How To Choose A Sofa To Last A Lifetime


Your sofa is the anchoring piece in your living room, and it takes a lot of wear, tear and abuse. If you are going to invest in any one piece of furniture in your home, it should be your sofa. Buying a quality sofa isn't as easy as going by the name brand and price, however. You have to go underneath the surface to find out if the sofa you want is built to last.

Choose Classic Styles

By choosing a simple, classic sofa style, it is guaranteed to fit into any decor in any time period. A well-built sofa only needs reupholstering to update it from time to time and keep it looking current. If you don't want to reupholster, slipcovers can change the whole look of your decor for very little money.

Hardwood vs. Softwood Frames

Hardwood frames are the only choice if you want a sofa that will last. Some hardwoods are softer than softwoods, so ask what type of wood is in the frame. Poplar and alder are considered the best, because of their tight grain with few knots. Oak and maple are two other sturdy woods commonly used in quality furniture. Softwood is cheap, but even the best softwoods tend to begin to warp around the five-year mark.

Kiln Dried vs. Engineered Wood

Kiln dried wood is the most durable. This drying method makes the wood stronger by removing 90-95 percent of the moisture. Kiln dried wood is less susceptible to shrinkage or distortion over time. The best frames are constructed of kiln-dried hardwood about 2" thick. Plywood is one of the worst frame materials because the decking places stress on the seams of the plywood layers, causing them to separate.

Suspension Systems

The suspension is what keeps you from falling through onto the floor, so it's one of the most important parts of your sofa. The two main types of suspensions are webbing and springs. Make sure that whichever you have, the spacing is less than 2 inches.

  • Jute webbing is only strong enough for backs and arms because the weight of multiple people causes it to break down and sag faster than any other suspension systems.
  • Polypropylene webbing is made of the same material used in seat belts. It has excellent weight capacity and longevity. Make sure it is attached to the frame with clips, not staples.
  • Eight-way hand tied springs are overrated, outdated and costly to repair.
  • Sinuous springs are sturdy with the added advantage that you can replace only one spring if it fails.


The best sofas are constructed with wooden glued dowels and screws, not staples. Make sure that the dowels are also glued, not just stuck in. Check that the legs are part of the frame and held on with glued dowels and screws. Check for wooden corner blocks that are screwed and glued or metal screws and brackets. Staples and nails should only be used for extra reinforcement, never to hold a piece of furniture together.

Unfortunately, you will have to lift the sofa off the floor to check many of these things, but a reputable furniture store will be happy to help you with any heavy lifting. Some construction and materials information may be on the tag, but if it isn't, insist on checking it yourself. A well-constructed sofa can save you hundreds of dollars down the road, so it is an investment worth making.

For more information, contact Vandenberg Furniture or a similar company.


25 November 2015

Redecorating My Place

A few months ago, I realized that my home looked really drab and boring. I didn't want to deal with the frustrations of having people over to find a messy, unwelcoming home, so I decided to make a few changes. Unfortunately, after visiting the furniture store, I was left more confused than ever. I decided to do my research to discover which pieces would work the best for my new place, and it was amazing to see how much of a difference it made. I found an incredible company to help me with my furniture needs, and it made a world of difference. This blog is all about helping you to find the best furniture for your home, so that you can be comfortable in your space.