Frame, Foam, Fabric and Fit – An Upholstery Buying Guide

Check it out! All custom upholstered furniture is on sale! This includes sofas, sectionals, sofa beds, chairs, ottomans, beds… and more!

If you’ve been shopping for a new sofa or chair you’ve probably read as many online articles on how to shop for the perfect custom sofa that you could possibly handle. And it doesn’t take long to realize that all online articles basically talk about the same handful of thinks to ask about before handing over your credit card – frame, foam, fabric and fit (oh, and insert 99 fancy industry terms here). My advice for furniture shopping is so simple. Buy what makes you happy (and approach the furniture hunt sensibly.)

Here are the basic “F’s” (Frame, Foam, Fabric, Fit), what you need to know and a few tips, too!

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(Summer 2016 – Tribeca Sofa, Fall 2015 – Bronx Sectional, Summer 2015 – Bowser Chair)

· Solid wood frames are most desirable for upholstered furniture. A combination of solid wood and engineered wood is totally acceptable though and is the industry average.
· Try the sofa “lift test” – lift one front corner of the sofa off the floor. By the time you’ve raised the corner about 6” off the floor, the other front leg should have risen too. If it’s still touching the floor, this could be a sign of a weak frame.
· If you see a silhouette that strikes your fancy, it may come in more configurations (such as sectionals, sofa beds or chairs)… Just ask! Check out our archived blog “A Sectional Sofa Shopping Guide“ for tips on how to shop sectionals!

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(Spring 2016 – Santana Sofa and Ottoman)

· On many of our styles, high density foam comes standard or is available at a small upcharge.
· Depending on your lifestyle and the anticipated use of the furniture, often more important than the type of foam inside the cushion is whether the cushion itself is detachable. A detachable seat cushion can be flipped and rotated which is the best way to ensure optimal wear on foam. That being said, some may argue that style has to be compromised when loose cushions are used on certain furniture styles. Some styles are purposely designed to look sleek and contemporary with built in or attached seat cushions and this doesn’t make the piece of furniture lower quality!
· No matter the quality of upholstery foam, it will soften over time. It’s normal to sit on your new sofa or chair and for it to feel a little different than the floor model you sat on in the store a while ago.


(Summer 2015 – Groove Chair and Liberty Sofa)

· The first step when it comes to deciding on the perfect fabric for you or your family is to consider the type of attention your new sofa or chair will really get.
· If you’re shopping for an accent chair for your bedroom that will realistically never get used, you should shift your focus from the durability of the fabric to just choosing the fabric that makes you smile when you wake up and see it.
· For your new sectional that will get used by the whole family every single day, a more practical choice (fabric content, construction and colour) is strongly recommended.
· The majority of Urban Barn’s fabric selection is rated very high on the residential fabric quality spectrum. Many fabrics even considered commercial grade.
· There are many myths about natural fibres such as cotton or linen for upholstery use. In the right fabric constructions, these materials can outlast a synthetic material such as polyester (which we thought lasted forever!) When it comes to fabric, it’s about more than just fibre content so stay open minded!
· Knowing how to care for your fabric is essential. If possible, plan a furniture floor plan that allows your sofa or chair to avoid the harmful rays of direct sunlight as this will quickly fade and compromise the construction of the fabric. Keeping your fabric clean will help to prolong its life. Using your vacuum’s brush attachment (never your vacuum’s beater bar) on your sofa once in a while is a good idea!
· Do you have pets or children? The right choice of fabric will save you a lot of anxiety. You’ll quickly see that we have a lot of really great pet and child friendly fabrics to choose from.

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(Fall 2015 – Nest Chair, Sophia Sofa, Fall 2015 – Devon Chair)

· Consider how you need your new sofa or chair to fit your needs, know how the piece needs to fit within the walls of your space and make sure that it’s the right comfort fit for you.
· As shoppers, we have a tendency of testing out furniture in a way that we won’t necessarily be using it at home. If you’re a sofa lounger, take your shoes off and really test it out! It’s one thing to know how it’s going to feel when you have your “we have company” face on, but for the majority of the time when it’s used in a very casual way, make sure that it fits!
· If you have a current sofa or chair that seems to be roughly the right size for the room you’re buying for, measure your current piece before you head out shopping. This will help a lot when comparing measurements in stores. There is a big difference in scale between an 80” sofa and a 95” sofa. A new scale isn’t a bad thing – play around with what might work!
· Urban Barn’s Room Planner tool is easy to use and is a great way to play around with different sizes and furniture configurations.
· When playing the sofa testing game, you’ll notice that it’s easy to start eliminating styles because they just don’t feel comfortable for your body. This comfort level is usually determined by the seat depth of a style. There is no standard when it comes to seat depth so hop from style to style until you find the one that hugs your body just right.

Now that you’re an upholstery know-it-all, test what you’ve learned in stores during our Custom Event happening now.

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