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Accent Sofas and Chairs

The foundation of your living room is your sofa and chair, or chairs if you have space for more. You want to get it right the first time by selecting the best quality upholstered furniture your money can buy so it will last you for years to come. At Pottery Barn, we know a little something about the way upholstered furniture should look and feel. We’ll give you tips on how to spot superior craftsmanship when it comes to upholstered furniture for your home.

The Frame

There’s nothing better for a frame than kiln-dried hardwood. Kiln-dried hardwood retains its shape and strength because it’s void of moisture, so there’s no splitting or warping. Lower-quality frames are typically made of hard and soft wood pressed together for a less durable construction. Also look for kiln-dried hardwood frames that are corner blocked with mortise-and-tenon joinery, which means the construction has exceptional structural integrity.

The Cushions

Cushions are not all alike. For a sofa or chair, it pays to understand what makes a long-lasting and comfortable cushion. First, look for cushions that have a high resilient foam core that’s wrapped on both sides with a layer of high-density fiber. Layers of fiber on both sides means the cushion is reversible, giving it a double life. Have you ever felt the filling in a cushion moving or balling up? High-quality cushions have channels to keep the filling in place so you’ll feel constant comfort. If you want that extra fine detail, unzip a cushion cover and look for a cushion encased in a lightweight non-woven bag. The bag adds a layer of protection to the inner cushion.

Cushion construction is one thing, but cushion support is another. You’ll want to find a sofa or chair with no-sag tempered steel sinuous springs under the decking that’s inside the base. That means you won’t sink into the sofa or chair.

The Legs

The amount of leg choices can become overwhelming, so look for sofa and chair offerings with a well-edited selection of legs. The most classic looks, such as turned and tapered, appear most elegant on upholstered pieces. It’s also possible to have different style legs on one piece. For example, you can have block legs on the back and turned legs with casters on the front so you can easily move the piece. That’s helpful if you have deep pile carpeting or shag rugs in your room. Note that if you opt for a swivel chair, you won’t see any legs since the mechanism is in the center of the piece.

The Fabric

If you’re buying a sofa or chair with a beautiful silhouette, you want your choice of fabric to enhance, not hide, the shape. You can buy a shapely sofa and chair set with family-friendly fabric that stands up to the rigors of reality and, at the same time, looks like it came from the pages of a home design magazine. In addition to durable genuine leather, look for performance fabrics that are water repellent, fade and abrasion resistant and easy to clean. If you’re opting for slipcovers for easy maintenance, they come in performance fabrics, as well.

Other Considerations

Other considerations when buying a sofa and chair include arms, back and height. You need to make sure you’re comfortable regardless of style. For example, look for quality arms constructed with two layers of foam. Think about your back height, too. The taller the sofa or chair back, the more head support you’ll have. Your options include tight-back (firmest, most formal and also comes tufted), cushion-back (most common) or loose back with pillows (more casual). If you’re planning to put a console table behind your sofa, make sure the table is no higher than the sofa back.

From mini-sofas and love seats ideal for apartments and small spaces, to sleeper sofas and armchairs that complete a living room, you’re ready to confidently choose your style. With this classic furniture staple, you’ll always be able to find pieces that fit in beautifully with your sofa and chair as your needs grow.