Know How: Your complete guide to sofa details

When it comes to sofas, we cover all tastes, styles, and designs for all personalities. Each sofa will have certain features or details that make it slightly unique and different from the other styles on offer. This can be stitch detailing, cushion fill, decorative elements like buttoning or studding and solid elements like the leg shape. Here’s a complete guide to sofa details to help you decide which style is right for you.

Button backed

A traditional buttoned-backed sofa is called a Chesterfield. They are traditional styles that never date or go out of fashion. A Chesterfield, like our Darcy, is one of those classic pieces that can be upholstered in any fabric or colour and work in every home. Leather is timeless, while velvet and linen are much more contemporary. We also feature button backs on some of our stunning armchairs, like our Grantley or Berkeley.

Castor legs

Castor leg furniture is a traditional style. The legs are raised on small castor wheels, which rotate and spin for manoeuvrability. The metal castors are often made from brass and attached to a traditional turned wooden leg. Castor legs contribute towards an elegant, smart look, which is often seen on more traditional shaped sofas such as our Helena, or Hartfield.

Hartfield castor leg

Scroll arms

Scroll arm sofas resemble an old-fashioned parchment scroll. They curve outwards from the base and circle round before being finished with stitch detailing. Some scroll arms are pleated, and others are plain. Scroll arms give off a grand feel and encourage an upright sit, with your arms resting on the padded armrests.

Helena scroll arm sofa

Turned wooden legs

Turned wooden legs are a sign of an excellent quality sofa. At Arlo & Jacob, all our legs are crafted from solid Beech hardwood at our factory in Long Eaton. Each one is inspected and polished before being stained to your desired colour. Depending on the style of sofa you choose, the wooden legs may be turned in a traditional, classic style, or perhaps in more of a contemporary style for modern pieces. Some furniture has a specific style of leg, such as our new Isabella armchair (coming soon), which has Queen Anne turned front legs.


The seams and stitching of your sofa all contribute towards the finished looks and design. A piped seam often runs around the edges of cushions and along upholstered furniture. This cord style adds a traditional, elegant detail to edges. A flange seam is an exaggerated seam with excess fabric detail. An example of a flange seam can be seen on our Crawford modular sofa. Although not technically a seam, studding details are another way of finishing off the edges of upholstered furniture. The studs are hammered by hand along the seam, for a traditional decorative touch.

Crawford modular sofa seam

Scatter-back v Fixed-back

A scatter-back sofa is made up of similarly sized cushions lined up along the back of the seat cushions to form a cushioned backed sofa. They are ideal for people who require a soft, sink-all-the-way-in back. Fixed-back sofas have no scatter cushions and offer a clean line to the back. They are firmer and more formal looking than scatter-back sofas but do offer more flexibility if you want to add your own cushions for decoration.

Bardolph navy velvet sofa
Bardolph navy velvet scatter back sofa


The fill of the cushion is another important sofa detail that contributes not only to the feel of the sofa but also the overall look. A full-feather cushion works best on slouchy, loose cover styles, or anything with a soft back. Feather-wrapped foam cushions are ideal for sleek, fixed-back designs and for anything that has a more defined silhouette and needs to retain its shape.

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