8 Tips for Picking the Perfect Sofa

8 Tips for Picking the Perfect Sofa

by Sushant Mehta

A new sofa is one purchase you wouldn’t want to take lightly. That’s because it’s a major investment, one with which you may live for years (if not decades). You probably have a style in mind, but if this is the first time you’re purchasing couch or if you experienced buyer’s remorse the last time you bought one, you may be looking for a bit of help or a little direction.

If so, don’t worry. We’ve you covered. In this post, we’ll be discussing top 8 tips for choosing a great sofa.

So let’s get rolling.

  1. Consider Comfort

There’s hardly any sense in buying a wonderfully-looking sofa if it isn’t comfortable to sit.

Make sure seats are comfortable for all members of the family. In case you want to purchase a reclining sofa, ensure it is comfortable in every position. The main consideration is the seat depth. Pick shallow or deep seats according to your height.

Also, ensure the couch back offers adequate support to the back when your feet are flat on the floor. And in case you like napping on the couch every now and then, lay out on the shortlisted sofas to check if it’s spacey and cozy enough for snoozing.

  1. Measure up

There’s nothing worse than buying furniture which doesn’t fit into your home. Therefore, before you check out other tips, first measure up to find out the maximum couch dimensions that will fit your space and look comfortable.

Experts recommend measuring the width as well as the depth. Also, consider the height of the cushion in case your room has shelving or radiators.

An easy way to check if your couch is going to fit the space in your home is to cut out the shape of the couch from newspaper and then place it on the floor of your living room. This will help you check if you have ample space to walk around and enough room to put shelves, other furniture pieces, and radiators, as well as for the opening of windows, cupboards, and doors.

Lastly, check if you will be able to get the sofa through the doorway. Many sofas come with detachable legs, which make delivery simpler. Sometimes, it’s possible to remove the door from the hinges to provide more space to get a large sofa through. Measure the dimensions of all doorways before you make a purchase. You may have a dream couch in mind, but you have to be practical too.  

  1. Check the Frame

You can easily replace cushions and upholstery fabric when they get worn. However, you can’t call a piece of furniture high quality unless its inner frame is solid and durable.

More than anything, it’s the inner frame that separates quality sofas from cheap ones. If your ultimate goal is to bring home a sofa that lasts a long time, you need to learn a bit about the inner frame.

Inexpensive sofas usually have frames built from plastic, metal, or particleboard, none of which are particularly durable. On the other hand, a top-quality sofa usually boasts a hardwood frame made of beach, ash, or oak. Pine frames may save you a few bucks in the short run, but they typically start to wobble and wrap in five to seven years.

Another thing to consider is the legs of the sofa. They should be either held on using dowels or screws or an integral part of the frame. If they are just glued on, the couch is not likely to be very durable.

A simple test can help you determine if a couch is weak. Lift one front leg or corner about 6” off the floor. In case the other front corner or leg doesn’t quickly lift up on its own, that’s a sure sign the couch’s frame is twisting, and as such is weak.

  1. Evaluate the arms

When you test a sofa, don’t forget to pull hard on its arms to check if it wobbles. Apart from the upholstery, the part of the couch that fails most common is its arms, especially in a home with young children.

  1. Check how the frame parts are joined

How the different parts are joined together may not be visible to the naked eye, but the sales representative or the printed specifications can throw light on this subject. Opt for frames joined with wooden corner blocks, wooden double dowels, wooden dowels, or metal brackets or screws. Avoid a couch that has been assembled with just nails, glue, or staples, though these might be used for providing extra reinforcement.

  1. Feel the Springs

Speaking quality-wise, there are three types of springs used in a couch. The cheapest ones are actually not springs but simply mesh or webbing. Sofas that have these springs are neither comfortable nor durable. Avoid them like a plague if your top priority is to buy a long-lasting piece of furniture.

The majority of sofas use serpentine springs (also called zigzag or superloop springs). S-shaped and made of steel wire, these springs offer nice support, but you may find them sagging over time in case the metal used is not heavy gauge.

Top-of-the-line sofa uses a suspension system that’s known as 8-way hand-tied system. Long considered the gold standard of couch suspension, it is extremely comfortable and expensive. Some experts argue that this type of spring is not better than serpentine springs when it comes to comfort, but you be the judge.

  1. Consider the Padding

The next thing to consider is the padding. The frame should be nicely padded, and the same goes for all the corners. A simple test to check the padding quality is to run a hand over the corners. If you can feel the edges, it’s a sign that the sofa may not be very comfy and the upholstery may not last long.

  1. Consider the Cushions

Sofa cushions must have three qualities. They must be resilient and firm, fit snugly within the couch frame, and regain their shape when you press down and let go.

A cushion that doesn’t fit snugly is likely to lose its shape fairly quickly. As a result of which, the edges will start appearing unattractive and ugly. On the other hand, if the cushion doesn’t regain its shape after it is pressed down, that means it will get flattened out quickly and become uncomfortable to sit and ungainly to look at.

So which is the best material for sofa cushions—polyurethane foam or high-resilient foam?

Polyurethane foam lasts a very long time but may be too hard. Or if it is soft, it tends to break down fairly quickly. On the other hand, high-resilient foam offers the best of both words—comfort and durability.

Wrapping Up

A couch is a big purchase, and picking wisely means you’ll be spending money on a piece of furniture that will last you many years. Keep the tips discussed in this post in mind, and you’ll be fine.

Frequently asked Questions

  1. How do I get a comfortable sofa?

From picking a quality frame to taking measurements, here are top 4 things that you must keep in mind:

  • Measure up. Make sure the sofa you pick is suitable for the space in your living room and will comfortably pass through doorways.
  • Invest in a strong and durable frame. Quality couches usually have a hardwood frame made of beach, ash, or oak.
  • Check the cushions. Sofa cushions should be resilient and firm and snug nicely.
  • Comfort factor. The sofa you pick should be comfortable for all the members of your family. 
  1. What is the most durable fabric for a sofa?

This is a debatable question (if ever there was one). Having said that, most experts agree canvas and microfiber are among the most durable furniture fabrics. You can also consider linen and cotton, since they too are very strong, but make sure they are woven tightly.

  1. What makes a good quality sofa?

A quality sofa is one that is great to look at, comfortable to sit, and long-lasting. When picking a couch, make sure it has all three qualities.





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