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A Complete Guide to Sofa Parts

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Samuel Hurley
A Complete Guide to Sofa Parts

You might not think you need to know about the anatomy of a sofa but, let us tell you, it’s an incredibly useful tool in helping you know exactly what you want from your most important piece of furniture. Not only will it help you be a far better judge of the quality of a sofa, but it also helps when describing what you want once you make the decision to buy. Let us help you through with our comprehensive guide to sofa parts.

Types of sofa seats

Teal sofa with track arms on wooden floor

For the best seat in the house.

Cushioned seat

The most common sofa seat style is that made up of multiple cushions, generally two or three of the same size, in either square or rectangular proportions. The Swyft Model 01 sofa has a 2-seater with two rectangular cushions in line with the sofa back, while the 3-seater is the same style with three cushions.

Apart from the comfort factor, another perk of a cushioned seat is the practical factor, as they are usually removable for cleaning.

Bench seat

One single cushion with no divisions, offering a neat minimal look to your sofa. The Swyft Model 04 sofa is the perfect example of this contemporary style.

Tight seat

A tight seat sofa doesn’t have separate cushions. It tends to have a firmer feel, and a more formal look. Think office sofa, or the sort you’d find in a reception or waiting room. Though they can also be modern, on-trend and work beautifully in your living space, especially if you love a clean lined look, and they can be incredibly comfortable – just look at the Swyft Model 03 sofa.

Type of sofa Backs

Green sofa with loose cushion back with picture on the wall

These different types have all got your back.

Attached back

The cushions are sewn or fastened to the back of the sofa, so they stay nicely in place and you don’t have to keep moving them or plumping them up on a regular basis.  

Loose cushion back

Cushions you can move, much like the cushion seats.  

Pillow back

This style has more cushions than on the seating area, for more back support and maximum comfort. 

Tight back

An upholstered back that doesn’t have separate cushions, often accompanied by a tight seat.

Channel back

The same as a tight back but stitched with vertical grooves as a design feature.

Camel back

Named as such because it’s shaped like a camel’s hump. Think of the sort of sofa the royal family might sit formally on for an official portrait. Very regal, ma’am.

Waterfall back

Horizontal layers of cushions, usually on a single chair, that provide back support.

Types of sofa arms

Closeup showing inner corner of a green sofa’s arm and back

Who knew there were quite so many different names for the arms of your sofa?

English roll arm

A low, rounded arm, often seen on classic country style sofas, the type you might find in a cosy inn next to a roaring fire.

Rolled arm

One of the most common types is this sofa arm that, well, rolls outward. A spin-off of this is the Lawson arm, a rolled arm with front pleating and front and back panels. Super comfy for when you’re lounging around with a good book or a box-set.

Tuxedo arm

Grey sofa with tuxedo arms and glass table

This is an arm that goes up to the same height as the sofa back, for an on-trend contemporary look.

Square arm

A modern look, often called a box arm, which gives the sofa clean lines if you hanker after a minimalist look.

Pleated arm

An arm covered in pleated fabric on the ends, in a similar style to a Lawson arm but without the fixed front panel.

Track arm

A style with flat parallel sides and a flat top.

Everything else you need to know about sofa parts

Grey sofa with tight back in front of window

Here are the questions you need answers to on the upholstery of sofas.

What is the filling of a sofa cushion made from?

They tend to be filled with foam, feathers or a mix of the two. Feathers are plush, luxurious and insulating. Foam is low-maintenance, keeps shape and provides good support. The cushions have an inner lining called ticking, which is tightly woven fabric to stop small feathers from poking through the cushions. For the benefits of both foam and feathers combined, why not take a look at the Swyft Model 02 range of sofas?

How do you stop a sofa from sagging?

Thanks to the webbing. This involves strips of synthetic material that are woven and attached to the frame of the sofa. Our Model 03 range has a foam filling on a webbing base, so it will always spring right back into shape.

How important is the sofa frame?

Very, very important. It determines the shape and the quality of the sofa. All Swyft sofas are built with hardwood frames and guaranteed to last for at least 15 years.

What kind of legs should I choose for my sofa?

Check out our comprehensive guide to the styles, shapes and best materials for sofa legs. You might want to opt for traditional wooden sofa legs, like our Model 02, or prefer a design where your sofa is flat to the floor like our Model 03 (there are still small feet underneath this model to protect the sofa). Many designs come with protective rubber ends to stop the sofa from moving around.

Swyft has a wide range of stylish, contemporary linen and velvet sofas. With our range of corner sofas and chaise sofas, there’s a design to suit your interior design pallet – and it can be with you, flat-packed in just 24 hours.

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