Do not let the price of a piece of furniture fool you. Just because it has a huge price tag and looks good in pictures, does not mean it was built to last. One major tip from a pro, if the website does not offer specific product construction details, or if your sales associate isn’t able to answer these questions, it is probably because they don’t want you to know the answer.
On the other hand, just because a sofa or sectional feels like a screaming deal (Wallaroo’s under $2,000 TikTok famous Goodnight sectional for example) does not mean you’re not getting a terrific product. You just have to know what questions to ask!
If the product is made well, using quality “ingredients” manufacturers and sellers will be shouting it from the rooftops. That is why, at Wallaroo’s you will see our Sales Associates, Content Creators and Clients touting our hardwood and kiln dried frames, high density reinforced by steel cushions, 40,000+ rub count guaranteed upholstery, German Okin motors, performance fabrics.
1. What is the frame made of?
The frame is the skeleton of the couch, it’s what keeps the couch upright when you turn it on its side, it is what provides the support you’re looking for when you sit down after a long day to Netflix and chill. To say that the frame is important is an understatement! I was SHOCKED to walk into a well known, high end furniture brand’s downtown Salt Lake City location a few weeks ago and find out their best selling sofa is constructed on an MDF (medium density fiberboard) frame.
Now, MDF is not inherently BAD, cheap, yes but bad? No. However, in this case their 76 inch sofa built on a fiberboard frame starts at $2199. For compassion, Wallaroo’s Bellevue L shaped sectional with built in cup holders that offers almost double the seating is $699 and included a storage ottoman!
Come on now! Sure, build your couch on fiberboard, but just because you CAN get away with charging 2 grand, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Do better.
2. What kind of foams and fills are used, and are they reinforced?
Let’s get something out of the way right now. High density foam does not mean HARD! Density of foam denotes the amount of air to substance per square foot. It is measured by pound per square foot. So, a dense cushion can be cushy and soft, or super firm and anywhere in between. But the more dense the foam, the more it will weigh. Hope that makes sense?
Pro tip, pick up a couch cushion, if it weighs less than you expect, set it down and walk away.
High density foams will out live low density foams, and I will die on this statement, there is no place for low density foams in a piece of furniture people are going to be sitting, sleeping or living on. Just a little FYI from a furniture and mattress insider, about ⅓ of our mattress clients come to us after falling out of love with their boxed mattress. The introduction of the boxed mattress took the industry by storm. The ability to buy a new mattress from the discomfort of your current mattress?! Yes please!
However, the process of compressing, boxing and sealing the mattress requires taking as much of the air out as possible and squeeeeezing the air pockets through a process that mooshes the substance of the mattress together, squeezing it into the box, storing it until it is purchased and shipping it across the country… Genius idea, poorly executed initially. The boxed mattress industry has innovated quickly, and there are some fantastic boxed mattresses out there, but most leave something to be desired (FOAM! They are lacking in foam!)
Ask for the density of the foam in your couch. If they can’t tell you, do your own research, if you can’t find an answer, maybe look elsewhere. Wallaroo’s only uses high density foams, and even our promotional furniture (remember $699 Bellevue?) uses high density recycled foam!
When judging cushions another VERY important question to ask is how is the cushion reinforced. A pocketed coil steel reinforced cushion will stand the test of time. You’ll know immediately if the cushion is reinforced because it will give you just a little bit of bounce back when you sit.
Do your cushions need to be steel reinforced? No. Would I ever buy a couch that wasn’t? Also no. And I would certainly never design and buy thousands of them to sell to my clients. Your furniture is an investment, and I believe it is irresponsible to future generations and mother earth to fill the planet with throw away furniture. I want the people who have Wallaroo’s couches to have them for a long time, or at least to be able to hand them down again and again when they decide they need a new look.
3. How is the frame being supported?
Do you have kids? Do you ever have a long day that ends with you plopping down heavy on the couch? Do you have friends over who get wild? If you answer yes to any of these, pay attention.
Remember that skeleton I talked about in the beginning? Well, now it’s time to talk about the muscles that support it. I would like to illustrate this point with a story from Las Vegas Furniture Market winter 2023. I was perusing a vendor who will go unnamed, when I happened upon a gorgeous chair with a very recognizable frame and impeccable floral upholstery. The frame is one you might find anywhere, Even at Wallaroo’s. It is a modern take on a wingback chair with a high back, but more slender frame than a Chippendale wingback.
Anyway, the wholesale price tag was $1100, so when I sat I was expecting the uttermost quality. Imagine my shock when I sunk unreasonably deep into the seat, and felt entirely unsupported. Frankly, I was worried I might break the thing. I stood up, and my curiosity got the best of me. No coils in the cushion, no steel OR banded reinforcement in the seat frame. I could not fathom where the $1100 price tag was coming from. Wallaroo’s sells a comparable chair for under $400.
Back to the kids, wild friends and long days that end on the couch… All reasonable, expected parts of life. When the weight of a weary adult plops into a seat, or the weight of a rambunctious toddler slams repeatedly it has to go somewhere, and if the frame is not reinforced, it takes that on again and again, day after day. If there is not a flexible shock absorbing reinforcement the frame simply will not last.
Do not venture lightly into the process of buying furniture. Ask questions and be picky. Do not be fooled by high prices or high end names and designs. Assume nothing and be curious!
Happy furniture shopping