5 Must-Haves for Sofa Shopping

Any time you turn on the television or go online, you’re bound to see some sort of advertisement for furniture.  You’ll see ads that focus on price, style, selection and even on what size flat screen TV the retailer will throw in with your purchase!  How do we cut through all of the noise and separate which facts are important from the messages that are just out there to confuse us into buying an inferior product?

I have been in the furniture industry for many years, and after assisting thousands of clients, I have narrowed down upholstery-buying to five key elements that you absolutely must not skimp on!  I hope this helps you on your shopping trip!Hickory White upholstery construction1

  1. Kiln dried hardwood frame
    The upholstery frame must be made from hardwoods such as maple, ash, etc.  The wood should be kiln dried, which is a process that  strengthens it to prevent splitting. kiln dried hardwood lumber
  2. Solid frame
    All four corners of the frame should be glued, double-doweled, and reinforced with corner blocks which are glued, screwed and stapled to the frame.  This gives the frame triple strength and stability.   The frame should then be sanded to take off rough edges that can puncture and tear fabrics.
  3. Look for spring up construction.
    8 way hand tied coilsThe very best upholstery construction in the industry is called “Eight-Way Hand Tied.”  In this process, steel bands are stretched under strips of webbing and doubled nailed to the frame to give the necessary foundation for the spring chamber and adding incredible strength. This eliminates the possibility of sagging in the future.  Now comes the “Eight-Way Hand Tying” part.  The tempered steel coil springs are tied by hand at eight points for comfort, proper seat support and durability that no other construction can offer. This age-old construction technique has been passed down through many generations of craftsmen and takes time, patience and expertise.   Don’t be fooled when someone tells you the new techniques are better.  Sometimes tried and true is best.  There is NO substitute for this one!
  4. Now you are ready for the fabric.
    Each upholstered item has its own pattern that forms the look of the item. It is very important that each fabric is cut individually from that pattern.  Some manufacturers will stack three to ten pieces of fabric, put the pattern on top and cut.  By individually cutting you are insured accuracy and greater attention to detail and quality standards.
  5. Fabric Tailoring
    Century 11_414_BO_mediumWhy is this important?  Do you want your stripes to match from top to bottom?  Do you want the fabric to lay straight?  This is why quality tailoring is so essential.  It takes a team of expert craftsmen to cut, sew and then apply the fabric to the frame in such a way that the pattern flows from north to south, from east to west and all around.  You want your upholstery to look its best, the same way you want your clothes to match.

{Photo sources in order of appearance: 1 Hickory White, 2 & 3 Taylor King, 4 Century.}

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