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Upholstered Furniture – Seating Tips For Selecting a Sofa or Chair


There is a ton of information on the chic or cute but hardly anything on important things like comfort.   Uh, I don’t think I’m alone on requiring seating to be comfortable.  Here is a bit more from my conversation with Fred the Master Upholsterer.  Optional subtitles might be “How To Buy a Sofa” or “How To Buy a Chair.” We talked about some basic but easily forgotten items when it comes to selecting seating for the home interior.

Down back pillows make this a sofa to lie or lounge in to watch TV.

1.  Do I sit on it or in it?  Not as dumb of question as it might sound.  A living room chair/sofa you sit on is for conversation or entertaining.  It is easy to get in and out of, often with a firm seat and back.  Women don’t have to worry about flashing someone with a short skirt because the seating isn’t so low and the cushions aren’t so gushy one could sink back with their legs in the air.  Sounds strange, but try sitting in a soft gushy low chair with heels and a short skirt and you’ll understand.  A chair you sit on is sturdy and allows you to perch (stylishly of course) on the seat.  One sits on a dining chair, hall bench, armless chair or waiting room furniture.

Dakota Jackson dining chair, super comfortable for dining or conversation.

For reading, lounging or watching TV one would sit in the chair or sofa.  The cushions are soft, super comfy and allow you to sink nicely down into them.  One might lie down or put their feet up.  These pieces are much more casual and relaxed.  They often have a comfortable arm to cradle your body or one which is soft and low enough to hold your head as a pillow.

2.  Form vs. Function.  What is a particular piece for?  Is it going to be used daily?  Sporadically?  Never?

Daily use requires durability in fabric choice and quality of piece.  Comfort is a vital consideration if you are going to sit in it day after day.  Because of size characteristics a husband and wife often can’t share a sofa for long episodes of TV viewing.  Comfort is not male or female, just different for both and equally important.

The side chair used on occasion or as filler can be of a more delicate fabric than one for everyday service.  It can be a less expensive chair or a pricey antique because of the limited use.3.   Lifestyle. How to you like to live in your home?

  • Does it matter if the fabric lies perfectly tailored across a seat with no dimples or waves?
  • Or do you like squishy, gushy, soft rumples of fabric inviting you to hang out for a while?  While incredibly comfortable this choice may require a bit of attention to look neat.
  • Are you formal or relaxed regarding your furniture use?

If you prefer to sit upright, your seating will be more tailored with perhaps firmer cushioning.  Picture a dining chair with a tight back and seat, not a chair you slump down into.  Someone with a bad back might prefer seating with a tight back (foam with no visible detachable back cushion) shorter seat depth but with a moderately gushy seat cushion (coil spring cushion with a down and feather wrap) because this offers support and comfort.  All down and feather cushions get flat for seating but can be nice for back cushions but require plumping.

By thinking through these three items to consider before you plunk down the cash on a sofa or chair,  you can feel confident making seating purchases.  There is more than looks to consider when it comes to buying a sofa or chair.  Happy sitting!  Next time we’ll get into the nitty-gritty on fabric selections.

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