Natuzzi & Palliser: High Quality Leather Sofas at an affordable price???

by | Apr 26, 2022 | Ask the Expert, Brand comparisons, Leather Furniture, Uncategorized | 3 comments

Natuzzi & Palliser mix high quality leather with poor quality frames & foundations to achieve an affordable price.

Natuzzi & Palliser are two of the world’s largest Leather Furniture manufacturers.

Both brands offer seating with high-quality leathers.

Top-quality leather alone is not enough to produce a Best Quality Leather Sofa.

Natuzzi introduced the first cheap “real” leather sofas in the 1960s.

The streamlined modern design allows highly efficient, low cost manufacturing.

Costs are further cut by using low-cost materials inside the furniture, where they cannot be seen.

Natuzzi and Palliser couches and reclining furniture are designed to look and feel good when new in the showroom.

They are not designed for long-term use.

Natuzzi started in Italy.

Natuzzi Italia, the company’s high end brand, is still made in Italy.

Natuzzi Editions, the largest of Natuzzi’s brands, is sold through large U.S. retailers and franchise dealers.

Most Natuzzi Editions furniture sold in the USA is made in Asia. 

 Natuzzi Editions is made in China according to my most recent sources.

Over the past few years, Asian upholstery manufacturing has often shifted from one country to another depending on tariff rates and shipping availability.

Many brands that were once made in Chinese factories are now made in Vietnam and other Asian nations.

Natuzzi sofas highlight the beautiful, plush leather.

The leather is excellent. It should last 20 years and more.

Unfortunately, the rest of the seating construction will fail long before that.

Natuzzi’s frames are constructed with fiberboard, plywood, and softwoods.

They are equivalent in quality to frames used in fabric sofas selling for $599.

Staples do not hold well in fiberboard and softwoods.

The frames are  held together primarily with glue.

Natuzzi’s foundations are made with elasticized webbing.

Webbing can be an excellent foundational support – but not the type of webbing Natuzzi uses and not the way they install it.

Top-quality, high-end modern-style furniture uses webbing that is wide, thick, and does not stretch.

Natuzzi uses lower-quality “stretchable” webbing.

Stretchable webbing is far easier (and faster) to install by low-skilled assembly line workers.

Stretchable webbing can “sag” after a few years of use.

Larger than average individuals or kids who like to jump on the sofa can cause cushions to sag even sooner.

Engineered woods, fiberboard, and softwood, like those used by Natuzzi, do not hold staples well.

Loose staples can pull out over time, causing the webbing to sag.

Sagging webbing results in uncomfortable seat cushions that wear out more quickly.

High-quality non-stretchable webbing, used in better quality seating, is securely fastened to strong solid hardwood frames.

Palliser is a Canadian brand.

But most Palliser Furniture sold in the USA is manufactured in Mexico, not Canada.

Like Natuzzi, Palliser’s modern designs allow efficient low-cost production.

They also use high-quality leather in combination with low-cost frames and foundations.

Both Natuzzi & Palliser make furniture that looks good on the outside and feels good in the showroom when new.

The leather is of excellent quality.

It will far outlast the rest of the sofa.

Everything on the inside, that cannot be seen, is built as cheaply as possible.

The frames are very inexpensive.

Made with cheap engineered wood and softwoods.

Engineered wood does not hold staples well.

As a result, the frames are basically held together with glue.

The frame quality is no better than many brands selling at less than half of Palliser’s prices.

Palliser’s seat cushions are fabricated with 1.8 density foam cores.

This is industry standard foam, found in sofas selling for $599 to $3000+

1.8 density foam seat cushions have an average lifespan of 5 years in stationary sofas.

Cushions have a reduced lifespan in reclining furniture.

The foam may begin losing its resiliency (ability to bounce back) within 1 year.

It is not unusual for 1.8 density foam cushions to wear out in 3 years or fewer in reclining furniture.

Natuzzi & Palliser both have extensive selections of reclining furniture.

Reclining furniture frames are more delicate than stationary (non-reclining) frames.

Reclining furniture is far heavier than stationary and has fewer supports.

When you start with an engineered wood frame and then add the extra weight of reclining mechanisms, you get a frame that is very delicate and easily damaged.

Reclining mechanisms may have lots of fancy bells and whistles that look (and feel) impressive when new.

But if they are attached to poor quality frames, the mechanisms may fail.

They can be expensive to repair or replace. Parts for older mechanisms may not be available.

Natuzzi & Palliser reclining furniture has a shorter lifespan than their stationary seating.

Reclining seat cushions have a shorter lifespan than those on stationary seating

Non-removable seat cushions are expensive to replace when they wear out.

Natuzzi and Palliser non-removable seat cushions may begin losing their resilience (ability to bounce back) and comfort within 3 – 5 years after purchase.

The beautiful, expensive leather that will last 20+ years, is wasted.

Check out the video below showing how a Natuzzi sofa is constructed.

 

Google “Palliser reviews and complaints.” 

Here are a few websites I pulled up.

Better Business Bureau – Complaints

Complaints board

ReviewsTalk

Yelp reviews

Check out these videos of Palliser Furniture made in Mexico:

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Jeff Frank

Jeff Frank

Furniture Consultant

Jeff Frank is a 45 year  furniture industry veteran. He created this blog to provide detailed facts, inside information & advice for furniture shoppers. 

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Sandy Blaser

    Great article…..

    Reply
  2. Lisa

    Thanks for your post. I recently visited a Natuzzi Italia store to view upholstered pieces. The showroom was merchandized well with beautiful looking items. The salesperson asked probing questions and relied on my photos to qualify me. Having worked as a designer for a large furniture manufacturer who prides itself on good construction, I turned a piece over to take a look.
    The salesperson asked me what I was doing. I asked if springs were used in the construction process. She did not answer me. After viewing other Italian online furniture sites,it seems that Italian made carseats use webbed straps also. The Natuzzi upholstered items are made with straps, foam, no springs, no hardwood, etc. Enough said.

    Reply
    • Jeff Frank

      Pirelli webbing is extremely common for both poorly made and well made Italian seating.

      Check out my article Will Pirelli webbing make my sofa sag? to see the difference.

      Webbing is also found on many American made chairs, even when matching sofas may have spring foundations.

      The reason for this is that the surface area for the chair seat may be very small, too small for springs to be installed or function properly.

      Your comment is in response to my Natuzzi review. The review is about the Asian made mass produced Natuzzi Editions seating.

      Natuzzi’s Italia (Italian made) furniture should be much better made, although I have not personally examined a Natuzzi Italia piece.

      15 years ago, upholstered seating could not be considered “high end” unless it was made with solid hardwood frames.
      That is no longer the case.

      Most of the larger “high end” upholstery manufacturers have now converted to plywood frames.
      There is a difference between a “high end” plywood frame and a cheaper one.

      High quality plywood frames are at least 7/8″ thick and have at least 9 plies (layers of wood.)

      Surprisingly, the number of plies is more important than the total thickness of the plywood when determining frame strength.
      A 7/8″ thick plywood with 11 plies is stronger than a 1″ thick plywood with 7 plies.

      Lower cost plywood frames may be only 1/2″ – 3/4″ thick with 5 – 7 plies.

      From a cost standpoint:

      7/8″ thick hardwood plywood sofa frames with 11 plies currently costs about $120 to the manufacturer.

      3/4″ thick hardwood plywood sofa frames with 7 plies currently cost about $75.

      1/2″ softwood plywood sofa frames with 5 plies may cost as little as $35.

      Engineered wood (particle board, chipcore, OSB Oriented Strand Board, etc.) frames cost less (and don’t last as long) as hardwood plywood frames with the same thickness.

      A 5/4″ solid hardwood frame (the old standard for high end seating) currently costs over $300 per sofa frame.
      At the retail level, this can increase the retail price of a finished sofa by approximately $500 compared with a 7/8″ 11 layer hardwood plywood.

      A 7/8″ hardwood plywood with 11 plies should easily hold up for 20+ years in a sofa.
      Chair frames made with the same plywood should hold up even longer.

      The Natuzzi Dolly chair has an unusually large amount of foam, including memory foam.
      Whatever foundation is used, whether it is springs or webbing, will make absolutely no difference to the comfort.

      On the other hand, the Dolly specifications list a maximum weight load of 242 lbs.

      That is not a lot. It indicates to me that the Natuzzi frame may be using lower cost OSB (Oriented Strand Board) rather than 7/8″ hardwood plywood.
      Engineered wood is not as strong as plywood and does not hold staples (or screws) as well.

      If everyone who uses the chair weighs less than 200 lbs. (and does not jump on the chair), there is probably no problem.
      If larger people will be using the chair, there may be frame problems after a few years.

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