You want your sofa to be super comfortable, right? That’s why you need to pay special attention to the seat cushions. Factors like seat depth and cushion fill work together to create different amounts of support and softness. Not everyone will like the same kind of cushions, so here’s how to choose the best combination for your personal tastes.
The importance of seat depth. When shopping for a comfortable sofa, one of the most important things to pay attention to is the inside seat depth. This is different from the overall depth, which is the distance from the back of the sofa to the front.
The inside seat depth is measured from the front of the seat to the back cushion. An average sofa’s seat depth ranges from 21 to 24 inches, but you can find many options outside of that range.
If you like to sit upright in your sofa, choose a shorter seat depth. The exact number will vary depending on your height, but 20 to 22 inches tends to be a good range for most people to sit up comfortably. To figure out the seat depth you prefer, sit in a few different sofas and measure the one that works best for you.
If you like to lounge back or sit with your feet tucked up on the sofa, a deeper seat depth is probably good for you. Go for a depth that’s at least 23 inches, and feel free to go even deeper.
Seat depth and design. Don’t forget to consider the size of your room when choosing seat depth. A super deep sofa doesn’t work well in a small space — it just looks out of place. If a deep seat is important to you but you have a small space, go for an inside depth of 23 inches. And to avoid having a comically large-looking sofa, balance a deeper seat with either low arms or visible legs. This keeps your space looking open instead of overwhelmed by the sofa.
The inner life of seat cushions. There are a few different ways to construct a seat cushion, and the inside design determines a seat’s level of support and comfort. Most cushions are constructed with a supportive core surrounded by a soft layer. It’s the materials in those parts that determine the firmness of the cushion. While each manufacturer has its own seat cushion options, most are a variation of the following four types.
1. 100 percent down. Cushions that are 100 percent down do not have a middle core — they’re basically huge bed pillows. They’re incredibly soft, but it comes at a cost. All-down cushions flatten out quickly because there’s no core to help them hold their shape. As a result, they require a lot of flipping and fluffing. And since they lack a core, over time you may be able to feel the sofa suspension beneath them.
2. Down-wrapped. If you like to sink down into your sofa, go with a down-wrapped cushion. This type of cushion consists of a foam core wrapped in down. You’ll still get a nice, soft seat but the cushions won’t flatten out as quickly as 100 percent down. That said, they still may require frequent flipping and rotating to keep their shape.
3. Fiber-wrapped. Fiber-wrapped cushions have a foam core wrapped in polyester fiber. These still provide a soft seat, but they’re a little more supportive than the down-filled options. They’re also better at holding their shape, so they aren’t as high-maintenance.
4. Inner-spring. The most supportive seat cushions will have an inner-spring core (imagine the inside of a mattress) instead of a foam core. The spring core is often wrapped in down, but you can also find it with a fiber wrapping. This option is great if you want a supportive seat and don’t want to worry about a cushion holding its shape.
Final consideration: How many cushions? A single seat cushion is called a bench seat. You’ll see it on many modern styles, but bench seats are also a great way to update a more traditional frame. This style has several benefits: You can squeeze a bunch of people on your sofa without someone having to sit on a crack, you won’t lose change or toys between the cushions. It also transforms into a great makeshift bed for overnight guests. The negative: These cushions are a little more difficult to flip or rotate.
Sofas with two seat cushions are a roomy spot for two people to relax. They can be found on both traditional and more modern styles. The downside to this configuration is that if you wanted a third person to sit down, they would have to sit in the crack between the cushions.
Three seat cushions provide an individual spot for three people to sit. While many traditional styles have three seat cushions, this look is also found on more modern styles. Three cushions may not look as clean-lined as a bench seat or two cushions, but this is a great choice if you want to maximize seating space.
Customize for the perfect piece.
Having difficulty finding the perfect seat combination? Look into ordering a custom sofa. Many manufacturers can change sofa dimensions and cushion configurations to suit your needs. For example, the sofa in this picture typically comes with two seat cushions, but it was customized to have a bench seat instead