Choosing furniture for your home is a big deal. It is not only a large monetary investment, but also an investment of your taste and style. You have to be able to live with the furniture you choose. The design and construction of your furniture should be the highest quality available. The fabric and materials need to be beautiful and durable. You will build your décor around certain pieces such as the sofa, and want that piece to be the focal point of your room.
Choosing a new sofa is not that different from test-driving a new car. They look gorgeous on the showroom floor under all the beautiful lighting and feel comfortable when you sit in them. You may not realize that you should kick the tires, and look under the hood a little, check out the chassis and the upholstery before you buy.
Here are some recommendations for choosing the best quality furniture to fit your budget. When shopping for a sofa, no matter what price point, you want to make sure that you are getting value for your money. You want furniture that will perform well over time, and make your investment worthwhile.
Look for sofas made with hardwood frames. Avoid pine and other soft woods as they can sag with wear in a short period of time. Stay away from metal, particle board and plastic as they have a tendency to warp and crack. Look for hardwood frames made of ash, oak or beech wood. Kiln-dried wood is sturdy and durable.
Choose high-density foam or foam wrapped with polyester filling. Low-density foam breaks down easily. Down and loose filling can become lumpy and uneven. More costly down and feathers combined will wear well, but require constant fluffing and turning to avoid becoming compacted. Select your cushion filling based on the amount of wear you expect to put on your new sofa cushions.
As with our car-buying analogy, not all suspension is created equal. There are several types of spring and spring-less construction to consider in your sofa purchase. Sinuous or serpentine springs are common, especially in the lower price bracket. They can be serviceable, but may become bent or sag with wear. They can also catch on the frame, squeak or poke through the bottom. Higher-end sofas are made with 8-way hand-tied springs that wear a bit better, but are an added expense. Do some test-sitting in different areas of the sofa (near the front of the frame and in the front outside corner of the cushion) to listen for squeaks or creaks that would indicate springs rubbing against the wooden frame.
Hardware and Joinery:
This is where the “rubber meets the road” with your new sofa. Look for frames with solid construction and avoid any sofa that has been put together exclusively with staples, nails or glue. Quality construction will be framed with wooden dowels, metal brackets and screws, wood blocks, or double wooden dowels.
The fabric you choose must not only be pleasing to the eye, but also long-wearing, fade resistant, and sewn with quality thread. Avoid linen, silk and cotton fabrics, as they can be delicate and difficult to clean. Opt instead for microfibers, synthetic and cotton blends with strong weaves. Those fabrics with a nap or raised print can snag and wear unevenly. Take care to examine a swatch of fabric in the lighting of your room to be sure that the hue and tone of the color will work with your décor.
In the low end of the price range, look for companies such as Wildon Home and Coaster Fine Furniture or Ekeskog from Ikea. La-Z-Boy and Simplicity Sofas all manufacture sofas at this price point.
$1000 - $3000:
There are many to choose from in this price range. Look at Crate and Barrel, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and IFN Modern for excellent quality, affordable sofas.
High-end sofas from Cisco Home, Ligne Roset and B&B Italia are among those that sell the best high-end designs with excellent quality manufacturing.
With the right questions asked, and an eye towards function and longevity, you can find a sofa in your price range that will be a delight to live with.