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How to choose a comfy sofa for your home

When you've had a long day, there's little else more satisfying than unwinding on your favourite comfy sofa. Our sofas have become an important fixture in our homes. They're the place where we go to read a good book, watch some television, or spend quality time with our families. So, when the time comes to upgrade or replace them, it's important that we make the right buying decision.

As well as opting for something that is stylish and easy on the eye, it's vital that we take comfort into account as well. We Brits spend about 17 years of our lives on average on our sofas, according to the Daily Mail, so looking beyond aesthetics and choosing something that provides the right level of support should be a priority too. Additionally, as a new sofa can be a significant investment, you should look for one that is robust enough for daily use and won't lose its shape after just a few months.

Taking this into account, we have written this guide to help you settle on a sofa that will deliver a fantastic level of comfort. We'll take a closer look at the features responsible for comfort and support, as well as what you need to watch out for when you're shopping around.

What defines a comfy sofa?

A sofa depends on a few key features that define how comfortable and supportive it can be. Should any of these not be up to scratch, it can affect the overall quality of the piece. Issues can range from the level of craftsmanship that goes into the production process to the quality of the build materials. Below, we will discuss exactly what aspects are important, and what you should expect.

The frame

A sofa's frame is important because it gives it overall shape and keeps everything where it should be during day-to-day use. It also plays a big role in providing the correct level of support when you sit down, making sure all the right parts are in place to cushion you.

With a good quality frame, your sofa should retain its original shape for many years. A lesser frame will be more at risk of becoming misshapen through a break or a loose joint, resulting in a piece of furniture that suddenly becomes uncomfortable to sit upon.

What makes a comfortable frame

A quality, comfortable frame will be made with the right materials and will carry the hallmarks of an expert craftsperson. Look for sofas with genuine hardwood frames over metal and wood composites, as they will provide an extra level of strength and toughness. Cheap, mass-produced furniture will also use metal staples to join their frame together, which cannot really compare to the screw-fixed strengthening corner blocks and dowelled joints of a handmade sofa.

At Sofas by Saxon, our sofas' frames are constructed with premium beech hardwood and also make use of properly dowelled and glued joints. This creates a robust skeleton for our pieces, one that will last for many years, even with regular daily use. In addition, our sofas are subjected to stringent quality control checks that test the frames fully before they are delivered to our customers. This means that you can always be sure your sofa will provide you with the support you need.

The cushion filling

Once you have a sturdy frame to provide a foundation for your sofa, it's the cushioning that sits upon it and creates the shape and volume. The cushions are the part of the sofa that will support you when you are relaxing, so selecting a suitable filling can go a long way towards making sure you have the most comfortable experience possible. Look for cushioning that is soft but also offers some resistance when you apply your body weight.

In early sofas, cushion fillings like grass and horse hair were used that weren't very comfortable. By the mid-20th century, foams had been developed that offered more resilience for a much comfier sofa. Foam is now the most used material for cushion inners, though many pieces make use of feathers and polyester fibres as an alternative.

What makes comfy cushioning

While foams are widely used in a lot of sofas now, it's worth knowing that they can vastly differ in quality. Foam is manufactured using an assortment of chemicals that are cured to rise into large blocks. However, using cheaper substances can result in more air bubbles forming during this process, which can lower the density of the end product. On the whole, foams that have more material and less air pockets are considered high-density and of a greater quality than others.

Sofas that make use of this high-density foam are usually much comfier than those that are produced with low-density as they provide much firmer support. Also, high-density foam offers much more resistance to ensure that cushions don't begin to sag after a long period of use, which can be the downfall of inferior sofas.

Here at Sofas by Saxon, the cushions in the majority of our sofas are made with quality reflex foam to ensure maximum comfort. In areas where more pressure is applied when sitting down, such as the neck and armrests, we attach ultra-high-density foam to provide enhanced support for your body. This means that these zones do not become worn or cause any discomfort over the lifespan of your sofa. All our foam cushioning is affixed to the frame by hand, ensuring it stays put and does not alter the shape.

The suspension

The suspension system in a sofa plays an important role in determining how comfortable it can be. You can find the suspension within the inner section of the seating, where spring or webbing deliver crucial support and resistance when sat upon. It works in partnership with the cushioning to deliver a pleasant overall feel and balance to your sofa.

Even though we are used to a soft yet resilient feel in today's furniture, sofas of the past were made without our modern foams or suspension. A degree of comfort could be achieved by combining coiled metal springs with soft, feather seats, but this type of system would often lose its resistance after a period of prolonged use.

Along with the development of foams, our sofa suspension has also come on leaps and bounds since those early years. Now, it's possible to incorporate a wide variety of systems in a sofa. Each combination has its own characteristics that make it suitable for a certain type of sofa or a particular request from the customer. Let's take a look at some of the most common types:

Coiled spring unit: This system uses conical-shaped springs that are fixed to metal frames to create individual units made up of multiple springs. These units can be customised to fit the seating area of a sofa. Due to their softer feel, they tend to be used with less resilient feather or fibre cushioning, or on fully buttoned seats that don't have extra cushions.
Serpentine or no-sag springs: This type of spring is made up of metal wires that are fashioned into zig-zag shapes that are joined together and stretched from the front of the seat to the rear. Serpentine springs are one of the most widely used today as they are able to work successfully with a variety of different cushion fillings.
Elastabelt webbing: To create this type of suspension, polyester fibres are paired with elastic threads to create webbing that is very durable and extendable. Each strand is woven from front to back and from side to side across the top of the seating area, resulting in a level surface for the cushion to sit upon. Elastabelt webbing is often used with foam cushion filler.

What makes a comfy suspension system

When you are shopping for a sofa, you should look for a piece that has the right balance between softness and resilience. The seat should not be too bouncy, and it shouldn't feel hollow either. Mass-produced sofas are more likely to have an unbalanced feel or no suspension at all, leaving you with a piece of furniture that can soon begin to sag. The best sofas have a robust spring or webbing system that will give you many years of use without an issue.

There is an art to choosing the right suspension system to suit a sofa. More resilient cushion fillers, such as foam, have less need for bouncy springs or webbing. On the other hand, less resilient fillers, like polyester fibres or feathers, are more reliant on the suspension to deliver more resistance. Getting the balance wrong can leave a sofa feeling too firm or uncomfortably hollow, both of which can give you aches and pains after sitting down for too long.

At Sofas by Saxon, our sofa specialists have over 35 years' experience in choosing the right suspension systems for our sofas. You can count on their keen eye to judge which type of spring or webbing you need, which they will then skilfully install within your piece to give you many years of comfort. The suspension systems that we use are all made with high-grade materials, and each one undergoes rigorous quality checks to ensure they are up to scratch, so you can be confident when shopping with us.

What is a comfortable sofa seat depth?

There is not one sofa seat depth that will provide you with the most comfort. Rather, the seat depth that will be the best for you will depend on how tall you are and how you prefer to sit on your sofa. Different levels of depth can suit both of these factors differently. For example, if you aren't very tall, a shallow seat can help you to sit upright with your feet flat on the floor, while a deep seat might cause your feet to hang uncomfortably. On the other hand, a deep seat can be preferable for someone who likes to lie back and relax, giving you more room to do exactly that.

To help you to make the right choice when it comes to sofa seat depth here at Sofas by Saxon, we include the dimensions of each design on the product page. You will find a diagram which will tell you the depth, as well as other important measurements. It's also worth remembering that all our pieces are made to order, so we can build a sofa to your own precise measurements. Head over to our bespoke service page to find out more, or, alternatively, contact us to find out how we can help.

Upholstery material

As it is the part you have most contact with when sitting, the material that your sofa is upholstered in also makes a big contribution to its overall comfort. Therefore, taking the time to choose one that you like can be a major factor to consider.

Are leather sofas comfy?

Yes, a leather sofa can be incredibly comfortable. It's often said that fabric furniture is comfier than leather, however, this is not the case. Although cheap leathers can be tough and scratchy, quality hides can feel soft, luxurious, and a pleasure to sit upon. It's a material that improves with age and use, so the longer you use your sofa, the cosier it will become. In addition, there are many finishes that can be applied to leather, so there is plenty of choice when it comes to selecting one you love.

There is also a common misconception that leather furniture can be too cold in winter and too hot in summer. In fact, the opposite is true: it warms to your touch when it is chillier indoors, while its natural breathability allows it to stay cool when the temperature increases. Taking this into account, it's easy to see that a leather sofa can be enjoyed all year round.

Here at Sofas by Saxon, our leather sofas are upholstered in only the finest hides. Our in-house experts have a keen eye for quality, and have been able to source the best products from tanneries around the world. You can browse our leather collection to find a wide variety of looks and finishes. If you need more advice on choosing a sofa, you can read our leather buying guide, which is full of helpful advice.

Are fabric sofas comfy?

Yes, fabric sofas can be very comfortable. There is also a wide variety of materials to consider, so there is plenty of choice when it comes to selecting one that suits your tastes. Fabrics tend to offer a softer feel than leather, though the degree of this softness can vary from type to type. Some of the most popular options are wools like herringbone, tweed, and plaid, which have a gentle weave. Velvet is another favourite thanks to its plushness. Linen is also very comfortable, with a lightweight feel that is nice and cool.

At Sofas by Saxon, we source our fabric collection from a selection of quality mills here in the UK. They are all woven using only natural fibres, which means that they retain the characteristics that make them an incredibly comfortable choice for your sofa. Also, because they are a 100% weave, they are completely hypoallergenic and a great option if you suffer from allergies. You can take a look at our fabric sofa buying guide if you want further guidance in choosing one of these pieces.

One of the best ways to get a handle on your upholstery materials before you make a final decision is to order some of our free sample swatches, which can be delivered to your door. They can help you choose the leather or fabric that you like the feel of the most.

Things to consider for different types of sofas

In addition to the features we've discussed above, it's also worth considering what type of sofa you are buying. Read on to discover some extra points that you may need to think about before you make a final decision.

Are Chesterfield sofas comfy?

Yes, Chesterfield sofas are very comfortable, though the mass-produced models that are made with inferior techniques and materials tend not to be. To experience a truly comfy Chesterfield, it's best to invest in one made with real quality and care.

Chesterfields are one of the most beloved sofa styles, thanks to their classic design and rich heritage. However, due to their popularity, there has been a demand for cheaper versions to cater to smaller budgets. This means the market has been flooded with mass-produced sofas that pale in comparison to the comfort levels of a proper, handmade Chesterfield. As they are not made with the same premium materials or expertise, they often become misshapen and uncomfortable after only a short period of time. If you'd like to see exactly what goes into a quality Chesterfield, take a look at our guide to spotting the genuine article.

The best way to shop for a Chesterfield that you can be confident will provide years of comfort is to invest in one from a reputable brand. At Sofas by Saxon, we know exactly what goes into making a comfy fabric and leather Chesterfield sofas that stand up to daily use. Our team of expert craftspeople have been building these pieces for more than 35 years, so you can trust them to make a sofa you will cherish for many years to come.

Are sofa beds comfy?

Yes, sofa beds can be comfortable, but like other sofas, you need to make sure that you choose something of real quality to be guaranteed the best. Look for models that are made with premium materials from a brand that has real pedigree over ones where the price seems too good to be true.

Sofa beds are popular, so there is a wide market full of mass-produced furniture that does not meet expectations as either a sofa or a bed. This means that you could end up with the frame digging into you during the day, and then be tossing and turning when you try and get a good night's sleep later on.

As sofa beds need to deliver on two fronts, they need to combine the best of both worlds in a single package, which can be tricky. Use the advice we've provided earlier in this guide to identify a quality sofa, before evaluating it on whether it has a reliable folding mechanism, a supportive bed, and a premium mattress. Because there is so much to get right, it can be hard to find a sofa bed that lives up to all your expectations, but when you do, you will have found a piece of furniture that stands out from the rest of the pack.

Here at Sofas by Saxon, our expert team use their vast experience to design and build pieces that deliver exactly what we've just described. All our sofa beds benefit from the same elegant and timeless looks as our regular sofas, but they also hide a super-comfortable 4-inch sprung bed and mattress that can be conveniently folded out. While our bed will allow you to get a great night's sleep, the build quality of our mechanism will also give you years of reliable use.

Are high-back or low-back sofas more comfortable?

Both low- and high-back sofas can be very comfortable, though which you prefer will most likely depend on what you need from your sofa, as they both offer slightly different options.

If you are looking for a more relaxed shape for your sofa, then low-back models are ideal for slouching or lying back. By adding a couple of cushions, you can easily kick back and watch some TV or get stuck into your favourite book. Alternatively, high-back sofas are more suitable if you are looking for something that will be very supportive for your back, neck, shoulders, and head. If you are tall or have upper body pains or aches, the raised back will give some much-needed cushioning when you sit down for a longer period of time.

To make a decision, it's best to really think what you want from your sofa and weigh up what each type can offer. At Sofas by Saxon, we have both low-back and high-back sofas in a variety of styles, which can also be made to order to give you optimal comfort.

How to make your sofa even more comfortable

After settling on your new, cosy sofa, it can be useful to know a few extra ways that you can make it even more comfortable:

• Scatter cushions: While your sofa is bound to have more than enough cushioning for comfortable sitting, adding some extra scatter cushions so you can position yourself gives you extra support for periods of longer sitting. Cushions with coloured or patterned covers can also make a nice addition for contrast or decoration.
• A throw: A throw can make your sofa look and feel a lot cosier, plus it can double up as a blanket when you get cold in the winter months.
• A footstool: When comfort is one of the main goals for your sofa, adding a footstool for putting your feet up is essential. Investing in one that matches your other furniture can create a nice unified look across your living room.

Here at Sofas by Saxon, we specialise in crafting comfy sofas, but we also stock all the extras you need to really enhance the comfort level of your home. Our scatter cushions can be produced to both match or contrast to your furniture's upholstery, and we use the same premium materials to produce them. We also sell wool throws in herringbone or plaid patterns, ideal for extra warmth and decoration. Our bespoke footstools are also well worth a look, as they can be handmade to match your new sofa. That brings to a close our guide to choosing a comfy sofa for your home. You can use the advice here to ensure any investment you make is paid back in years of luxurious comfort. If you have any questions or queries about our products or anything in this guide, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

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