The 3 F’s that make or break your sofa investment

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Shopping for a sofa can be a daunting task. There are so many factors to consider, and it can be tempting to choose the cheapest option. However, we recommend investing in a high-quality sofa that will last for years. To help you make the best decision, we’ve put together a guide on what to look for when shopping for a sofa. Here’s how to demystify the sofa shopping process.

The Three F’s of Sofa Shopping

When shopping for a sofa, always pay attention to the three F’s: frame, foam, and fabric. The quality of the frame, suspension, cushioning, and upholstery are what distinguish a quality sofa that will last you 10 to 20 years versus a cheap sofa that is only built to last a couple of years.

Frame

The frame of your sofa is the foundation that everything else is built on. It’s important to choose a sofa with a strong, sturdy frame. Always wondered why that sofa at West Elm cost $1,500? It might be because the type of wood used for the frame and how each piece is joined determines its durability and its costs. Mortise-and-tenon (tabs of wood inserted into holes) result in a higher cost overall but will provide you with a long-lasting sofa.

Look for frames made from denser hardwoods like oak, poplar, maple, teak, or walnut that are more durable over faster-growing softwoods like pine and Douglas fir. These materials are much more sturdy and will support the weight of the foam and fabric without sagging or breaking.

Along with the frame, your sofa’s suspension system provides a balance of comfort, affordability, and lasting durability. Most common in mid-tier sofas are sinuous springs, while the gold standard in high-end sofas is the eight-way hand-tied springs.

We recommend avoiding drop-in coils, pocket coils, and polypropylene webbing. They are found in cheaper sofas but don’t distribute weight evenly and are uncomfortable to sit on.

Foam

Source: Maiden Home

Do you want a plush and supportive sofa? We always recommend to clients a sofa with a high-density foam core wrapped with either a layer of polyester batting or a down and feather envelope.

The foam in your sofa plays an important role in comfort and durability. But not all foams are created equal. There are three types of foam commonly used in sofa cushions: polyurethane, memory, and down.

Polyurethane foam is the most common and least expensive type of foam. It’s also not as durable as the other two types, so it’s not ideal if you have kids or pets who like to jump on the furniture.

Memory foam is more expensive, but it holds its shape better over time. Down is the most expensive type of foam, but it’s also the most comfortable. If you can afford it, we recommend going with a down-filled cushion. Plus, with the down and feather envelope, your sofa is easier to plump and will maintain a better shape over the long run.

Back cushions tend to be made of polyfiber/microfiber fill or down. Great back cushions will have channels sewn into them to ensure that the filling doesn’t move around and ensure they don’t look saggy. Next time you go sofa shopping, unzip the back cushions and look to see if the channels are present.

Fabric

Source: Perennials

Selecting a fabric for your sofa comes down to your lifestyle. A quality sofa brand will offer a variety of fabrics, materials, colors, and textures to choose from. For high-traffic areas like your living room or family room, we recommend performance fabrics that are durable and easy to clean. Avoid delicate fabrics like silk or velvet, which will show wear quickly. If you have pets or small children, choosing a durable fabric that can withstand spills and stains is especially important. But don’t sacrifice style for durability; there are plenty of beautiful, high-quality performance-based fabrics that are stain-resistant or washable. Some of the best performance fabrics are made by Sunbrella, Perennials, Crypton, Revolution, and many more.

Picking out the perfect sofa doesn’t have to be difficult, but it’s worth taking the time to find the perfect one for your home. Pay attention to the three F’s: frame, foam, and fabric. A well-made sofa with high-quality materials will last longer and be more comfortable than a cheaply made one. Investing in a good sofa upfront will save you money in the long run.

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About Atelier Roux

Atelier Roux is a full-service design firm run by Manon Roux. We’re dedicated to crafting bespoke interiors that harmonize with the rhythm of our clients’ lives, seamlessly merging sophistication with purpose in every narrative we create.

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