Green velvet sofa in a living room

Here is our top 5 tips:

1. Sit on the sofa

There’s no better way to make sure your selected sofa is well made than to sit on it and give it a quick once over. The sofa should feel heavy and if you grab the arm and back, you shouldn’t be able to bend the frame. If possible, sit on the sofa with another person to make sure you don’t roll together.

2. Ask how the sofa is made

High quality frames are made from hardwood and the parts are glued, dowelled and screwed together. Another popular frame is softwood, and this is often glued and stapled. More affordable sofas use no-sag springs, while the cheapest sofas don’t use springs at all and instead use webbing made from elastic and man-made fibres. Premium sofas use a combination of springs and padding that’s made from wool, cotton wadding, felt or hair.

3. Inspect the frame and check the springs

A strong frame means a more durable sofa that will last you years if looked after. Softwood frames, like pine, are popular due to their affordability. Bear in mind that softwoods have a shorter lifecycle than more expensive hardwoods. Softwoods may warp or wobble after five years, but for their money they can still be a great investment. To check the springs, sit down on a corner or outside edge of the sofa you’re inspecting. If it creaks then the springs are possibly incorrectly placed or hitting the frame.

4. Ask about joinery

A sign of a quality-constructed sofa is the joints used to connect the parts. Quality joints include: wooden corner blocks, metal screws and brackets, wooden dowels or double wooden dowels. Nails and staples are commonly used for reinforcement, but be wary of purchasing a sofa just held together by these two items. You can ask your salesperson for written manufacturer information on frame joinery.

5. How firm are the fillings?

More durable fillings are of a higher density. So when you’re inspecting a couch, check the firmness of its cushions to understand how hardwearing it is. Softer foam will deteriorate quicker with use, but is less expensive.