Frame / Construction
The frame and construction quality of your sofa is one of the most important parts of your decision because 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. Premium hardwood (kiln-dried oak, ash, or beech, for example) is much more durable. Avoid frames made of particleboard, plastic, or metal; they may warp and crack. Get sofas and sectionals with a sturdy hardwood frame. Legs should be part of the frame or held on with screws or dowels-not with glue alone. A frame with joints connected by any of the following means is solid: 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.
The frame should not wobble or creak; it should be sturdy and sit squarely on the floor. Wobbly or creaky frames mean less sturdy joints, while a strong frame means your sofa will last you longer.
The frame and all the corners should be well padded. Run your hand over them firmly to see. A padded frame will not stick out through the upholstery, it also means less friction for the fabric that is covering the frame.
Check the sofa from behind, and pat the center to make sure it isn’t hollow.
If the sofa has any metal parts, inspect to see that they are smooth and free of sharp edges. All moving parts on a sofa bed or reclining sofa should clear the fabric completely to avoid tearing. You don’t want any injuries to yourself or damage to your upholstery from a faulty mechanism.
Seats should be comfortable, and for reclining furniture, be comfortable in all different positions. Select deep or shallow seats depending on your height. A taller person will need deeper seats.
There are many factors to consider when choosing your preferred upholstery. Some choices like your desired color are much easier than picking out the best type of fabric or leather for your situation.
Choose a fabric based on who will be using your sofa. If your pets will also be sharing your sofa with you, consider a microfiber fabric or leather as they can withstand heavy use.
Each company manufacturer works with a different set of fabric and/or leather choices, so it is important to look the swatches over carefully.
In Stock VS. Special Order
In general there are two types of furniture. Furniture that is in stock in the US or furniture that needs to be special ordered.
If a piece is in stock it will usually take about 2-4 weeks for you to receive it; if a piece needs to be special ordered it takes about 3-4 months.
So why wait for a sofa for that long?
Many companies such as ROM from Belgium offer ONLY special order products. That means that every sofa they build is specific to the customer and there is no mass production. You can choose the configuration, upholstery, color, feet, features etc…
If you have time to wait a special order will guarantee that you have something unique in your home that was custom-made for you.
You can expect to pay $700-$2500 for a basic sofa. Leather sofas are always more expensive than fabric. The more inexpensive sofas are mass-produced and are available only in the materials and colors that they are pictured in. A custom sofa will always cost more because it is not mass-produced and has to be specifically built.