Tips for Shopping for a Quality Sofa

Know What to Look for When You Buy a Sofa

A sofa is likely one of the ten biggest purchases you will make in your life. In addition, you will likely only buy a handful of them during that same span. So doesn’t it make sense that you would want to get the best quality possible for your dollar? It seems a lot of people do not know how to shop for a quality sofa, or they simply think that you get what you pay for. That is not always true, and if you know what to look for in quality you will know what is worth your hard earned dollars and certainly what is not.


When shopping for a quality sofa, there is one thing you should check before you even get into a quality check. As you approach a floor model that looks good to you, before you do anything else, make sure it will fit in your home. That doesn’t necessarily have to do with the quality of the sofa, but it will influence whether or not you are wasting your time looking at it. Measure your room, measure your space, and then check the measurements on the sofa before you do anything else.

The Sofa Frame

Once you know the sofa will fit, it is time to decide if it is a well made sofa. The most important factor is going to be the frame. The frame is the wooden “skeleton” of the sofa. You want to first make sure that it is made of a hardwood. Oak and alder are common frame woods and are both fine. This should probably even be the first question you ask to a sales person when you are shopping for a quality sofa: what is the frame made of? Once you confirm that the frame is made from a hardwood, find out if it is kiln dried. A quality sofa should have a kiln dried hardwood frame. The drying keeps the wood from warping or cracking during seasonal changes as well as changes in the humidity.

In addition, the wood should be thick and heavy. To check this yourself, you can reach under the front of most sofas and feel the front of the frame. Make sure that this area is at least 1” thick, but preferably about 1-1/4” thick. If everything checks out, then you have found a quality sofa frame.

The Spring System

A Comfortable Sofa For Your Home!

A Comfortable Sofa For Your Home!

By Mike Yeager

A soft, plush sofa can be so inviting...even if you're visiting in someone else's home. Sofas can really make a home comfortable and relaxing. Sofas come in a variety of styles such as sectional sofas, leather sofas and sleeper sofas. One of the first things both you and your guests will notice, each time they come into your home, is how comfortable and relaxing the furniture looks. Well chosen sofas will help to give your home furnishings the elegance and style you want.

Sofas are generally referred to as stuffed, padded, and spring-cushioned furniture. Sofas are also defined by the decorative materials and fabrics that cover them. The first furniture upholstery was probably leather, stretched on without padding. Italian Renaissance chairs were cushioned with leather, velvet, or embroidery; the French made ornate chairs covered with tapestries and embroideries; England developed upholstery in Elizabethan and Jacobean reigns. The use of springs is comparatively modern. Hair, fiber, flock, foam rubber, down, and kapok are used for padding in modern upholstery, and woven fabrics, plastics, leather, and synthetic leather serve as coverings.

There are thousands and thousands of sofas, sectional sofas and other home furnishings to choose from over the internet. Choose from only the best sofas representatives who offer quality, elegance, quick delivery to your home and, of course, great prices!

Tips for Shopping for a Quality Recliner

Shopping for furniture is not exactly routine. Aside from a home, there are few things you buy with less frequency. When you add in the factor of moving parts, shopping for reclining furniture can be that much more intimidating. Your best bet is to know a little bit about reclining furniture going into the process. To help you go onto that furniture show-floor properly prepared, here are some tips for shopping for a quality recliner.

1) Look for a Quality Frame

Whether you are buying a recliner, a reclining sofa, or a simple loveseat with no reclining mechanism, the quality of the piece of furniture starts with a quality frame. In furniture, the frame is the skeleton, and you want one that is strong and supportive.

Start by talking to the sales person. Ask what the frame is made of. What you should be looking, or listening for in this case, is a hardwood. Alder is a common hardwood frame, but Oak or even any of several Asian hardwoods (parawood or rubberwood for example) will work.

Next, ask to make sure that the wood is kiln dried. This is especially important with imported pieces of furniture. Many a retailer can tell stories of Brazilian or Asian furniture pieces cracking in the warehouse because the wood dries after coming from humid weather.

Also, ask about the frame warranty. Many manufacturers will offer lifetime warranty on the frame and most will offer at least 10 years.

Finally, reach under the front of the recliner you are looking at. Grab the front piece of the frame to get an idea of how thick it is. Anything over an inch is fantastic, but just remember that the thicker it is the stronger it is.

2) Test the Mechanism

If you are looking at recliners or any other type of reclining furniture, the mechanism is of the highest importance. As the part of the furniture that is going to move, it will also get the most wear. Test it out. Recline it and close it several times. Additionally, ask to see what it looks like. The sales person should be able to tilt the piece back and let you see the way it is fastened to the frame of the recliner.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Nice Sofa Bed

image from :

Tuesday, 7 June 2016



Sometimes called a couch or a davenport, a sofa is a long upholstered seat with both arms and a back. Today, it is a common luxury that indicates humans' progression away from the nomadic "pack and evacuate" lifestyle of our recent past.


Upholstery technically dates back to ancient Egypt, where pharoahs' tombs were furnished with comfortable appointments preserved to last a millennia. Ancient Egyptians and their Roman contemporaries reserved such items for royalty and other social elites. In the West, upholstery as we know it today developed slowly as building architecture improved. Prior to the 1500s, woven artifacts known as tapestries were the main source of insulation, protecting inhabitants from the damp and cold, that seeped in through their walls. Seating for two or more people was usually supplied by a hard bench.
Once the need for protection from the elements decreased, fabrics could be used for decoration and on individual pieces of furniture. Contributions to interior design were made from all major European centers. Germans introduced the use of horsehair padding, still a central feature of properly upholstered furniture. The English preferred dried sea moss. Italians introduced backrests and arms during the Renaissance. Upholstered chairs had been invented already, but were not popularized until this time. The sofa with a down cushion was an extension of the upholstered chair. Minor adjustments were made to stuffing methods, such as using buttons to secure padding rather than the practice of "tufting" (sewing raised loops or cut pile into the fabric).
The eighteenth century "upholder" was a combination designer and decorator who completed an architect's vision of a room. Cabinet makers like George Hepplewhite, Matthias Lock, Henry Copland, and the far more reknowned Thomas Chippendale extended their woodworking enterprises into this new and exciting field of upholstery. A rash of what were called "pattern books" by these and other practitioners, with such names as The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Guide, set the pace. They contained sofa designs as well as new ideas for other practical and decorative pieces.
During the nineteenth century, the advent of industrial technology had a major impact on modern methods of upholstery. In 1850, coil springs were invented. A modern sofa typically, though not always, contains springs to even out weight distribution. The sewing machine was also developed during this period, speeding up the upholstery process. New improvements such as modern welting would not be possible without the sewing machine.

Raw Materials

The frame of a sofa is made most often wood, though newer options include steel, plastic, and laminated boards or a combination of the above. Kiln-dried maple wood deemed free of knots, bark, and compromising defects is used under the upholstery. The show wood of the legs, arms, and back can also be maple, but sometimes mahogany, walnut, or fruitwoods are used for carved legs or moldings.
Padding is primarily made from animal hair, particularly hog or horse. Other paddings used in mass production are foam and polyester fiberfill wrap. Some preprocessing may be necessary, as with the prematted rubberized hair, where animal hair is arranged and bonded into shape with glue.
Cushions are fashioned from polyurethane foam, polyester fiber, down, cotton, latex, or cotton-wrapped springs.
A sofa may be covered with any choice of synthetic, natural, or blended fabric. Wool and nylon are the best choices in their respective categories of natural and synthetic fibers, but cotton, acetate, rayon, and polyester have their own functional properties. Exterior fabric may be finished with a protective anti-stain coating.
When used, springs are made of tempered steel. A typical sofa calls for 15 yd (13.71m) of burlap and at least 10 yd (9.14 m) of muslin for the interior. All materials are fastened with approximately 1,000 or more tacks, over 200 yd (182.8 m) of twine, and hundreds of yards of machine sewing thread.


Sofas come in three major sizes. The full sofa is 84 in (2.13 m) wide. Smaller versions like the two-seater and love seat range between 60-80 in (1.52-2.03 m). Variations on the standard sofa include modular items and sofas with special uses such as daybeds or convertible sofa beds. Ornamental designs are not necessarily less durable, but they do not invite casual use. The design of a sofa can be adjusted to the use that will be made of it, and the average size of the people who will use it most. A deep seat, for instance, is good for taller people but does not easily accommodate shorter individuals. The style of a sofa is generally set by its arms, which double as artistic statements and rests. Some styles of seating furniture are known by the names of these arm designs. The overstuffed sofa is called that in the trade in order to indicate the use of more than one layer of muslin in the foundation.

The Manufacturing

A single sofa takes up 300 to 600 hours of skilled labor to make. Even small companies and individuals avail themselves of power saws and other motorized machinery, yet specialized hand tools are still applied to detail work. These include the regulator for stuffing, the "ripping tool," and a type of pliers called diagonal cutters.
After President Abraham Lincoln's assassination, his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, purchased an expensive parlor suite for use in her new life as a widow. The suite included a sofa, table, two arm chairs, and several side chairs, and was probably manufactured by J & J.W. Meeks of New York.
Epitomizing the Victorian era, the sofa represents the ultimate in mid-nineteenth century comfort and decoration. The technology of the time allowed for the use of coil springs, giving the seat a cushion-like softness that returns to its taut shape as soon as pressure is removed. New technologies also gave way to the lavishly carved show wood on the back. Ordinarily, the almost three dimensional fruit and flowers design would split the wood, however thin layers of rosewood were cross-directionally glued together to form a stronger wood laminate able to withstand the carving. Once glued together, the entire lamination was steamed and forced to curve with the back of the sofa.
The bent plywood system would be utilized again (100 years later) by Charles Eames in order to create his famous chairs. They would be the stylistic antithesis of Mrs. Lincoln's ornate Victorian sofa, but just as chip and crack resistant.
Henry Prebys
The nitty-gritty of assembly is where the differences between traditional craft and factory production become most obvious. Classic hand-tied springs, for instance, may give way to a mechanically attached spring grid if recent factory practice becomes the norm. Such industrial reforms have sparked controversy. The following breakdown is modeled after the handmade process that still defines the industry.


  • 1 First the frame is constructed from wood that has been found clear of any defects. The thickness of the wood should allow for the heavy tension webbing to follow. If the frame is not sufficiently strong, it will not bear the weight redistributed into it by the webbing whenever someone sits down. Arms, back, or back sections, seat, and legs are attached. The preferred method is with clean-cut, fitted double doweled glue joints reinforced with comer braces, glued and also screwed into place. Each major part of the sofa will have to have springs attached separately, and also be padded separately. Consequently, they are "framed out" with reinforcing slats, arranged around the seat section.

Webbing and springs

  • 2 The foundation is then set for padding. Jute, a kind of burlap made in India, is used as webbing. Strips of this material are interwoven, stretched across the frame, and tacked down. Flax twine is then used to strap the springs onto the webbing. Two lines of twine are tacked into position and then tied around a spring back to front. Another pair of lines will run side to side on each row of springs after all the springs have been lashed into position individually. If heavy-gauge springs are used in the "front row," these are further tied down with a length of wire. This process is repeated for the back, with special attention to the springs at the base, which are treated like the front row of seat springs. If the back comes in sections (sometimes three for design purposes), then each part is separately tied off and the twine ends tacked onto the four-sided frame. The same is true for any sides and arms. Each part will be wrapped in its own sheet of burlap after being completely fitted with secured springs. The burlap is cut to size for each part, tacked into place initially, and then tightly lashed to the springs to minimize movement. This is to prevent the springs from wearing through the burlap over time.


  • 3 Each part is separately padded as well, with layers of burlap and horsehair or chosen synthetic material. The padding is placed in a burlap envelope, arranged on the edge of the seat, pinned into place, and stitched down. As the stitching progresses, the pins can be removed one by one. This roll is then shaped according to design requirements and stitched with special needles and more twine. After this is secured yet still pliable, a layer of about 15 lb (6.81 kg) of padding is distributed over the whole area of the seat, extending over the roll. The layer is basted into place with long, loose stitches and covered with lighter weight burlap. Tighter stitching divides the seat into two areas called the platform and the nose or front edge. This front part is reshaped with hand stitching. After the shaping is completed, a final, thicker layer of padding is added to fill in dips left by stitching in the burlap, and basted like the previous layer. A muslin sheet of covering is applied, stitched into the break between the platform and nose, tightened across the front edge and back across the platform; its edges are tacked into place. Anomalies in the padding are addressed before proceeding.
  • 4 The arms are done next in the same basic fashion. Layers of padding and burlap are fixed in succession and topped with muslin. The arms also have a front edge of extra thick padding. Once the arms are properly shaped the back or back sections may be padded. If there is more than one part to the back, the center is padded first up until the second burlap layer. Then, the two flanking sections are padded up to that point, to match the center in size. The edge roll is formed around the top and back of the crest rail or uppermost part of the frame, or the corresponding area of each of the back parts, each of which must be kept parallel to the others. After inspecting and making any adjustment to the padding, the exposed wood parts can be stained and finished to taste or design specifications.


  • 5 Every piece and panel that will be fabric covered must be measured and recorded in a cutting list. The fabric is purchased in one piece or lot. The panels are then plotted out in chalk so they match wherever their seams will meet when finally applied. If any of the panels and pieces need to be sewn together before being attached to the padded frame, this is taken care of first. The seat is covered with panels for the platform and nose and hand-stitched into place along the break between them over a layer of cotton batting. The nose is then covered first to check if the pattern continues along the front properly. The covering is fitted over the back or platform end and secured. The arms are covered next after being prepped with their own layers of cotton batting. A fan-pleated arm is a classic look. The fabric is folded into place around the front roll, in a series of pleats that look like an opened fan when finished. A series of strategically placed cuts may be made, so the fabric clears all obstructions presented by the frame. The top, bottom, back, and pleated front are operated on in succession. Temporary tacks are replaced one by one with permanent tacks.
  • 6 Other parts to be covered, like the back or its sections, may require machine sewing and the attachment of pull tabs that will allow the fabric to be stretched between frame slats and secured. Cotton batting is layered on as well, and the appropriate panel of fabric laid down, basted, stretched fully into place, and fixed with tacks. The outside is the last part to be padded and covered, starting at the arms. The open area is covered with a layer of burlap, an outside cotton padding, and finally the finishing fabric. Covering is fabric-stitched on top and tacked into place on the bottom, front, and back. The largest panel left open is the outside back. If the webbing has left any gaps between frame slats, these must be stuffed. Padding should be basted over the gaps along the whole outside back. The fabric panel for this section may be welted, or edged with a decorative strip made of stuffing cord covered in matching fabric. The covering is basted, then sewn at the top and tacked at the bottom as with the other parts.


  • 7 After the sofa is flipped and covered at the base with a cambric (dust cover), finishing touches are then applied. The sofa may be fitted with one of several choices of skirt. Arms may be supplied with welted panel covers. Cushions are made separately to cover the seat. These are constructed most often from a jacket of ticking, encasing two pads that in turn frame an inner core of foam. Each one is covered with finishing fabric panels supplied with a back zipper, so the case can be removed for dry cleaning.

Quality Control

Quality control is more a matter of individual or company standards than government regulations. Manufacturers' warranties range from five to 10 years to a lifetime.

The Future

Sofas continue to be made by individual craftsmen and small workshops as well as factories. There are different ways to learn how to make sofas and other upholstered items. North Carolina State University offers an industrial engineering bachelor's degree that specializes in furniture manufacturing. In addition to courses in product engineering and facilities design, they sponsor field trips to local factories and workshops in industry-specific computer applications.

source :

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Top tips for choosing a sofa

Top tips for choosing a sofa

Buying a lounge suite is a sizeable investment, and as such, it not only has to look good, but it also has to be comfortable, durable and long lasting. 

The problem is, however, if you don’t know what to look for, it is often difficult to distinguish between a good quality couch and one of an inferior quality. 
Anton Odendaal from Rochester says a cheap couch will never hold up the durability that a top-end couch will offer.
A good quality couch on the other hand, he says, will not only retain its good looks for longer, but it will also offer years of enjoyment and comfort.

The covering
Odendaal says it is important to focus on the sofa’s covering.
The covering is what you see, and it is also the part of any seating that will receive the most wear and tear. Therefore, in order to keep a sofa looking good for longer, it is imperative that it has a good quality covering. 

When choosing what kind of covering you want for your couch, Odendaal says it is essential to consider aesthetics, as well as durability, stain-resistance and maintenance issues.
Chenille fabric for example is soft and durable, while leather lasts longer. Velvets and faux suede on the other hand, look lovely and offer a wonderful textural quality, but may quickly appear worn out if placed in high traffic areas. 
Plain canvas or drill fabrics are hard wearing, but easily stained.
Stains and dirt are especially important considerations for parents and pet owners, as both children and pets are well-reputed couch destroyers. 
Patterned fabric and fabric in dark colours have the benefit of being able to hide stains better than plain and lightly coloured fabrics.

Odendaal says alternatively, you can pay a bit extra and opt for an industrial-strength commercial grade upholstery fabric, which has been specially manufactured to withstand the wear and tear of high traffic areas. 
Some commercial fabrics even have the ability to deter bacteria, he says. 
He explains that special treatments can also be applied to your couches, such as Masterguard for example, which keeps fabrics looking newer for longer. 
Opting for couches with slipcovers is another great option, he says.
“Slipcovers are a fantastic choice, as you can take the slipcovers off to wash them when they get dirty, and you can also easily change the colour and look of the couch by fitting it with a new cover in a different fabric when you tire of the old upholstery.”

All about leather
Leather couches are by far the most popular, and it is easy to understand why – they are beautiful and durable pieces of furniture that offer superior comfort, conformability, longevity, and cleanability when compared to their fabric counterparts.
However, Odendaal says they are also, by and large, considerably more expensive, and as such, it is essential to know what qualities to look for when making your selection to ensure that you make the optimum choice. 
The most important thing to do is to determine whether the sofa is upholstered in genuine or faux leather, he says.
Your first point of reference should be to examine the furniture tag and see if it identifies the materials used in the manufacturing of the sofa. 
Faux leather can be identified in a number of different ways, including pleather, leatherette, naugahyde, corfam, ultrasued, fabrikoid, permeable leather, artificial leather or leather cloth, By-Cast,  and Bonded Belisima. 
Genuine leather, however, should always be identified with a genuine leather symbol or the term ‘Genuine Leather’.
Odendaal says the next thing to do is to ascertain the quality of the leather used to upholster the sofa.
Leather comes in a variety of qualities that can serve different purposes. Bonded leather is made of leather scraps that have been glued together – although it is inexpensive, it is not as durable and so it should be avoided. 
Full grain leather is as durable, or perhaps even more durable than top grain leather, but since it doesn’t have a protective layer, it will take on more character from wear and tear over the years, but ultimately, it will last longer. 
You can also consider thickness as a function of price – the thicker the leather, the longer it will last, and the more expensive it will be.
Split grain leather is made from the inside of the hide, which is considered less desirable than the outer layer because it is it not as durable. 
Top grain is made from the outer layer and is the most durable type of leather because it is specially treated to increase its longevity. 
Full grain leather is the most expensive option – like top grain leather, it is made from the outer layer, but it is not treated. It is the most expensive because of its beauty, but is not as durable as top grain. 
Some couches will offer leather match, a combination of vinyl and leather, which is less expensive than most genuine leather sofas, explains Odendaal.
Frame and construction
What the sofa’s frame is constructed from is also important. 
In South Africa, pine is used for the construction of seating; however, there are different grades of pine. If you are looking for quality, you should make sure that the frame is constructed from A-grade industrial unknotted pine, which is the strongest and most durable material on offer, explains Odendaal. 
The interior construction is another crucial consideration when it comes to quality, he says.
Inexpensive furniture is usually stapled together and has poorly constructed corner bracing, while more expensive furniture should be securely screwed together and well-constructed and hardy corner bracing. 
With regards to seating, one of the most durable seating constructions comprises eight-way tied springs, however, there are other types of wire coils, and of course, some seating comprises only wood and foam constructions.
Trusted brands
Of course, Anton says that opting to choose a trusted brand is another way of ensuring that you are buying a quality piece of furniture.
Homeowners should look for a company that has built a good reputation for offering top quality furniture over the years.
Investing in motion furniture
Recliners and motion furniture are by far the most popular forms of seating that people are investing in nowadays, says Odendaal.
Motion furniture and recliners are a major trend in the world of seating – so much so that as from November 2012, Rochester will be stocking a full selection of La-Z-Boy recliners, along with their standard ranges of reclining seating that they have always stocked.
Odendaal says the popularity of motion furniture is mostly a testament to their comfort.
Today, people are spending increasingly more time at home than they used to in order to save money. They are choosing to 'hang out' at home instead of taking a vacation or having dinner at a fancy restaurant, and if people are going to spend most of their time at home, they’ll need a comfortable chair to sit in. 
Sales of reclining chairs are also getting a boost from the growing popularity of high-tech TVs, home theatre equipment, and video games.
New, modern designs are also boosting sales of motion furniture, explains Odendaal.
In the past, when it came to seating, it was often accepted that you had to sacrifice on good looks if you were going to opt for comfort. However, this is certainly not the case anymore – today, you can truly get the best of both worlds – seating that is durable and comfortable, as well as being aesthetically good looking.” 
Colour choice
To ensure that your couch doesn’t date too quickly, it is advisable to choose something that is as neutral as possible.
Choosing a neutral palette will prolong the longevity of your seating, as it will match a variety of different styles and in this way it can be easily adapted to the ever changing décor trends. 
A neutral colour will allow you to change the whole look of a room by simply changing its décor accessories, such as scatter cushions, rugs, light fittings and so on, without having to invest in an entirely new lounge suit. 
This is one of the reasons why leather is such a popular choice of upholstery – it is durable, long lasting, and it is neutral enough to go with any type of décor – from the über contemporary to the most classical styles.


Monday, 10 December 2012

Evoking Decadence With a Wild Touch

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Modern Leather Sofa Buying Guide

By Jenny Spr Peterson on

What was once a luxury material only to be found in expensive sofa shops has now become a more affordable choice available on the high street - the modern leather sofa. New technologies in the dyeing process mean that a wide variety of colours, which used to be difficult to find, can now be seen in their abundance. Vibrant red leather sofas and cream leather sofas prove to be a popular choice for customers but the modern black leather sofa still dominates.
For a contemporary feel, new, uniformly textured leather sofas are best, offering clean tones without the blemishes and scratches found on unprotected hides. Some uniform leather sofas are coated with a protective layer to guard against the absorption of moisture and allows for spills to be easily wiped away from your leather sofas.
It can be baffling at times to know which leather sofa will sit best in your home as each may be styled to suit either the modern or traditional living room. By looking at the armrests this can give a good hint. Box shaped armrests are usually found on modern leather sofas, providing clean, straight lines which are often found in contemporary architecture and design. Cushion style armrests can also work well by softening straight edges. There are rounded armrests too which can have a very traditional feel and would be perfect if you're after a little nostalgia in your home.
You'll be doing a lot of sitting on your new sofas so it's important to get this part right. If you're after a firm seat, a foam filled seat may be best which offers a good level of comfort but will avoid sinking. The very best suspension on offer is pocket sprung seating where springs are wrapped in their own individual cotton pockets and are able to move independently to one another. You'll pay more for these sofas but it may be worth spending that little bit extra to get the feel of luxury.
Choosing the right size for your living room can be very important as some sofas can be larger than your doorway and could prove difficult to manoeuvre into your home. It's possible to find sofas specially designed to fit through doorways by having detachable armrests or backrests which are then easily clipped together to produce a good family sized sofa. It's best to always measure up before purchasing your new leather sofas. Take a measurement of the room you plan on having the sofas and begin thinking about a few positions you could have them if you were to rearrange the room in the future. On the day of delivery, try to create a clear access into the room to help yourself or the delivery team out.
Three seater sofas provide adequate size for a couple or small family. You'll find very good deals sofa packages where you'll save anything up to 100 rather than buying sofas individually. Most retailers will offer a combination to suit you so it's best to ask. Two seater sofas are the perfect accompaniment to a three seater sofa and tend to be the most popular combination with some of the best deals to be found. Some three seater sofas are designed with two large seat cushions rather than 3 individual seats which can create a wider, larger feel to the sofa.
In short, take time to choose your modern leather sofa and you'll have a great piece of furniture that will last a long time.
This article was written about modern leather sofas. To learn more about these and see a fine selection, please visit Simply Stylish Sofas

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Affordable Eco Sofas

The Nines Apartment Sofa

Flores Organic Forest Sofa

Burche Bench

Rowe Monaco Mini Mod

Montego Navy

Metolious 547 Limit Cream

CB2 Vincent Twin Sleeper

by Lucy Stone

Oct 28, 2009

Six Tips for Buying the Right Leather Furniture for You

There's nothing like the feeling of sinking into a plush leather sofa or kicking up your feet on a leather recliner. Once you experience the rich color and luxurious texture of real leather furniture, it's tough to go back to anything else.

And with good reason: Leather is the strongest upholstery material known to man, and its natural strength makes it much more difficult to tear, puncture, burn or melt than fabrics or vinyls. Leather also constantly adjusts to its environment, so it won't become hot and sticky in the summer or cold in the winter. This natural product also breathes and ventilates, wicking away body heat, and ages gracefully.

But before you start planning on giving your home the posh, natural look of leather, think carefully as you select your furniture. Whether you're dreaming of a sectional grouping or just a chair, leather furniture is an investment that requires you to give it the proper treatment it deserves.

So before you splurge, consider these basic tips.

1. Think Second Best

When you're shopping for leather furniture, it's easy to think that the highest-grade, most expensive leather equates to the best option. But this rule isn't accurate. For many consumers, the middle grade is the option of choice, as it can better withstand normal wear and tear while looking attractive.

2. Don't Expect Perfection

Oh, those scars, those veins, those stretch marks! Just like humans aren't all airbrushed perfection, neither are the cows used for leather furniture. But these characteristics aren't flaws, but rather are the qualities that give leather furniture its distinctive, natural appeal. If you look very closely, there's a slight chance you might even spot a brand, which is usually hidden in an out-of-the-way place.

3. Order Big

hose characteristics and differences in texture can be an issue if you're planning on purchasing more than one piece. Since leather is a natural product, it's difficult to predict whether your furniture's color and texture will match perfectly if you order several items over a longer period of time instead of all at once. This is especially important to consider with sectional pieces or matching ottomans. It can be a little easier on the pocketbook to build your leather furniture collection one piece at a time, but understand that this method might affect the overall look of a room.

4. Avoid Cat Scratch Fever

If there's anyone who should think carefully about their decision to purchase leather furniture, it should be pet owners. Pets do a number on leather furniture with their claws, so keep this in mind when deciding where your furniture will be safest in your home. Warranties on leather furniture don't cover animal damage, either. And manufacturers actually do extensive testing on materials, so forget about pulling one over on them by passing off Fluffy's scratches as a mysterious defect.

5. Sun Protection is a Factor

Just like you, leather furniture doesn't age well if it's exposed to the sun. So while you're mentally arranging a room around that leather sofa, look at whether it will be soaking up direct sunlight for extended periods. If so, search for alternate places to put it before you even bring it home, or consider another type of furniture.

6. Maintenance Matters

As you look at different leather options, imagine how much time you ideally want to spend on upkeep. Most varieties on the market only require frequent light dusting and the occasional wiping with a warm and slightly damp clean cloth. Take note if you find nubuck appealing, however: This higher-grade variety requires you to use a suede brush.

Now that you're enlightened about nature's most beautiful material, get ready to live the leather lifestyle. With these simple tips, you'll be lounging on luxurious, long-lasting leather in no time.