Selecting a sofa for your home is a big decision. This single piece is the point of focus of the whole living room. Even more than that, this is one piece of furniture you will be using every day. You will use it for everything from entertaining to relaxing and perhaps even taking a nap. It makes sense that you spend some researching something that will potentially last for many years.
There are many features to consider when you are in the market for a new sofa. One of the most important is to ensure that you get an environmentally friendly sofa. We all want to do our part in preserving our planet for future generations. That is why it is important to make responsible decisions regarding the things you select for your home.
1. Makings of an eco-friendly sofa
The best sustainable sofas include those made with recycled items such as fillings, textiles and salvaged wood. Natural materials are great for eco-friendly furniture. Woods like rattan, sea-grass and bamboo are very suitable as furniture materials.
Companies that make the best eco-friendly sofas ensure that all materials used are renewable. They use negligible chemicals, so the environment is not polluted. They also try to use local materials to save on transport costs. Here are some certifications you should look for when shopping for a new sofa.
This label certifies that the piece of furniture can be taken apart for repairs. Parts of it may be replaced or reused to extend its life. This means it will stay out of landfill sites for longer durations.
This tag means the maker of the product carried out responsible sourcing. They can supply environmental information for every registered product.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certificate
Furniture with this tag lets the buyer know that the wood used meets the requirements of the Forest Stewardship Council.
Rainforest Alliance (Rediscovered Wood Certification)
This tag tells the buyer that the piece uses reclaimed wood.
This tag ensures that the product makes use of a water-based finish. It contains none of the chemicals that release noxious gas into the environment.
2. Right Fit
An oversized sofa will impede the follow of traffic in a room. However, an undersized one will leave your living room looking barren. To make sure you get a sofa that makes maximum use of the available space, measure carefully.
With a smaller room, pay special attention to the sofa depth. The depth of the sofa does not usually change much even if you go for a smaller size. In a room with radiators and shelving, height becomes an important consideration.
3. Gauge the Frame
A good quality frame will ensure that your sofa lasts decades. Low-quality frames are fabricated out of plastic, particle board or metal. Top-quality sofas usually have solid hardwood frames. Even though frames made from pine wood tend to be cost-effective, they tend to warp. Their life is limited to less than five years. If you want your sofa to last decades, then opt for kiln-dried frames made out of beech, ash or oak.
An easy to find out solid frame is to lift one leg of the sofa about six inches off the ground. If the other leg does not come up quickly, it is an indication that the frame is twisting. Hence the frame is weak and of poor quality. Also, inspect the sofa legs. If they are glued on, chances are the sofa will not last. Legs should be attached to the frame with dowels or screws.
4. Inspect Sofa Springs
The cheapest sofas generally don’t have springs. They are only stuffed with mesh or webbing. If you want to own quality furniture, then forget these. A vast majority of sofas use something called serpentine springs. This is composed of snaking wire that runs between the frames. It provides good support and comfort provided a heavy-duty gauge is used. However, the lower gauge quality may sag with use. The hand-tied eight-way springs provide comfort and last, but you have to pay the price! Just try the different sofas out and decide which you find to be the best feel.
5. Assess Upholstery
There is a wide variety of sofa fabric designs you can select from. You can opt for bold solid colours, stripes, or floral patterns. At the end of the day, it is a matter of personal preference and what goes well in your space. One thing is certain whatever your choice may be; it will have a major impact on your room.
In deciding what the best material for your couch will be, you need to take several factors into considerations. How you plan to use your couch will determine the type of material that will best serve your needs. For example, if there are small children in the house you probably want something easy to clean. If you take naps on it you want something that is wrinkle resistant. If some family members are allergic, then you want to avoid certain types of materials. Here is a rundown of some commonly available materials.
This is a natural material and one of the least expensive ones available. It is very versatile when it comes to accepting different colours and patterns. Cotton does not fade easily, a major point of consideration if your sofa is near a sunlight window. While it is easy to stain, it is a good idea to treat it to make it stain resistant. Alternatively, you can go for a colour and pattern that will not show stains.
This fabric has a weave that is not as tight as cotton. This gives it a distinctive texture that is a little chunky. The problem here is that it will stain and wrinkle easily.
It has a plush, silky feel and takes colour really well, with a lot of richness. The drawback is that it is on the expensive side and stains easily. So unless your couch is going to be away from high traffic areas, you may want to avoid velvet.
If the feel of suede is something you enjoy, then microfiber is perfect for you. It is not expensive and resists stains very well. The one drawback is that it attracts hair. So in a home with pets, a sofa covered in microfiber material will need high maintenance.
This is one of the best overall materials. It is very versatile and fits well with every type of décor. It is durable and resists stains. Leather never goes out of style and looks great in a traditional setting or ultra-modern setting. However, be ready to dish out a lot of cash if you want this!
6. Inspect the Cushions
True a sofa must look good on the outside, but what’s inside is equally important. Seat cushions should fit securely in the sofa frame. Ideally, the cushions should return to their original condition after you press down and release them. If the cushion takes time to regain shape after pressing, it may flatten out quickly. Your sofa will become unsightly and uncomfortable to sit on. Loose cushions will also lose shape in no time and begin to look unappealing. Cushion fillings can be selected from the following materials.
- The foam gives cushions a structured look. It gives them a firm feel and maintains shape well with time. It hardly requires any maintenance and is comparatively inexpensive.
- Fibre is made of strands of polyester with bubbles of air. When you sit, the strands compress, expelling air and giving a sinking in feeling. This is a more spongy feeling, contrary to foam, but the fibres do not spring back to natural shape as fast as foam. They will need to be plumped to get that original fullness.
- Feather filling offers a very soft place to park your behind, but it will not give that spongy feel. Instead, the feather cushions will mould the shape of your body. They will require frequent plumping to maintain the shape of cushions. They are also a more expensive option than the other two options. You can choose from duck or down feathers.
You can even select from a combination of filling materials for ultimate comfort and minimal maintenance. For example, you can opt for foam enclosed in a sheet of fibre. The foam will provide support and the fibre contributes the soft comfort.
The only maintenance needed is occasional fluffing. The foam and feather offer similar types of benefits. The feather and fibre combination gives a very comfortable sink-in feel. However, it will require daily fluffing to retain shape. The combination is prone to lumping and can be an issue for people with allergies.
You have the option to select from a wide range of sofa materials. Starting with the frame materials and moving on to fillings and the exterior fabrics. Every type of upholstery will give your sofa a unique look and the filling will provide a different feel. After all, is said and done, you will have a sofa that is uniquely yours.