I Want My Sofa to Recline, BUT I Don't Want it to Look One! 

Design Time on WMEN TV5

April 2020

Today on TV5 we talked about.....

I hear this a lot! I want a reclining sofa. I want to kick my feet up when I get home from work! I want to lay back and take a nap on Saturday, BUT I don't want that ugly recliner in my room!

Well, Guess what...there are reclining sofas out there that don't look like recliners! You are in luck!

First thing to note though- ALL Recliners have some characteristics that can not be changed!

  1. Recliners have moving parts- Moving parts are more likely to break. 

  2. Because they are more likely to break- most (not all) companies do not make them with quality components, because the company looks at it as disposable furniture. Make sure you know the quality you are buying. 

  3. Reclining show movement/ wrinkles/ frame separation, because they move and come in pieces. Also, you may want it super soft to sleep in, but then not to show wrinkles. It is very very hard to have soft and firm at the same time. 

  4. Reclining sofas are normally 3 pieces hooked together, so you may see where they align (or don't align together) slight gaps between seats or by arm/back area. This is more noticeable if you place your sofa in front of a window. 

  5. Reclining sofas may wiggle if you wiggle in them, because they are 3 seats hooked together on some form of rod system. 

  6. They may have a power cord or you may have to push back to have them recline (the Hamster Power Version was not popular with PETA) - again, more movement. 

  7. Pushing back on a recliner's arm may cause the fabric to Wrinkle.

  8. Sitting or Sleeping in a reclining sofa for long periods of time may show wear or wrinkles. 

  9. Reclining sofas are intended to be laid on in the seat instead of across all 3 seats. Some are made with a ridge in the seat that holds you back in the recliners. Others have a flat seat. 

  10. Some reclining sectionals only come with certain pieces, such as a corner pie wedge vs a square wedge. Make sure what you want fits in your house. 

Ok, so knowing these 10 facts- in the worse case scenario situations and if you still want a reclining sofa, here are some tips. 

There are always HIGH END and LOW END choices in everything. 

I can get a burger at McDonald's for $1 or I can go to Chef Emeril's and get one for $25. And you can't tell me that the two burgers come out looking the same, right? There will definitely be differences in quality. 

Look for: 

  1. American Made

    • I wouldn't send my best friend out to buy a reclining sofa that is not American Made (US Assembled is not the same- there is a difference!) Ask, is it made with parts, standards and quality of the USA? ​

    • Don't trust the OLD Furniture Brands that you use to know were American Made. Many of them have sold out and are no longer American. Ask! Do your homework! Make a wise investment!

  2. Qualex foam or High Desity foam (2.5 or higher) 

    • The American standard starts at a 1.8 foam density. If you compare 1.8 (more air, less foam)  to 2.5​ (more foam, less air)- the 2.5 is going to hold up longer giving you less crushing or seat impressions. Qualex foam is even above in quality the 2.5 rating!

    • The companies who put money into the quality of their foam cores care about the longevity of the furniture. They want the furniture to still look great after 1001 naps. ​A solid seat cover vs one with pleats and puckers in the sew design may show wrinkles, because the fabric is flat, but if there is a good cushion inside- the fabric should be able to be smoothed out. The darts and puckers are placed in reclining furniture to help hold everything in place with all the movement the sofa will have. 

  3. Options

    • Most reclining companies who have reclining sofas that don't look like reclining furniture will give the buyer options. They want you to be able to pick your arm style, back style, and leg. ​

  4. Leather​

    • If you pick leather- make sure that is full hide-top grain leather. ​

    • Full hide leather is about the thickness of a quarter pieces (money). Some companies offer SPLIT LEATHER. Leather can be slip 10 times. That is really thin. Thinner than a piece of normal copy paper. I don't know about you, but when the kids come over and jump on your new furniture...that will not turn out well. 

    • BONDED LEATHER is not leather. Leather scraps are used from belts, purses, shoes and whatever scraps they can find...and it is ground up, shredded and glued to the back of a piece of fabric. The fabric is painted with a polyurethane lacquer vinyl finish. This is what you sit on. This is what your head rests on. Not leather. That is why you see, so called "leather" sofas on the side of the road with their "Bonded leather" pealing off! Don't be fooled! 

  5. Reclining Type

    • There are different types of reclining sofas. Some are known of more kick-out​, where just the feet come out and up. The back does not tilt. Some have an extension bar that comes up so your foot sits on that bar vs the bottom panel. Others have tall backs with power lumbar or power head tilt. Get what fits you comfort.