

The cushion and pillow filling are important to the feel of a sofa. Upholstery foam is inexpensive and comes in several thicknesses and weights, however the best cushions have down fillings. All down cushions must be fluffed daily, though another option uses down pads wrapped around a core of foam. Understand these options for the sofa you want and which might be best for you. Are the cushions standard or special order, foam or down?

Choose the fabric

Choose a fabric for your sofa. Chenille is soft and durable while Leather is long-lasting and attractive. Velvets and other fabrics look lovely but may wear out with heavy use over the years. Finally consider options for trimmings. Dress up a sofa with fringed pillows or double welted seams. While these options add to the cost, they also give your piece a one-of-a-kind look. Many furniture manufacturers also offer the option of custom-made slipcovers to give you a seasonal change.

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