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Buying Guides

Sofas & Chairs

When purchasing Upholstery, the selection process can seem overwhelming. You have a massive choice of styles, materials and prices. It can be tempting to settle for something at a good price and that feels comfortable after only a very short trial.It is particularly important that you don’t be seduced by a flash tv advert and interest free credit, you should fully consider the suitability, strength, durability and the maintenance requirements of your chosen furniture.Here at Clayton’s we are Upholstery specialists and we can explain how a sofa is constructed, talk you through the various fillings, help choose a cover or colour as well as guide you in how to choose a sofa to suit the demands of your individual home environment.When you begin looking for your new sofa, you should consider the following questions to enable you to make the right choice:-Do you have children or pets?

Are you a couch potato? Even sitting or laying down in the same chair regularly can cause a lot of wear on the fabric and softening of interiors. Do you slouch? You may prefer the casual, informal feel and look of fibre cushions, check out our recliner models. Do you need head support? Look at our high backed models. What colour schemes do you have in mind? Start with the sofa and make this the focal point of the room, you can then use accessories to pick out colours featured on the sofa. Is it like what you have already, make note of what you do like about your existing sofa, and what you don’t like, this will help make sure you get the right kind of sofa!


Will it Fit?

See Clayton’s Free Measuring Guide, for advise on how to measure up for your new furniture.


Sofa Construction

A good quality frame is vitally important to the longevity of your furniture. We only select sofas which feature quality durable frames at their core. It is usual for the stress areas of the frames we use to be manufactured from selected hardwoods with shape forming pieces (non load bearing) being manufactured from laminated ply and other suitable materials.

Frames are either glued, screwed and dowelled or glued and locked into place with heavy duty frame fixings for strength and durability. These methods of construction . allows them to withstand the demands of everyday life in the home, while also allowing the variation in shape so that different styles can be created.

Companies who sell purely on the lowest price will cut costs as much as possible and use inferior fast grown softwoods on load bearing areas, and again purely for cost purposes they will de-spec the frame used, obviously, less timber in a frame means less cost, but it also means a lot less strength.



Once the frame has been constructed, it then has the support for the seating area added to it. While some sofas have traditional springs to form the seating platform, others may use webbing or tensile no-sag steel springs, suspended across the frame from front to back. Firmer sofas will have more rigid supports than softer sitting models. Similar methods are used in the upright back sections – webbing or steel springs suspended from the top to the bottom. To provide the sofa with a comfortable sit, some models feature a sprung edge or front rail. As you would expect, this also makes sofas more durable for everyday use.


Sofa Fillings

The combination and types of cushions and fillings used in a sofa will have a dramatic effect upon the overall ’sit’ and comfort levels you experience.

The all important ‘comfort factor’ is added by the fillings. There are 3 main types of filling used:


Foam seat sofas normally feel the firmest when you first sit down, and will return to the same shape when you stand up again. They provide a greater uniformity in appearance, associated with the more traditional sofa designs. The biggest benefit of foam interiors is that the density of the foam will affect the firmness of the sit – the denser the foam the firmer the sit. Foam cushions sometimes have a polyester fibre ‘wrap’ to improve surface comfort. It is important to note that where possible foams should be turned regularly to even out their use, especially if a ‘favourite seat’ is used more often than others!


Fibre gives a ‘lived in’ casual and informal look. Fibre seat interiors are common in contemporary, casual looking designs, fibre cushions are usually filled with specially developed polyester. Sofas with fibre cushions are usually medium to soft in ‘sit’,. Fibre seat cushions will require daily ‘plumping’ and maintenance to help them to keep their shape. Fibre cushions are great for that lived in feel, but they will flatten over time, depending upon usage levels.


This is the most luxurious and one of the most expensive fillings for cushions. Like fibre cushions, the feathers are contained in a fabric bag and need to be plumped daily to maintain their appearance. Increasingly, cushions with feather filling are being used on part of a sofa, such as a scatter cushion, while the more common foam and fibre may be used elsewhere. If you do select feather seat interiors, be prepared, as these require the highest amount of maintenance of any sofa filling. The feathers will settle with usage and will need daily plumping to increase ‘loft’ and prevent the feathers matting down.


Cover Types

It is usually the cover on your new sofa that attracts you to it in the first place, not only do you have to consider the colour, but you should make sure that you pick the cover type best suited to your needs. There are a variety of different cover choices, from plain fabric through to sumptuous leathers, as well as models which combine the two.

We’ve prepared the following summary of the different cover choices, to help you.


Leather Or Hide

Leather is now more popular than ever before as hide has become affordable and widely available. Its massive popularity is also thanks to the fact that leather is durable, comfortable and the fact that leather improves with time, softening and subtly changing in appearance and feel.

We have put together a comprehensive guide which describes the different types of leather and the characteristics of each type.


Fabric Types

There are a huge variety of fabrics available on the market today.. You can go for a look that is cool and contemporary or traditional and elegant, the look changes by altering the fabrics. Fabrics help make your sofa look warm and inviting, many people still prefer the warmth of nice fabric. There are typically two types of fabric sofa model – fixed cover and loose cover.


Fixed Cover

As the terminology implies, fixed cover sofas have a fabric cover which is fixed to the frame. Please note however that although cushion covers may be removable, they should not be washed, this is purely down to ease of manufacture. Fixed cover sofas can be professionally cleaned, but please refer to the Caring for your Upholstery section of this website.

Sofas with fixed covers usually offer a wider choice of fabrics, from hard wearing synthetics to soft velvets. There will also be a wider choice of styles available in fixed covers, as their design means they can be shaped with more detail than on a loose cover model.


Loose Cover

When you can remove the complete covers of a sofa for cleaning, the sofa is referred to as loose cover model. The covers can be either washed or dry cleaned, although all sections of the sofa should be cleaned at the same time as colours can sometimes fade – this is quite normal and is not a manufacturing fault. You should also only use detergents which do not contain bleaching agents or optical brightners.

It is common for the fabrics which are used on loose cover sofas to be made from 100% cotton. You often have the option of purchasing a second set of covers, giving you the chance to have two different looks for your new sofa. Ie a light and dark set for summer or winter. The styling of loose cover models is normally informal, this is because the covers are not closely tailored and it has to be relatively simple to remove the covers. The downside to a cotton based fabric is that you loose some durability, man made fibres are the most durable when it comes to upholstery covers.


Chenilles & Velvets

Chenilles are very popular fabrics and are one of the most common fabric covers used. They are usually durable and can be recognised by their ‘semi wooly’ texture, they feature a fabric ‘pile’. Velvets are very hard wearing, plush fabrics which have a cut pile.

As with all fabrics which have a pile on them, they can be subject to pressure marking during use. Light reflection may highlight this occurrence and this may appear as light and dark patches on the material. This usually occurs where the fabric has been crushed and is termed ‘shading’, ‘seating’ or ‘pile reversal’. This is not a fabric fault and will not detract in any way from the wearing properties of the fabric. Regular maintenance such as light brushing will help to lift the pile. We recommend that cushions are rotated regularly to allow fabrics to recover and to give the furniture a more even appearance.


Print Fabrics

As the name suggests, print fabrics are usually constructed using a base cloth made of cotton or linen union and have a design which is literally printed onto them. High wear areas can be subject to fading and loss of colour over time as the colour is not an intrinsic part of the yarn, it is a process added after the backing cloth is made. Usually complicated, multicoloured or floral designs tend to be printed. Cushions should be turned regularly to even wear and high wear areas such as the fronts of arms should be protected using arm caps.


Woven Fabrics

Woven fabrics can be plain or patterned. The pattern is created during the weaving process. Woven fabrics are more susceptible to snags and pulls, it is important to keep pets claws well away from this type of covering.


Microfibres Or Flocks

This type of fabric is usually incredibly hard wearing. It is made by a process of millions of individual electrically charged fibre particles being attracted onto a backing containing an adhesive which is then heat set. This gives the fabric a pile or nap. The overall effect of this type of fabric is that it has a suede appearance. It will usually have some inbuilt stain resistance, but must only be cleaned with water. Chemical and solvent cleaners would damage this type of fabric. As with all fabrics which contain a pile, micofibres are prone to shading and pressure marking.


Put Your Feet Up

One of the biggest growth areas in furniture sales is the recliner or motion furniture market, adding a recliner action to your new sofa can provide the ultimate in relaxation and comfort. The recliner mechanisms are usually operated by small handles or latches,. These sofas and chairs are often a little taller than non-recliner versions, with some larger recliner sofas being delivered in sections for ease of delivery.

Many of the sofa models we display can be provided with recliner actions – some even offer electrically operated mechanisms to allow you to stop the recliner action at whatever position suits you, meaning that you can achieve your perfect comfort level.

In addition, many of our sofas now also have recliner options. At Clayton’s we believe that comfort and support are important and we have seen a huge increase in the popularity of motion furniture. We currently have many recliner chairs and recliner sofas on display for you to choose from in either leather or fabric. We always say that a recliner is the ultimate piece of furniture, its great to put your feet up after a long hard day or just relax when watching a movie.


Buying Guide For Beds & Mattresses

Helping You Choose The Right Bed

A new bed is one of the most important purchases you will ever make, if you sleep well, you wake up feeling refreshed and invigorated. An old uncomfortable bed particularly if it is over 10 years old is bad for your health, it can contribute to aches and pains. Many of the common allergys you suffer are caused by the dust mites living off all the old dead skin cells inside your mattress, these are not doing you any good at all. Remember, a bad nights sleep means a bad start to your day.

It can be bewildering trying to choose the right bed or mattress when faced with so many choices and types. However it is important to remember that whilst price, special offers, credit deals are all important the most important factor is choosing the right bed for you.

Given that we spend so much of our time asleep in bed it is worth investing time and money. Choosing the right bed is not something to be rushed, it is estimated than an uncomfortable bed could cost you up to an hours lost sleep per night.

Spend as much as you can afford, A good quality bed will last you over 10 years, and you could expect to spend over 30,000 hours in it, it's worth a little extra now for years of extra comfort.

Equally the cost of a good nights sleep is relatively low, whilst the best bed for you is not necessarily the most expensive; you can invest in a quality bed for as little as 28p per night (based on £1000 bed being used continuously over 10 years).


Points To Consider

If you are considering buying a new bed you are probably thinking that your existing one is getting old or not as comfortable as it used to be, perhaps you have noticed backache or stiffness when you get up in the morning. Before trying new beds consider whether you want ‘more of the same’ or if you need a change for better support or comfort.

Try out a selection of beds (at least three) in the shop comparing each of them for comfort and support.

Don’t be afraid to spend some time on each (at least 10 minutes) trying out the sleeping positions that you use, this is time wisely spent!

Traditionally designed mattresses will require ‘turning’ to even out the use they receive. If this is likely to prove a problem then we would suggest you consider a mattress designed to be ‘non turn’.

A good way to check if the bed you are lying on is too soft, too hard, or just right is to lie on the your back, placing your hand in the small of your back and then trying to move it about. If it moves too easily, the bed may be too hard for you, if it’s a struggle to move your hand, then the bed is too soft. If you can move your hand with just a little resistance, the bed may be just right for you.

If you share a bed, take your partner with you, its important that your new bed suits both of you.Take your time if you are unsure it is far better spending more time comparing than choosing a bed that you are not entirely happy with. (unfortunately, for hygiene reasons, we are unable to refund or exchange beds that have been unwrapped or used – this does not affect your statutory rights)


Size Matters

Popular sizes tend to be:

Single: 90 cm (3’0) x 190cm (6’3”)

Small Double: 120cm (4’0) x 190cm (6’3”)

Double: 135cm (4’6”) x 190cm (6’3”)

King Size: 150cm (5”) x 200cm (6’6”)

Super King Size: 180cm (6’) x 200cm (6’6”)

Also consider the height of the bed – will you find it easy to get in and out of ? If you choose a higher bed, consider that it may look much bigger than a conventional one and that valances and valanced sheets may need replacing. We have found that many of our customers are choosing King-size (5’) over Double (4’6”) for that extra bit of space for a relatively small price difference

We also stock ranges that are available in a variety of other sizes, but beware those special sizes may require special sized bed linen.

If purchasing a bedstead please bear in mind our suppliers generally deliver these un-assembled. Such items are sold as customer self assembly.


Different Types of Bed Bases


Bedsteads are a more decorative option in the bedroom and are available as part of complete bedroom furniture ranges or as individual pieces. Generally the mattress will be supported by solid slats or sprung slats, the later giving more ‘cushioned’ support than the former. It is also important that the correct mattress is selected to go with the bedstead.



With Divans, the mattress is placed on a supportive, matching upholstered base. This may be either a platform top base construction which will give a firmer feel or with a sprung base where the base contains a spring unit for extra support and comfort. In sprung based models the spring unit will either be to the edge of the divan base (Sprung-edge) or set in from the sides (Firm-edge).


Storage Options

Many ranges offer various configurations for drawers which give extra storage where required and are especially useful when space is at a premium.


Adjustable Beds

These allow the head and foot ends to be raised or lowered using electric motors to give a different range of sleeping positions.



Open coil sprung mattresses

This is the most basic and simple springing system. The coil springs are wired together to form a single unit with a coiled helical wire, and the thickness of the wire used to make the springs generally determines the firmness. If you place the mattress on a solid slat bedstead or solid top divan, this will offer a firmer sleeping surface. If there isn’t a big weight difference between you and your partner, then these offer good value, most of the mass producers of beds use this lower cost method of production ie Silentnight & Myers.


Pocket sprung

Pocket sprung mattresses are widely considerd to be the best. Here every spring is in its own individual pocket or sleeve. As these move independently, a restless sleeper is less likely to disturb his or her partner. These mattresses mould to the shape of the sleeper , giving good support to all areas of the body. This type of mattress is ideal if there is a substantial weight difference between sleeping partners. Generally, the more springs the bed contains the more even the support you get. The quality bed manufacturers such as Hypnos and Staples use pocket springing.



Moulds well to the body and offers good all round support. Latex does tend to retain body heat more than other materials.



Made from pressure relieving material, visco-elastic materials respond to body temperature and weight, relieving pressure and dispersing it,. Initially the mattress feels firm but it moulds to the shape of your body’s contours, does not need to be turned and resists the harbouring dust mites. There are more mattresses being manufactured as ‘non-turn’ even in sprung mattresses. These offer similar levels of comfort without the aggravation of constantly turning the mattress. However do be aware that some will require turning end-to-end rather than end to end and then side to side.



Think about a new headboard when choosing your new bed. A headboard is the ultimate finishing touch, at Clayton’s we offer headboards in Fabric, Leather, wood or metal in dozens of styles.

N.B. Your New Bed Or Mattress

It may feel quite different to what you have been used to. It is quite common for your body to need a period of time to become accustomed to the new level of support it is receiving and this is to be expected.

Open spring and Pocketed mattresses are upholstered using different types of material such as cotton felt, foam, lambs wool, polyester, woollen felt etc. The fillings in these mattresses will tend to settle over the first few weeks or months, this will be more pronounced in mattresses with more luxurious fillings. This is quite normal and not a fault and can be alleviated with regular turning of the mattress.

If you need more information, please come and visit our store, one of our trained sales consultants will be happy to help and guide you through the various types of bed available. Ask as many questions as you like, remember, we are here to help and equip you with the information you need to ensure that you can make an informed choice.

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