Beating the 10 Year Challenge: The Clues to a Lasting Sofa

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Be it to binge your favourite TV shows on Netflix, beat a frenemy on a console game, or to host friends and guests for a relaxed evening – there’s nothing quite like curling up on the sofa after a long day. The living room’s no longer the space reserved for entertaining special guests, nowadays, it’s the place you go to spend the bulk of at-home-together activities, simmer down, eat, chat, look things up, and maybe do some late-night work.

Getting a sofa that’s comfortable, supports your back well, and lasts the march of time is essential and healthy – both for your back and for your wallet, ESPECIALLY if your use of the sofa stretches beyond just an hour.

1. Make it the eye of your Living Room budget


If you’re going to spend your money on something, spend it on the sofa. It’s the one item in the living room you’re going to physically use, and while that ‘extra ergonomic’ feature might look like a lap of luxury, it’s going to be an investment that directly affects your health, and that’s one thing you shouldn’t wait on. Damage done to your back can’t be returned with a new and better sofa.

2. Ask questions: Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better

check list

Buying furniture is a bit of a gamble: With big-box retailers mass-producing furniture and new brands popping up in the market every 5 minutes, it’s hard to know what kind of quality you’re getting for your money.

How can you tell if a sofa will last before you buy it? What are the most durable materials to look for? And what red flags should make you put away your wallet and move onto the next?

3. Start with the frame

Basically, steer clear of chipboard frames. They’re never sturdy or strong. Hardwood is always the way to go. Avoid any sofas held together solely with nails, staples, or glue. Instead, look for wooden dowels, metal screws, or brackets, or “corner blocks” – which are all sturdier, more resilient options.

4. Stay away from foam or foam cores


Hand-tied springs or sinuous springs are best. 100% down-filled cushions are the most luxurious, but 60/40 feather and down-filled cushions will not require a lot of plumping.

5. Choose upholstery fabrics wisely


This all depends on how much wear a fabric will receive. Pieces subjected to daily heavy wear need to be covered in tough, durable, tightly woven fabrics. When purchasing upholstery fabric or upholstered furniture, be aware that the higher the thread count, the more tightly woven the fabric is, and the better it will wear. Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch of fabric. If you have destructive companions at home, such as huge dogs, or even worse, kids, opt for synthetic fabrics, denim, leather and vinyl, or microfibre.

6. Try the sofa out in person if you can


To test the strength of the frame, lift one corner of the sofa off the ground (the nearest corner should lift along with it). Then, perch on one edge and listen for creaking noises (this indicates the springs are poorly installed). Lastly, sit on the sofa and lean back to test the comfort and durability of the cushions, and make sure the dimensions work with your body.

And if your great love only exists via an online store, then study the returns policy down to the letter.

7. Don’t be afraid of hand-me-downs

antique shop

If the sofa that originally bought was a good investment, then chances are it cane be passed on down the generations and still be a better option to mid-range sofas. This is especially true if your family did not use the sofa as extensively as you probably will. If your family can’t provide, it’s always worth looking at auctions for antique sofas. They may need recovering or reupholstering but that doesn’t need to be done straight away. You can spread the cost this way.

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