Pictured: Lala Bumper Sectional in New Delhi Bleach fabric
When shopping for a new sofa, it can be easy to focus on design over comfort. It's helpful to imagine how you want to use your new furniture—and if your vision includes long, cozy lounge sessions, movie night hosting, or collapsing into a good midday snooze, we have a few measurements to keep in mind. We've been doing this for a while (15+ years!) so, we've done the research and put it all together for you. Read on, friends.
Start with seat depth
Finding the right seat depth starts with thinking about how you like to sit. Do you mostly sit with your feet on the floor, or do you like to tuck your legs in?
If you like to sit upright, you'll likely respond well to a seat depth that supports your thighs, keeps your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, and allows your feet to comfortably touch the floor. For a person between 5'4 and 5'10, a seat depth of 21" to 22" will allow plenty of clearance between the legs and the front edge of the seat. For a taller person, a seat depth of 23" to 25" is a good option, and for a smaller person, a seat depth of about 20" could work well.
If you like to curl up rather than sit straight, you'll benefit from some extra room—a deep sofa would be a great choice here. You can start by adding a few inches to the standard measurements listed above; if you plan to add a lot of accent pillows, you can go a little deeper and factor that extra support in. Depending on what you're looking for, you might also consider opting for a sectional over a sofa to give yourself more space.
Match your seat height
When a sofa's seat height is really off, taller folks can feel as though they are simply squatting instead of sitting, while those on the shorter side might find their legs dangling above the floor.
A general rule is that the deeper the seat depth, the lower the seat height needs to be and vice versa. Sofa seat heights can vary, but a standard range is typically between 15" and 20" from the floor to the top of the cushion, with an average range falling between 17" to 18".
Find your favorite filling
Consider whether you're someone who likes to sink into your sofa or prefer the look and feel of something more firm. At Medley, we offer several filling options ranging in density, firmness, and fluff: GOLS-certified organic plant-based natural latex foam wrapped in wool, high-resilience poly foam certified by CertiPUR-US®, and a down-wrapped poly foam option for extra softness and squish (p.s: we have a detailed review of the differences here).
Our GOLS-certified organic plant-based latex and wool cushion strikes a balance that's dense yet soft and responsive. Back pillows are filled with fluffy wool fiber pearls that deliver a sink-in feel similar to down, but with more back support and lasting structure. The frames on our natural latex-filled furniture are covered in thick needled wool, and the arms are padded with a thin layer of latex for extra softness.
CertiPUR-US®-certified poly foam provides luxurious, exceptional comfort with a medium level of firmness. Classically cozy and comfy, this 2.5 lb. high-resilience foam is ultra supportive yet soft. We offer the option of adding down to this poly filling, popular for creating a more relaxed look. Keep in mind that if you choose a down filling for your seat cushion, you might sink a little more than a straight foam cushion. Also, note that the down filling may shift (which is totally normal!) and the cushions will need to be fluffed on occasion to keep their shape.
Consider back height for support and style
The ideal back height for your sofa will again depend on your own height. If you plan to place a tv in front of the sofa, consider how you'd like your back supported. A typical back height for the most comfortable couch generally ranges from 26” to 32”, with taller people usually finding a higher back to feel more supportive.
In addition to impacting how comfortable your sofa feels to you, the back height will impact how comfortable the furniture feels in your space. If you have standard 8’ ceilings, consider how a higher-profile sofa with a tall back might feel in your room versus a low-profile piece. It all depends on your preferences and how much space you have to work with.
Another element to consider: sofas with slightly angled backs are excellent if you mostly use your sofa to recline. You can still sit up straight on this type of couch with throw pillows, however a sofa with a straight back is potentially a better choice if you have back problems or simply prefer a more vertical seat.
Pick a length to lounge the way you like
If you plan to recline on your sofa regularly, you might consider opting for a 3-seat couch over a 2-seat couch.
A typical length for a 3-seat sofa is about 7 feet, or 84 inches, but you can go longer or shorter depending on how much you want to stretch out and how tall you are. A sectional of course, will offer some more flexibility.
Also, head to our swatches page to order free fabric samples—from cozy velvets to breezy linens, you'll make your vision of comfort all the more real.