When it comes to a couch, quality matters. No matter what you call it – couch, sofa, divan – it is probably one of the most important pieces of furniture in your living area. Your loved ones and guests spend a lot of time here, so you want to select a piece of furniture that can stand up to the challenge.
Here are a few tips from the experts at Nöel Home for evaluating the quality of your next couch:
The frame of a couch supports the entire structure. This is what defines the sturdiness and longevity of your sofa. A strong frame requires both strong materials and strong joints.
Kiln-dried hardwood that has had all the moisture taken out to avoid warping and cracking is a great choice for long-lasting furniture. Hardwood is slower-growing, densely grained wood like poplar, maple, alder, teak and walnut. More expensive than softwoods like pine, they are much more durable and offer a better foundation for joints, nails, glue and staples.
Another common material for strong framing is engineered hardwood. BUT, keep in mind all engineered hardwood is not created equal. Experts agree that you should avoid MDF (medium density fiberboard) at all costs. It doesn’t hold hardware like nails and staples well and can quickly become wobbly and unstable. Rather, look for engineered, furniture-grade (grade A) plywood.
In addition to the frame material, be sure to consider the joints. Even if the material is strong, poor joints will eventually become unstable. Look for features like mortise and tenon joints – the strongest method – or double dowels; corners reinforced with blocks; and other reinforcements like screws, staples and glue. Watch out for unstable connections like butt joints, attached with only glue, screws or metal connectors.
While powerful stability is critical to the durability of your couch, we all agree, it must be comfortable, too! The construction of the seating support will affect how comfortable it is.
Top-of-the-line manufacturers often utilize eight-way, hand-tied springs construction to create their support. This advanced spring system requires a highly skilled craftsman’s touch. Hand-tied coils are tied from side to side, front to back, and diagonally in eight different directions. This expert, labor-intensive technique creates flexibility, support, comfort and durability. Couches with this construction are usually more expensive, but worth the investment.
Another common spring system used in couch construction is sinuous springs. Sinuous-spring construction is characterized by heavy-gauge steel wires formed into vertical s-shaped coils attached to run perpendicular to the front of the sofa. They are attached to the inside of the sofa foundation with clips, fasteners and horizontal tie rods. Well-made sinuous-spring construction resist shifting and sagging, providing both comfortable and long-lasting quality.
Other less desirable support includes web suspension, drop-in coils and pocket coils. The web suspension construction may be more comfortable than spring design, but they typically don’t last as long. The coil systems may squeak or fail to distribute weight evenly, resulting in deteriorating support over time.
Whether you love sinking into a cloud-like cushion or prefer the support of a firmer seat, there are a variety of quality cushion fillers to consider.
Goose or duck feather down cushions offer that uber-soft experience. You can also find combinations of down blends that surround a firmer foam-based core if you want more support. Look for channeled envelopes that help keep the down more evenly distributed. Avoid these if you have allergies. As with any down product, be prepared to regularly rotate, flip and fluff!
High-density foam of at least 1.8 lb density will offer a firmer foundation. Most sofas today are made with poly-wrapped foam, a supportive, high-response material that retains its shape over time. A highly resilient foam center is surrounded with down-proof ticking and an outer polyester wrap. This results in an easy-to-care-for cushion that does not require fluffing.
Innerspring core cushions are built into the couch frame and are note removable. This is the type of cushion uses the pocket-coil suspension system mentioned above. It offers a bouncier seat but can be squeaky if coils are misaligned or poorly connected.
Memory foam offers durability and firmness, but because of its strong form-fitting qualities, it us usually combined in layers with other foams and material like fibers and gels to offer a more supportive balance.
Whether your aesthetic is contemporary or classical, these tips can help ensure that your next couch is top quality. Better yet, give our designers a call and let us help you discover the perfect, high-quality couch to complement your décor and take your living space to the next level. Drop by the Nöel Home showroom or schedule an appointment today!