Know How: A Sofa Comfort Guide

When it comes to comfort, it’s a purely subjective scale. While we’re here to offer advice, we can’t tell you which style of sofa you’ll find the most comfortable from our range, that’s why we highly recommend you come into our showrooms to test them, just like you would when purchasing a new mattress. Some people prefer that sink-all-the-way-in feeling, while others require a little more back support and a firmer seat cushion. What’s more, you must remember that when you try a particular cushion fill in our showrooms, the fabric you end-up choosing to upholster your sofa in will also affect the sit and feel of the seat cushions. Leather and less malleable fabrics will always feel firmer in comparison to fabrics prone to stretching and slackening, such as the natural fibre fabrics, including linen and cotton. Here’s our sofa comfort guide, designed to help you understand the types of fill in our seat cushions and which one takes your fancy. So, consider yourself Goldilocks and plop yourself down on as many sofas as you like, until you find the one that’s ‘just right’.

It’s worth bearing in mind that our Product Development team have spent a long time working out the best fill for each particular style of sofa. While we do offer custom cushion fills, for instance, for people allergic to feathers or for those who have an ethical preference, we highly recommend sticking to the chosen fill so as not to disrupt the overall look and longevity of the sofa.

1. Extra Soft

Feather-wrapped Fibre

The softest, slouchiest sofas with the most give have Feather-wrapped fibre cushions. These are the sofas that have that cloud-like, enveloping feeling – ideal for a relaxed look and a super cosy interior.

Example sofas: Harriet, Jackson, Henry

Harriet loose cover sofa

2. Soft


Slightly firmer but still classed in the soft category are our Full-feather cushions. Still super flexible and forgiving, they have a touch more support but still squish down perfectly.

Example sofas: Poirot, Holmes, Matilda

Both feather-wrapped fibre and full-feather sofas require regular plumping to maintain their shape and airy, cushiony feel.

Holmes sofa is perfect for styling vintage finds

3. Medium

Feather-wrapped foam

Since most of us fall somewhere in the middle of the comfort scale, many of our sofas have Feather-wrapped foam cushions; what we would call a medium level of comfort. With plenty of structure provided by the foam, and more retention than fibre, the sprinkling of feathers over the top provides that soft, marshmallow feeling to a more structured seat cushion. These sofa cushions retain more of their shape when sat on, and require less plumping.

Example sofas: Philo, Hartfield

Philo large pink chaise is perefect for staycation style

4. Firm

Fibre flex

Looking for a more supportive, firmer sofa with a sleek shape and design? A sleek, sophisticated sofa has clean lines and an elegant shape. Our Fibre-flex cushions are the firmest of our cushion fills while still providing an unparalleled level of comfort. They offer more resistance in comparison to all feather-fill options and will retain their shape no matter how long you lounge on them.

Example sofas: Morse, Aragon

Morse sofas

An extended sofa comfort guide

Other things to consider:

1. Seat depth

Your height can affect how comfortable you find a particular sofa style. If you’re tall, you may require a deeper seat where your feet can touch the ground, whereas if you are shorter, a compact sofa with a shallower seat cushion may be preferable.

2. Scatter back or fixed back options

Again, this comes down to personal preference: some people enjoy a firm un-cluttered back support, while others like to prop themselves up with plenty of scatter cushions. Remember a scatter-back sofa will likely be softer and a fixed-back sofa will be firmer. A traditional sofa usually has either a single or pair of back cushions.

3. Sofa arm style

While not imperative to the comfort level of a sofa, it’s worth considering the arm style as this could affect how you use the sofa. If you’re someone who likes to rest their head on the arms of a sofa, you will want to consider styles with soft, rounded, padded arms. If this isn’t a necessity, you may want to think about slim, fixed-arm sofas that will potentially take up a little less space.

4. Types of sofa springs

The type of springs used in the construction of your sofa will impact how it feels to sit on; again, the level of suspension you require will be a personal preference. A coil sprung sofa has a very different type of suspension compared to a zig-zag spring unit or a fish-mouth spring base. It’s worth coming into the showrooms to try out the feel of each type of spring unit to find out which one best suits your comfort level. We use coil springs in our Darcy, Knightly and Cartwright sofas: coil springs mean the whole seat unit is able to move up and down, free from the frame. We use zig-zag springs on many of our sofas, including Philo, Matilda, Jackson and Henry; the zig-zag covered frame will have a firm front plinth on the sofa design. Finally, the fish-mouth springs hook over the front of the base unit, which means the front plinth has some give; Harriet is the perfect example of a fish-mouth sprung frame.

5. Sofa beds

If you opt for a sofa bed, it’s important to remember that the sit will feel very different to the sofa without the bed, as the seat cushions are on top of the bed frame rather than a traditional spring base found in all normal sofas. That’s not to say a sofa bed is uncomfortable to sit on, ours are particularly comfy (but it is worth remembering) when you do your comparisons.

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