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Here's what else to look for: FRAME

Dowels glued in place with screws and corner-block reinforcement is the best type of joinery for a sofa frame. Using cardboard inside the arms and on the back instead of jute webbing creates sagging. Eight-way hand-tied springs are the best. Each...

Dowels glued in place with screws and corner-block reinforcement is the best type of joinery for a sofa frame.

Using cardboard inside the arms and on the back instead of jute webbing creates sagging.

Eight-way hand-tied springs are the best. Each spring is connected to a neighboring spring with eight ties (two front to back, two side to side and four diagonals). But not all hand-tied springs are created equally. Some companies use flimsy string and loop it, rather than knot it, around springs. That can lead to excessive motion, which causes wear.

Patterns on your fabric should line up from seat back, to seat cushion, to skirt and all the way around the upholstered piece.

Not all leather is created equally, says Lonnie McDonald, owner of Leather Pro in Kansas City:

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Pigment: The lowest grade, this leather is dyed, painted and coated with urethane. It's also called bi-cast or split-grain leather.

Aniline: This is dyed top-grain leather. It requires more care than lower quality leather and shouldn't be exposed to direct sunlight.

Nubuck: Sanded top-grain leather that creates a suede-like feel.

Read the warranty. Defects, seam slippage, color-dye transfer and splitting are typically covered for a year or more. Stretching and color variation due to body oils are not covered.

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