Are you getting ready to purchase a new sofa or loveseat? Are you confused about all the brands and styles available? And how do you know if you are getting a good quality sofa that will stand up to the test of time and use?

Buying a sofa should not be based on just the color, style, or brand name. A good quality sofa is one that is well made and designed to withstand everyday use. Knowing how to spot a good quality sofa will help ensure you get the best buy for your money.

First of all, just because a sofa costs a lot doesn’t mean it is a good quality sofa. Sometimes you end up paying for a name instead of a product. That’s why it is important to check each sofa that you are interested in to see how it holds up to the standard tests. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how the sofa is constructed. If the salesperson does not know the answers, ask them to check with the manufacturer.

The frame is the skeleton of a sofa. Therefore, it is important that the frame be sturdy. Ask the salesperson what the frame is made from. Kiln-dried hardwood, special furniture grade plywood, and steel frames are strong and durable.

But, keep in mind that good bones are useless unless connected correctly. We’ve all seen furniture that is only stapled together. For furniture to be strong, it should be screwed together and glued at all joints. All corners should be reinforced to make them stronger.

The suspension of the sofa is the way it adjusts to your body’s weight when you sit on it. Steel coil systems are the best and generally, the more coils, the better the suspension. Another good type of suspension is the zig zag suspension. It is made by attaching wires to the frame in a zigzag pattern. This type of suspension when paired with a tightly woven fabric may be a little more rigid than what you want for comfort.

And of course the cushions are very important. The filling in the cushions are what give you either the firm or ultra soft feel when you sink down on the sofa. Foam is firmer than down, meaning if you choose down, you will be doing more fluffing of the pillows. The filling in the cushions should be encased in a zippered enclosure.

And then there is the upholstery material. Admit it, if you don’t like the look and feel of the unholstery material, then the frame, suspension and cushions don’t matter. The uphostery material is generally the most important thing to most people. How it feels and looks is almost always the deciding facor in purchasing a sofa.

The easy care fabrics available today include the micro fibers or synthetics that look like suede, leather, or canvas like material. These fabrics clean up well and stand up to the wear test very well.

Now that you have some idea of the inner and outer construction of a sofa, you will be more prepared to pick the sofa that works best for you. Oh, there is one other test you need to perform before you make your final decision. It’s called “take it for a test drive.” In other words, sit down on the sofa. Lean back into the cushions. Get the feel of it. Is it comfortable or stiff?

Bounce on it slightly. It should feel firm. And it should definitely not squeak. Get hold of one arm and try to shake the sofa. It should not wiggle.

Last, look at the pattern and how the sewing is done. Stitches and any piping should be straight and uniform.

Remember, if the sofa doesn’t feel and look right in the show room, it definitely won’t be right in your home.