New sofa – how to choose the right one?

Important things to consider when getting a new sofa

Besides an attractive design and great look, there are many other things to consider before getting new sofa. A sofa shouldn’t just look great, but also meet other characteristics which are even more important. These criteria include the measurements and materials the sofa is made of. Nowadays, the sustainability of your sofa is a remarkably important issue to pay attention to.

THE MEASUREMENTS

What makes sofa comfortable and suitable to each individual? The overall measurements of the sofa will help to decide how well the sofa will fit into a room, while the inner measurements will determine whether the sofa is right for each person. Everyone is different so it’s impossible to design a universal sofa or couch that will be suitable for everyone, but over time certain ratios have been defined that fit many people.

Furniture should fit into a room, proportion-wise. Sofas that are too big or too small look out of place in most rooms. Too small a sofa in a large room could look odd, while a big couch in a small room may dominate everything. However, a bigger sofa with visible legs and an open base appears lightweight and less intrusive from a visual point of view, meaning it could fit nicely into smaller rooms by keeping the space looking open.

The measurements of the sofa package – which aren’t the same as the sofa measurements – are also very important to know. After all, your new sofa has to fit through your building’s front door, hallways, staircases, and internal doors, including the apartment door, etc. Big, bulky sofas are uncomfortable and, in some cases, even impossible to move or manoeuvre in narrow corridors, staircases, and small elevators. With our rahusofa, this isn’t the case. You don’t have to worry about narrow stairways and corridors or insufficient room for manoeuvring when carrying your new sofa to your home. We ship our sofas flat in cardboard boxes which fit through just about any door. The heaviest box weighs about 15 kg (~33 pounds).

Factors like seat height, inner seat depth, and cushion firmness will determine whether or not the sofa is right for a person. These parameters should all be considered in combination as they work together to create different amounts of support, comfort, and usability for a sofa or couch. A rule of thumb is that seating should be between 38 and 45 cm (15-18”) off the ground. Any higher and a seat will feel too throne-like. With lower seats, it will be hard to get up from. The most convenient and common height for the majority of people is 42 to 45 cm (17-18”) from floor to cushion top. The user experience of many people shows that if a seat height is lower than 45cm (18”) – or if the cushion is too soft, even at the proper seat height – it might be uncomfortable to get up from the couch, especially if the inner seat depth is greater than 57cm (23”). The widely preferred inner seat depth ranges from 52 to 60cm (21-24”), but 52 to 56 cm (21-22”) tends to be a good range for most people to sit in comfortably.

It’s important to note that inner seat depth is different from overall depth, which is the distance from the back of the sofa to the front. Inner or inside seat depth is measured from the front of the seat to the back cushion.

THE MATERIALS

Built to last – what are the best materials for a good new sofa?

The frame

The frame of the sofa should be made of durable materials. A well-made sofa frame is a skeleton that keeps all the parts together and in place. The frame should be strong and robust. Traditional craftsmen’s and cabinetmaker’s choice has always been a solid wood, the hardwood timber. This is a material that’s strong, warm, natural, sustainable, and has served well throughout history and to the modern day.

To lower the price of sofas or couches, many manufacturers are using chipboards, MDF, particleboard, or other kinds of technical wood or mixtures with timber. These solutions are cheaper to produce, but lack the strength and longevity of hardwood.

rahusofa produces all its frames and seating plates from birch, a native hardwood; it is strong, hard, and heavy. There are only a few types of wood harder than birch, but all these species are also much more expensive. Birch is a straight-grained wood with a fine, even texture. The wood colour is light, ranging from cream-coloured to light brown, and uses of birch wood include high-grade plywood, furniture, cabinets, and flooring. Birch timber guarantees a long-lasting, durable, and reliable frame for this sofa. Birch has been used for centuries in Estonia and Northern Europe for furniture and cabinet making; our skilled craftsmen know how to handle it.

The joints of the frame are also very important. The majority of joints are made using a traditional method of connecting timber with wooden dowels and a specialist wood glue. In order to flat pack our sofas, we also use specialist metal fittings which have designed, engineered, strength-tested, and produced by one the biggest German furniture fittings manufacturer. These metal dowels not only provide the frame with similar strength characteristics to the traditional wooden joints, but also act as an alternative to replace damaged wooden parts in the frame. The traditional joinery method is great, but the outcome is a bulky sofa which, in turn, makes transportation complicated and expensive. Because of these metal fittings, we can flat pack our rahusofas and thus lower the cost of transportation. This, in turn, means lowering the price of the sofa for the customer.

The sofa cushions

The sofa cushions should provide you with the support you need to relax and sit comfortably, giving form and volume to a sofa. The best way to achieve this is by using high-quality foam. The greatest advantage of foam is that it provides a soft feel while having inherent pliability, allowing it to retain its shape after someone has sat on it. The more material and less air there are in the foam, the greater its density. The higher the density of the foam, the better its quality. However, a very dense foam cushion is quite hard and uncomfortable to sit on.

In order to lower the cost of furniture, manufacturers often skimp and use regular polyurethane foam (or similar) instead of high resilience foam. Unfortunately cheaper materials collapse under use and you will be left with a poorly performing sofa.

rahusofa produces all cushions from high-quality, durable, medium-to-firm feel HR foam (also known as High Resilience foam) which is carefully designed to quickly regain its shape post-pressure and retain its longevity. It is also CertiPUR-certified (the safety, health, and environment label). Our sofa cushions are for people who need a supportive seat and don’t want to worry about a cushion holding its original shape. All #rahusofas cushion are constructed with a supportive core made of HR foam surrounded by a soft layer of polyester fibre. These cushions provide a soft seat, are supportive, and won’t flatten out. These are good at holding their shape and don’t require much maintenance. Our customers has even reached out to let us know that the firmness of the cushions is just right (you don’t sink into but you’re not sitting on a hard surface). Even sleeping on those cushions is comfortable.

The fabric

A fabric sofa is the perfect choice if you’re looking for something with a more relaxed and modern look with a softer feel. Let your practical needs lead when deciding on the fabric of your sofa. There are a lot of different materials that are natural and look great, but would be impractical in daily use as it would quickly be destroyed, worn through, or lose its original appearance. It’s easy to fall in love with a fabric, but if it’s going to have to be replaced in a couple of years, it’s not really worth it. Sofas in high-traffic or heavy use areas, such as living, family, or kids’ rooms, will need fabrics which are durable and easy to take care of. Think about how much wear and tear the upholstery is going to have!

Linen is strong, smooth, and soft, but it wrinkles easily.
Cotton is durable and soft, but it also wrinkles and can be easily soiled.
Wool is durable, but it felts together, can be a bit scratchy, and can be difficult to clean.
Polyester is a high-performance fabric; its blends provide strength, easy cleaning, and resistance to fading, wrinkling, and abrasion.

In general, synthetic fabrics tend to be more durable than natural ones and a polyester blend is the way to go. If you’re looking for high durability in a domestic setting, you should use a heavy use fabric with a Martindale * value of 40000+.

Our sofa cushions’ fabric combines good looks with durability. We inspected and tried out many fabrics (both natural and synthetic) from different producers before we chose The One – the fabric we use is available in 30+ colours, is family-friendly, wonderfully smooth and delightful to touch, durable, easy to maintain, and is back coated with a heavy fleece to reach a soft feeling and provide a nice finish. Our fabric also happens to be OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified for safety and meets the demands of Swedish Möbelfakta, a unique reference and labelling system for interior fittings with demands focused on quality and environmental and social responsibility. It has passed fire tests: BS 5852:1979 So.0&1 part 1, CAL 117, and EN 1021 1:2014. The Martindale value of our fabric is 66500. Order free fabric swatches.

* One way to show the durability of a fabric is a fabrics rub test or abrasion test; this measures the surface wear of the fabric. Surface wear is a result of something repeatedly rubbing against the textile — typically the clothing that someone is wearing as they get up and down or move around. For the prediction of wear-ability, the Martindale test is used. The Martindale test involves rubbing a piece of worsted wool cloth in a figure-eight (or elliptical) motion on a flat-mounted fabric sample. Each pass is one cycle; the number of cycles the test fabric withstands before showing a change in appearance is its abrasion rating. Fabrics with a Martindale value between 6000 and 10000 are for decorative use, 10000 and 20000 are for light domestic use, 20000-40000 are for general domestic use, and 40000+ are for heavy use.

We recommend looking out for mass-produced couches. In order to lower the costs, these sofas are often upholstered in materials that are inferior and prone to wearing out quickly, leading to premature signs of ageing and fading. These kind of fabrics can also mean your furniture swiftly loses its “new sofa feel”, leaving you with something you no longer enjoy sitting upon.

Order free fabric swatches to get a feel for our fabrics in real life before buying your new sofa. Also read how your new sofa will be delivered to you. We assure you that your new sofa assembles easily without any specific tools or instructions.

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