Tips for choosing a sofa
A couch or sofa is a major furniture investment, and one you may live with for decades, so it's important to make a good decision. Style preferences are a personal matter, but when it comes to choosing a good-quality sofa, there are objective criteria you can use to ensure you're getting a sofa you can be happy with for many years.
Check the Fit
There is no sense in considering a couch if it doesn't fit you well. Seats should be comfortable for all members of your family. The primary fit consideration is the depth of the seats. Select deep or shallow seats, depending on your height—the couch back should support your back adequately with your feet flat on the floor and the backs of your knees just slightly forward of the lower seat cushion. And if the couch is where you like to nap, make sure to lay out on the couch and see if it is long enough for comfortable snoozing.
Evaluate the Frame
If your goal is to buy a good sofa, start by learning about the frame. Cheaper sofas may have frames made from particleboard, plastic, or metal, but a good-quality couch will have a solid hardwood frame—preferably a "kiln-dried" hardwood frame made of oak, beach, or ash. Pine frames are cheap, but they often begin to warp and wobble within five years or so.
The legs of the couch should be either integral parts of the frame or held on with screws or dowels. Avoid a couch if the legs are merely glued on.
Consider the Springs
Feel the springs through the upholstery. Good springs will be quite firm and spaced close together for good support. There should be good support without too much give when you sit on the couch.
Feel the Padding
The frame and all the corners of the couch should be well padded. Run your hand over all corners to make sure you can't feel the edges of the frame through the upholstery. If you can, the upholstery may wear through quite quickly, and your couch will not be very comfortable to use.
Evaluate the Upholstery
Quality upholstery may not be critical to the sitting comfort of your sofa, but it is critical to its visual appeal.
Uneven welting and seams that are pulled to one side or another mean that the cover was badly tailored. With fabric upholstery, higher thread counts indicate a denser weave and more durable fabric.
If there are any buttons, check to see that they are sewn on securely. Loose buttons will come off and quickly get lost.
Check the Cushions
Seat cushions should fit snugly within the sofa frame. The cushions should regain their shape after you press down and let go. A cushion that stays put when you press down will be flattened in no time, end up looking unsightly and feel uncomfortable when you sit on it. Cushions that do not fit snugly will also lose their shape quickly and the edges will start looking unsightly.
Measure the Couch (and Your Doorways)
Before you do anything, measure up. Get out the tape measure and make sure you're certain of the maximum sofa dimensions that will fit, and suit, your space. Check that you have enough space to walk around it with ease and that you’ve left enough room for shelves, radiators and other pieces of furniture, as well as the opening of cupboards, doors and windows.
Finally, check the dimensions of any doors andstairwaysthe sofa will have to pass through on delivery – your unscuffed walls will thank you.
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