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  • Stephanie Donnelly

How to Choose a Good Quality Sofa

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Picking out a sofa is a daunting task. There are so many factors that go into choosing the right piece for your home or for your family. The size, comfort, style, fabric color, fabric material, removable cushions, and slipcovers are just a few of these factors and only begins to mention the things that you can see. What you cannot see is the frame construction, cushion fill, and chemicals that are added, and these easily forgotten elements are extremely important for longevity of this investment.

Frame Construction is best made from FSC certified wood, 8 way hand ties, no or low VOC stains, and non-toxic adhesives. The FSC certification is considered the "gold standard" designation for wood harvested from forests that are responsibly managed, socially beneficial, environmentally conscious, and economically viable.

An 8-way hand-tied sofa spring system is a tried and true technique that requires skilled craftsmanship. To make 8-way hand-tied coils, laborers tie springs eight ways, from side to side, front to back and diagonally. This helps craftsman build upholstered furniture that is soft, supportive, flexible, and comfortable.

Today there are a lot of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) present in a lot of wood stains which is why it is so important to make sure that the furniture you are bringing into your home is stained with either a low or no VOC stain. Low-VOC wood stains are water-based and engineered to deliver vivid results while significantly lessening the toxicity. Therefore, low-VOC wood stains are imperative for protect your family’s health.

Furniture would fall apart without the use of adhesives or another method that holds the parts together, and although they are important, adhesives are often made from hazardous chemicals. These chemicals enter our bodies as we inhale their fumes and absorb them through our skin which is why it is important to look for furniture that is made with non-toxic adhesives.

Cushion fill options include foam, latex, or wool, each having an option to be wrapped in down feathers for added luxury and comfort. While down feathers do have a drawback due to being a contributing factor for allergies, there are comparable alternatives available for those who are more allergy sensitive or animal conscious.

Added flame retardants are also a concern when it comes to the chemicals that are used on your furniture because once the sofa starts getting worn in, these chemicals break down into household dust which can be breathed in and can cause health problems. This is why it is important to look for no added flame retardants in the materials used in your furniture, or simply look for furniture that is free of flame retardants because of the use of wool.

Organic materials are available for both inside construction on furniture as well as the fabrics used. A few organic materials typically used on furniture are linen and organic cotton as they are the most sustainably conscious and non-toxic options available. Vegetable tanned leather is another organic material that can be used in the construction of furniture that is free of toxic chemicals that are commonly found in most tanners.

These are just a few of the many factors that go into choosing a sofa that you might not have yet considered, and you may be wondering about so many additional questions that you have running through your mind. Will it fit in my space? Is it my style? Is it comfortable? How is the fabric for pet hair? Will it still be in style?

When it comes to the appearance and coloration of furniture, a good guideline is to go with a neutral color such as cream/off-white, white, tans, and taupes. This will ensure that your furniture follows more of a timeless theme and will allow for you to get as much use out of it as possible.

We recommend bringing color to your furniture by the use of pillows and throw blankets so that you can easily switch out styles as they change, or have side chairs and ottomans in a bolder fabric color or pattern so that you are not locked into any one style. Colors come and go as trends and styles change. However, you can still incorporate your favorite colors in a timeless way into pieces of furniture that will last a long time. Choosing a sofa can be a daunting task, but a good quality sofa is comfortable and will last years. This is something you want to get right.

~This blog was brought to you by S. Donnelly Interiors. Learn more about the interior design project process by following Stephanie Donnelly and her interior design services in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and the surrounding areas!


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