Ask our Expert - Where to start when buying a Sofa!

Are you looking to buy a new sofa and wondering where to start? Would leather be your sofa of choice?

Our very own expert Kate Mackenzie gives her advice and tips on what she feels are important when purchasing a new sofa.

When it comes to sofas, where should you start? 

Begin with the frame build and ask about upholstery make up. We offer a high standard of build at The Original Chair Company and that is why our clients keep coming back to us.  Traditionally made sofas should have a hardwood frame, generally in beech and the component parts are fixed together with dowels, glue and screws. This ensures a solid structure to work with and one that will last a long long length of time for the consumer. Frames are then lined out with webbing and hessian to give additional protection to your carefully selected top fabric. Arms and backs are contoured from layers of upholstery materials (hair, felt, fibres etc). Various coil spring tensions are used in most of our sofas and this optimises comfort and support. It’s important that fabric is cut and pattern matched perfectly for that impeccable tailored look. A varied choice of cushion fillings is paramount to us, from duck feather and down to foams and feather jacket cushions; we feel it’s important for our clients to try each one out in our showroom. Naturally, when it comes to scatter cushions it’s good to look for zipped, overlocked and pattern matched both sides for ease of cleaning and maximum wear.  

How often should you reupholster them?

The upholstery inside a good quality sofa should last a long time, in fact some of our frames come with a life time guarantee. However, if a sofa is made with good quality coil springs then, even these should last at least 25 years. In reality, people may want to change the fabric and seat cushions within that time. When choosing your top fabric it’s always a good idea to choose a neutral colour and bring in colour and texture with your scatter cushions. These are less expensive to change over the years. Fabrics durability is measured in rubs, from the Martindale Rub Test. The tests are undertaken on upholstery fabrics to check their suitability for various uses - i.e. Light domestic (10,000 to 15,000 rubs), General Domestic (15,000 to 25,000 rubs) and Heavy Duty (25,000 to 30,000 rubs). The higher the rub test figure the longer the fabric will last. 

We are seeing a lot of tan leather sofas, is that an emerging trend?

Leather sofas in all shades of brown, are always a popular choice for living rooms because they tend to be big, comfy and classic. But too much bulky leather upholstery can make a space look dark, heavy or just boring! Mix things up and add throws, rugs and footstools carefully around the room to add layers of colour and texture.  Choosing scatter cushions along the back of your leather sofa , perhaps mixing deep sumptuous velvet or super soft wool with a bold design on linen can make your sofa look so inviting! Leather is a practical option, we recommend an aniline finished leather tanned to ensure a pleasing distressed or aged finish from new. They are designed to change colour and sheen when pulled or stretched. They are not as colour fast as pigmented hides and are designed to allow furniture to age and relax through use and over time. 

How best to maintain a leather sofa? 

Ideally, a leather sofa should be protected from direct sunlight and not be placed next to radiators. Leather can be prone to drying out and cracking if overheated. Establish a regular cleaning programme for your leather sofa, dusting it regularly and wiping away any stains immediately with a moist cloth following through with a dry cloth to avoid leaving damp areas. Cleaning kits are available, so these are ideal for getting rid of stains and ingrained marks. It is advisable also, to use a rejuvenation cream to restore moisture back into the leather. Think of this as similar to a deep hair conditioning treatment you might use regularly. The leather cleaning and conditioning treatment are available as a kit from The Original Chair Company. 

If you have any other questions Kate can help you with please don't hesitate to contact us.

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