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Old 09-20-2012, 12:09 PM
1,315 posts, read 3,202,546 times
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I went to an independent, locally owned furniture store today and saw a contemporary looking approximately 96" lounge sectional made by Jonathan Louis for $799. The foam density of the sectional was approximately 2, but it didn't feel that firm when I sat down on it. The sectional apparently had only been on the showroom floor for two weeks as well. The salesman said I could get thicker cushions for an additional $300. Other couches on the showroom floor that had a more firm feel to the cushions and backing were about $500 more. Is Jonathan Louis a quality manufacturer? I don't want the cushions to sag and become soft after a year. Does one have to spent at least $1300 and get a foam density of 3 in order to have a couch last a long time without sagging or sinking? I don't mind paying for guaranteed quality and peace of mind structurally and padding/cushion wise. Are there any brands, key words, features etc that I should focus on that would provide some sort of reassurance on quality?

$799 is a tempting price, but if it's only going to last one year, then it's not a good deal. There are two fabric swatches that I like. One is 50% polyester, 40% rayon and 10% cotton. The other is 92% polyester and 8% linen. What is rayon like on a couch?

I wish there more reviews and comments on furniture like there are on television and cars.
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Old 09-20-2012, 01:45 PM
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What type of construction did it have?

Our 96" sofa has a foam density of 2 and was very well made and it is very comfortable and has held up well (only 1 year old but still). I believe the base price was around $1000 but we did some custom things and also bought our own fabric entirely to have the manufacturer use so it ended up being fairly pricey but there were still lots of options around the $1000 price-point.

The manufacturer we used was Younger Furniture out of NC but they have reps all over I believe (we used a local design firm that rep'd them). They had lots of options, high quality construction, and the prices were very competitive.

Younger Furniture
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Old 09-20-2012, 02:17 PM
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
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I sold furniture for more than two years at one of the Southwest's largest independent chains. When I started there we didn't carry Jonathan Louis. When we got it, all the sales associates were happy because we liked the brand. We considered it good value for the price. Better-made than many brands in the under-$1,000 category and very attractive styling. Not to mention, made in the great state of California ... not China. I know it's a popular line for Macy's.

If firm cushions are important to you, go for the upgraded foam density. Manufacturers are in a bind as to foam use because customers have such radically different reactions to the feel of a seat. In a single day, I could have every range of expectation from "I sit up straight and want strong support" to "I want to feel like I'm sinking into a cloud." How does a manufacturer address that extreme variety? Not to mention that one person's definition of "firm" bears no resemblance to another's.

I remember one customer whose response to every sofa was "not firm enough," no matter the foam density. He ended up buying a sofa bed (when he didn't even need one) because it was hard as a rock under the cushions and that gave him the result he wanted. For people who don't want to slouch in a seat, the depth of the seat is just as important a factor as the firmness. The shorter your legs are, the less depth you need and getting more than you need throws you into a slump. Younger adults predominate in the furniture market, though, so manufacturers favor their desire to "spread out" on the sofa.

If the sofa you like has seat covers that are completely and easily removable, you might want to consider just buying the sofa with the lower-priced cushions and replacing the foam at a foam store, rather than upgrading with the manufacturer. A foam store might have more varieties of product than the manufacturer has available and you'd be able to test them all out for your comfort. But do the research before you buy the sofa and make sure if the added price (and work/travel you would have to do) would be worth it to you. I replaced foam on a sofa I owned once and was amazed by the improvement ... and I don't remember it costing me $300, but that was a long time ago.

As for fabric, I can't address the specific comparisons you make. But I will give you a couple of tips. Of course poly wears the best. Other fibers are added to poly to enhance the feel and appearance. Cotton is, in general, not a good upholstery fabric. It looks great new and doesn't wear terribly, but colors often fade dramatically and water spots may be NOT REMOVABLE. Even if you buy the fabric protector, the fine print usually indicates that's not part of the warranty. Now 10% cotton is not much and probably wouldn't have a negative impact, but I'd avoid blends that are predominantly cotton. I would think rayon would be added for a more attractive hand and maybe vivid color, as it resembles silk. Am I correct in guessing that the poly/linen feels more tailored and less sumptuous than the other blend? It's probably mostly a matter of your choice of whether you value long wear over a more luxurious feel. But poly itself has such variety, it's hard to guess what those blends would be like. A majority of poly in the blend will give you a good result wear-wise. It's the reason sueded microfiber is so ubiquitous in family-style sofas.

Good luck with your purchase.
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