How can you tell whether a new sofa is built to last or will wind up on the curb? First, it’s important to know that there’s no reason a sofa, loveseat, armchair or chaise shouldn’t be in your family for generations. It all depends on the materials used and the quality of the construction.
Most elements of sofa construction are not visible to the consumer, but they can make the difference between a piece that will last a few years and one you can hand down with pride.
Any factory can assemble cheap woods, particle board, cardboard and veneers with loads of glue, and when you first try it out, that lightweight sofa might feel sturdy enough. But with use, sags and squeaks develop and in some cases even the entire frame will develop an unwelcome wobble. It’s not only played-out cushions that destin sofas and other upholstered furniture for the landfill—it’s poorly-built frames.
The Best Wood for Sofa Frames
Just as your bones hold up the rest of you, a sofa’s frame supports the entire construction—plus the weight of all the people who sit, play or rest on it for years of use. The best, strongest wood is regionally-grown, sustainably harvested hardwood, not softwood such as pine. Kiln-dried hardwood is the most reliable choice for durable sofa frames and feet.