Choosing a Sofa

Buying the right sofa for your space and to meet your desires can make or break a space. If I’m designing a room, I like to suggest a neutral sofa with great lines, which allows the possibility to adapt to changing interior design trends and tastes. You also need to consider that a sofa is a long-term investment—like the person you choose to spend most of your time with. Trust me, you don’t want to cheap out on this one. A quality sofa can last a lifetime.
Here are some factors to consider if you’re wondering how to choose the right sofa for you home.

1. Check the Frame

A sturdy frame means a long-lasting sofa. Soft wood, such as pine, is low-cost, but it may warp or wobble after five years. Pricier hardwood (kiln-dried oak, ash, or beech, for example) is more durable. Avoid frames made of particleboard, plastic, or metal; they may warp and crack. Legs should be part of the frame or held on with screws or dowels (pegs) — not with glue alone.

Tip: To test frame strength, lift one front corner or leg of the sofa off the floor. By the time you’ve raised it six inches, the other front leg should have risen too. If it’s still touching the floor, the frame has too much give; it’s weak.

2. Ask About Joinery

A frame with joints connected by any of the following means is solidly constructed: wooden dowels, double wooden dowels, wooden corner blocks (the tag might read corner blocks glued and screwed), or metal screws and brackets. Staples or nails may be used for extra reinforcement, but never buy a sofa that’s held together solely by staples, nails, or glue.

Tip: Ask your salesperson for written manufacturer information on frame joinery.

3. Test the Springs

Most sofas have sinuous, also called serpentine, springs — preassembled units of snaking wire. They’re nicely supportive, but they can press on the frame or sag over time if the metal isn’t heavy. High-end sofas often come with “eight-way hand-tied springs.” They’re comfy but expensive; some experts feel they’re no better than serpentines. Feel the springs through the upholstery — they should be close together and firm. Sofas with no springs, just webbing or mesh, are uncomfortable and flimsy.

Tip: Sit down firmly on a corner or outside edge of a sofa you’re considering. Squeaks and creaks suggest that springs are incorrectly placed or hitting the frame.

4. Feel Your Fillings

Polyurethane foam is a low-cost, easy-care cushion filling. But the more durable, high-density type can feel hard, and softer, low-density foam deteriorates more rapidly with constant use. High-resilient (HR) foam is slightly more expensive but more comfortable and long-lasting. Polyester fiber is also inexpensive, but it flattens quickly. Goose- and duck-feather fillings are comfy, but they can clump. Top of the line: goose down (the bird’s soft undercoat) mixed with feathers. The combo is yummily plump, expensive (about double the price of foam), and high maintenance; cushions need frequent fluffing. A down-polyfiber blend is cheaper, but it flattens fast.

Tip: Two good options that are comfortable and reasonably priced: HR foam in a layer of down and conventional foam wrapped in polyester batting.

5. Find Tough Textiles

Sofas for everyday use need durable fabric. Cotton and linen are winners (but watch out for loose weaves — they can snag). Also terrific: synthetic microfiber, which can mimic most fabrics and is stain resistant. Cotton and linen can be treated for stain resistance, but even then they aren’t as easy to clean, or as durable, says Kathleen Huddy, the GH Research Institute’s textiles, paper, and plastics director. Blends of natural and synthetic fibers tend to pill within a year. Wool and leather are handsome and strong but expensive. Silk is sleek but fragile. Fabrics with patterns woven in tend to wear better than those with printed patterns.

Style Guide

There are plenty of different styles of furniture on the market, but with so many terms getting thrown around it’s hard to know what is what! Here we have broken down the most commonly used trends to give you a hand with choosing your ideal furniture style.

Antique vs. Vintage

Antique furniture includes pieces from an earlier period. It is often crafted out of wood and its age, condition, unique features and rarity determine how collectible the piece is and therefore, how high its value. Genuine antiques are, by definition, at least 100 years old and often have to be purchased from experienced dealers to guarantee authenticity.

Vintage furniture on the other hand, is used when the furniture exhibits the best of a certain quality, or qualities, associated with a particular era. Therefore, a Vintage 1940’s wishbone chair may be quite different to a Vintage 1980’s wishbone chair as the vintage for when they were made is different.

Traditional vs. Rustic

Traditional furniture is formal furniture from the Victorian period. It combines features from the Queen Anne period – graceful and elaborately decorated, Chippendale style – artistic embellishment and straightened out lines and Sheraton style – delicate pieces with tapered legs and contrasting inlays. Together this creates a comfortable and warm environment with hand crafted, dark timber pieces, over stuffed, plush sofas and elegant fabrics.

Rustic style furniture is influenced by many different styles coming together to create warm, natural and honest interiors. If furniture is rustic it will often be made of a warm timber or a natural material like animal hide, cotton or linen. It has a worn and homely appearance and is often more relaxed then formal. Scandinavian and industrial furniture design are usually synonymous with being rustic.

Art Deco vs. Retro

Art Deco is an eclectic style that combines Machine Age imagery and materials with traditional crafts. The style is characterized by geometric and angular shapes, materials like chrome, glass, shiny fabrics, mirrors and mirror tiles as well as stylized images of aeroplanes, cars and skyscrapers. With the success of The Great Gatsby movie and TV series like Boardwalk Empire, Art Deco is back in full force.

Retro furniture can be harder to define. When we think of Retro design we usually conjure up ideas of mod, geometric shapes in teal, yellow and brown or flashbacks to the kitchen from the Brady Bunch with its tulip table and orange splash back. Technically, retro furniture design is defined as aspects of modern culture which imitate trends, modes and fashions of the recent past which had come to be unfashionable.

Shabby Chic vs. French provincial

French provincial furniture is exactly what its title depicts. Characterized by the styles popular in the French provinces in the 17th and 18th century, this furniture style has a classic yet country feel to it. Ladder back dining chairs with woven seats, simple scalloped carving, large armoires or French sideboards with decorative moldings are all key features of this style.

Shabby Chic furniture, while similar, is more casual and often has a distressed appearance. The Furniture is typically white with a feminine and romantic feel. Like French provincial, this style originated from country houses but incorporates more up-cycling and salvaging of furniture.

Modern vs. Contemporary

Modern furniture originated under the modernist movement in the early 1900’s. It often combines leather, vinyl, steel, moulded plywood and plastics with a monochromatic colour scheme to create sleek and stylish interiors. Big name designers like Herman Miller, Hans Knoll and Charles and Ray Eames are the faces for this design era and you’ll often find replicas of their modern furniture designs on the market today. The Barcelona chair is a timeless example of modern design.

Modern furniture design is a defined style and will always refer to the modernist period of time, contemporary furniture design however, refers to furniture that is popular and used now, in the present. Furniture will often be described as “modern and contemporary”, which is where the confusion comes in between these two styles.

Caring for your Sofa

How to keep your sofa in good shape

We all have our favourite place to sit – the armchair nearest the fire or the end of the sofa nearest the window. Naturally, the cushions in our favourite spots show a little more wear than other places if you don’t do a few simple things:

* Plumping cushions (especially feather and hollow fill)

* Switching identical cushions around from time to time

* Redressing covers – covers might shift a little bit over time. Just tuck them back in firmly down the back of cushions with your special Multiyork tailoring bat (supplied with every sofa or chair). Chenille and velvet covers move the most and so we place extra ‘stabilisers’ down the side of the arms to help keep them in place.

Fabric Care

All fabrics are made to the highest possible standard and only the best dyes are used. Multiyork and the fabric houses guarantee the fabrics for one year from the date of delivery. Sunlight will fade most fabrics and precautions should always be taken to protect fabrics from exposure to direct sunlight.

Dry cleaning only may be recommended (according to the fabric composition). Fabrics are categorised for wear based on the results of the Martindale rub test. We recommend your chosen fabric achieves a minimum for general domestic use.

 

How to breathe new life into a much-loved sofa or amchair

If in the future your comfort levels or lifestyle change you can change the interiors of your cushions to a different material. Our replacement cushion interiors will easily change the level of comfort for you and breathe new life into much-loved sofas and armchairs.

A Bed Buyers Guide – The Sleep Council

Buying that bed

You spend a third of your life in bed, so it’s vital that you make the right choice. Shop smarter by following these helpful tips:
Try, try and try it again! There is no substitute for lying on mattresses when selecting the right one for you. You wouldn’t buy a new car without taking it for a test drive first – and you’ll be spending even more time in your bed! So wear comfortable clothes, remove your coat and shoes and lie on the bed for quite a long time – at least 10 minutes (preferably more). Adopt your normal sleeping position and lie on your side as well as your back.
Always shop together if the bed’s for two, to ensure you are both happy with your choice.
Set aside enough time to do the job properly. Don’t shop when you’re tired or rushed – you run the risk that the beds will all feel wonderful.
Correct support depends on your weight, height, build and even preferred sleeping position. Ideally the mattress should mould to the shape of your body while remaining supportive. When you lie on your side your spine should be horizontal. You should be able to turn fairly easily. As a general rule, the heavier you are, the firmer the tension you will need. You don’t necessarily need a hard bed if you have a bad back (see page 20 for more information).
Comfort is very subjective. Some people like the sensation of being cocooned in a bed; others prefer to lie on top of them. Back sleepers may like a firmer feel than people who sleep on their sides. There are lots of different ‘feels’ around – you can choose what works best for you.
Most manufacturers will offer mattresses in firm, medium and soft options. Try different options to be sure which is best for you. Remember there is no industry wide standard to compare firmness ratings from one manufacturer to the other.
For partners of widely differing size and weight (3 stones/18kgs or more), different mattresses may be required. Some manufacturers make double beds from two single mattresses zipped together, which can be of differing tension. Others can combine different degrees of firmness in one mattress. Look for the NBF Mark of Approval
For added reassurance that the bed or headboard you’re buying is safe, clean and honest ie it is what it says it is, then look for the Approved logo. All members of the trade association, the National Bed Federation (NBF), must be independently audited to ensure they follow the procedures that comply with flammability,
health and hygiene and trade descriptions regulations. For a current list of NBF Approved manufacturers visit www.bedfed.org.uk. A good way to check if the bed you are lying on is too soft, too hard, or just right is to lie on your back, and slide your hand in the hollow of your back. If it slides in too easily, the bed may be too hard for you (leading to pressure on your hips and shoulders); if it’s a struggle to slide your hand in, then the bed is probably too soft. If you can move your hand with just a little resistance, the bed may be just right for you. Another useful test is to pop a set of keys behind your back. You shouldn’t be able to feel them!