Sofa Elements- Back Cushions

Design Time on WMEN TV5

July 2020

Last Week's Segment

 We know that there are different sofa and chair styles out there....

Just a couple right?

Today we are going to look at just the back cushions.

You may say... Loose or attached back cushions...or you may identify them as... "ones you can build a fort with and ones that you can't"... but which style is best? 

Kathy from Tri City Furniture is going to help us learn some features and benefits of different back styles on this segment of Design Time.

What styles of back pillows are available today on sofas and chairs?

  • Well, the main 2 styles are pillow back or tight back. Within these 2 styles you can have a number of adaptations. 

  • Above you can see the pillow back sofa and the tight back sofa. Pillow backs can of course be loose or attached. Most companies will call the attached pillow back a semi-attached pillow, because they appear to be loose, but are actually stitched on the top to keep their look and not shift off the sofa frame.

  • There, within that last statement, you may have just heard a pro or a con, depending on what your family prefers. Maybe you always want the sofa to look "perfect"- all the cushions in their place. Then, you would probably prefer a semi- attached or tight back sofa where the backs can't move. If though, you want to build forts with the cushions as stated earlier or you want to take the cushions off to have an extra sleeping arrangement (twin bed size), then you will see a loose back sofa cushion as your preferred choice. Knowing the function of your space is always very important to the design we choose. 

  • With the semi-attached pillow back sofa you could have a rounded edge or a square edge- this refers to the corner of the pillow back. You may prefer a rounded edge if you have a more rounded or rolled arm style. Same goes for the squared corner if you have a more squared or a track arm style. These details will help create the style, such as modern or traditional look that you desire. 

  • There are also other looks within the pillow back style, such as a Scattered Back Pillow design. This design has a layering effects with often different colors and different patters that you scatter across the back pillows. Sometimes, this sofa is preferred if the individual is shorter and wants to have a lot of pillows behind their back, allowing their feet to touch the ground.This is not a good reason anymore, because there are AMERICAN MADE SHALLOW SEAT SOFAS AVAILABLE with either back cushion style! 

  • Another adaptation to the tight back sofa is a tufted back. There are a number of different styles here too - tufting with high arms, low arms, rolled arms, arched arms, arched back, spaced buttons, tight buttoms...and the list goes on, but they all have the similar characteristic of the tufting. Tufting was designed similar to a "button" to hold in place the fabric and foams so they would not move and shift. They held their position "tightly" therefore it is in the tight back grouping. 

Is one style better than the other?

  • One style is not really "better" than the other, it is really just more of what you prefer. Some would say that a true loose back is better, because you can flip and rotate the back cushions. Others would say that semi- attached is better, because it does not more. 

  • A pillow back should be able to be opened through a zipper at the base of the cushion. Inside that back pillow casing should be a bagged fiber filled bag that can be re-fluffed, adjusted and maintained. This ensures the longevity of the furniture. These back pillows can be adjusted for your best comfort. Some have a more supportive back, while others have more of a "hammock" or "barrel"  lay in feel. You know the comfort that you want and need. We can get that for you. 

  • A tight back will always stay in place. It's look is clean and exact.  It can not easily be adjusted, but should not need to be as well if the scale of the pieces fits you as is. No adjustments to the seat depth can be accomplished in a tight back style. 

When purchasing a sofa with a pillow back, what is important to know about the pillow?

  • If the pillow back is loose- look on the back side and see if it is fully upholstered. You may see it even Velcroed on to the back frame. The intent of a loose back cushion is to be able to flip and rotate the cushions for even wear. If there is a "furniture type black fabric" vs what you picked to be on the over all sofa, then the company cut corners.

  • In a pillow back sofa, attached or loose, as I said before, you should be able to open or unzip that pillow back to get to the inside stuffing. The insides, depending on style of furniture can be made out of  a solid foam, or a poly- fiber fluff material. 

  • If you have a solid foam product, ask about the quality of that foam. Is it a High Density foam? Where is it on the scale of durability? 1.8 foam density has more air, less foam, so it has a softer feel. 2.5 foam density is composed of more foam, less air so it is "firmer" or more supportive. 

  • With the poly-fiber backs you want your back pillows to be channeled or sectioned in order to keep the cushion's shape. See the following photos to help you understand this concept. Well made furniture has channels sowed into their pillow backs. These channels are normally sowed with the length of the pillow. The benefit of this feature is so that the top fluff and stuffing can not move to the middle of the back and then down to the base of the pillow back, causing the pillow back to become mis-shaped of even round. If you have a family member who always puts their arm across the back cushion, pushing the cushion down, this SHOULD BE IMPORTANT to you. If you have a cat or pet in the home who sits on the back cushions, then this SHOULD BE IMPORTANT to you as well. Channeling will give your furniture longevity and even wear as used and loved. 

These are just a few things to think about when purchasing something new.

We know what to ask and talk about to help educate you and direct you to the style and comfort that you want. Come in and talk to us. There is no way we can put 65 years of knowledge into one blog! Thanks for watching! 

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