A sofa is one the biggest investments made in a home. One can spend as little as a few hundred dollars or as much as a few thousand, yet a price tag is not always a sign of quality. When selecting a sofa it is smart to know what to look for to ensure a well-constructed comfortable piece, regardless of the budget.
When shopping for a sofa, start by checking the construction of the frame by picking it up at one end and observing the center. A well-constructed frame will feel heavy and the center should be level with no sagging or creaking. A lightweight sagging and creaking frame are signs of weakness and poor construction.
Hidden elements are the most important features to look at. A knowledgeable sales person can help answer a few questions. Ask about the construction of the frame and the joints. A frame made with a kiln-dried hardwood like oak, poplar or maple is preferred. The dried wood whisks away moisture preventing cracking and warping. Joints put together with dowels, screws and glue offer sturdy solid construction. Look for legs that are part of the frame, not just screwed or glued on.
Suspension systems control the bounce of the sofa and offer support to hold up under body weight. The seat of the sofa has one of two suspension systems. A drop-in coil system has a metal frame with coils connected with clips and fastened at the corners. A more complex and expensive system is a hand tied coil system. Either system will stand the test of time.
Nothing is more annoying than sitting on sofa and having springs poke through or feeling the frame through a thin layer of padding. For maximum comfort, look for a well-padded sofa. Test the padding by squeezing the arm or back of the sofa to feel for the frame and springs. The inability to feel the frame or the springs implies a thick padding. Thick padding will last keeping the sofa comfortable for years to come.