A sofa is the centrepiece of any living area It occupies. You may just have one or two in your living room, where you likely have children running about or entertaining friends and family. You may have one in a lounge room where you and your guests can chill over drinks. Whatever room and purpose you intend for your sofa. A good quality sofa can last you upwards of 15 years if you cherish and maintain it well. Here are some of the major points to consider when you decide to set out on buying a new sofa.
1. Size of the Sofa
Measure up your intended room for the sofa. The sofa is a large furniture piece and will take up a lot of room in which they sit. A good way to see what kind of size you are after is to mark out the area which you plan to have the sofa take up. This can be done by using easily removable tape or laying out old sheets of newspaper.
Consider the various dimensions that will be of importance to you, not just the length of the sofa. Will you have enough space to move around with the sofa in this area? Does this work with the existing furnishings in the room? Does the height of the sofa make it awkward to place against the wall with a window?
Most importantly also is to make sure you measure any doorways that you will have to get through to your intended room. One of the most common reasons for furniture returns is that pieces are often too large to move into their home! Make sure you do not get caught out by first taking note of these measurements.
Our Newport 3 seater sofa has a sturdy birch frame with solid hardwood legs
2. Structure of the Frame
The frame is what a sofa’s foundations are built upon. This is the aspect of the sofa that will determine its lifespan, so you want to make sure that the sofa has a solid foundation upon which it is built. A solid reliable frame will always be constructed with reliable hardwood that has been kiln dried. The joinery holding the frame together should also be good quality.
Cheaper sofa manufacturers often opt for more affordable materials to bring the cost down. Instead, they would be using pine, or other soft or green timbers, these frames will be more prone to warping. Similarly, instead of using much more reliable wooden dowels and screws and solid metal brackets, these manufacturers will cut down their costs by using less reliable methods such as nails, staples, and glue to hold the frame together.
Good ways to test frame quality for yourself is to stress test major failure points on the sofa, such as the arms. Lifting one of the front legs and seeing how much you can raise it before the other front leg lifts off the ground will give a good indication of how weak and prone to flex the frame is. A good frame will be able to have both legs raised within 12 CM of the first leg lifting.
3. Importance of the Fabric
The sofa will be an important centrepiece of your living area. This will be a piece of furniture that you will be styling the rest of your room around. You should opt for a sofa that will suit the planned colour scheme of your room. Most people will opt for a safe grey or beige that can blend into most colour palettes. This sofa is going to be sitting in the room for many years to come, so pick your colour wisely!
Watch out for tell-tale signs of poor quality in the fabric as well. Are there any signs of mismatched patterns? Do all the stripes line up perfectly at the seams? Do the seam lines run straight? Are the buttons (if present) sewn on securely? These are all things you should be looking out for when examining the sofa fabric.
4. Quality of the Cushioning
The comfort factor of your new sofa will be determined by its cushioning. Great quality high-resilience foam will make for a longer lasting cushion for the sofa. Things to take into consideration when choosing a cushion firmness will be a balance between the purpose and desired quality. Softer foams are certainly more comfortable but will break down more quickly than firm and hard foams, which will not be as comfortable. Nowadays, there are many who opt for blends of foam and down feather, these require constant fluffing to maintain their comfort levels if you are willing to put in the work!
Also take note on what your sofa will be used more for. You may wish to pick something firmer to sit on only or you may prefer a softer cushioning for a sofa you foresee will be lounged upon a lot. There is no right answer here on the correct firmness, as long as we are using high-resilience foam.
5. Quality of the Springs
A well sprung sofa is one that has its springs spaced closely together with a heavy gauge spring. Manufacturers that cheap out on this will often opt for lower gauge springs and poorer quality metal, which will sag and break easily in a short amount of time. You can find examples where mesh or webbing is used in place of springs, these are things you want to avoid in a long-lasting piece of furniture.
Good quality springs should not provide much give, but you also should not be able to feel them through the cushioning. They work with one another to provide you the best support and comfort in the sofa.
Caring for your sofa. Maximise your lifespan.
The sofa is a piece that will last over 15 years if well cared for. You should most definitely follow the care directions from the manufacturer to get the most out of your investment for the home. Clean the fabric or leather with appropriate products and be sure not to use any harsh substances to clean. For any assembling that was done post-purchase, make sure that they are retightened every so often, for example, most sofas will require legs to be assembled on to save space on shipping.
The lifespan of a good frame will most certainly exceed that of the rest of the components. Consider re-upholstering and replacing the foam to affordably give your sofa new life!