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What you need to know when buying a Sofa Online

Being able to conveniently shop online from the comfort of your home is by far one of the most useful tools available to us to date. Shopping online makes life easier and saves us time and money. It offers the opportunity research products and compare prices while providing inspiration an ideas without having to leave home.

Our generation is very fortunate and we owe it all to the invention of the World Wide Web. However, if you are new to shopping online, it’s important to understand how to use to use it to your advantage and not get caught out. This means learning how to shop with confidence having the ability to identify good quality items and avoid hidden costs etc.

We understand that buying furniture online can be somewhat of a daunting process. In particular sofa shopping can come with a level of uncertainty, however, this needn’t be the case. Being prepared and know what to look out for will have you shopping like a pro in no time.

Below is some information to help you out with the following:

Our Tips for Buying a Sofa Online

Consider your family’s needs and look for a sofa that is fit for purpose. For example if you have small children or pets you will need a sofa with fabric that is durable and hardwearing. Look at sofa options that offer a balance between style and function.

Measure your room - It’s important to look for a sofa that has the correct proportions for the room. It shouldn’t feel too small or too large. If in doubt use masking tape to delineate the size of the sofa on the floor. This is a great way to help visualise how the sofa will look placed in the room.

Use websites that are easy to navigate - Finding a user-friendly website will help you to find what you’re looking for faster. Presentation is key and will also help to convey if they company is reputable or not.

Read the company’s about us page - Learn about the company history, their background and what they can offer you. If the company has been operating for a length of time it may help to determine their credibility.

Read customer reviews - A very important step in determining if a company is dependable and trustworthy. You may find reviews on the company website, however checking a third part site such as Google will help you to find unbiased reviews.

Pay attention to the product descriptions - Look at the product descriptions with a fine tooth comb. Check the products dimensions, finishes and construction. This will help you to ascertain the quality of the product and how it compares to others.

Request a fabric sample - Colours shown on screen can vary to the actual fabric and may not be accurate. Asking for a fabric sample will help to determine if the sofa will work back with your existing interior finishes and colour scheme. Ask about the rub test rating on the fabric to check whether the fabric is for light domestic or heavy duty domestic upholstery. If you have pets or children opt for a heavy duty fabric.

Check the return policy and warranty - Double check the product warranty and returns policy and if there are any associated costs with a return. The warranty could be anything from one year to ten years and return policies may not include change of mind.

Ask about lead time. - Some sofas will be ready for immediately while others may take up to twelve weeks, this time frame may impact on your sofa choice.

Calculate shipping and delivery fees - Some companies may charge shipping to send from state to state on top delivery so look out for this when checking out.

Pay via a secure website - To make sure the website you are purchasing from is secure you can do the following:

  • Check there is a contact number and address noted on the website.
  • Look at the top of your web browser and check the URL. The website address must start with https to be secure. Avoid a website only displays http without the s’ at the end.
  • Use websites link to secure shopping sites which you can trust such as Shopify or Paypal.

What to consider when choosing a Fabric Sofas

Traits and benefits

Fabric sofas available in a variety of colours, types and levels of quality. With so many options to choose from they offer a high level of design flexibility with something to suit every style of interior. A fabric sofa will offer a higher level of comfort and coziness than a leather sofa. Fabric can be a little more difficult to keep clean, however if this is a concern, opt for a darker or more textured type of fabric.

Nautral Fibre vs. Man-made

When choosing a fabric a good option is one that has a blend of natural and man-made fibres. An 80% natural composition will ensure that the fabric is soft and breathable while the 20% man-made component will give the fabric strength and make less susceptible to staining. However, man-made fabrics have come a long way in recent years and in most cases it is difficult to tell the difference.

What are Martindale and Wyzenbeek tests?

Fabrics come in varying levels of quality which are determined by the Martindale or Wyzenbeek rub tests. Australia generally follows the Martindale rub test, while the USA goes by the Wyzenbeek. These tests measure the abrasion resistance or the number of rubs the fabric can take before it starts to fray. The more tightly woven a fabric is the less it will fray, however it will tend to be more expensive.

The table below indicates the ‘rub ratings’ for the Martindale test from light to heavy duty use.

Category Rub Rating Application & Use
LightDomestic Light domestic use 6000 - 9000 double rubs Cushions, accent pieces for show
MediumDomestic Medium Domestic Use 9000 - 20,000 double rubs Recommended only for items such as cushions, ottomans, upholstered benches or sofas that more for show or occasional use rather than every-day use
HeavyDomestic Heavy Domestic Use 20,000+ double rubs Suitable for every-day use furniture
SevereDomestic Severe Domestic/General Contract 30,000 rubs Suitable for furniture every-day use that may receive more wear and tear
HeaveContractUse Heavy Contract Use 40,000 rubs Still suitable for residential applications and great for wear and tear or for families with small children or pets
SevereContractUse Severe Contract Use 60,000 rubs Still suitable for residential applications but is generally overkill and may not have the level of comfort of softness that one would want for a family sofa

There are many gorgeous upholstery fabrics available, our absolute favourites at the moment would have to be the luxurious velvets and natural linen blends. These two fabrics offer very different aesthetics. Velvet looks stunning when paired with brass accents and darker woods such as walnut or ebony. While Linen is the perfect accompaniment to blonde timbers, light walls and greenery.

On-trend Velvet Sofas

Looking for luxe? Velvet is a gorgeous fabric that is extremely durable but offers a high level of sheen that exudes luxury, yet is soft and cosy. Traditionally velvet was woven from silk but today it’s most commonly made with cotton or synthetics. It’s a material that we have begun to see more and more of and this year will be no exception. Velvet is available in a stunning range of rich sumptuous colours that with winter on the way are set to become a highly sought after.

Classic Linen Sofas

Natural Beauty Linen is a hugely popular upholstery fabric for sofas. It’s tight weave means that it is highly durable and hardwearing but at the same time brings a beautiful natural looking element to an interior. Linen available in an extensive range of colours but lighter colours are not so forgiving to stains.

Which leather sofa should you buy

Leather sofas exude a high level of sophistication and class that really is is timeless. It is easy to care for and keep clean but must be maintained and looked after. Generally is can be kept clean with leather wipes or just by using a damp cloth. Leather is available in many different types which offer different qualities and characteristics. Being a natural material leather won’t have a perfect finish and may come with markings or scars. Leather will change over time.

The table below outlines the most popular 3 types.

Leather Types Characteristics Application & Use
Corrected Grain Corrected Grain Also referred to as 'Buffed' leather, this type is very resilient as it's highly resistant to stains and fading.
This type of leather ensures an even level of consistency of its colour and texture as it is embossed.
Sometimes this process can take away from the natural beauty of a leather and make it seem somewhat synthetic. However, these leathers offer a vast selection of colours.
Suitable for everyday use.
A corrected grain leather is very hard wearing and suitable for families with young children and pets who need a higher level of protection
Semi-Aniline Semi-Aniline Semi-Aniline leather is dyed and comes from the top grain of the leather which offers a more luxurious feeling This type of leather is suitable for couples or small families
Nubuck or Suede Nubuck or Suede This type of leather is Semi-Aniline or Aniline dyed but is less protected as it only receives a light coating.
This leather is characterised by its natural beauty, its softness and is the most expensive option.
There are less colour options available in this type as the leather is treated only a very light coating of pure Analine dye that just enhances the colour but allows the natural markings and feature of the hide to shine through.
Not suitable for families with young children or pets

It’s important to note leather can vary a lot in quality so be very cautious of leather sofas that are inexpensive. Chances are they won’t last. Beware of ‘Split Leather’. This is not suitable for upholstery.

Should you buy a leather or fabric couch?

When picking the right lounge for your living space, furniture shoppers will face the age old battle: should you buy a leather or fabric lounge? The answer really depends on what kind of look you're trying to achieve. Many find the appearance of leather to be sleek and professional while fabric lounges are often seen as more feminine, family friendly, and casual.

The Benefits of a Leather Lounge

Leather upholstery is timelessly sleek, professional, and sexy. It is the perfect choice for office furniture. Leather is also a fantastic option for those who aren't so graceful when sipping their coffee, as this fabric is versatile when it comes to spillage and stains. While you may have to buy a special cleaning solution, leather is highly durable and one of the most easy to maintain of all lounge choices.

Leather lounges are also preferred for those who have allergies, as it doesn't tend to pick up pet dander and dust the way other lounges can. This also means less hairy clean-up for you! While leather looks great, it may not offer the same level of comfort as a fabric option. Its worth noting that leather can also tend to feel cold to the skin in winter and a bit hot and sweaty in the summer, though if you have sufficient heating and cooling system in your home this shouldn’t be an issue.

The Benefits of a Fabric Lounge

Fabric lounges provide an elegant, yet comfortable look to your foyer, office, or living room. Fabric lounges are perfect for those who love feature pieces or warmth in their lounges, as they are synonymous with textiles and prints. Unlike leather lounges, fabric sofas come in a wide variety of patterns and colour choices great for making your sofa your focal piece in any room. Comfort is another thing lounge lovers will enjoy about going the fabric route. Fabric lounges are notoriously the most comfortable choice. When you think fabric lounges, think relaxation and family time.

Find Sofa Stores Near You

The thing with a buying a lounge or a sofa, is that most people want to sit on it before they buy it. Understandably, as a couch is an investment purchase. While there are great companies selling lounges online, if you want to head instore before you buy, the good news is that we've got great stores right around the country.

So for sofas in Melbourne, lounges in Adelaide, great couches in Perth, Brisbane, or Sydney explore House of Home.

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