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Tips for buying a new sofa

When buying a new sofa, you want to make sure to buy one that is not only comfortable, but will also be able to withstand the knocks and bumps of daily living.

Good looking

Obviously you want a sofa or couch that will complement your home interior or decor style, but there are going to be many options to choose from. A good place to start is to consider the type of sofa or couch that best fits the space. While a Chesterfield sofa might look gorgeous on the showroom floor, this type of furniture requires space and would look ridiculous in a small living room. Measure up the space where the sofa or couch will be placed before you go shopping.

There are many sofa styles, but a style with straight lines visually appears smaller and is ideal for an average sized room. Additionally, this contemporary style offers various configurations for seating; you can choose from a small 2-seat, or a full-on sectional for a larger room. For a style with a softer appearance you could look at a sofa that has rectangular shape with curved lines, or a sofa with soft chunky cushions.

Practical upholstery

While your purchase of a new couch or sofa will be driven by the amount you have to spend, choosing the right colour and fabric is important. The adage that you get what you pay for is true when buying anything - the quality and craftsmanship, as well as whether it is locally manufactured or imported, will obviously determine the price. However, a sofa for everyday use should be upholstered in a durable fabric.

Cotton and linen are a good buy, but avoid loose weaves that can easily snag, and opt for darker colours or have the sofa treated for stain resistance. And, while synthetic microfiber is reasonably stain resistant, these fabrics have a tendency to pill. Pilling is where abrasion from everyday wear and cleaning causes the fibres to become loose and form balls on the surface of the fabric.

Another common upholstery option for upholstered furniture is faux suede. This fabric is durable and can be cleaned with a soft brush and upholstery cleaner as and when required.

GOOD TO KNOW: If possible, ask the store for a fabric swatch that you can take home and view in the room where the sofa will be placed to view in natural and artificial light. Also consider your lifestyle: if you have children and pets you definitely need to opt for washable upholstery or leather to ensure that your couch looks new for longer.

Comfort

A good couch should factor in all the points mentioned above, but also be comfortable, whether you want a couch for cuddling, or for the whole family to sit and watch TV together. It should be big enough - without overpowering the room and complement your decor, while being a piece that you love. If it doesn't meet the criteria rather save up a bit so you can afford quality and good looks.

Craftsmanship

Not all furniture is created equal and longevity will be determined by the quality of the upholstery fabric used and the craftsmanship. Over and above the fabric, the materials used to clad and make the frame will impact comfort and longevity.

Cladding and cushions are generally manufactured of polyurethane foam. Consider that the denser the foam, the heavier it is and the longer it will last. Additionally, a better quality upholstered sofa or couch will have a layer of batting to add even more comfort and 'flop factor'. Put this to the test and flop before you shop!

If the furniture you choose has a frame, ask about the type of wood or material used. A frame of hardwood will be stronger than a pine, plastic or a metal frame, as long as the frame is jointed and not glued together. You can test the sturdiness simply by lifting one corner and giving it a light shake. If it feels very light or wobbly, look for something else.

And finally, don't forget to ask about a warranty. A warranty not only gives you an indication of the quality of the furniture, but also allows you a 'cooling off' period just in case the piece does not fit or is not suitable.

 

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