We’ve done a lot of talking about what you should look for in a sofa, but it’s just as important to know what features you should stay far away from. Consider the following our “avoid at all cost” rules—spot them on a sofa and leave it at the store. And if you want to make your sofa shopping experience super easy, head over to thestatedhome.com for our selection of gorgeous sofas.
- Attached seat cushions: How genius, right? Cushions that never fall off or shift around on your sofa. Don’t fall for it! Attached cushions are mostly a bad idea for several reasons:
- You need to be able to flip and rotate your cushions so they wear evenly.
- If you get a stain or rip on an attached cushion, it’s more difficult to repair, clean or replace it.
- And most importantly, attached cushions are a sure sign of a poorly made piece of furniture. Manufacturers cut corners by attaching the cushions because then they don’t have to upholster the cushion backs. If they’ve cut corners here, they’ve likely done it elsewhere.
- Multiple attached layered back pillows: Often spotted on recliners, this is a bad idea mostly because it doesn’t look very good! Every once in a while, you may be able to find a version that isn’t bad, but it will never look better than a piece of furniture without this feature.
- Microfiber: A long, long time ago, this was the only option for a stain-resistant, durable fabric. It’s also inexpensive, so became a popular go-to. These days, there are lots of other options for stain-resistant fabrics that look great (like Sunbrella or Crypton), so boring old microfiber is completely unnecessary.
- Plastic Feet: Another cost cutting measure manufacturers sneak in is using plastic feet. While not necessarily the sign of an overall poorly made sofa, they are more likely to cause problems because they can crack and break.
- Webbing or Flexolator Suspension: We go into more detail on sofa suspension types in our blog here. We recommend 8-way hand tied, but recognize that budgets sometimes require a lower-price option. That said, avoid a webbing or flexolator suspension as those are the lowest quality and won’t last long.
- A seat cushion made of 100 percent down: This is one of those features that appears on high-end sofas, but don’t be fooled. Not only are 100 percent down seat cushions not very comfortable (you can feel the springs beneath the cushion), they also get really flat, really fast and have to be constantly flipped and fluffed.
- A super deep sofa: Having an inside seat depth greater than 29 inches or an overall depth of 47 inches is just ridiculous. The only person who would find this comfortable to sit in is Shaquille O’Neil. Everyone else will be stuck sitting with their legs straight out in front of them. Plus this piece of furniture is so massive, it would only look right in a castle!
- MDF or Particle Board: These two materials shouldn’t be present in any piece of furniture—not just sofas. Not only are MDF and particle board not sturdy, but they contain harmful chemicals (we go into detail on that here). Read more about how sofa frames can be made on our blog here.
- White fabric (unless it’s a slipcover): It’s easy to fall in love with a white sofa—it looks so clean and crisp! But only go this route if you are buying a sofa with a slipcover. Otherwise it will need to get cleaned constantly—you’ll be amazed at how blue dye from denim, the oil from the fur of a pet, or the speck of chocolate you didn’t realize was on your hands can ruin a white sofa. Plus, what’s the point of a piece of furniture if you can’t enjoy a glass of wine while sitting on it?
- Made In China sticker: This is our ultimate “must avoid feature” for so many reasons: Buying American-made furniture means you get better quality, support environmental responsibility, and help local economies. You never know for sure the quality of imported furniture (but you’ll probably get charged the same as American-made pieces). Beware of expensive imported furniture as they just aren’t made to the same standards.
Like what you read? Visit thestatedhome.com to shop our collection of made-in-America furnishings.