3 Key Things to Look for When Picking out New Furniture

Want something that will last? Follow these tips!

Cheli Hadsall, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Cheli Hadsall
Cheli Hadsall

Furniture can be a daunting consideration, especially upholstered furniture. It’s one part of your home you will most likely have for a long time. It’s also going to be a fairly expensive purchase. For these reasons alone, you want the aesthetics to be timeless and the quality to be lasting.

So, what to consider when shopping for upholstered furniture? It’s a tricky question, because the most important components are hidden. Here are some things to keep in mind and questions to ask.

1.  Frame Construction

It’s one part of your home you will most likely have for a long time. It’s also going to be a fairly expensive purchase. For these reasons alone, you want the aesthetics to be timeless and the quality to be lasting.

The best frames will be made of solid hardwood with joints that are doweled or screwed. It should have reinforcing corner blocks. Nine-plus layer plywood is also a good option. More inexpensive frames will be made of thin plywood or particle board that is glued and stapled together. These frames are fine if it’s going in a formal living room that you’ll use three times a year. If it’s a piece that has to endure daily use with kids and pets, you may need to replace it in a couple years.

Be sure to test the springs. Eight-way hand-tied springs are the best, but also the most expensive. Sinuous springs can be a great choice as long as they are spaced close together and provide even resistance.

2.  Cushions

Foam is integral to the comfort of your upholstery. There are many types which have varying degrees of performance and durability. You’ll want to look for a high-resilient (HR) foam with a batting or down wrap. Because foam deteriorates over time, good quality foam is important. Lower quality foams will break down in a couple of years, and foam is fairly expensive to replace.

3.  Fabrics

Fabrics bring your upholstery to life. They often define the entire room. Choose something that will age well and look great for years. Neutrals are always a good idea. They allow you to change paint colors and decorate with the seasons. However, if you love bold details, there is nothing quite like a beautiful blue (or bright pink or emerald green) velvet tufted sofa.

When choosing a fabric, ask about the fabric’s performance, including the “double-rub” rating. The higher the rating, the more durable the fabric. A good heavy-use residential number would be 25,000 and up. You’ll also want to ask about stain- and fade-resistance.

Now that you have your list of new furniture questions, there is one more consideration: vintage furniture -- thrift store and garage sale finds that you just can’t pass up. These types of furniture pieces can allow you to express your eclectic self. If the frame is strong and the “bones” in good shape (or even need some minor repair), reupholstery could be a great option for you. Cushion materials can be customized. Fabric choices are endless. If an old piece has lasted for 50 or 100 years, it’s likely to continue to last far into the future.

Cheli Hadsall  is the owner of C Design Interiors & Textiles, located in Banbury Place (Building 13, Suite 212) in Eau Claire. Since 2004, she has provided upholstery, custom window treatments, custom pillows, bedding, and textiles in the Chippewa Valley. For more information, visit her website www.cdesign212.com.

Chippewa Valley Home & Garden is sponsored by:

Down to Earth
Garden Center

6025 Arndt Lane
Eau Claire, WI 54701
south of EC on Hwy 93

Chippewa Valley Home & Garden is sponsored by:

Down to Earth
Garden Center

6025 Arndt Lane
Eau Claire, WI 54701
south of EC on Hwy 93