Friday, January 23, 2009

Quality Control in Living Room Basics - Sofa

When furnishing a living room, the plethora of choices can be overwhelming. The old saying "you get what you pay for" usually rings true - but what exactly does that mean in today's day and age? We are going to take a look at three different items found in the living room, how they are made and what to look for when purchasing. Let's start with everyone's staple item - The Sofa.

Sofa Frame
The frame of a sofa should be made from 100% hardwood (ash, birch, maple or oak). The hardwood should be kiln dried, meaning it's been dried in an oven. If the hardwood has been air dried it will be less strong since over time the wood will continue to dry and subsequently warp.

A sofa of less quality will have a frame made with laminated plywood or particleboard; these sofas will be lighter in weight, not as strong and won't last as nearly as long or be as durable.

Sofa Seat
The seat deck will consist of a Kevlar layer attached to the frame and topped with a spring system. Over the springs will be a layer of burlap, two layers of felt and then the upholstery. The best way to spring a seat deck is with an eight-way hand tied web and coil spring system. A lesser quality spring system will be known as "no-sag", "zig-zag", "seamless coil" or "sinuous spring".

Sofa Cushions
Good quality seat cushions are generally made from high-density polyurethane foam wrapped in down, synthetic down or cotton batting. A layer of cotton or Dacron should wrap the whole cushion before the upholstery layer. Depending on the style of sofa the cushions may have only foam for a boxier look. If buying foam cushions, ask about the density of the foam (look for a density rating of 1.8 to 2.2 lb per cubic foot).

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