No doubt you’ve heard that old chestnut, “You get what you pay for,” time and time again. Well you can rest assured that when it comes to furniture, particularly a piece that gets as much use as a sofa, hunting down what seems like a bargain may make you happy in the short term, but will most likely leave you frustrated over time.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when shopping for a sofa is trying to buy what they think they can afford, or view a potential purchase from the perspective of, “Well, this is going to go into a room that gets ‘beat up’ by my children or pets, so I should buy a piece that is inexpensive and of a lesser quality.” That is exactly the opposite of what they should do. People should be thinking, “I want to buy an item of premium quality so it doesn’t deteriorate or show wear as quickly.” Bottom line – better quality furniture will last longer.
Think of the mechanic who works on your car, he probably doesn’t buy his wrenches and sockets at a discount store because these are his tools he uses every day and they are important to him. He needs to know he can count on them to function properly so he is going to pay more, knowing he needs his tools to perform and last.
People typically approach buying a new sofa with the mindset that they want it to fit into a particular price point, rather than deciding to buy a high-quality piece and then figuring out how to pay for it. We get it, people want to save money, but with available payment options such as financing and layaway, consumers are far better off spending a little more to buy something that is of premium quality. The reality is that they will actually save money in the long run because the piece will last far longer, and not require replacing as soon as a lesser-quality product.
When it comes to comparing sofas, it isn’t always easy to tell which furniture is well-made, and which manufacturers are cutting corners. Even a name brand that you recognize may not be of the same quality it was a few decades ago, while a piece of furniture made by a brand you’ve never even heard of might be the best value. This is why it is important to know a few key things to look for before you start shopping for your next sofa.
5 Tips for Buying a Sofa
- Hardwood Frame
The best frames are made from kiln-dried hardwoods, such as oak or maple, that won’t warp or twist. Kiln drying removes all moisture from the wood, which allows it to retain its strength and stability over a longer period of time. It’s best to avoid plywood and particleboard frames, especially if they are held together with staples. However, if you do choose a sofa with a plywood frame, make sure it has at least 11-13 layers.
- Coil-Spring Sofa
Spring construction is what creates the foundation for a durable and comfortable sofa. As a consumer, you will want to know what the springs are made of, how they are supported under the seat, and how they are secured to the frame. The best support is provided by eight-way, hand tied coils, where each coil is tied and knotted in eight different directions to other springs, and then tied to the frame with strong twine. Another good option is sinuous spring construction. Sinuous springs are shaped like an “S” and run from the front of the seat to the back. They are supported by additional wires that cross from side to side. Furniture of lesser quality will only have 5 or 6 coils per cushion, if they even use coils.
- Corner Block and Dowel Frames
Look for sofas that are double-doweled at all major joints, as it will keep the joints from loosening and pulling apart. In addition, make sure the corner blocks that reinforce the frame are both glued and screwed into place. If blocks are only stapled in place they can pull away from the frame.
- Quality of seat cushion foam on sofa
One common cushion filling is polyurethane foam, which is a low-cost and easy-care cushion. But the more durable, high-density foam can feel too hard, and softer, low-density foam tends to deteriorate quickly with frequent use. A good choice is high-resilient foam – it is slightly more expensive, but more comfortable and long-lasting. You will also want to look for a foam density rating of at least 1.8 pounds. Better quality sofa cushions tend to have density ratings ranging from 1.8 to 2.5.
- Wear-tested fabrics
If your sofa is for everyday use, as so many are, you will want to select a durable fabric. Some of the best choices are cotton, linen and synthetic microfiber, which can mimic most fabrics and is stain resistant. Another excellent choice for sofas that will be in high-traffic areas is Sunbrella, which is 100% acrylic, stain resistant, cleans with water and is good for families with small children or pets.
Don’t make the mistake of skimping on your next sofa. Carefully evaluate your options and choose the best sofa you can afford, not one that will leave you uncomfortable and frustrated in just a few years. If you are overwhelmed with all of the options available, don’t worry, the expert team members at the Furniture Superstore are available to answer all of your questions and help you select the best sofa for you.
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