The couch, or sofa, an upholstered piece of furniture designed to comfortably seat two or more people was used in ancient times by the elites of Ancient Rome. Only in the 1500s, however, did it find wide use in European society. Today, the couch is a prominent feature of virtually every American home.
Three features define a couch's style, according to the website My Home Ideas: the arms, the back, and the legs or skirt. The backrest and the arms were popularized during the Renaissance. Some types of modern couches have a skirt, a fabric which covers the bottom of the front of the couch, but others don't. The frame, typically made from wood throughout most of the couch's history, is sometimes made from newer materials, such as plastic or steel.
A sectional couch, designed to accommodate a large number of people, comes in modular sections. A sectional sofa might contain a sleeping extension or a recliner. Sectionals typically have a sleek, clean design. You can place sectional in a straight line along the side of a wall, but often owners place them in the corner of a room. A sectional might have armrests, no armrests, or an armrest on one end and none on the other.
Animal hair, such as hog hair or horse hair, remains the primary padding material for couches but others materials, such as foam, have found acceptance by the industry. Most couches today contain coiled springs, which were invented in the mid-1800s. Manufacturers use tempered steel to make the couch's springs. Approximately 1000 tacks and 200 yards of twine go into the making of the modern couch, according to the website How Products Are Made.
A wide variety of couch coverings compete for the buyer's attention in today's marketplace. Synthetics, natural fibers and blends all have certain advantages. Nylon wears well and resists wrinkling. Rayon though inexpensive, weakens when exposed to sunlight and does not clean easily. Polyester has low moisture absorption and resists abrasion although it retains grease and oil, according to the Utah State University Extension. Leather, though typically more expensive than other coverings, has a durability and comfort many purchasers find appealing.
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