Furniture Facts

Let’s get comfortable

What to look for when buying major pieces

When many of us were young the “Living Room” was only used for guests and on very special occasions, a strange name for a room rarely lived in. Nowadays we are much more relaxed about entertaining and the “Living Room” has many different functions and is thankfully one of the most used spaces in the home.

The furnishings in our homes nowadays have to be comfortable, functional and stylish and be able to withstand a lot more wear and tear than in the past.

When choosing a piece such as a sofa, here are some of the key points to look out for:

SIZE – Decide where the sofa will go, measure the space carefully. Sofas are measured from outside edge of arms for width, front edge to outside of back for depth and floor to tallest point of hard back not cushions which can be removed) for height. Three big comfort factors are seat depth, back height and back pitch. If you live in a condo or apartment take elevator measurements and door widths in stairwells. Many a sofa had been returned to a store because it would not fit in an elevator!

CUSHIONS – Decide how much you want to fuss and fluff these. Lowest maintenance is a foam cushion wrapped in polyfibre to round the edges. Polyfibre and foam can vary in quality so do your research and ask in the store how the cushions are constructed , a good salesperson should have this info available. Very high end sofas can have a combination of down and a foam core or all down, the height of comfort but can be hard to maintain with the constant plumping of pillows.

INSIDES – Because you can’t see “under the hood” ask for a spec sheet.

FRAMES – Whenever possible get hardwood or engineered hardwood, kiln dried to remove moisture and prevent warping. Corner blocks should be screwed into place and parts doweled, glued and high pressure nailed to give stability. Springs are another thing to look out for. Some hand tied springs may come undone and need repairing in years to come.

COVER – A lot depends on how you live, if you have children or pets and the look and style you are after. Look for durability, cleanability and softness and if you like to change your look with the seasons a custom slipcover may be the way to go.

Happy shopping!