How to buy a Quality Sofa Part IV : Guarantees

Today’s post is the last in the series on “How to buy a  Quality Sofa”  so if you have missed the first 3 posts go back and have a read.  You are spending some hard earned dollars here, so it is worth it!To recap it should have: A heavy frame + heavy elephant foam cushions+ car tyre webbing = good quality sofa.  i.e you cannot kick it around with your foot.  A good quality sofa will need a couple of man mountains to lift it.  If you are a weakling and can lift it on your own, please walk away!

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Linens ex Warwick Fabrics

Finally ask does your chosen piece of furniture have a Guarantee? Has the piece got a 10 year guarantee on the frame and foam?  A workmanship guarantee of 5 years?

Quality manufacturers will stand by their product.  Buying locally is safer for this very reason. (New Zealand Made in our case).  It is more eco-friendly as you are not shipping across the world, you know what is going into the product and you have local guarantees.  You are also providing local jobs and local income.  This is good for all of us isn’t it?

New sofas and chairs need to be worn in a little just like a car.  Think of them as your new favourite pair of designer jeans. Specialist designer furniture gets more comfortable with age, conforming to your body and becoming uniquely yours.  Yes, it does cost more, but buying quality, from a local manufacturer  but you are buying an antique of the future, a modern heirloom, not landfill.  You will be able to have it recovered in years to come. Think of how often you sit in your sofa, and for how many years you will have it, and the price doesn’t work out too badly does it?

View our website for more details of what to look out on a piece of furniture: http://www.roomserviceinteriors.co.nz/Our-Furniture.html

If you would like help selecting a new piece of furniture or interior design click here to contact us .  

Related articles:

http://cocoandcashmere.me/2013/11/18/cozy-rustic-chic-design/

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How to buy a Quality Sofa II: Foams

On Wednesday night we had the pleasure of talking to the Stage 2 class at the Nanette Cameron School of Interior Design which  has been the inspiration for this 4 part post on what makes a quality piece of furniture. First off it is the frame which we talked about in our last post. However Foams are equally important for supporting your body through their structure and how they shape a piece of furniture.  Then finally Cushions are the true source of comfort in a piece of furniture and the foam that goes in them is very important.

 

Be wary of a sofa that is super soft and squishy.  If it is soft on Day One  it will be positively saggy & offer no support by Day 365.  Your knees will be up around your ears when you sit down!  Equally be wary of a sofa that is way too firm.  Hard foam is not dense, and it is the density you pay for in a foam. Poor quality furniture has very little upholstery padding and the foams are cheap, cheap, cheap, light and offer no support. Look for lots of padding across the back and arms.  Look underneath the cushions.  You should not feel any sharp edges, staples, or the wood that lies beneath.  The piping and stitching should all be straight and not crooked.  Park your bottom on the seat.  Can you feel the front rail underneath your thighs? Can you feel any part of the frame beneath the foam? No?  Good, this could be the sofa for you then as it means lots of padding has been used and the seat foam is of decent quality.

 

Look for the use of Elephant foam, it is the heaviest, densest and most resilient.  It will give you years of firmness and stability which is good in a cushion. Memory foam and Luxura foam are used quite a lot but we wouldn’t recommend it to provide you with years of service.  Memory foam is lovely and soft and squishy for your sofa, but has no structure.  It was developed fas a topping foam for mattresses, and really should not be used in furniture.

Some manufacturers make a foam sandwich with their cushions.  But think about it – If you have a cushion that is 100mm thick you will get good structure by using all Elephant foam.  However, if you then make a ‘sandwich’ with Memory or Luxura foam (using 50mm of it for comfort) you will be taking away 50mm of structure and good support for your dear self in years to come.  So, it is a compromise.

 

In our next post we will talk about the cushioning on your sofa, and how elephant foam is used there along with feathers and other goodies.  Please come back to continue reading.

If you would like help selecting a comfortable, quality piece of furniture, we’d love to hear from you!

How to buy a Quality Sofa 1- The Frame

Most people struggle to know what is a good quality piece of furniture these days and what isn’t. Because you can’t actually see what you are getting and what lies beneath that gorgeous shape and fabric. A lot of quality has disappeared off the market due to cheap and nasty imports and quality local manufacturers have had their margins so squeezed they have been unable to survive.

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Warning! If you pay a few $1000 hard earned dollars for a matching 3 piece lounge suite from a chain store on a Saturday morning, you can almost guarantee that it will not stand the test of time. Most of them are poorly made and are just ugly- extremely bulky and have no style what so ever.These pieces are, sadly lacking and are landfill and will not provide you years of good comfortable cushioning for your derriere.

(Refer our earlier blog-https://roomserviceinteriors.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/mitchy-matchy-breaking-up/ )

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When looking for a new piece of furniture, you need to be prepared to invest some time, effort and yes,  money!  A lot of people replace their car before their sofa and spend more on their wardrobe annually, so invest because it is something that you will have for a while.  You must also love, love, love it. And your new sofa needs to be something you are truly comfortable in and for me nothing too hard edged, sleek, or funky as it is going to be around for a while so you don’t want it to look out of date next year!

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The first thing to do with a sofa or chair is to give it a little nudge with your leg.  If it moves easily, then walk away.  No, I’m not joking. A light sofa/chair is a rubbish one.  It has probably got a balsa wood frame which will break and bend under the slightest bit of duress.  Next pick it up in one corner.  If it flexes and creaks like an old house there is not a strong frame in there.  Walk away!  Also knock three times along the side of the arms.  Does it sound like a drum?  It probably has cardboard in the arms and not solid wood.  Walk away again!

So what how do you know what is quality?

THE FRAME

The frame construction is a vital key to lasting strength & durability so:

  • Internally the frames should be made of export quality eco friendly Pinus Radiata,or Beech, box sectioned to add strength. These woods are very heavy.  We make houses out of them!  It should have inserted spreader rails (front to back) to provide optimal strength.  For added  solidity all joints should be corner blocked, glued & high pressure stapled.
  • The frame sides are all routed to remove hard edges to avoid the possibility of the foam & webbing being damaged and cut.
  • The outside backs & arms are fully lined with polyester & hesssian.
  • Depending on the furniture design, Pirelli-type webbing (like split car tyres) should be used.  Not just tape.  Super heavy duty tread is the way to go.  The webbing should run both ways on the frame. Front to Back, Side to Side like a basket weave.  No gaps in the corners that you can sink down in.
  • Alternatively tension sprung seats & zigzag sprung backs are used for the seats & backs of the frames.

So, heavy frame + heavy cushion foam + car tyre webbing = good quality sofa. i.e. you cannot kick it around with your foot.  A good quality sofa will need a couple of burly blokes to lift it.  If you a weakling and can lift if on your own, please walk away!

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For more ideas and inspiration have a look at these Related Articles:

http://abigailahern.wordpress.com/?s=sofas+furniture&submit=Search

http://www.interiors.co.nz/Article.aspx?id=234

Display your Personal Style

Have you ever come back from holidays with pieces you have collected en route?  Not sure what to do with them? Often they are not quite as easy to mix into your interior upon return.  Need a Solution? Think about  displaying your collected treasures together in groups that have similar colours or are the same objects (eg baskets or necklaces).  Do not be afraid to group them together with other personal items that you do not want to part with. Below is a lovely idea from ‘me & alice’ a Swedish Interior Stylist and photographer. She has created a ‘memory cupboard’ in which you could include all your souvenirs along with other personal memorabilia…….MemorycupboardMe&alice

This does not have to be the main focal point of the busiest room in your house, but could add interest to other spaces – eg hallways.  They are often a neglected and uninteresting area of the house so a perfect place to add something interesting.

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A tablescape like the one we have created above is also a great way to display and remember trips to Egypt, Morocco and Turkey.  All pieces collected on our travels.  Alternatively you could make your children’s or guest room into a themed one – for example a Chinese theme- add interesting bedsides, use a Chinese themed pillow on the bed.  A Moroccan themed Rumpus using cushions, pouffs, rugs and lamps ex Morocco makes for a very hip and cool place for teenagers to hang out in.  The trick with any themed room is not to add too many accessories of that theme. You only need touches to add the interest.  Do not make every last thing Chinese or Moroccan.  The majority of the furnishings should be in your original style so that it links back and relates to the rest of the spaces in the house and where you are in the world. We touched on this in a previous blog – the problem there was the lack of relating the theme back to its surroundings and the original. Below is another idea for displaying shells and personal things courtesy of greige design.   Pinterest is full of these kind of ideas – so have a look and get pinning.

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Doing Double Duty

We are always short on space and rooms aren’t we?  (Though if you have been cleaning up and sorting, you may have a bit more by now!) However, have you thought about have a room being dual purpose?  For example, a guest room could be turned into a home office or a sewing/craft room in between times.  A Dining Room, could perhaps do double duty as an office or a library.  Both of these rooms need to be warm and cocooning, not to mention interesting, so the decorating scheme would fit either way.  It is also possible to put a corner of a room to a different use – for instance a desk area in the corner of a lounge, or in a hallway.  Bookshelves can make a hallway really interesting.

Here is another interior by Ilse Crawford, in which a ‘kitchen’ wall has been put to great use as a bookshelf.  The table then does double duty as a desk. How clever.

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And what a great idea pictured below where a pull out bed actually looks like a display cabinet. Clever again.

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Then there is this innovative idea that you could use for a home office-bedroom double duty…or maybe for the room at the bottom of the garden!  How simple is this?  So, you can have more guests to stay and get more space for yourself at the same time.  Perfect!

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Hilton Sofa

The Hilton Sofa exclusively from Room Service Interiors is a low, sleek, contemporary update on the traditional roll arm sofa.  Superior details include a slim front rail, a back roll at the perfect height, fabulous pleating low across the fixed back, piping & stained turned castor legs.  The roll arms make fabulous headrests for the perfect afternoon nap & surround t-seat cushions that are super comfy with a feather duvet wrapped foam core.  Hilton is NZ designed & made for Designers at Room Service Interiors where Quality is the Difference in comfort and style.

3 Seater Dimensions: 2150W L x 950D x 750H