The living room in a house is the lounge. The majority of our time is dedicated to leisure. The central pieces of furniture are sofas and loveseats. It can be three-piece sofas, sectional sofas or love seats. For each type of sofa, manufacturers divide these into various categories such as ergonomic sofas for back comfort, loveseat recliners which can be extended or even mechanical or electrical sofas for tilting of various elements.
“Comfort is very personal”, sellers always tell us when you tell them about your intention of buying a sofa for relaxation… And they are right! Before undertaking such a purchase, it is much better, in fact, to know which type of seat you’re looking for (firm, soft, etc.) and in which positions you truly feel relaxed (completely flat, sitting or upright…). Do you want your loveseat to be ergonomic, with its profile perfectly supporting your lumbar, dorsal and cervical vertebra, or would you prefer to be able to casually relax? I have scoured the stores and the range of principle models with are either mechanical or electrical and the positions meant to relax.
You do not buy a sofa, you invest in a sofa! In order to make a good choice there are a whole range of factors to consider. Here they are.
1. Define your needs
On average, buyers visit at least a dozen stores before choosing a sofa or a loveseat. Sometimes, they see too many, according to certain retailers who are regularly confronted by indecisive clients. In fact, for what it’s worth, there is always the fear of not making the right choice and of making a mistake. To be assured of an informed purchase, it is essential to ask the right questions and those which will guide us to the sofa that we need.
What will this sofa be used for? Will it be used to watch TV? Will we sit on it with our laptops on our knees and work? Will you be eating on it? Will it be the place our children play on, the dog’s bed or the cat’s scratching post? Will it be used only to decorate your living room? Our requirements will differ as to whether we want to use it to watch TV or if we want it to decorate a corner of a room. Firstly, comfort and strength of the upholstery, while, secondly, we should like the esthetic aspect. Similarly, parents of young children will opt for sofas with easy maintenance, with removable and washable upholstery.
How much space will it take up? You should carefully take measurements of the place where you wish to place your sofa or loveseat and do this when looking at models that you are interested in: in fact, in the store, take into account the large space as the furniture has a tendency to appear less imposing. This helps to accurately represent the surface area of your room in the store and will give you an exact idea of the sofa’s disposition in your future space. Other characteristics of the room to take into consideration: the presence of doors, an area of passage, windows and power points. It is in fact not advised to place a sofa in the sun or too close to a source of heat as this risks changing the tone of the upholstery (particularly leather).
What type of sofa are you looking for? Sofa or loveseat? Sectional or reclinable? Armchair with or without footrests? How many places would you like it to have: two, three… or six? Here again, the space that it will take up will determine your choice of length, depth and height of your future sofa or loveseat. If you love a spacious living room rather opt for sectional furniture in an L or U shape, which modulates the space and creates separations without partitioning off in a room with reduced dimensions, a reclining loveseat and two assorted armchairs will be easier to integrate than a sofa with three or four places, rather opt for a condo sofa, which is longer than a loveseat recliner but less than a three-seater sofa.
How much are you prepared to pay? It is important to establish the amount that you have put aside for your loveseat recliner, while taking into account, of course the quality and the length of time you wish to keep the reclining loveseat. According to the experts, the price of a sofa is a good indication of its quality. In other words, you will always have good value for your money and the recliner will not fall apart after three years.
Which type of upholstery should you choose? Leather or fabric? Leather is the material which ages the best, taking on a lovely patina with the passing years. Often, a young cow or even buffalo leather is used, which is therefore thicker and more robust but also less supple. High quality leather and the most expensive kind is called full grain leather. Leather is however not a wise choice if you have very young children or animals who could leave marks or scratches. In terms of fabrics, cotton has the advantage of not being very expensive and not retaining dust, especially microfibre fabrics which have been the king of the market over the past few years. They are also more stain resistant and are sometimes even soft to the touch with a peach skin feel, like alcantara. For family use, removable and machine washable upholstery is an added advantage.
2. Elements to check in a loveseat recliner
Once your purchase criteria have been established, you still need to be assured that your furniture of choice is of a good quality. To do this, do not hesitate to read the buyers comments on sites such as Amazon. They give opinions from users and not from sellers. The opinions and notes given by buyers the most likely to guide us concern the following points:
Structure. A hard wood structure, such as a beechwood or maple frame will be more solid than plywood. Metal or plastic structures which are less resistant and should be avoided. Transversal support bars must also be wooden and not only pegged and screwed, but also glued for maximum solidity.
Suspension. This is what makes the loveseat recliner or armchair comfortable. Steel springs or rubber straps suspended under the frame? According to experts, springs are more resistant, but straps are more comfortable and less expensive! However, things are in the process of changing: the metal used today in the manufacturing springs will be much better quality than before, while straps would be more resistant. Whatever your choice, be reminded that:
■ the more springs there are, the better it is; no-sag steel springs, with a zigzag effect offer better elasticity than traditional springs and therefore better comfort;
■ straps must be criss-crossed and, like springs, the more numerous and close together they are, the better the suspension is;
■ for the best elasticity possible, the spring or strap must go as deep as possible into the box.
The padding. Some people prefer a firm seat, while others prefer a softer one. In any case, regarding cushion padding, for good resistance and ideal comfort, choose an HR stamp (for “high resilience”). The resilience indicates the capacity of the padding to retake its initial shape after it has been sat on.
The upholstery. Unfortunately, the loveseat’s label contains few details enabling one to know the exact composition of its upholstery. So, a loveseat which is labelled as real leather can have its sides and the back covered in vinyl. Good to know: furniture upholstery consisting of two or three different fabrics is an indication of quality (each one of the fabrics having been chosen for its distinct properties, the final cloth chosen is the best quality). In addition, whether the fabric consists of cotton, polyester or acrylic, the presence of rayon means that it will be resistant.
Tow workmanship. Bad stitching and badly placed zips indicate questionable quality. It is equally important to verify that the back and the sides are stitched up. Finally, it is always good to look behind the scenes: hidden workmanship under the sofa says a lot about the care taken around the manufacturing.
3. Comfort and resistance of a loveseat
How to ensure that a loveseat will be…
… resistant to abrasion. Furniture textiles are selected according to their resistance to abrasion. This is calculated for each piece and features at the back of samples given out in store. Therefore, if the resistance to fabric abrasion is 150 000 DR (double row), this means that you can sit 150 000 times on the same place before your sofa shows any signs of fatigue. From 100 000 DR, the the upholstery fabric is sufficiently resistant to last for a few years, always, of course, according to your use.
… easy to maintain. The ease of maintenance depends on a lot of the type of upholstery chosen. If you do not opt for vinyl, which cleans easily with with water and a sponge, you should look for a sofa treated with a Scotchguard product or Teflon, which is able to deflect anything like a coat. This protection against water, oil and dirt prevents stains from forming. Liquid such as milk, coffee, wine, sauces or butter do not penetrate the fabric; you can therefore clean it with an absorbent cloth.
… comfortable. here, there is one key word: try! You won’t know if this model is for you if you don’t try. You must be able to touch the ground with your feet while comfortably sitting, but you knees mustn’t be high than the cushions. Are the cushions so soft that they’re suffocating you? This can seem great at first, but this comfort will not last long and you will quickly want to change position: cushions which are too soft are not good for the back and it is generally a sign of bad quality. Are you tall? A sofa recliner with a high profile will support your head and neck better. As for the angle of the seat, one which offers a maximal ease of 107°, the position in which the back is lightly bent backwards. When the sofa must be must be at a right angle (in the case of an angle sofa, for example), you can play with different densities in padding and different tightening of straps to obtain the same effect.
4. About loveseat recliner
High profile models are superior in terms of ergonomics and relaxation. They offer excellent support for the cervical, dorsal and lumbar region. Therefore, seats of certain reclinable loveseats recline individually, and according to the body’s movement. However this comfort inevitably has an esthetic counter-effect. The fashion is for low profile loveseats, with low seats with are deeper, with refined lines. So, if you want a supported spine you should choose a high profile.
General relaxing loveseat brands understand this. They all play with the faceplates which are sometimes removable, sometimes more comfortable and able to be lowered so as not to “break” the volume of the room. The key is to find the correct ergonomics, including spinal comfort and design.
Often, comfort goes hand in hand with firmness while sitting and profile. With relaxation specialists, seating, high resilience polyurethane padding, generally exceeds 50 kg/m3 – when one considers that a firm seat is from 45 kg/m3. With relaxation, you should think more about your back, which must be firmly supported, than of your backside! However, it is not comfortable in the long term. Stressless has tried the experience with their E200 model, where the comfort is more general. The dorsal cushions consist of 30 % feathers and 70 % latex, and the seat is relatively supple (two couches of 35 and 30 kg/m3).
Certain loveseats allow you to slouch in all positions
For other users, comfort means stretching out, letting go on what can be called “living sofas”, or lounge, which invites conviviality. The seat of these kinds of loveseats is often deep. In addition, they can have a sliding effect. You can also slouch down, lift your legs or sit upright. These loveseats’ profiles can also incline. These models are, however, less comfortable, for example, watching television in this position, as opposed to ergonomic versions, where the profile moulding and the position of the faceplate have been studied so that the head is slightly angled to the front, so that you are not facing the ground as is the case of a sofa lounge. It could also be necessary to place a small cushion behind your head and a back-rest to watch television more comfortably.
Electrical loveseats use a motor for the tilting function
Despite what you may think, relaxing electrical loveseat models do not look like medical seats. The more traditional seats (ergonomics) are often supplied with an integrated footrest which comes up to support the legs. The advantage of an electrical system: no need for a lot of effort to bring out a footrest in your home, as is the case in mechanical footrests. Some brands which no longer offer electrical versions of loveseats have taken the decision to integrate the footrest in their sofas, whether they are mechanical or electrical. To be able to stretch out your legs, you will need to use the pouf. Regarding the longevity of your product, there is not photo to compare a pouf and an integrated footrest. People will inevitably sit on footrests, while they are not made for this, and they will end up breaking. In manual versions, the mechanism will age and the footrest will come out lower and lower. Other than their first function, most poufs, because they are firm, serve as appointed seats.
5. How much? Where?
Let’s talk price
You can find a quality fabric love seat from $400. For a double leather sofa, you need to count on at least $800. For a less expensive product, in general, the upholstery is split leather (the internal part of leather obtained when you cut the skin’s dermis) coated with a protective film with a very thick pigment which has a similar aspect to genuine leather. This material is not the best of all leather, and certain do not even advise using it for furniture because of its fragility.
Department store, specialist store or online?
When our budget is limited, we generally go to department stores thinking that there is no use falling in love with a designer sofa when you don’t have the money. Actually, a magnificent angle sofa at $15,000 in the window of a top brand store window can tempt us to go inside. However, the reclining loveseat of our dreams at $1,000 is maybe waiting for us at an interior decorating store! Conversely, you could also neglect to go into department stores, which are reputed to see low quality. However, even if, in these stores, low quality sofas are put on sales and you also find brand and quality sofas. In summary, to get the ideal sofa or loveseat, you need to get rid of your preconceived ideas. But an important for 2016 is online shopping. Retailers choose what they want to offer you. On the Internet, manufacturers can offer all their ranges in all varieties. The prices are often more attractive because there is no intermediate retailer who must cover his store costs.
Rules when buying a sofa or loveseat recliner online
The purchase of a reclining sofa or loveseat is definitely not the purchase of a house, but it requires a certain investment. The first rule is not to rush it. Sometimes it is true that you can buy a recliner on a whim and despite a lot of homework, but a successful impulsive purchase shows more luck than a base principle.
So, do not wait until your old sofa has given up the ghost to think about buying a new set of furniture for your living room. Anticipate your future need and your purchase of a wise sofa will be the best asset for an intelligent purchase. In the reclining sofa sector, as with any purchase, no one sells at a loss and the final price payed is always the normal price.
There is no such thing as the deal of the century. Don’t think you can pay for your reclinable sofa at half its value. Too great a discount is always hiding a defect. If you want service with the quality of a reclinable sofa of your choice, you need to pay a reasonable price.
Don’t rush things. AND do not accept others to rush you. The purchase of a new sofa must be a pleasurable purchase and not a bitter struggle with the seller who is only thinking about his commission. An online store is therefore ideal to consult different models, to read comments, reviews and ratings from those who have already bought and tried sofas and loveseats. Besides, the Internet to access a much wider range of any retailers close to you.
Now you are informed and you are just a click away from intelligently choosing the best loveseat recliner for you.
Image Copyright: Sectionals La-Z-Boy