Sofas are one of the most expensive furniture items and undergo a lot of wear and tear. So it’s worth taking the time to research how it’s been manufactured, to ensure it stays looking good for years.
A solid base
The most important thing to consider is the frame, as it forms the skeleton of the sofa and needs to be robust. A good quality sofa will have a solid, hardwood frame, while cheaper sofas may be made from metal, plastic or particleboard.
Look for woods like oak, ash or beech, particularly those which have been kiln-dried. If you’re considering a vintage style sofa, it’s likely they will be made from hardwood – you can see examples at Vintage Sofa Warehouse.
If you can check the technical specifications, make sure that the frame is joined with wooden corner blocks or dowels, or metal screws or brackets, and not simply assembled with nails, staples or glue. The Furniture & Home Improvement Ombudsman says it’s crucial to ask the right questions before purchasing, to get the best service possible from your furniture.
Fixed legs and arms
The legs should either be an integral part of the frame or be screwed on if the sofa is of good quality. Avoid sofas which have legs which are glued on. Test the arms and lean on them to check they don’t wobble.
Springs are preferable to mesh or webbing as these are not as durable. Look for springs which are close together and are eight-way hand-tied coil systems.
The right stuffing
Lots of people opt for comfortable, overstuffed sofas with plump cushions. But it’s important to find the right balance between a soft foam that is really comfortable and a firmer, more long-lasting foam.
The most common material is polyurethane, but another option is high-resilient foam, which lasts a long time but is still comfortable. You could also consider a hybrid foam, which is high-resilient foam covered in feathers and down. Check that the cushions bounce back when you press on them to make sure they don’t sag.