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An advance guide to buying sofas

You’ve measured how big your living room is and have a mental picture of how you’re going to arrange the furniture. You head to the retail shops and realize to your horror, there are a lot of other factors about sofa buying you didn’t take into account prior to your visit.

Fret not, we’ve compiled a list of pointers you should take note of, so that you can pick out a quality sofa both you and your family can enjoy.


1. Sofa fabrics matter as much as the actual sofa

Aside from the bed, the sofa has got to be one of the most frequently used furniture in the home. In other words, you’ll need one that can last longer than a millenial’s attention span, and is both comfortable and compatible with the overall décor of the living room.

corazon-yuanching-5Interior Designer: Corazon Interior

What we are trying to advocate is to pick a sofa based on fabric durability. Mind you, we are not advising you to select a sofa based on fabric colour or pattern. We’re talking about the actual material the sofa is made of.

As sofas tend to be heavily utilized, it is prudent to pick one made out of fabric which:

  • Is able to withstand wear and tear
  • Does not snag or easily come undone at the seams
  • Will not easily wrinkle or leave stains
  • Is lint free and does not attract dust (especially so if you or other family members have allergies)

The most common ones in the market are made of cotton or leather. That said, if you’re more inclined to purchase the former because its affordability, it is important to take note of the thread count and yarn density.

And if you think you prefer a sofa made out of other fabrics, there are others made out of synthetic (eg. nylon, polyester blends, rayon) or natural fabrics (eg. silk, linen, wool). Do bear in mind that each of these has their own pros and cons, so it is necessary to do more research before making a purchase.


2. Always double-check the sofa’s structure

A sofa is made for sitting and/or lounging, so it’ll be rather embarrassing if it suddenly falls apart, or caves in, under your body weight. In addition to being durable, the sofa must be sturdy.

ansana-sea-scape-01Interior Designer: ANSANA Interior Design & Fine Arts

Sturdiness is determined by its structure, mainly comprising of its frame, joints and springs. When furniture shopping, you should take ample time to investigate all three of these components before narrowing down your choices:

  • The frame
    Sofas can be made from a variety of materials. What separates a quality piece from an inferior one depends on the long-term support it provides. Sofas made from soft wood such as pine and particleboard, as well as those made of metal, should be avoided (although it might be tempting to buy them based on their relatively low cost). This is because they can become progressively weaker over time. Always go for frames constructed from hardier materials like jute, oak or kiln-dried hardwood.
  • The joints
    Be prepared to get down on your knees; you’ll need to physically inspect how the legs and bottom of the sofa are attached to the frame. Usually, these are held together with screws or wooden dowels (pegs) to ensure overall stability. However, it is best to steer clear from sofas held together with glue and/or staples alone, should you come across them.
    As a side note, also do check out the corners underneath the sofa. A good quality sofa tends to have corner blocks to give it added strength.
  • The springs
    Obviously, a sofa that sags is a sign that it lacks support. You should always test how well a sofa can hold your weight by sitting firmly on it. A good sofa should give enough for you to feel comfortable, yet be able to go back to its original shape once you stand up.
    Also do ensure that the springs do not squeak or poke you – that will mean that one (or more) springs are loose or dislodged.


3. Are you satisfied with the comfort the sofa offers?

sofa-guide-to-avoid-back-painImage ref: mwolf0259

There are some homeowners who use their sofas to laze while watching television, others prefer to sit and read. That said, an ideal sofa should fit with the kind of activity you will be using it primarily for.

If you see yourself sitting on it quite frequently, then it pays to give more attention to the height and back of sofa to maintain a good posture. Some contemporary sofas may appear sleeker with a lower back (an estimated 0.8 metres from the ground), but that would also mean you might not be giving your back adequate support.

The same goes for the height. If you’re short, buying a sofa with a high seat height or a large seat depth means that your legs will dangle. This ultimately puts stress for your core and lower back as gravity pulls your feet towards the ground. On the other hand, if you are tall and the sofa is too short/has shallow seating, you might put undue pressure on your knees.


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