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What are the Different Types of Sofa Backs and Which is the Best?

Design Time on WMEN TV5

February 2021

TV5 Design Time WNEM

Thank you for tuning in to DesignTime.

Kathy Kilbourn at Tri City Furniture in Auburn is here and we are talking about sofa backs and why one might be better than another!


Kathy, can you give us an overview of the types of backs that are available on Sofas and chairs today?

Yes, there are typically just 2 styles... one being a pillow back and the other a tight back, but then each of those styles have a couple of variables!


So let’s talk about the pillow back first....what are some differences?

First, the shape can be a box which has sides and a top and bottom, just like a box.  The second shape would be more like an envelope which rolls over on the top and bottom.  It has only one seam on each side. There is also a scatter back design. We do not see it chosen as much as the other styles. It is all loose pillows, accent pillow size that are fanned into place across the sofa back. 


Is one of these a better design?

In the  box back style vs the envelope back style, I always say that the more pieces in swing hold the shape better, so in this case, the box back keeps its shape better.  The envelope style may need to be straightened more often. As for a better design between pillow back vs tight back, that is all about the comfort and look you desire. You may need a shallow seat. More likely the pillow back is going to do that for you, but Quality companies let you pick your seat depth. They let you pick your back style and firmness as well. So you can have a shallow sitting tight back or pillow back. You can have a medium depth sitting tight back or pillow back, or you can have a very deep sitting lounge tight back or pillow back. The design does not change the price normally, just the scale of the pieces of course. Get the comfort and the support your body needs with look and the maintenance you want as well. 


Are there any other variable with a pillow back?

Mainly, if they are attached or loose.  If attached, they will stay in place. If they are loose, the back pillow can be flipped over so you can use both sides.


And explain what a wrap over back is?

Wrap over backs are all foam and wrap right over the back frame of the sofa or chair.  These always stay in place and generally never need straightening. I tend to think this back usually gives a firmer support when sitting also, You may have seen this in leather or in more traditional styles with a "camel back" look. You also see tight backs with tufting for rollover arms. A well known tight back is a "chesterfield" design. Many of these tight backs have a bit more stitching in them, because they want everything to stay in place and not have the chance to shift over the years. 


There are so many variables when selecting furniture....

Yes, if you are looking for comfort and maintenance and if you have more questions, feel free to contact the staff at Tri City Furniture!  

Thank you for watching!

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