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Buying a new sofa how to tell if a sofa is good quality


Tips on Buying
a New Sofa – How
to Tell if a Sofa
is Good Quality

Buying a new sofa is one of the biggest purchases and commitments we make for our homes. There are plenty of high-street retailers who offer sofas for what appears to be a bargain price but in all likelihood, these are made from cheap materials and will only last a few years, if that. Knowing how to tell the difference between a poorly-made and good quality sofa could save you lots of wasted time and money. Here’s a simple checklist of things to look for when purchasing a new sofa.
Quite simply, a hardwood frame is the best option money can buy. Even though you can’t see it, the frame is the skeleton of your sofa and a cheap, chipboard frame will buckle, bow, and potentially crack, leaving you with a saggy, unsupportive sofa. Investing in a solid hardwood frame, like beech or birch is worth every penny. We offer a lifetime guarantee on all our hardwood frames, making it a sound investment for the future, as well as a stylish piece of furniture to savour in the moment.

Coil or Steel Springs

Arlo & Jacob sofas have coil or steel springs. Not only does this make the seat much more comfortable and supportive, but coil springs distribute weight evenly across the frame, preventing dips and sagging in your favourite spot. Another important feature is what’s called ‘fish-mouth’ springs, which provide a soft bounce to the base, protecting the backs of your legs and knees.

Cushion Fills

It’s important to understand that every sofa will have a specific kind of cushion filling and as a knowledgeable manufacturer, we can tell you why your sofa has that particular fill. For the most part, slouchy style sofas can take feather or fibre cushions since they lend themselves to more relaxed shapes. A more structured sofa, on the other hand, often requires foam in the cushions to help retain its shape and stay looking smart. Some sofas come with a mixture of both, and at Arlo & Jacob, we even put different fills in the seats and back cushions to ensure a perfect place to sit. A happy medium is often fibre or feather-wrapped foam, which gives you all the comfort of the soft fill, with the bonus of structure to retain the shape.


Sturdy legs are paramount to having a sofa that won’t buckle under years of use. Legs should be screwed into place and should, once again, be made of solid wood. All our legs are made from solid Beech wood before being stained to your desired colour. Depending on the style you choose, the legs may be turned, block, swept, or castored. Be sure that your legs are screwed in straight and facing the right way before you put any weight on your sofa since curved legs can crack if they’re turned the wrong way when someone sits down. Our sofas also come with fixing screws to stop the legs from swivelling when you move your sofa.


Checking the seams and upholstery of your new sofa is very important to do as soon as it gets delivered. If you notice any splits, tears, or buckled stitching, it’s important to let us know right away. Stitches should be neat and straight along all seams and zips should open and close freely on sofas that allow you to remove the covers for cleaning. An additional safety measure you can take to protect your fabric is to opt for Staingard, a further layer of treatment that protects your sofa in the case of spills and stains.

Pattern Matching

At Arlo & Jacob we pride ourselves on our upholstery and ‘pattern matching’. If you opt for a striped or patterned sofa, the stripes and patterns should match up perfectly along all edges as well as where the cushions meet the base and back of the sofa. A sign of a poorly made sofa can often be seen when the patterned fabric fails to match up. We always offer full-upholstery, which means your chosen fabric covers the entirety of your sofa, even the undersides of the cushions and the top of the base. Many low-priced manufacturers will use a lining to cut down on their costs, but this will cheapen the look of your sofa and mean that the cushions won’t be reversible.

Another important factor is to pick the right type of fabric for your style of sofa. Each fabric has its own properties, which all contribute to its charm. However, certain fabrics will work far better on some types of sofas compared to others. Removable cover sofas, like our Harriet, slouchy sofas, and any relaxed style works exceptionally well with lightweight linen and cotton but would look a bit off in a heavy wool. Likewise, bold mid-century shapes look fantastic in strong, durable fabrics (with minimal give) that can be stretched over the frame. Another tip to remember is that patterned fabrics look great on fixed-back sofas, but don’t work as well on soft and scatter-back sofas as the pattern gets squashed and wrinkled.