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Sofa Buying Guide

The global furniture market will be worth $718.3 billion by 2025. This tells you that when buying a sofa, you’ll come across many different designs and sizes. Sofa makers are out to give consumers a large variety to choose from to meet their preferences.

When buying a sofa, your choice should be guided by the use of the couch. In determining the usage, ask yourself it the sofa will be used for everyday activities. You also need to consider the sofa users.

For example, for a tall person, it’d be ideal to go for a deep seating sofa. People with knee problems would do well with a shallow seating sofa with a tight back. Getting from a seated position would be much easier for such people.

If you make the right choice, a good-quality sofa can last for several years. Let’s get into more details about buying a sofa.

1. What Is the Best Sofa Shape for You?

Once you’ve determined the use and users of the sofa, the next thing to think about is the shape. For relaxation, a cushy sofa with loose pillows would be ideal. A sofa with arms lower than the back is a versatile choice for formal and informal settings.

Camel-back shaped sofas are more commonly used in formal and traditional settings. They’ve got a curvilinear shape, tight back, and shallow seating.

Sofa Camelback
Sofa Camelback

Other sofas are sectional, featuring a solid construction, clean lines, and a luxurious finish. For more comfort, your sectional sofas should be able to recline.

2. Sofa Dimensions

One of the factors that determine the size of your sofa is the size of your room. The sofa shouldn’t be too big that it overshadows the room. Once you place it at your selected position, it shouldn’t disrupt the flow of traffic.

Sofa measures 80″ to 100″ inch in size. A loveseat measures 56″ to 70″. The size of the sofa is measure from left to right.

A sofa with a tight back works well in a room with limited space. Its low profile compensates for the lack of space. Sectional sofas would be a better fit for larger areas. Small-scaled sectionals can also work in smaller spaces.

3. Sofa Seat Depth & Height

Most sofas have an average seat depth of at least 24 inchs. This is plenty of room for maneuvering by both tall and short people. However, sear depths differ depending on the make.

Try out different styles and shapes before buying a sofa to ensure you get good support.

Most seat heights are between 45 and 50 cm. What you settle for is purely a matter of personal choice. Try them out to test what would be comfortable for the whole family. Check the width of the sofa minus the armrests to see if you can stretch out.

4. What Type of Sofa Seat Cushion?

The attractiveness of a sofa is not just on the design and shape. A beautifully made sofa with poorly made cushions will disappoint you. Two main types of cushions are feather-filled and foam or fiber fillings.

The feather-filled ones are highly comfortable but require frequent plumping. Foam or fiber cushions lose their comfort over a short period. It’s recommendable to go for a combination of feather and foam.

The foam will give the cushion its structure, while the feathers will make them firm.

5. Different Types of Sofa Fabrics

A sofa will only maintain its good look if it has the best quality fabric. Fabric types you can choose from when buying a sofa include bold colors, neutral, or patterned fabric. The kind of material you choose has a significant impact on your room.

If possible, go for colors and themes that complement your scheme and interior décor.

As a tip, note that natural fabrics tend to fade when exposed to intense sunlight. As such, go for synthetic ones, especially if you’ll place the couch near a window.

Consider your family members. If you’ve got pets, choose a fabric that’s easy to spot clean. This is where loose covers may come in handy because they’re easy to remove for cleaning.

For sofas that’ll be used frequently, consider using high maintenance fabrics like silk.

Microfibers are an ideal choice for use in dense usage areas. They look attractive and are also very easy to clean. Textured fabrics are less prone to wear and tear than the smooth types.

Go for leather if you’re looking for longevity. Leather fabrics are now more diverse in terms of colors and textures.

Basic Fiber Categories

Upholstery fabrics are main of two distinct types of fibers; plant-based and man-made ones.

Plant Based Fibers

These are derived from plants, with the two best-known ones being cotton and linen fabrics.

1. Velveteen Fabric 

Velveteen, also known as velveret, is a fabric that’s mostly cotton. It’s made in a way to imitate velvet by mixing silk and cotton. The fabric is made up of a pile that alternates with a depression, not more than 3mm deep.

In comparison to true velvet, velveteen is doesn’t drape easily, has less sheen, and a greater body.

Velveteen Sofa
Velveteen Sofa

2. Chenille Fabric

Chenille is made from cotton but can sometimes be derived from synthetic products like polyester. The fabric is soft and attractive and can last very long if taken care of the right way. The texture of the fabric entails raised loops of yarn known as pile.

You’ll come across both tightly and loosely woven chenille fabrics. The tightly woven ones are more durable. Avoid cleaning the fabric with water as this leaves the piles flattened.

To add to the fabric’s durability, the chenille is pretreated to resist stains.

Chenille Sofa
Chenille Sofa

3. Waffle Suede

Waffle suede is a fabric derived from cotton or microfiber and woven on a loom. It’s also commonly known as honeycomb fabric. The texture of the fabric resembles culinary waffle.

Other qualities of the fabric include absorbent, and it allows air to flow through easily, making it dry up quickly. It comes in a range of weights, which you can choose depending on your preferences.

4. Linen-Like

Linen-like is the other plant-based fiber that is closely similar to cotton. It’s available in a variety of grades, with some as fine as silk. Linen isn’t resilient and is prone to wrinkles, making it ideal for blending with other fibers.

The good thing with linen is that it doesn’t fade from much light and is highly resistant to insects. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tolerate high humidity, mold, and mildew. You can easily dry-clean, hand-wash, or iron linen fabrics.

Linen Like Sofa
Linen Like Sofa

Animal-Based Natural Fibers

Animal-based fibers are expensive to produce, but the end product is classic. Silk and wool are the two conventional animal-based fibers.  

1. Tweed-Like 

Tweed is made from woolen fabric with a rough texture. However, once woven, the process makes it soft and flexible, resembling cheviot or homespun. The weaving design resembles twill or herringbone fabric.

The colors of the fabric are obtained by dyeing the wool before spinning it. The fabric gives your sofa an iconic traditional Irish or Scottish look. It’s moisture resistant and highly durable with the ability to withstand harsh climates.

Tweed Like Sofa
Tweed Like Sofa

2. Silk

Silk is produced by silkworms and is a symbol of luxury. When reeled, it comes out as smooth and shiny, while spun silk has more texture. The end product is not only beautiful but also very strong and durable if not exposed to sunlight for long.

The fabric can be cleaned with a mild detergent or dry cleaned. Ensure to dry it properly to prevent mildewing.

3. Wool

Wool is obtained from sheep fleece, and its texture can range from soft to hard. Its wrinkle and soil-resistant and withstands sunlight, abrasion, and mildew. Upholstery fabric made from wool is usually blended with synthetic fibers.

The end product is durable but relatively expensive.

Human-Made or Synthetic Fibers

The most commonly used upholstery fibers are the human-made ones. They come in a wide range of possibilities concerning texture, patterns, and colors. The best thing about them is that they hold up well to all kinds of wear and tear.

1. Leatherette

Leatherette is a synthetic material made to resemble leather. It’s also referred to faux leather, synthetic leather, or pleather. Made from natural or synthetic cloth fibers, leatherette is coated in polyurethane.

Remember there are no animal by-products in leatherette. Hence, there are some considerable differences between this fabric and real leather.

Sofa Leatherette
Leatherette Sofa

2. Bonded Leather

It’s a blend of animal hide and fibers. It’s blended with a polyurethane binder, embossed with a texture that closely resembles real leather.

The process of manufacturing bonded leather entails shredding leather fiber and leather scraps. They’re later bonded with bonding materials and given an artificial coating and texture to resemble real leather.

Bonded leather is environmentally friendly and highly cost-efficient. Ensure you give it the best care quality to protect it from damage.

Bonded Leather Sofa
Bonded Leather Sofa

3. Coated Microfiber 

Coated microfiber leather also refers to microfiber polyurethane, which is a type of synthetic leather. The material that makes the fabric is non-woven fabric coating, with a layer of high-performance PU resins.

The fabric feels like real leather, is wear-resistant, light, washable, eco-friendly, and resists abrasion. Its qualities make it highly outstanding in flex endurance, uniformity, and ease of cutting and sewing.

Coated Microfiber Sofa
Coated Microfiber Sofa

4. Dobby

Dobby is produced through weaving on the dobby loom, characterized by extra texture and geometric patterns. The weft and warp threads may be the same color. In most fabrics, satin threads are most commonly used for their effectiveness in threading.

Dobby fabric is long-lasting, appealing, an easy to maintain.

Dobby Sofa
Dobby Sofa

5. Acetate

Acetate is made from cellulose acetate and comes with a luxurious look and feel. Its strong luster makes it easy to dye the fabric. Its resistance to wrinkling, shrinkages, and mildew makes it a good blend to impart softness and luster.

Acetate is used to make most novelty fabrics, taffetas, and lining.

6. Microsuede 

Microsuede is an excellent alternative to suede. It’s made from 100% polyester, is easy to care for, and very soft to the touch. The fabric is very durable, stain resistant and stylish.

Microsuede comes in a variety of colors to suite your upholstery needs.

Microsuede Sofa
Microsuede Sofa

7. Polyester and Microfiber

Microfiber is a blend of polyamide and polyester. Both fabrics can range from bright to a dull sheen, and the feel can range from soft to crisp. They’re highly resistant to abrasion, mildew, and sunlight, as well as soiling and wrinkling.

As such, they’re ideal for use for outdoor fabrics. Polyester is excellent in blending with other fibers like cotton, producing a silk-like appearance.

With all these fabrics types, you can never go wrong when buying a sofa.

Microfiber Sofa
Microfiber Sofa

6. Check The Sofa Frame

If you don’t have money to buy a quality frame, don’t rush the process of buying a sofa. You’d rather take your time to save for the cost. A good frame will last you a lifetime and remain aesthetic.

Manufactures who are confident about the quality of their furniture will give you a guarantee for many years. Look for a solid hardwood frame. Be wary of metal construction, plastic and particleboard frames that signify cheap quality sofas.

The legs of the sofa should form an integral part of the frame, or be held with screws or dowels. Glued legs will easily come off, and you’ll end up with additional costs.

An excellent way to test the frame construction is to lift the sofa off the floor. Lift one leg or front corner to a height of about 6 inches and observe the other leg. If it doesn’t lift rise off the floor too, avoid the seat.

That’s an indication that the frame is weak, especially if it twists or creaks under this test.

7. Test the Armrests

Don’t rest at testing the legs of the sofa. Testing the arms of the couch is also essential. Forcefully test them to make sure they’re firmly fixed and they won’t give way when you rest against them.

The most common area of failure for households with children is the arms, followed by the upholstery.

8. Check the Springs

The springs that hold the cushions on the couch are available in three distinct designs. The first ones are those made from mesh or webbing. They provide a comfortable feel and are supportive enough to give your sofa lasting support.

The other design is the sinuous springs, which are snaking wires that extend the gap between frame members. They’re also well supportive, but they may sag over time since the metal isn’t heavy-gauge.

The third design is the type of springs is known as eight-way hand-tied springs. Their level of comfort is top-notch, but they are equally expensive.

Although some people dispute the level of comfort between hand-tied and twisted ones, you can make the decision yourself. Test and feel all the springs before buying a sofa.

Good springs will feel firm and well-spaced together for maximum support. When you sit on the couch, it shouldn’t give too much.

9. How Is the Padding?

The padding around the frame of the sofa needs to be well fixed. Run your hand over all the corners to ensure you can’t feel any naked edges of the frame. The padding should also be consistent, without some parts being more padded than others.

10. Test the Operating Mechanisms

If you’re buying a recliner or sleeper, check that its mechanisms are in good working condition. Operate it repeatedly and aggressively to see how smooth and easy it is to use. Keep in mind that motion furniture is more expensive.

Don’t overlook any mechanical glitches, no matter how trivial. They’ll only become more pronounced with continued use at home.

Buying a Sofa – Take Away

Buying furniture for your home is probably one of the most significant investments you’ll make for your home. You may live with what you buy for decades, and this is why you need to choose wisely. Buying a sofa isn’t something you do every day, and what you buy reflects your personality.

Sofas come with many qualities that you need to consider carefully. The frame quality, fabric, cushions, and size are essential. Even if you’re on a budget, check to see that the design and shape of your sofa is something that suits your lifestyle.

The use of the sofa will dictate the style you choose. Sofas for formal settings differ from those you place in traditional or informal settings. Choose carefully, buy a sofa that’ll last longer, and get value for your money.

If you’re looking for the right sofa, be sure to browse our collection.

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