Modern Style Blog


Beyond the Price Tag: How to Judge a Sofa for Quality

Choosing a quality sofa is art. It takes a great deal of experience to see through the sleek upholstery and judge a sofa purely on its intrinsic value and quality.

Indeed, a great sofa is more than meets the eyes.

It’s no wonder then why two identical sofas vary so much in price.

This post is designed to help you deconstruct the critical components of a sofa to evaluate if it’s worth the price.

As per furniture experts, there are essentially three qualities you should judge a sofa on. Let’s talk about them in detail.

Sofa Frame

The longevity of a sofa depends largely on its frame – it’s the frame is sturdy and built from high-quality material, it’s likely to have a long life and withstand pressure and elements year after year.

But, that’s not all, let’s take an example of what actually constitutes a sturdy and quality frame and what you should look for while examining the frame of a sofa.

Deconstruct critical components of a sofa to evaluate if it’s worth the price.

Klin Dried Wood: High-quality sofas tend to last a long life because their frames are built from high-quality wood. The very process of making a frame highly determines its quality.
The frame can be made from hardwood and Greenwood. As a matter of fact, frames that are built from hardwood tend to be stronger.

Often the best and strongest of frames are made out of kiln-dried hardwood. The kiln-drying process ensures that the moisture is removed from the hardwood, enabling it to retain its shape and stability when exposed to the elements and pressure.

On the contrary, frames made from Greenwood or knotted wood will shrink and crack over the period of time. Therefore, it’s really important for you to check if the sofa you want to buy is made from hardwood, Greenwood or knotted wood. Don’t hesitate to ask the salesperson about the details of the manufacturing process. Alternatively, you can check the details from the brochure.

Strength of Joints: The strength of a sofa frame also depends on how its joints are held together. There are various ways to join the ends of wood in order to build a frame. They can be glued, dowelled or screwed. Each process can be applied to a frame depending on the nature and style of frame. In some cases, blocks are used in the corners of the frame for adding strength. However, when the joints are dowelled or screwed securely, they provide impeccable strength and support to the frame, which, in turn, empowers the frame to withstand additional weight.

Layers of Plywood: Usually, low-cost sofas tend to have frames that are built from inferior wood materials such as plywood and particleboard. Should you choose a sofa built from plywood, be sure it’s made from the best quality plywood. High-quality plywood usually has 11-13 layers of food. Any fewer and the sofa has a very weak frame.

Seating Support

A high-quality frame acts as an anchor to the seating support of a sofa. However, the seating support must be built securely to endure everyday use and abuse. While buying a sofa, be sure to test the strength of the seating support, a seat on it and see that it doesn’t sag.

Much like the frame, the seating support must be built to last a long time. And, often the process of making the seating support determines its strength. When it comes to the process, there are three methods to the making of seating support such as:

Eight-way Hand-tied Spring System: One of the most popular methods used to build the sofa’s support system, it connects each spring to the adjoining one with strong twine. The twines then pass side to side, front to back, and diagonally in both directions ensuring each spring is tied very securely. This is considered to be the gold standard of building sofa’s support system and is often labor-intensive. Therefore, they are more often used in the making of high-end sofas.

Sinuous Spring Construction: Sinuous spring construction is another popular method of building support system; however, they are not as strong as the 8-way hand-tied spring system. The method involves using sinuous springs which are S-shaped. The sinuous springs run from the front of the seat to the back, which is supported by additional wires that run from side to side.

The sinuous springs run from the front of the seat to the back.

Web Suspension: The web suspension is considered to be low quality support system there is no use of spring in this method. Rather, bands of webbing are used to cross the seat and back, which are then attached to the frame to build a platform for the cushion. The webbing can be either natural or man-made fibers. Since it’s unable to offer a very high-quality support system, sometimes a tensioner is used to fasten the webbing to the frame securely.

The web suspension is considered to be low quality support system there is no use of spring in this method.


While a strong frame and well-built support system ensure stability and endurance, the filling inside the cushions augments the comfort for great seating experience.
Essentially, you have the following choices as far as the filling is concerned.

Down Cushions: These cushions are premium choices and therefore, are very expensive. These cushions have down proof ticking beneath the upholstery fabric in order to stop feathers from poking through. Down cushions are very delicate and need the utmost care to able to last longer.

Blend Down Pads: Blend down pads are a kind of down that uses pads made out of Dacron polyester fiber. They are also wrapped around high-density foam for extra comfort. In some cases, the springs in the support system are surrounded by high-density foam which is wrapped in down pads offering strong and resilient support without losing their shapes easily.

Polyurethane: It is the most common filling method and comparatively cheaper in terms of cost. Basically, the higher the density of the foam, the firmer the cushion and the longer it is likely to last. Never go for the low-quality foam for your sofa as it breaks down very quickly.

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The Ultimate Guide to Wood Types

Even as the modern furniture has evolved quite dramatically over the years, making way for the MDF, veneer and glass as popular furniture material, the wooden furniture pieces have still retained their popularity among the homeowners who look for durability and class.

Indeed, the wooden furniture offers a host of unique features including contemporary styling, wide variety, versatility, and durability.

However, the very choice of wooden furniture comes with some responsibility. Wooden furniture pieces can be delicate, expensive, and need proper maintenance for long life.

Therefore, it makes sense to learn a bit about the different types of wood and their inherent qualities. Before you choose that exquisite wood for your furniture, it pays to know the types of wood you can pick!

So, let’s take a look:

Broadly speaking, wood is divided into hardwood and soft wood.


Hardwood lumber comes from deciduous trees and is generally more expensive due to its durability and fine grain.

Some of the popular hardwood lumbers are:


Color: White to pale brown in color.

Hardness: 4 on a scale of 1-5

Grain: Straight grain

It is easier to work with ash wood because of its hardness plus it’s easier to apply stain on ash.It is used in making chairs, dining table, doors and flooring.


Color: Birch is available in two colors- white and yellow.

Hardness: 4 on a scale of 1-4

Grain: Curly grain, spread out far apart.

Birch is hard to stain and tends to get blotchy. It is, therefore advisable to paint the furniture made with Birch.It is generally used for making fine furniture.


Color: Cherry heartwood is reddish-brown and the sapwood is white in color.

Hardness: 2 on a scale of 1-5

Grain: Fine, straight grain ranging from reddish brown to blond.

Cherry is very popular and an overall great wood; easy to work with, stains and finishes well with just oil, and ages beautifully.It is often used for carved chairs, clean-lined Shaker-style tables and cabinets.


Color: Reddish-brown to deep-red tint.

Hardness: 2 on a scale of 1-5

Grain: Straight grain and medium texture.

One of the great furniture woods, it takes stain very well and looks great with just a coat of oil.


Color: Creamy white hardwood with a reddish tinge.
Hardness: 5 on a scale of 1-5

Grain: Fine, straight grain.

Maple is available in hard and soft variety, but both are harder than many other woods. It is quite often stained to look like mahogany or cherry. Maple is chosen for heavy-use items, like dressers and kitchen cabinets.


Color: Red and white

Hardness: 4 on a scale of 1-5

Grain: Swirling, water-like pattern and tiger-stripe pattern with yellow rays and flecks.

Oak is moisture resistant, therefore used in outdoor furniture and flooring. Staining on oak needs to be done skillfully.


Color: White with some green or brown streaks.

Hardness:1 on a scale of 1-5

Poplar is not a very beautiful wood, so it’s hardly used in fine furniture, but it’s a good choice for drawers where it won’t be seen. It takes paint better than stain.


Color: Golden-brown

Hardness: 3 on a scale of 1-5

Teak is beautiful, has an oily feel and is highly weather-resistant.Though it is becoming rarer and rarer, it is the staple for fine outdoor furniture.


Color: Rich chocolate brown (heartwood) and yellow (sapwood)

Hardness: 4 on a scale of 1-5

Grain: Straight grain

Walnut is typically clear-coated or oiled to bring out its color. It is used to make head-boards, ornate antique-style dining tables and mantels. Can be used for intricate carving, as accents and as inlays.


Softwoods come from coniferous trees and are generally less expensive. It’s also relatively easy to find sustainably grown softwoods (woods grown on farms to ensure an endless supply of wood).

Some of the popular softwood lumbers are:


Color: Reddish

Hardness: 1 on a scale of 1-4

Grain: straight grain

Western red cedar is relatively soft and has a slightly aromatic smell. Being moisture resistant, it is used for outdoor projects such as deck and patio furniture and building exteriors.


Color: reddish brown tint

Hardness: 4 on a scale of 1-4

Grain: Straight, pronounced grain

Douglas fir is most often used for building; however, it’s inexpensive but doesn’t take stain very well, so use it for furniture only if you intend to paint them.


Color: yellowish or whitish

It is often used in rural homes and for rustic feel and farmhouse style furniture. It stains rather quickly (seal the wood first) and takes paint well. Hence, it is ideal for kids’ furniture. However, being a softwood, it’s rather susceptible to scratches and dents.


Color: Reddish tint

Hardness:2 on a scale of 1-4

Grain:Straight grain

Redwood is mostly used for outdoor projects because of its resistance to moisture. Blend beautifully with stable; if you are using a beautiful grain pattern, use stable wood on the other parts of the furniture.

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Have a Large Room? Let’s Make it Feel Cozy

What happens when you have a large space to fill? You may find it difficult and feel a bit overwhelmed. No worries, there’s always a solution to a problem.  The first step is to look at your home décor; as it can assist in making small spaces look big, it can make large spaces look warm and comfortable. 

A clever reshuffle of your sofa here and a love seat there can bring in a new perspective to your oversized home.  Skim through some of these tips to bring in snugness into your house.

Paint dark walls make a room seem smaller

Furnishings and accessories can create a visual illusion to make your large space look warm and cozy. Dual tone paint will not only add color to your walls but it will trick you into thinking the ceilings are lower than they appear to be. Ceiling, too, can be painted with darker hues as it will make your room look warmer and feel cozier.

Create zones to make your room feel cozier

With so much extra space at hand, divide the room into different zones.  Use an L-shaped sofa, a console table or a daybed to create different zones.  A tall book case with wing chair can be your reading nook while a love seat with a side table can be your cozy corner.

Occasional Chairs

Occasional chairs are versatile enough to be featured in various designs and a great way to provide extra seating when the need arises.


X-benches come close to ottomans when versatility is the benchmark.  It can be used as a footstool; a pair can double up as a coffee table and when the occasion demands, it can also serve as extra seating.  Place a pair of X-benches below your console table, around the fireplace or make it a part of your seating area, they will fit themselves in comfortably.

L-shaped sofas can easily fill a large space and provide comfortable seating.  It can also be used as a division between seating and dining areas.

Coffee Table Alternatives one huge coffee table to fill the space

Do you need one huge coffee table to fill the space or you need a little bit of drama? Both can serve your purpose, a large square or a long rectangular table is a classic choice while an alternative is a pair of oversized ottomans or a group of four side stools or a pair of benches.

Wall Space set your furniture away from the wall

Furniture against the wall is a good idea in a small room but when it comes to large room set your furniture away from the wall, creating a cozy seating.  Once that is done, it is of the essence to dress up your walls.  You may want to place a console table with foot stools or wicker baskets underneath it.

Lighting can provide a kind of warmth you would look for in a large house. Use wall lamps in addition to ceiling lights and decorative lamps that can be placed on the coffee table, console table or near the fireplace.

Layers add character to your room

Layers in the form of rugs, curtains and upholstered pieces of furniture will not only help you cozy up the space, it will give panache and character to your home.

Co-ordinate the furniture, give it a stamp of your style and you have your ideal cozy home with a perfectly cohesive look.

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Dining Furniture Planning Guide

A dining room can typically accommodate several furniture pieces such as:

Dining table

Dining Room chairs

Curio/Display Cabinet


You may or may not need to buy all of the above furniture pieces based on your current needs and available space in your dining room.  However, many homeowners would go for dining room furniture sets which typically include a dining table and with a set of chairs at the minimum.

If you are going to buy a dining table, you need to consider a host of dining requirements in your home.

What is the structure of your dining room? Is it fairly large for your family? As a rule of thumb, you should go for an oval or rectangular table if the shape of your dining room is rectangular and a square-shape dining table if the dining space is square. Also, consider the quality of the wood before buying the dining table.

Moreover, consider the size and color of your dining room chairs and be sure to choose the dining table that complements the chairs in terms of shape, height and aesthetics.

Here are some more details on how to choose the right dining table.

Caveat: While buying dining tables, don’t go for a thick veneer because it is more likely to lift away from the piece in the long run. It’s fairly easy to examine the veneer just by touching the surface of the table top. If it feels more like plastic and has obvious seams at the connecting corners, it’s a thick veneer.

There is no one size fit all dining table. It’s very important to choose the right dining table to have delightful dining experience every time. And the right size depends on the shape of your dining space and size of your family. This is exactly where this infographic can help you.

dining table size guide

How to Buy Dining Chairs

Some prefer to buy their dining table and chairs separately for reasons ranging from saving furniture cost to customizing their dining room furniture sets.

It’s relatively easier buying dining furniture sets because they are manufactured with specific dining room requirements in mind. However, unless you’re buying a dining room set, you need to be careful about many things while picking the chairs for your dining room.

Consider the following best practices of buying the right dining room chairs.

Check the depth of the seat to ensure that everybody in your family including your little ones is able to sit comfortably in their chair. Make sure their feet don’t dangle because the seat is too deep for them.  While there are no one-size-fits-all chairs for your entire family, you still need to consider buying the ones that all family members find it comfortable to sit in.

Among other key points, you may need to consider style, height, weight and rungs of the chairs before investing in a set of dining room chairs.

Here are some dining room chairs under $200, if you have a tight budget for your dining room renovation.

Dining Chairs Under $200

How to Buy Dining Room Accessories

Assuming your dining space is fairly large there are a number of dining room accessories you can possibly add to make your dining room fully functional and neatly decorated. The dining room accessories are essentially meant to be your storage space to help you serve food and store or display your dishes.

Shop Curio/Display Cabinets

Curio Cabinet – It’s a free-standing display case with a glass front and sides with any enclosed cabinet space. Check out these curio cabinets and buffets above.

Shop Sideboard/Buffets 


Sideboard – It’s essentially a cabinet meant to be used for storing and serving food in the dining area. Typically, a sideboard consists of a wide drawer in the center flanked by drawers and cupboards on either side. Check out the sideboards with storage in the link above.

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