Have you ever seen a couch that looks so inviting and comfortable to sit on, but when you dive into it, you’re met with rock-hard cushions and an unsupportive back? That’s happened to me one too many times, so I decided it was time to learn about the parts of a couch so I could better understand what features I do (and don’t) like on couches.
I’ve bought, repaired, and helped design customized couches for families and individuals. I’m sharing this guide to help you understand the anatomy and crucial parts of sofas.
Key Things to Know About the Parts of a Couch
Here’s an overview of the main couch components:
- Sofa arms: Raised padded sections on both sides where arms can rest
- Sofa backs: Top padded part above the seat with backrest cushions
- Sofa seats or cushions: Padded pieces to sit on, usually with three sections
- Sofa construction or interior: Hidden inner structures like frame, springs, and padding
- Sofa exterior: Outside arms, back, cushions, base, and feet
Parts of a Sofa
There are many parts, both on the exterior and interior. I’ve put together a custom diagram showing you the several different features of a couch.
Main Parts of Couches
These are the primary parts of a sofa that affect the look and feel, based on the style of sofa you have.
The style or type of sofa arm plays an essential role in the function and overlook of a couch.
- Pleated arm: A pleated sofa arm is like a rolled arm with front pleating.
- Lawson arm: A Lawson arm is a modestly scaled version of rolled arms because of high rolled or squared arms.
- Rolled arm: Like the Bennett Roll-Arm Sofa from Ethan Allen, the rolled arm curves outward.
- Tuxedo arm: Unlike rolled arms, tuxedo arms are slightly flared arms with the same height as the sofa back.
- Square arm: Also known as box arm, a square arm has notable straight lines and angles.
- English arm: In contrast to the clean lines of square arms, these have a low and set back from the seat’s front edge. This makes it ideal for low-profile furniture setups.
The sofa back comes in different shapes, height levels, and cushion materials. This significantly influences sofa style and comfort level.
- Attached back: Clip, sew, or fasten an attached back cushion to the sofa’s back.
- Camelback: As you can see in this camelback sofa, the traditional sofa back looks much like a camel.
- Loose cushion: Unlike an attached back, loose cushions get separated from the back of the sofa.
- Curved back: The back of a curved-back sofa curves all the way around. This design creates a single solid piece with arms that are not attached separately.
- Channel back: Unlike loose cushions, a channel back features deep vertical grooves.
- Tight back: A tight back has a firm feel because of upholstered construction.
- Pillow back: A pillow back provides a softer feel with more pillows than cushions.
- Waterfall back: A waterfall sofa includes two or more gathered and billowing cushions. They attach to the sofa back.
Sofa Seat Cushions
Sofa seat cushions are among the most important parts of couches as they affect your comfort.
- Cushioned seat: Square or rectangular cushioned seat covers generally support a person’s weight. This IKEA SMEDSTORP cushioned sofa is a good example. A cushioned seat can also be removable.
- Tight seat: A tight seat lacks separate seat cushions, unlike a sectional sofa.
- Single-cushion seat: A single-cushion seat offers a tidy, minimal look. The solo sofa cushion and pillow back is also called a bench seat.
Sofa Exterior Components
Traditional and modern sofas have many different exterior parts.
- Arm panel: An armrest with either an inset or raised panel covering the front of the arm.
- Backrest: Supports a person’s back when seated.
- Cushion boxing: Typically made up of two or three cushions to support the weight of the the person sitting.
- Cushion reverse: The cushion boxing’s bottom part.
- Front skirt: Fabric or cushion material covering found at the front by the sofa’s foot.
- Inside arm and back: The frame without the cover or upholstery.
- Outside arm and back: The upholstered parts.
- Pillows: For comfort and decorative purposes.
- Seat cushion: A soft padding for comfort.
- Side skirt: Fabric covers the sides by the foot of the sofa. This classic upholstered sofa from Birch Lane is an example of the style.
- Skirt panel: Pleated parts along the sofa’s front and corners.
- Sofa cover: Material such as leather or upholstery fabric covers the couch.
- “T” seat cushion: The seat cushion resembles a chunky letter “T”. Cushion extensions cover the sofa’s front sides and armrests.
- Welt: A fabric-covered rope stitched along the seams of an upholstery.
Sofa Construction and Interior Parts
The sofa construction or internal parts are largely responsible for durability and longevity.
- Composite Splint: Makes the framework of the arm and side of a sofa.
- Crest rail: Top rail of a chair back.
- Deck: This is the surface found underneath the seat cushions.
- Density sponge: Adds support and durability underneath.
- Doll cotton: Spray-bonded cotton.
- Down-proof ticking: Made of cotton or linen, ticking fabric serves as the inner lining. This tightly woven material keeps down feathers from moving to a cushion’s exterior.
- Eight-way hand-tied springs: Interconnected springs for support and durability.
- Filling: Padding or foam padding for comfort.
- Fixed sponge: Placed at the bottom level of the inside of the sofa.
- Frame: The sofa bed frame is the couch’s skeleton. It provides not just the shape but also the quality and function. The foldable bed frame rests below the cushions for a futon or a sofa bed.
- High-density resilient sponge: Couches with high-density sponge make a cozy and durable seating.
- Parallel hardware: Steelwork underneath the inside of a sofa.
- Parallel net: Inside net placed parallel along the wood frame.
- Plinth base: Box-like base on contemporary sofas.
- Serpentine spring: Spring that runs from front to back or from top to bottom.
- Foot: Raises the sofa from the floor.
- Webbing bridge: Used for holding webbing to flat surfaces.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Parts Does a Couch Have?
A couch has many parts, including arms, cushions, skirts, and feet. It also includes interior features such as the frame and padding. You can also get various couch accessories or find sofas with unique features like USB ports.
What Is the Top Part of a Couch?
The top part of a couch is known as the back, which includes the back cushions. They provide support and comfort for people leaning against them. The back stretches from the top of the couch above the rear cushions up to the top edge.
What Is the L Part of the Couch Called?
The L-shaped part of the couch that runs along the bottom and side is called a sectional or couch section. Sectional couches provide flexibility and more customization options.
Knowing the intricate anatomy of a couch helps you to know specific features you might really like or dislike in this furniture piece. With so many couch brands available, you should have no problem finding a couch that checks all the boxes and meets your needs!