June 20, 2022 4 min read

Sofas, loveseats, and even armchairs all have a wide range of quality levels designed to appeal to both the budget-minded consumer and the stickler for high-quality manufacturing. With multiple quality options available, anyone can find a couch within their price range.

However, there are a few differences in upholstery furniture construction features based on quality. Often, the problem customers face is a lack of understanding of what makes an upholstered piece of furniture good or the best quality purchase. Nobody wants to get ripped off by paying too much for low-quality furniture.

Here at Furniture Fair, we like to keep you informed on all things furniture. We want to discuss how furniture manufacturers use specific techniques to increase quality or create more budget-friendly options for your living room.

Throughout this article, you will learn about how upholstery furniture is made and how different construction methods can affect you and your comfort. Read on to figure out whether a good, better, or best quality construction method would suit your needs with your upholstered furniture.

How Frame Construction Affects Furniture Quality For Upholstery Furniture
How Frame Construction Affects Furniture Quality For Upholstery Furniture

What Is Furniture Construction?

Furniture construction is the process, methods, and materials used to make furniture frames. If you’ve got an old couch with worn spots from many rested elbows, you might be able to feel the construction underneath your furniture upholstery.

Let’s start with basic living room furniture construction. How is a sofa, loveseat, or chair built, and what makes them differ in quality? All living room furniture starts with a frame, or the bones of the furniture, if you will.

How Frame Construction Affects Furniture Quality For Upholstery Furniture

Good, Better, & Best Frame Construction

The wood frame manufacturing process starts with a hardwood frame. Wood types can be divided into softwoods like pine woods and hardwoods such as oak, cherry, maple, and walnut. Most furniture manufacturers who use higher quality hardwoods will let you know what wood is used.

The difference between good, better, and best quality wood furniture is the type of wood used and how that wood is put together. Different wood types will have different durability levels; some forms of construction are more substantial, while others are more focused on saving cost.

How Frame Construction Affects Furniture Quality For Upholstery Furniture
How Frame Construction Affects Furniture Quality For Upholstery Furniture

How Are Furniture Frames Constructed?

Simple solid wood furniture frames are constructed using wooden boards known as two-by-fours. Several wood boards are cut to the appropriate length and then attached using nails, screws, glue, wood joinery, or any combination of these methods. This type of frame is called a hardwood frame.

Most couch designs use this type of construction method. The frame type can also be accomplished with plywood or laminate wood types. Plywood is still considered a solid wood type, but it has a few features that solid wood doesn’t offer.

Plywood is a time of engineered wood that comes in sheets. The broader dimensions of plywood make constructing more complex frame designs easier. What would typically take three pieces of solid wood to create a framed piece can be cut to the exact shape with one piece of plywood. This type of frame is called an interlocking frame.

How Frame Construction Affects Furniture Quality For Upholstery Furniture

Hardwood Frames Vs. Interlocking Frames

Now let’s discuss the differences between interlocking and hardwood frames in furniture designs. Interlocking frames contain a crossbeam on the structure's sides and run through the piece.

The crossbeam interlocks with the front rail of the design and the back rail, adding durability and helping prevent twisting and warping of the wood over time. Better-end furniture uses interlocking frames for added value over time.

How Frame Construction Affects Furniture Quality For Upholstery Furniture
How Frame Construction Affects Furniture Quality For Upholstery Furniture

How Are Furniture Frames Held Together?

The fastening techniques used in furniture are essential. Typical furniture that falls in the good category uses staples that are sometimes combined with wood glue to fasten their frames. Many manufacturers also add corner blocks which are small blocks of wood wedged into the corners of the frame for added stability.

Better and best-level brands will use glue, corner blocks, staples, and screws for a frame that is reinforced in multiple ways. This level of reinforcement ensures that your furniture will last longer and be worth the initial investment.

Many companies in the best and exceptional category use dowels for their framing. Dowels are an heirloom-quality construction material composed of small wood cylinders glued between planks to create a sturdy, organic fastener that naturally bonds the wood together.

How Frame Construction Affects Furniture Quality For Upholstery Furniture

What Goes On Top Of Furniture Framing?

After the framing process is completed, the real sofa begins to take shape. For many brands, this is also an area where details matter or cost-saving measures can be utilized. Here are a few ways you can tell what the quality of your couch is from the design materials.

Some manufacturers will put cardboard around the arms or finish a frame without using wood. Once the cardboard is added, the basic structure is wrapped in foam. The purpose of this foam and cardboard is to keep the upholstery fabric from rubbing against the frame's wood.

Finally, the legs are the last aspect of the frame to pay attention to. Sometimes legs will be built into the frame for added stability. Other times the legs are separate and can be replaced if that option is available with your preferred manufacturer.

How Frame Construction Affects Furniture Quality For Upholstery Furniture
How Frame Construction Affects Furniture Quality For Upholstery Furniture

Ready To Learn More About Furniture Construction Quality?

Furniture is worth doing a bit of research if you want the best possible options for your home. Whether you need good, better, or best quality, knowing the production process will help you determine which will help you tremendously in narrowing down choices.

Remember that good living room furniture uses staples, glue, and simple wood construction with hardwood frames. Remember that better and best furniture options use interlocking plywood frames and screws with corner blocks, while exceptional brands use dowels.

If you are curious about determining which brand falls into which category, check out this article on finding good, better, and best sofas.

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