Upholstery Tips - What To Look For In Quality Upholstered Furniture
Though color and style may attract you to a sofa or chair, what's under the cover is what makes the difference. Better quality frames are made of hardwood with joints that are double, corner-blocked, glued and screwed for superior support. It is this type of construction that dictate comfort and satisfaction levels over the long term.
Next comes the spring system, which should provide firm, comfortable support. Coil springs are preferable, and in the best constructions, they are tied to the frame by hand in eight different places to achieve the most uniform support.
Zig-zag shape springs are commonly used in the back of upholstered furniture, where not as much support is required. Sinuous springs in the seat indicate lesser quality, because they simply cannot provide the long-lasting firmness of coil springs.
Cushions also have different constructions and different fillers. Down filling, the most luxurious and most expensive, makes a loose, fluffy cushion that tends to pack down easily. High density foam provides comfortable, long-wearing support and may be wrapped in layers of soft material (like Dacron) for added crown and softness. The "marshall unit" is another high-quality cushion which has a center of coil springs sewn into pockets and then attached.
All fabrics are made from fibers, either natural, synthetic, or a combination of both. Some common natural fibers are cotton, silk and wool. Man-made fibers include rayon, acrylic, polyester, olefin and nylon.
Natural fibers have long been valued for their "hand" or feel, while synthetic fibers are known for their durability and stain resistance. However, technological advances, such as Fabricoate and Scotchgard, have increased the wear and stain resistance of natural fabrics, while advances in yarn-making now produce softer, more comfortable synthetic upholsteries.
Traditionally, the best frames have been made of kiln-dried hardwood which does not warp.
• Quality Tips:
aUnzip a cushion and examine the padding. Added crown material and a bag around the cushioning are indications of better quality.
aCheck the tailoring. Patterns should match up both horizontally and vertically, even on the back.
aSeams should be neat and well sewn. Don't be afraid to test their strength.
aMake sure the skirt hangs correctly on the frame and that fabric patterns are aligned.
aTo test comfort, have a seat - or stretch out, like you might do at home. Bounce up and down a little. The frame should not creak, nor should the springs bottom out (sink to touch the frame).
aWhen buying a sofa, have someone sit with you. A well-made sofa will support you both, without leaning you together or bottoming out.
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