Ahh, the good old upholstered seat! There is nothing quite like sitting back in your favorite chair or sofa to doze off or read a book...unless it's falling apart and unbearable to sit in!
We've all heard the saying "invest in quality" but how many of us really take this to heart once it comes to buying our seating?
Unfortunately, with the rise of manufacturing, low-quality furniture is easy to find and buy since most people don't know what they are looking for in a quality piece.
The first thing that gives out in low-quality furniture is the stuff you can't see; the frame and construction.
This is why most couches only last 7-15 years if you're lucky!
But did you know that a high-quality upholstered frame will last you 25-40 years?
Imagine how much money you could save if you invested in a good piece today!
Now don't be fooled and think that a high price tag means higher quality. Most of the time you are paying for the name, not the quality behind it.
So before you go out shopping for your next big home purchase, here are 5 things to look for in a quality upholstered piece.
(1) Kiln-Dried Frame
If you've taken one or two pottery classes before then I'm sure the word "kiln" rings a few bells!
Imagine a big oven-like room where wood frames go to dry. By controlling the temperature and humidity levels, the drying process wicks up 95% of the wood's moisture.
This process eliminates warping or shrinkage of the frame, otherwise caused by the changing seasons.
Leaving you with a solid frame that is built to last a lifetime!
As you can probably tell there's a reason why I only specify kiln-dried frames for my clients, especially for those in the midwest ;)
(2) The 8-Way Hand Tied Knot System
This coil spring knot system is marksmanship of true quality!
By securing twine from one spring coil to another and back to the frame of the piece, this pattern is repeated until each coil spring has been tied eight ways.
In the end, this method provides more shock absorption along with firmness and elasticity.
Of course, low-quality seating is only tied 4-ways, which leads to springs losing their stability, fast!
And whatever you do, stay far away from zig-zag springs.
These poorly made springs are notorious for creating uncomfortable seating due to their cheap manufacturing and rigid qualities.
Think IKEA quality furniture, just yuck!
(3) Comfort is in the Cushions
Have you ever sat on a couch only to sink a little more then you would like?
Or perhaps you don't sink at all and instead re-adjust every 30 seconds until you find that "sweet" spot that you can tolerate for another 10 minutes.
If you're sluggishly raising your hand your not alone!
Most seat cushions nowadays are made up of polyurethane foam core and that's it.
Just a cold...unforgiving...lump of foam.
And nobody wants that! Instead, opting for high-resilient (HR) foam or conventional foam each wrapped in a polyester batting will give you the added comfort you are looking for.
Trust me, your guests will thank you (and so will your back!).
(4) The Finishing Process
For those of you that prefer to have a little wood show in your seating, the finishing process is not to be overlooked!
It won't take long before a low-quality piece will show signs of peeling or patchiness in the stain of the wood. This unevenness comes down to the process of the finish application.
A good finishing job will take 14-17 steps which are filled with repetitive tasks of priming, sanding, applying the finish, and repeating the process!
With a wide range of finishes to choose from, the possibilities are endless!
Most vendors will even let you choose your favorite Benjamin Moore to paint the wood with.
How's that for customization!
(5) Fabric That's Up for the Challenge
This is where it gets fun!
While there are a myriad of options to choose from, knowing what type of fabric works best for upholstery is the difference between having a great piece and one that needs to be re-upholstered within the first year.
For a house filled with little ones and pets, performance fabrics are stain resistant and can even be bleached without affecting the color.
If performance fabrics are not in the budget, cotton, leather, and wool are great options!
Pro Tip: Fabric with piping along the edges like the one above tend to wear down the fastest so make sure you only add this to chairs that don't see much use.
Are you starting to see a correlation between the long processes and high-quality pieces?
With all of the extra steps and measures that are taken, it's no wonder why made-to-order pieces for my clients take anywhere from 8-12 weeks.
So the next time you sigh a breath of frustration at how long your new sofa will take to get here, remember these things and keep telling yourself "only 2-3 more months for 25-40 years of style and comfort!"
Did you learn anything new from this post? Have I convinced you that you need new, high-quality seating? And out of curiosity how many couches have you gone through over the years? I'd love to hear your comments below!