The Best # of Cushions for Your Sofa (Plus Good Quality Sofas on Sale)


I don’t know about you, but I definitely have been battling a case of the quarantine blues this week. So much I meant to do, and just didn’t. The kids got most of their schoolwork done, so I’ll consider that a win!

Our “Sheltering in Your Forever Home” Challenge has given me some motivation this week, and I know it has for our group members, too. Please consider joining us (entries are easy, just do your best, and the winner receives a 30-minute e-mail consultation)!

This week, we learned about proper (and EASY!) maintenance to keep one of your biggest furniture investments looking great for years to come — your sofa (and all your upholstery for that matter).

But on to today’s topic!


How Many Cushions Should Your Sofa Have?


Honestly, the above title constitutes TWO different topics.

1. How Many SEAT Cushions — 1, 2, or 3???


What is the Best # of Cushions for Your Sofa???
Meg Lonergan


3-seat sofas are great for a few reasons:


  1. If you have kids or are prone to messes, you have more cushions to flip and hide stains. This is especially true if your sofa arms go all the way to the edge of the sofa (a *slightly* more contempary, but still classic, look) rather than having a “T” shape.
  2. 3 cushions offer more seating. No one wants to sit in the crack! For a family, whose members don’t mind sitting close, this is perfect. It can help in entertaining situations, too, as guests may feel more comfortable sitting in the middle when there is a designated “place” for them — even if the middle seat fills up last!
  3. 3-seaters (or even 4-seaters!) are best for really long sofas, because there won’t be as much sagging or loose fabric on the seats in between “sits” that needs smoothing out.


What is the Best # of Cushions for Your Sofa???
Phillip Thomas


2-seat cushion sofas are best for:


  1. 2 seats are great for couples who like to sit on their own sides for TV watching. You have plenty of room to stretch out. But I don’t recommend it for snugglers (ahem! Handsome Husband…) because someone ends up sitting in the crack.
  2. They are great for more formal entertaining spaces, where people are unlikely to sit closely together.
  3. Sofas 84 inches or shorter. See above about benefits of 3 cushions and loose fabric on long seats above! 2 seats are especially good for 76″ sofas and smaller, where you really wouldn’t want 3 seats to begin or you’d be sitting on a postage stamp!


Anne Hepfer


1-seat cushion sofas (aka BENCH seats), have a few pros & cons:


  1. Has a beautiful, tailored look. Everyone loves it!
  2. Can make a smaller sofa look bigger, since there is a nice, long, uninterrupted line.
  3. Great for napping & snugglers because there are no gaps in the seat.
  1. More awkward to flip because they are so big!
  2. If you stain one side, you only have one side left.
  3. Fabric WILL ripple and look loose in between smoothing and flipping. Don’t buy a bench seat if this is going to bother you!
  4. Seams will slip down between flipping/fluffing. This happens on 2- and 3- seat sofas as well, but it’s less noticeable and slips less as the corner of the cushion is closer.


Again, there is NO RIGHT ANSWER about what # of cushions is best. It comes down to how you want to live on your sofa and your style preference.


2. BACK Cushions — Yea or Nay?


The back of your sofa can either come with loose cushions you can take off (DO NOT BUY the kind that are attached!), or a tightly upholstered back with no cushions at all.


Once again, there is no right answer as to which is better. It just matters how you anticipate living on your sofa.


What is the Best # of Cushions for Your Sofa???


Loose-Back Cushions Pros/Cons:


  1. Pro: When you want super comfy and to snuggle down. Lush. Great for TV rooms and fireplaces.
  2. Con: You have to fluff them OFTEN, like every night, otherwise they will lose their shape. If you have down-blend construction, back cushions are easier to reshape. Fiberfill will be more difficult but even more important, as once they are REALLY out of shape, you will have a much harder time reviving them.


What is the Best # of Cushions for Your Sofa???
Sarah Vaile Design


Tight-Back Pros/Cons:

  1. Pro: Nice neat look. Can still be REALLY comfortable, but you want to have plenty of throw pillows so you can get cozy. Great for teen/secondary/entertaining spaces — those places you aren’t watching Netflix as the last thing you do. No one wants to travel through the whole house fluffing before bed.
  2. Pro: If you’re looking for low maintenance, this is the way to go. It’s easier to chop throw pillows quickly than to reshape back cushions.
  3. Con: It’s more tailored, and not as snuggly.


To illustrate further, let me show you a couple of quick iPhone pics from a project we installed (but never photographed) last fall, Project #HGDmodernmtnview.

To give a little background, Project #HGDmodernmtnview is an architect-built home in the Monadnock region of New Hampshire with gorgeous views. The owners have a bent toward mid-century styling and warm terracotta hues.


What is the Best # of Cushions for Your Sofa???
Home Glow Design


In the main fireplace/TV living room, we used a sofa with loose back cushions for the sofa for ultimate cushiness.


What is the Best # of Cushions for Your Sofa???
Home Glow Design


In the sunroom, which is where the clients do most of their entertaining, we used a tight-back sofa. This way they don’t have to worry about fluffing once their evening is done and guests are gone. Much lower maintenance. Throw pillows give plenty of comfort.


But What Makes for a High-Quality Sofa?????


Some of my Challenge participants, as they learned to care for their current sofas (and perhaps some mistakes they made in purchasing in the past), were curious to know what makes for a high-quality sofa and what manufacturers they can look for.


I’ve thought about putting together a “sofa primer” of sorts on all the things to consider when buying a sofa (or any upholstery) so that you can make the most informed decision possible for your budget.

Things like:

  • Frame construction
  • Suspension options pros/cons
  • Cushion options pros/cons
  • Common seat depths, arm heights, back heights and who they are good for
  • Common sizes
  • Favorite manufacturers depending upon budget

Show of hands — would a “How to Buy a High Quality Sofa” guide that be useful to you????


In the meantime, One King’s Lane actually does sell some sofas from manufacturers I trust, and it’s having a 20% sitewide sale this weekend.


(Apparently it’s also a great time to buy a car right now.)


So if the pandemic isn’t affecting you financially too badly right now, it may be a good time to grab a good deal on an American-made couch. A few of my favorites — ones high-enough quality I would feel comfortable recommending to Design Master Plan clients — from the sale below.



Any Qs on sofa cushions and lifestyle choices? (Well, as pertains to sofas, anyway!) Let me know what you think about a Sofa Buying Guide.


What is the best number of cushions for your sofa couch?

‘Til next Saturday!



Home Glow Design Shop on Chairish



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