A reader says: "I would love to have your opinion on a living room group by Lane. The group is called Bowden. According to the sales representative it is a full grain hide dyed through with hardwood frame w/corner braces, double dyed joints and sinuous spring construction.
I also looked at the Molina group by Chatsworth. I have never heard of this company. This group is not dyed though has a hardwood frame and pirelli webbing construction.
I would appreciate your view on these and or any others. The sofa and chair will be used daily so I would like to have a good medium priced living room group."
I realize how perplexing a search for the best medium priced living room group can be. This is a price point where you can be tempted by low prices, yet can also consider better quality that sometimes comes with a higher price tag. So, the question really becomes which is more important to you?
It seems to me that you are comparing apples and oranges. If you really want a brand comparison, and are looking at the Lane Bowden seating group for instance, try comparing it with similar brands such as Broyhill which is in exactly the same category as Lane, or Thomasville, which is slightly higher. You can also check out living room groups at Ethan Allen.
My advice would be to look for the highest quality your budget affords. Value is determined not by price alone, but by comfort, quality and durability. All these add to your quality of life by letting you enjoy a product.
I am not very familiar with Chatsworth, so I wouldn't want to knock down or praise some brand without knowing more about it, good or bad. But since Lane is a well-known medium quality, medium priced brand it seems to be a safer choice.
While the frame information you provided sounds good enough, here are some additional hints to help in buying a good leather sofa:
- Sit on it. This cannot be stressed often enough. After all this is the function of a sofa, and simply looking at it won't give you an accurate picture.
- Feel it with your hands. It should feel good against your skin soft and supple, not slick.
- Try bunching the leather. You should be able to grab some in your hand. When you let go it should start to regain its shape.
- It should give a little when you sit, but regain its shape when you rise from it.
- Stay away from bonded leather.
- The seating part consists of the legs, base, and seat cushions. Look at the height of the seat cushions. Higher, thicker seat cushions are better for a sofa or chair that will be used frequently.
- Carefully look at the seams, and how the corners are finished. Well made corners will hold up better to daily use.
The seating group that comes closer to these guidelines will be better for everyday use.