For some families, a sofa where everyone gathers to rest after coming home from earning or learning. In others, it’s a place of constant collaboration on school, work, and fun projects. These accessories help all types of families get the most out of their couches and living spaces.
Comfort Accessories for Sofas
A sofa that isn’t physically comfortable is failing in its primary purpose. Some couches are beyond saving, but some just need a bit of help to provide you with more comfort.
1. The Classic Ottoman
Ottomans are enhanced footstools that frequently come with a storage opening. While many ottomans are sold along with other furniture, they remain a timeless accessory that can be purchased on their own. Most furniture manufacturers will sell ottomans in styles that match their sofas, but mixing and matching is fun, too.
As a downside, ottomans are chunky pieces of furniture that take up more space in the room. Even if there’s room to spare, moving the ottoman around will functionally take up those spaces across time. Minor planning will help mitigate that hiccup.
Measure the spaces where the ottoman might go, including when it’s in use or tucked away. Then, look for ottomans that fall near or below those numbers. Online vendors will typically have the full dimensions of the ottoman on the page, but measuring tape is a key item to bring along to in-store visits.
My favorite ottoman is the custom Sloan ottoman from Interior Define. Even the smallest stock model is large enough to add meaningful storage space, and the largest goes up to 51″. Interior Define’s design experts will also work with you to make a custom ottoman.
2. Textured Cushions
Since a properly used couch will have lots of skin-to-fabric contact, the textures of its cushions and pillows influence just how comfy the lounge is. Appearance should come second when thinking about the cushions or pillows on your sofa. It’s fine if the texture looks great, but focus on how it feels.
Thick ridges on its surface might look beautiful, but those lines become pressure points when used as a cushion. Longwool sheepskin cushions are meltingly comfortable and have a warmer aesthetic than a taut and rigid microfiber cushion. The wool is a bit tougher to clean than less fluffy fabrics, but it’s easier to move one or two of the cushions out of the way compared to the nightmare of having the same texture across all of the sofa.
3. Head Rest Pillows
Struggling to keep a pillow at just the right height and angle can be nearly as bad as not having one at all. I also don’t find the pillows that wrap around my neck to be comfortable, though that’s more because they feel like an overweight and fluffy necklace. Instead, I added the Bowerbird leather recliner head pillow to my spot.
My spot isn’t leather or a recliner, but the head pillow worked great for what I wanted. It has a pair of bendable metal support bands that keep it in place, making it easier to install in odd places without drilling permanent holes into the furniture for a permanent head rest. The only gripe I have is that leather heated by ambient temperature doesn’t feel great on my neck when it’s scorching hot outside.
Cooling it down with an ice pack beforehand helps immensely, but I have also just removed it for a short period of time since it’s not screwed into place.
4. Support Inserts
It’s okay to have a bit of a Goldilocks complex when it comes to a place that sees frequent use. A support insert stops cushions from sinking into the sofa and bolsters their uplift without changing their softness much at all. The effect is most noticeable when the sofa has a sagging issue, as newer or well-made sofas may already have strong support for the cushions.
The support still adds firmness and reduces long-term damage to any sofa by distributing weight more evenly. For a typical sofa with seating for three, the support insert from Ben’s Home stretches the entire length and bolsters every cushion. The foldable insert is made from planks of wood surrounded by grippy and durable fabric.
It works far better than tucking a few 2x4s under the cushions, especially when you have bouncy children that sometimes knock off cushions in their excitement. I prefer a very firm seat, so I love the sturdiness of this one compared to other, flimsier support inserts.
Convenience Accessories for Sofas
Avoid the dread of finding a comfy position only to realize that you’ve forgotten a key item elsewhere with these accessories that offer surface area, storage space, or another form of convenience.
1. Coffee Tables
Coffee tables and end tables are common couch companions. Remotes, digital devices, books, snack trays, and all the rest of the everyday and extraordinary items need a place to rest. A lack of adequate surface space can lead to a crowded feeling as items start piling on top of one another in busier households.
The Origins coffee table from Game Theory Tables is a cheat code for those problems. It starts out as a basic coffee table, but that’s just its everyday persona. Hidden powers of storage and expansion stand ready for family game night and other activities.
The lifted edges on the “game mode” of the coffee table keep wandering bits from falling onto the floor. When you have a game with lots of dice or small pieces, that protection can be a lifesaver. It’s also perfect for arts and crafts projects or building with LEGO blocks in a way that doesn’t leave everyone stepping on certifiably dangerous floor hazards.
While I do love what the Origins table brings, it is admittedly pricey compared to more basic models. If you’re shopping within its price range, it actually offers an excellent deal on functionality and durability.
2. Side Tables
A well-designed side offers additional surface area without taking up the same amount of space as a coffee table or end table. The legs slide under the couch, then the overhanging table sits at a convenient height and position. Not every side table is created equally.
A flimsily constructed side table will be much less durable and more unstable than most end tables or coffee tables. Each model will have a different load it can carry, and more lopsided side tables have a chance of flipping over or snapping when a heavy or sudden weight is applied. This side end table from Houzz wins my favor for its price, design, and durability.
The support arches transfer force from the edge to the bottom, so the side table is less likely to tip over without the need for a heavy base. The leaf design on the side adds a little bit of flair that’s neutral enough for most decorative styles.
3. Slip-cover Armrest Cup Holders and Trays
There may not be enough room for tables in every direction, and sometimes a temporary solution works better than a more permanent feature. Slip-covers for armrests that have cup holders and insets for holding other items increase surface space by exchanging a bit of the armrest. For some, that lost space is barely remembered compared to the glory of having items on hand without moving far or losing them within the cushions.
My own, the arm rest organizer from Montgomery Ward, has a decent surface area while leaving the back of the armrest for me to lay against. All of the extra pockets on the sides are perfect for odds and ends, although I don’t usually use the pockets on the sofa side. It doesn’t have a cup holder, but I tend to drink from larger coffee cups.
The surface area typically has my phone and a game controller, while the various remotes are organized in the outside pockets.
4. Pillow Trays
Instead of going over an armrest, pillow trays offer a more portable space for a remote, cup, snacks, and other essential gear. Because they’re soft, they’re typically meant to rest on one of the unused seats of a sofa. Take the Sofa Buddy, a popular pillow tray, for example.
The tight-fitting compartments can hold multiple cups, including the all-important coffee mugs, nice and secure. It’s not so comfortable that I’d really want to use it as a pillow, but it’s soft enough to not stand out too much from the sea of cushions and squishmallows. The bottom of the Sofa Buddy is made from hard plastic that has a non-slip grip, adding more layers of protection against spills.
Using sealed containers for liquids also solves that problem, too. One of my friends uses their Sofa Buddy to hold art and recreational supplies that they move between spots in the house. It also keeps them from losing their phone in the cushion every five minutes.
I personally prefer a nearby coffee table, but the Buddy does make it easier to access the remote from deep in the corner of the sectional sofa.
Cleanliness Accessories for Sofas
Lingering in filth is not very comfortable. These accessories make it easier and faster to keep your sofa free of permanent stains or damage without taking draconic measures against activities around it.
1. Protective Slip-Covers
A living room can erupt into a flurry of family fun at any moment, and those moments of joy often come with a bit of mess. A snack might spill while cuddled up for a movie, a younger child could have an accident, and older kids or pets might leave a residue of mud and gunk. There are nearly endless varieties of slip covers out there, but I like these stretchable and affordable covers.
They cover the entire sofa without a lot of excess material, and the material is both durable and acceptable in texture. It’s hard to say it’s the most comfortable texture ever, but it’s not bad, either. In a worst case scenario, the slip cover gets permanent damage and needs to be tossed.
When doing so, it may have saved other parts of the couch from meeting the same fate for a fraction of the price.
2. Cleaning and Care Kits
Whether you have a protective slip-cover or are just letting your sofa brave the wilds of your home without armor, a time will come when the sofa needs cleaning. Stains will bunker down in the fabric, so every second counts when a spill happens. The kit doesn’t have to be right next to the sofa, especially if you have small children around.
More importantly, make sure there is a gathering of cleaning supplies tailored for the fabrics used for the sofa. Otherwise, disasters might happen – like doing permanent damage to a leather couch by using the wrong cleaning supplies in a moment of panic. The Chemical Guys have a combination cleaner and conditioner kit designed for leather upholstery.
Using both as directed will keep a leather sofa more comfortable over time by staving off cracks and other damage.
3. Steam Cleaners
Steam cleaning has long been one of the best ways to get floors and carpets clean, and new updates to the old method are constantly cropping up. Modern full-sized steam cleaners are smaller with more intelligent designs than in the past, but they still have a hard time moving beyond the floors. It’s possible to clean a sofa with one, depending on the model and available attachments, but it’s not convenient.
Handheld steam cleaners are not as good at handling the floor, but spots and stains anywhere around the house are no match for their targeted power and fast response time. A Bissell Steam Shot weighs less than 5 pounds when full of water, and it can clean anywhere within range of an extension cord.
Dangerous scalding burns are possible when using any type of steam cleaner. Exercise caution, and do not let young or irresponsible people use them.