The sofa is the centrepiece of any modern day living space, so it’s something you’ll want to get right when buying a new one.

Need help finding your perfect bed? We’re here to help.

Many of us lead very busy and stressful lives. That’s why when we crawl into bed at night we need to make sure we’re getting the most out of our downtime with a mattress that suits us perfectly.

Sometimes it seems like modern man (and woman) spend half their lives sat on the sofa, usually in front of the TV, curled up with a good book, or entertaining guests. That’s why buying a new sofa can be a big decision and one you’ll definitely want to get right.

A common mistake is to sit on a sofa in a showroom for 5 minutes and decide it’s the best one for you because you find it comfy. Whilst comfort is obviously key, the materials and processes that are used in the manufacturing of a good sofa should also contribute to your decision. For example, if you are blessed with children or pets then the durability of your sofa will surely be a primary factor!

Let’s take a look at the different materials and features associated with many sofas and chairs. Understanding the positives and negatives of each type of sofa, and deciding which options suit your lifestyle will help to narrow down your decision, leaving you to worry about more important things, like colour!

Sofa Buying Guide – AHF Furniture & Carpets
Gone are the days when your only choice on the market was fabric or leather. With modern technologies, factories are coming up with new ways to replicate the look and feel of high quality upholstery but with lower costs and easier maintenance. This results in a wide range of different materials at different price points, and a durability/quality ratio to suite any living environment.

Here are some of the most popular terms used in the sofa industry and what they actually mean to you when buying your new sofa.

Manufactured from the finest hides, Semi-Aniline Leather is extremely luxurious and one of the highest quality leathers available on the market.

The surface is very soft and is classed as a natural form of leather; with only the most severe marks and imperfections removed, and being dyed but containing no pigmented surface coatings. As a result the unique characteristics of the hide such as grain and colour gradient remain visible, often leaving a slight ‘mottled’ effect.

A light surface coating is often applied to enhance the appearance and offer more protection against spillages and stains.

The surface of the leather is fully pigmented to remove any imperfections, then a consistent leather grain is embossed onto the surface to create a Corrected Grain. This means that cheaper hides with greater imperfections can be used, since the markings will simply be removed during the manufacturing process.

The grain and colour is much more consistent than Aniline Leather which is sometimes preferred, and is easy to clean as well as hard-wearing and durable. At AHF all our leather sofas are dyed through and unlike painted leather the dye will not peel off.

Manufactured using leather fibres bonded with latex, Bonded Leather is very durable and more environmentally friendly than leather production.

However unlike Aniline and Corrected Grain, Bonded Leather is not 100% leather although can still be a desirable alternative due to a much lower cost while still having a soft leather look and feel.

A material made with a split leather backing covered with a layer of polyurethane that is applied to the surface then embossed, resulting in an artificially consistent texture that can be created in virtually any colour, style and pattern.

Unlike genuine leather PU/Bi-Cast Leather requires very little maintenance and can be cleaned with just a damp cloth, and generally boasts a considerably lower cost.

Leather/Leather Match sofas are upholstered using real leather on the areas that you touch (seats, back cushions and arms) with the side and back panels made of a man-made leather-look material which matches the leather.

One of the benefits of Leather/Leather Match suites is the freedom to place them near radiators without concern, as the leather-look material is not affected by heat to the extreme that Aniline and other leathers are known for. By using leather match components the cost is greatly reduced but the sofa retains the soft feel of the genuine leather on the areas commonly seen and sat upon.

Micro-Fibre is a synthetic material that incorporates tiny polyester fibres into a tightly woven fabric which looks and feels extremely soft, sometimes giving the illusion of a leather or suede-like material.

A perfect sofa material for people with pets as the fabric is so tightly woven and therefore scratch-resistant, it is also a lot easier to clean than other fabrics as only a soft cloth with soap and water is needed to remove the majority of stains.


Sofa Buying Guide – AHF Furniture & Carpets
Comfort is a key factor when buying a new suite, so understanding what’s going on inside a sofa is just as important as the way it looks on the outside. The two main components that affect the comfort level of your sofa is the springs and the filling, which work together to create the heart of any comfy sofa.

Let’s take a look at the most popular spring systems and filling options used by upholstery manufacturers today, and how they vary in comfort and durability.

One long piece of wire coiled into spring with a border rod of wire that helps the sofa to retain its shape. Coil Springs are common in many sofas today and are fitted to the seat base to give excellent support by ensuring even distribution of weight.

These springs are great value for money and are also lighter than other options making them easier to lift.

A spring system made from steel wire that is shaped into a continuous ‘S’ shape, and a step up from the traditional Coil Spring.

The main benefit of these springs is that they provide reinforcement to the frame along with greater support when using the sofa. The ‘S’ shape allows for a more even distribution of weight if more than one person is using the sofa.

Pocket Springs are individually housed in their own fabric pockets which allows them to work independently. They are often used in the backs of sofas or contained within foam seats to offer additional comfort, and help to maintain the shape of the cushions. Pocket springs only react to the pressure and weight which is applied directly to each one giving you great support.

Uses a set of both Pocket Springs and Serpentine Springs, amplifying the level of comfort and support whilst giving you the benefits of both spring systems. Greater support is offered to the frame while the Pocket Springs react independently to any weight and movement changes.

Being firm and highly resistant, High Density Foam is a great choice for seat cushions as it provides fantastic back and neck support. The foam is good at keeping its shape, and can sometimes house Pocket Springs or a layer of fibre for added comfort.

A combination of foam and fibre gives a softer look and feel to a sofa than soley using foam. It still has the benefits added support for the back and neck but has a softer feel. More maintenance is required than High Density Foam since the cushions need to be turned occasionally to maintain their shape and comfort.


Sofa Buying Guide – AHF Furniture & Carpets
Many sofas and chairs are available as a manual recliner with a lever mechanism, or a power recliner with an electric motor to ease you into the perfect lounge position at the touch of a button. Recliner seats are often supplied as separate units with removable backs for ease of delivery. Power recliners use a single motor as standard but some offer a double motor or even a hand-held remote for even more control.

Single motor: When the chair reclines, the backrest and footplate move together and are unable to move independently.

Double motor: One motor controls the footrest and another controls the backrest. This gives flexibility with the reclining position to suit you.

Sofa Buying Guide – AHF Furniture & Carpets

At AHF we have a wide range of sofas and chairs ideal for any home, with a variety of price points to suit your budget. If you find the same like-for-like product at a lower price anywhere else then we’ll aim to beat it, even on luxury recliners from big brand names like La-Z-Boy. Have a look through our online catalogue, or visit us in store today.

The ideal bed is the most personal pieces of furniture you will buy in your life, with the best option being tailored to your own needs and your lifestyle. To find the perfect mattress, one must ask themselves a series of questions. Do I get warm in bed? Do I have back, neck or shoulder problems? What type of bed do I have at the moment and is this suitable? When I’m talking to my customers one of the first things I do is find out the answers to all these sorts of questions in order to understand where we need to begin in our buying journey.

We’ve put together the following information which describes the different materials and technologies used in beds today and what are the benefits of each feature, allowing you to make an informed and confident decision when buying the perfect bed for you.

Bed Buying Guide – AHF Furniture & Carpets

Moulds to the body to give even support resulting in the spine being straightened out and blood circulation increases in the skin making the shoulders and neck relax.

Memory foam mattresses are made from polyurethane which softens when it reacts with body heat to allow for it to mould to your body, when the pressure is released the mattress will return to its original shape. Memory foam is one of the most effective materials for relieving pressure points as it reduces the need to toss and turn during the night.

There are many mattresses and divan sets which contain elements of memory foam, normally using a top layer of foam set on a base of springs for the best of both worlds. All our La-Z-Boy mattresses have memory foam as do many more of our bed ranges.

Bed Buying Guide – AHF Furniture & Carpets

Flexes and contours to your body shape for even weight distribution and relief on pressure points. The cool sensation of K3 Gel also helps to soothe aches and pains in muscles and joints.

K3 Gel was created by Kaymed and is comprised of tiny hollow gel cubes which allow for trapped heat and moisture to evaporate away from the body. The cubed air pockets allow heat to escape and enable fresher air to make contact with the body, and help to prevent over heating in summer and combating chills in winter for all year round comfort.

Bed Buying Guide- AHF Furniture & Carpets

High-specification medical grade foam is the latest generation of pressure relieving technology by Mammoth. Unlike memory foam, high specification foam does not require heat to work.

With the V-Max Cell Technology providing permanent airflow through the mattress it relieves the issue of overheating. The V-shaped cells and channels combine for perfect pressure relief, with cooling airflow, moisture evaporation and allergen dispersal.

Watch the video to find out all you need to know about medical grade foam from the experts.


Pocket Springs

Pocket Springs are individually housed in their own fabric pocket which allows them to work independently. As they move independently it allows for two people of different weights to sleep comfortably without the ‘roll-together’ effect. Pocket springs only react to the pressure and weight which is applied directly to each one, meaning each part of your body is given just the right amount of support.

Bonnell & Open Coil Springs

Bonnell & Open Coil Springs are one long piece of wire coiled up into multiple springs, and it also has a border rod of wire that gives the mattress a firm edge and helps retain its shape. These springs are great value for money and are also lighter than other mattresses making them easier to turn extending the life of the mattress.

Silentnight Mira-Coil Springs

Silentnight Mira-Coil Springs are a unique continuous spring system that runs from the top to the bottom of the bed. This technology distributes the weight evenly up and down the bed instead of across, ensuring no ‘roll-together’. The springs run to the very edge of the mattress ensuring ‘no-roll-off’ so the sleeping surface can be maximised.

Bed Buying Guide – AHF Furniture & Carpets

A solid base with no storage available, this is the cheapest option for those not looking for any additional storage space in their bedroom. Larger non-storage bases are often split into two units and fastened together for ease of delivery. Multiple base colour options are also available of most models with matching headboards.

2 Drawer Storage

On a single bed, two large drawers are available on one side of the bed. A headboard can be fixed at either end of a single bed as standard, so if you want the drawers on the other side, then simply rotate the bed 180 degrees. On a double bed the two large drawers are on opposite sides at the foot of the bed.

4 Drawer Storage

Not available on single beds this storage option has four equal-sized large drawers, two on each side of the base. 4 drawers is a great way of maximising the amount of storage space available without spending more on hideaway or ottoman options or where these options aren’t available.

2+2 Drawer Storage

Simply two large drawers and two small drawers, this option consists of two large drawers at opposite sides of the foot end of the bed, with two smaller drawers at the pillow end. This option is perfect with bedside cabinets, allowing more room to open the drawer without having to move other furniture out of the way.

Hideaway Storage

The hideaway option is great for increasing storage capacity; it consists of an open cavity under the bed concealed by a valance allowing easy access to a large storage area. Double or king size beds can sometimes come with the hideaway option on one side with drawers or no storage on the other side, or you can opt for the hideaway option on both sides of your bed.

Ottoman Storage

Ottoman divans provide the ultimate storage solution. Simply lifting the top of the divan allows the whole of the divan base to be used for storage. The hydraulic spring system makes it easy to lift even with the mattress in place. Our ottoman beds are available in a variety of options from standard bottom-lift to side-lift and

It’s surprising the different types of wooden furniture on sale in the marketplace today. It’s more important to understand exactly what you’re buying, as sometimes what seems like solid wood can actually be finished to give that illusion.

With all our products we try to explain exactly what our furniture is made from, but the next step is understanding what that means for you. We’ve put together this Wood Furniture Buying Guide to help you buy the right furniture for your home.

Wooden dining, bedroom or living room furniture can be perceived as some of the easiest types of furniture to buy. If it looks good and matches your interior designs then it’s a winner, right? But what about the other factors such as durability, maintenance, and lifespan. It’s no good buying cheap and cheerful furniture if it won’t last in a hectic home environment, and you often don’t want to be paying a fortune for something that rarely gets used.

The purpose of a piece of wooden furniture and the home in which it occupies should determine the type of furniture you choose, and is just as important as the design and overall aesthetic appeal. Solid wood is often what many furniture enthusiasts will strive for, and whilst generally superior in quality there are several alternatives which could be ideal for you with additional benefits such as lower cost.

You’ll find everything you need to know about wooden furniture listed below, the different types of materials used and the benefits of each. Once you know the range of options available to you then you can be sure you’re buying the right furniture to suit you and your home.

Wood Furniture Buying Guide – AHF Furniture & Carpets
Crafted using a mixture of solid wood and wood veneer panels. A veneer is a thin slice of wood that is cut from a log; the veneer is adhered to a base wood surface. Veneers help to keep weight and cost down while still showing the exceptional quality of the wood grain.

The process removes any excess moisture from the oak, helping to prevent movement and shrinkage of the oak when in the home.

Finishing refers to the process of protecting the wood. With an oil lacquer finish a soft transparent finish is given which provides decent protection against general wearing of the wood.

Crafted using a wood base with printed wood effect to create a high quality sheen. Foil finish does not require as much maintenance as solid wood and is generally more durable and affordable.

Gloss is a contemporary finish often applied to bedroom furniture and has the versatility of being available in a wide variety of different colours. Often used as a way to add a splash bright colour to a room without needing to apply paint or wallpaper to your walls. A gloss surface is applied to man-made wooden panels, giving a high quality modern sheen at an affordable price.

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