How to choose a comfy sofa that’s right for you
Nothing beats sinking into a comfy sofa after a particularly trying day. Your sofa is the place where you spend time as a family, watch your favourite television programme, or curl up with a good book. It’s an essential piece of furniture that has become a very important fixture in our homes.
So, when the time comes to get a new one, it’s vital that you make the right decision and buy one that is comfortable and will remain so for years to come. Shopping for a sofa is a major investment, so if you happen to rush it and get it wrong, you face living with a suite that just doesn’t feel right. In the UK, we spend around 17 years of our lives sitting on our sofas (Daily Mail), so it’s important to look beyond aesthetics and judge your investment on how comfy and supportive it is too.
With this in mind, we’ve put this guide together that will look at the features that make a sofa comfortable, and what you need to look for if you want to find the best one for you.
What makes a comfy sofa?
A comfy sofa is the sum of its parts, and if the materials or craftsmanship in one area are found lacking, it can affect the whole experience of sitting on the sofa. Let’s take a look at some of the essential areas you need to look out for when shopping for a suite you can snuggle up on.
Sofas all start with a frame, which is the skeleton that holds the rest of the furniture together. Not only does a quality frame keep things where they should be, but it provides key support for your body when you’re sitting, ensuring that there are no aches or pains.
Without a quality foundation, your sofa can lose its shape. A fault, such as a break in the frame or a loose joint, can turn a once-comfortable sofa into one that you can’t spend more than a few minutes upon without feeling like you need to get up again.
What to look for in a comfy frame
The right choice of material and building technique can define the quality of a sofa frame. Look out for sofas that use metal or wood composites instead of genuine hardwood, which is a lot stronger and tougher. In addition, these cheaper models will usually use metal staples in their joints, common in mass-produced furniture. This method simply can’t provide the same level of durability as those that have been hand-joined by a skilled furniture craftsperson.
At Timeless Chesterfields, we use premium beech hardwood and properly dowelled and glued joints to ensure that our frames will keep their shape for a lifetime. Our sofas undergo a strict quality control procedure, so you can always be sure they will provide the support you need.
While the frame provides the structure of a sofa, the cushioning gives it its shape and volume. The cushions are the part that you will have most contact with when you sit down, so it’s incredibly important to choose the right type of filling to ensure optimal comfort. The best type of cushioning is soft but also offers a degree of resistance to help support your body.
Early sofas had to make do with cushion fillings like horsehair and grass, which offered little to no resilience. However, the invention of various foams in the 20th century revolutionised the sofa business, allowing pieces to be made that could be sat upon for hours without any discomfort whatsoever. Foam is now the most widely used cushioning in the industry, though there are some popular alternatives, such as feather and polyester fibres, which some people prefer the feel of.
What to look for in comfy cushioning
Though foam has changed the sofa industry for the better, it’s important to know that not all foams are made equal. During manufacturing, the substance is created by mixing an assortment of chemicals that cure and then rise into a large block shape, like an oversized sponge cake.
The stiffness or softness of the materials used, and the amount of air bubbles formed during the curing process, determine the feel and the density of the foam. The more material and less air there is, the greater its density. Generally speaking, the higher the density, the more expensive and better quality the foam.
By opting for a sofa with higher-density foam, you are likely to get more comfort and support, thanks to its solid build. In addition, the resistance of the filling will last much longer than lower-density foam, ensuring your cushions don’t begin to sag after a few years of use.
Here at Timeless Chesterfields, we use high-quality reflex foam in our sofas to make sure that they are as comfortable as they can be. We also use very high-density foam in key areas, such as neck and armrests, to provide extra support as you relax on the chair. The extra resilience of this foam also makes sure that these zones, which see the most use, will not become worn out and uncomfortable. Finally, we fix each section to the frame by hand to ensure that it won’t come loose and move out of position.
When it comes to choosing a comfy sofa, the suspension plays a pivotal role. It’s located within the inner part of the seating area, and uses springs or webbing to provide a comfortable amount of support and resistance when you sit down. In conjunction with your cushion filling, it’s responsible for giving your sofa its overall seating feel and a nice balance.
Before cushion foams were invented, there was nothing to provide a soft yet resilient feel in furniture. Craftspeople achieved some resistance using coiled metal springs, which would be paired with a soft, feather filled seat cushion. However, feathers do not spring back into shape when not in use without plumping, and would often lose what little support they offered over time.
With the creation of latex and polyurethane foams, extra resistance from the cushion was now possible. Thanks to this development, more options have opened up and it’s now possible to include a number of different suspension systems in a sofa. Each one has their own qualities that make them more suitable for a variety of sofa types. The most widely used include:
- Coiled spring unit: This is where conical metal springs are attached to metal laths and then combined as a single unit to suit the individual seating space. This creates a softer seat feel and is mostly used with the less resilient feather or fibre-filled seat cushions. It’s also used on better quality, fully buttoned seats that don’t have additional seat cushions.
- Serpentine or no-sag springs: These are individual metal wires formed in a zigzag shape to create a spring. These individual springs are attached from front to back within the seating space of a frame and then linked together. This is probably the most widespread suspension method used today, and is suitable for combining with a wide range of seat cushion fillings.
- Elastabelt webbing: Polyester fibres are combined with elasticised threads to produce a durable and extendable suspension belt. This is woven from side to side and front to back within the seating area of a frame to provide an even suspension unit. This method is widely used in combination with resilient foam seat cushion fillers.
What to look for in a comfy suspension system
The suspension of a sofa should be something that you pay a lot of attention to. It should provide you with the right amount of resistance, striking a balance that makes the sofa comfortable. Cheaper sofas are likely to have inadequate suspension or none at all, leaving you with a sofa that will begin to sag within a year or two. Quality furniture will have a durable system that can withstand daily use for years.
Look for a suspension system that complements the cushioning: a resilient filler, like foam, needs less suspension beneath it, while a softer cushion, like polyester fibre or feather, requires more movement to make up for the lack of resistance in the filling. A mismatch between the two can result in a sofa that is too bouncy to be comfortable or not springy enough, leaving the sofa with an undesirable hollow feel.
At Timeless Chesterfields, we use our many years of experience in the industry to create suspension systems that perfectly suit our sofas. Our craftspeople are able to expertly judge which type should be used with your sofa, before installing it with care. We use only high-grade springs and webbing in each piece, while our detailed quality checks ensure that all our suspension systems will last for many years.
What is a comfortable sofa depth?
There isn’t a precise sofa depth to choose for maximum comfort. However, choosing the right depth of seat can have an effect on the comfort of your sofa. Depending on your height and how you like to sit on your furniture, you might want to consider different sizes. For example, if you aren’t a tall person, a shallower seat can make sure that your feet touch the floor, while a deeper seat may leave them hanging over the edge. Likewise, if you like putting your feet up or lying back on your sofa, you might want a bit more depth to get extra comfortable.
Here at Timeless Chesterfields, we include the exact dimensions of our designs on each product page to help you make an informed decision when sofa shopping. On a clearly marked diagram, you will find our seat size, including the depth, as well as general measurements of the sofa. Additionally, as all of our sofas are made to order, if you need specific dimensions, we can accommodate them. You can find out more about our bespoke services here, or get in touch to discuss your options.
Another important aspect of any sofa to consider when it comes to comfort is the material cover. When you sit back and relax on your new furniture, the feel of the upholstery will play a big part in determining how comfy it is. There are a variety of options in this area, each with their own unique properties and individual quality, so taking the time to choose one that you like the feel of is key.
Are leather sofas comfortable?
Yes, chesterfield sofas can be a very comfy option for your home. Though they are often thought to be less comfortable than fabric suites, this is not the case at all. If you choose a good quality leather that isn’t tough or scratchy, you can create a piece of furniture that you won’t mind cosying up on for hours. It’s also a material that gets worn in with use, so the longer you enjoy your sofa the comfier it will become. What’s more, there are a variety of different finishes available for leather, so you can choose one where you really like the feel and texture.
Many people also believe that leather furniture tends to become too cold in winter and too hot in the summer. However, leather actually warms to your skin’s touch when the room temperature is lower, and its natural breathability ensures that it stays nice and cool on hotter days. With this in mind, it’s safe to say that leather is a comfortable upholstery for all seasons.
At Timeless Chesterfields, we use high-quality leathers in the upholstery of our sofas, which are handpicked from the very best tanneries around the world by our expert team. Each of the materials in our leather collection offers a different feel, but you won’t find that comfort is an issue with any of them.
If you would like more guidance about shopping for a leather sofa, take a look at our buying guide, which contains everything that you need to know.
Are fabric sofas comfortable?
Fabric sofas are very comfortable, and there are a whole range of upholstery options to choose from when picking yours. These types of material offer a softer alternative to leather, available in a variety of textures. Wool is a popular choice, particularly herringbone, tweed, and plaid, thanks to its gentle feel and soft weave, while the welcoming plushness of velvet is another favourite. Linen is also a fine fabric choice for comfort, with a light texture that is cool to the touch.
Here at Timeless Chesterfields, our fabric collection is sourced from mills that produce their materials to the highest standard. The wools, velvet, and linen we use on our sofas are woven from natural fibres, which ensures that they retain all of the inherent qualities that make them a very comfortable choice for your sofa. Their natural weave also means they are completely hypoallergenic.
Should you need further advice about your purchase, we have a fabric sofa buying guide that will help you choose the right piece.
If you would like to get a feel for your sofa’s leather or fabric upholstery before you go ahead and place your order, our free sample service can provide you with swatches through the post. You can then use these to decide whether the finish and texture is right for your sofa.
Considerations to make for different sofa types
As well as the aspects that make up a sofa that we’ve discussed above, you may also want to think about the type of sofa that you’re buying if comfort is a priority. Below we’ve included a few questions or considerations you may want to take on board when you are sofa shopping.
Are Chesterfield sofas comfortable?
Yes, Chesterfield sofas are incredibly comfy. However, it’s worth investing in one with real quality if you want to experience a high level of comfort that will last.
Chesterfields are one of the most iconic sofa styles that you can add to your home. Thanks to their classic status, they’ve never gone out of fashion but, in recent years, they have reached an even greater level of popularity. With such market demand, there has been a surge in cheaper, mass-produced models that don’t hold up to the standards set by traditional, handmade pieces. These sofas are not made with the premium materials or professional craftsmanship that goes into a true Chesterfield, so many people find themselves disappointed when they soon lose their shape after only light use.
If you want to add a real Chesterfield that has a lasting build quality, it’s worth the extra effort to secure one made by a reputable company. Here at Timeless Chesterfields, comfort is one of our main focuses, and we build sofas in a variety of shapes and sizes that will still feel great to sit on many years down the line. Our Chesterfield sofas are handcrafted by our team of furniture experts, who have over 35 years of experience in the trade, so you can rely on them to create a piece you will love having in your home.
Take a look at our anatomy of a Chesterfield sofa to discover exactly what makes a quality piece.
How comfy are sofa beds?
Sofa beds can be very comfy, provided you invest in one with the right attributes. Much like any sofa, the level of comfort is determined by the quality of the materials used and the craftsmanship behind its build. There are many cheaper, mass-produced fold-out sofa beds that don’t deliver as either a sofa or a bed, so you won’t be able to relax properly when sitting or enjoy a good night’s sleep when the time comes to settle down for the night.
A good sofa bed has to have all the assets of a comfortable sofa, as well as being able to deliver a great experience when switched to a bed. You need to look for a model that has all of the things that we’ve discussed in this guide, in addition to a strong and reliable folding mechanism, a nicely sprung bed, and a quality mattress. It’s a difficult combination to get right, which sets any sofa bed that delivers on all fronts apart from the rest.
At Timeless Chesterfields, we use our expertise in the art of sofa crafting to do exactly that. Not only do all of our sofa beds enjoy the elegant looks and premium feel of our signature Chesterfield sofas, but they also unfold to provide a 4-inch interior-sprung mattress that you’ll be able to sleep soundly upon. The mechanism we use in our beds is solid and reliable, and you can count on it to give you years of use.
Should I choose a high-back or low-back sofa for comfort?
If you’re focusing on comfort, choosing between a high-back or a low-back sofa will come down to personal taste. They both have their own advantages and it will depend on what you want from your sofa that will influence your decision.
Low-back sofas have a relaxed style that are great for slouching or lying back on. With most of these suites, you can place a couple of cushions on one low arm then kick back and relax, perfect for reading or watching some lazy TV. High-back sofas, on the other hand, are very good if you want to add some extra support for your upper body. If you are very tall or suffer from neck or shoulder troubles, the raised back can offer you more comfort for longer periods of sitting.
For a sofa that suits you, it’s best to weigh up the benefits of each and choose the style that matches your needs. We have both low-back and high-back sofas available as part of our collection, all of which can be complete made to order, allowing you to create a sofa that precisely suits your comfort and support needs.
How to enhance comfort on your sofa
Once you’ve decided on a sofa that suits you, it’s handy to be aware of the ways you can further enhance its comfort levels:
- Scatter cushions: An easy way of adding some extra padding to your sofa is by investing in some scatter cushions. With just a few, you will have a set of comfort aids that you can adjust to your own liking — they’re also a nice way of adding some contrast or decoration to your new sofa.
- A throw: Another convenient way of building a little more comfort on your new suite is with a nice throw, which you can drape over the back of the seats. Throws are handy in the winter months, where they can be used to add an extra layer of warmth as a blanket for snuggling up.
- A footstool: An essential addition to any living room, a footstool is the perfect accessory for putting your feet up and relaxing. A footstool can turn a very comfy sofa into something heavenly, especially when they are paired with a good film or book after a long day.
At Timeless Chesterfields, along with our incredibly comfy sofas, we also stock everything you need to add extra comfort to your living room. Our bespoke scatter cushions can be upholstered in the same or a contrasting material or colour to your sofa, while our genuine wool throws are available in a selection of plaid and herringbone patterns. We also offer handmade footstools, which can be chosen to match the style of your sofa to create a unified look across your décor.
So, there you have it, our complete guide to choosing a comfy sofa for your home. If you have any questions or would like more information on how we can create an ultra-comfortable sofa for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us.