What to Look for in Quality Upholstery

When you’re buying furniture for your home, you want to go with the best. It needs to be comfortable, long-lasting, and it needs to look good. If you’re in the market for new furniture or upholstery, you should be aware of what to look for in order to get the best quality.

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Frame Construction

What’s on the inside really does count. One of the more crucial aspects you need to be on the lookout for with upholstery is the frame construction of the piece. Most stores include this information with the piece on the showroom floor, or it can be found out by talking with an employee.

The framing functions as the upholstery’s skeleton and needs to be durable. Good quality upholstery frames are made of hardwoods, which are sturdy and won’t warp over time. Alder, for example, is heavy hardwood and furniture made from it tends to be more durable. Pine, while it is used often for furniture, is soft and can wear down easily with use. Laminated plywood, which is multiple layers of lumber glued together and then compressed, is also an option. However, the quality of the plywood should be considered, as this can affect its strength and durability.

Coil Construction

The coils, or springs, inside the upholstery, are just as important as the frame. The main purpose of the coils is to support the seat of the piece, and—by extension—you. For upholstery, there are a few variations of coil and coil construction. Drop-in coils are pre-made coils attached to one another with metal clips and then inserted into the base of the chair or sofa. It is then fastened to the rest of the frame at the corners. It is quite durable and comfortable, and may possibly reduce the price of the whole piece.

Sinuous coils are zig-zagged or S-shaped wires that are inserted into the frame and stretched from either front to back, or top to bottom. This method makes the seat of the upholstery firmer than drop-in coils, which works better for aesthetics than comfort.

Coils can also be tied in one of two ways, either by hand or by machine. Price-wise, hand tied can be expensive and is open to flaws. Machine tied coils are used by the majority of manufacturers and leave little room for error.

Cushion Quality

The cushioning of a piece of upholstery acts as the filling and ensures your comfort. With good cushioning, you shouldn’t be able to feel the framing or springs. The arms of the upholstery are just as important, so remember to check them, not just the seat and backrest.

Some of the cushioning options include what’s called HR, or High Resilient, cushioning. HR is a manufactured polyurethane foam that is flexible and comfortable. It’s very consistent and rebounds easily to prevent loss of shape. A greener alternative is latex foam, which is a natural foam and is growing in popularity. Latex foam usage cuts down on unnecessary waste and bacteria and mildew cannot thrive in it. It is also highly biodegradable and is easily recyclable.

The density of the cushioning should also be taken into account, as this affects the overall comfort and quality. The density of foam cushioning is measured by the weight of the foam per cubic foot. For example, a density of 1.8 means that the piece has 1.8lbs of foam cushioning per cubic foot. Typical foam density in manufactured upholstery pieces ranges from 1.6 to 2.5.

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