Cushion Options and Characteristics

Medium Firmness Cushion

We probably offer a greater range of options for seating dimensions, firmness, and type of filling than you can find from almost any other source that is not very expensive. But you don't have to think about all the options; the optional variations all add to the price, and about 85% of our customers are happy with the standard dimensions, firmness, and filling (see below).

NOTE: If you came to this page without first having seen our home page, you have missed seeing pictures of our various designs, as well as a summary of their many features. For general information on our complete line of sofas, loveseats and chairs, go to our home page by clicking here.


Our standard cushions are medium in firmness, consisting of unusually durable polyurethane foam (6-1/2” thick for seats, 8” for backs). This filling allows most occupants to sink several inches into the cushions. But despite the soft reception for the first few inches, this cushioning resists progressively more as one sinks deeper, so you don’t get a feeling of hitting bottom. (See below about the two different seat support options.) Our seat cushioning is unusually dense, which means more strength-giving material and far greater durability than that of typical cushions. Our customers normally buy only replacement covers for their cushions during the first fifteen years after purchase, despite the fact that our furniture is usually the most heavily used furniture in the household; and some of our customers still just buy replacement covers for their original cushions after 25 years or more.


This sectional, in a home in southern Michigan, has our standard cushioning, standard height and standard depth. The adults shown here are, left to right, 5'3", 5'9" and 5'6". People up to 6'3" typically also find our standard dimensions comfortable (they sink farther back into our 8"-thick back cushions and farther down into the seats), but we do also offer higher backs and two other seat depths at surcharges (but only two seat depths on sectional sofas). Our customer wrote, a month after delivery, "we really like the sectional, it is so perfect, very comfortable." And later, when kindly sending this holiday picture, she wrote, "Everyone found it really comfortable, all our guests really like it.  No problem for my mother, at 87, getting up."


People who have difficulty getting up from ordinary sofas usually like our furniture, with our standard seat dimensions and our standard seat support (thinly-padded wood below medium-firm cushions). People with back pain normally like our standard cushioning, but they often like our firmer options, even better: either semi-firm (about 50% firmer than standard) or extra-firm (about 2 1/2 times as firm, which most people would sink into only an inch or so). These options add $2 per inch of frame length for seats or back only, or $4 per inch for both. People who prefer something softer have other alternatives on our furniture: "puffy" cushion filling and/or a webbing suspension (read about those farther down on this page).

If you're trying to determine whether you and other household members and/or guests would be comfortable in our furniture, dimensions of the seats would be as important as the cushion filling. We hear from many people that ours are the first sofas they've found on which they are comfortable, especially because ours are not excessively deep sitting, as most couches in normal stores these days tend to be. Sitters can get proper back support, shorter people's legs can reach the floor, and people can get up easily from one of our sofas. For information about our standard seating dimensions and dimension options, including different heights, click here.


If you want a sofa surface to lie or sleep on: Our seats are normally made as separate cushions (three cushions for a 76" or longer sofa, two for a loveseat), but our standard seats nevertheless provide a comfortable, flat, medium-firm surface to lie on. (With our "puffy" seat filling and/or the webbing suspension, the surface would be softer and less flat.) This surface becomes much roomier (25" wide) if you remove the back cushions.


We're quoting here from an email from a customer who had bought a sofa from us two years earlier: "We have just been delighted.... My wife Pat has bad knee and I cannot tell you ow many times she has gotten up frustrated and unable to sleep in the middle of the night to go downstairs and sleep on the sofa where she is simply in bliss and can finally rest. I associate this with the quality of foam you used on the sofa – it works like magic to comfort her." Our customer then asked for information on how to find mattresses with foam filling like that used in our seat cushions.


We also offer a 3"-deeper seat and frame, which provides a broader seat surface on which to recline. The seat cushions normally slope backwards toward the rear for best sitting comfort (just under 1" downward slope), but they can be leveled out with some folded-up towels placed below the rear of the seats.



All seat and back cushions on the Florida, California, Virginia, New Jersey, Custom 05 and Maryland models are unattached and reversible (seat cushions can be turned over and back cushions can be turned around). The cushions can also be rotated within a single sofa or between different pieces of furniture if the cushions are of the same size (we can tell you which specific sofa, loveseat and chair sizes have the same cushion sizes). This reversibility and ability to rotate provide maximum life for the cushion filling and fabric, and the cushions' movability allows some adjustability for comfort.. Having unattached, zippered cushions also makes it possible to economically replace the fabric covers. To help prevent the unattached cushions from shifting with use, the surfaces below (which the seat cushions rest on) include a slightly rough section to resist slipping. We can, for an additional charge, provide a means of attaching the cushions to the frame, which still allows the cushions to be lifted out by an adult who knows how to detach them. (On the FineFit model, the cushions are not reversible, but they can be rotated when they are of the same size.)



Why is this woman beaming? Well, we like to think it's because she had just received her Comfy 1 Virginia model sectional the day before this picture was taken. She ordered the "puffy" option for both seat and back cushions which, as you can see, looks quite different from the all-foam cushions, as well as feeling softer. For many people, this type of cushion would require too much straightening up, but others like the casual, pillowy effect. We often sell this option for the back cushions only, providing the cushy look and the better molding to your back's contours while retaining the solider, more durable support of the foam-filled seats. This combination also minimizes the need to straighten the cushions, while still providing a relatively pillowy look and feel.

Our puffy cushions have high-quality foam cores, which help them retain their shape and support relatively well. Softness and roundedness are provided by polyester fiber with a down-like feel. Some people comment (when trying out samples in our showroom) that they get a feeling of the all-foam-filled back cushions' pushing back at them, compared with the more yielding reception they get from the puffy back cushions. On the negative side, in addition to needing to straighten them up occasionally, some taller people feel less upper back support from puffy backs compared with foam backs of the same height; but that problem can be remedied by ordering a 2" higher back.

The fiber filling in our puffy cushions is easily adjustable for desired amount of support. And it can be shifted around to conform to the sitter's desired shape. There is a hand-size slit opening in the edge that's just inside the zipper of the outer fabric, allowing easy access for adjusting the amount of filling (but not allowing filling to spill out)..

We have a strict policy against giving out information about our customers, but this picture and this customer's name (and our name as the source of her sectional) were already published in an article in a high-circulation national magazine; so we aren't divulging any secrets to say that this happy customer is multi-award-winning actress Mercedes Ruehl. (Photo reproduced from House Beautiful magazine, September, 2002.)

The puffy cushion option adds $4 per inch of length for both seats and backs, or $2 per inch for backs only. A heavy-duty webbing suspension, for softer support below the seat cuhions, adds $1 per inch of length. For a heavier person (over 200 pounds) who wants the puffy seats, the webbing base may be the better suspension option, since the softer seats might let a heavy person hit bottom on the firm wood base. For detailed information about our webbing suspensions, see the note near the bottom of this page.

The puffy back cushions can be just as high as our foam back cushions, if they are given a little shaping by hand; and they will stay that way quite well if the sitter sits reasonably upright against them. But the top edges can also sink downward an inch or two if somebody (kids? heavy pets? lounging adults?) presses or leans downward on the tops. If that happens, it's easy to re-shape them; but you should be prepared to do that if the sofa will be subject to that kind of use (unless, of course, you prefer to leave them squashed down).

Ability to easily add or remove filling from our puffy cushions can be helpful not only for adjusting to comfort preferences but also for compensating for possible packing down and firmness loss that can occur with use. Packing down of our puffy back cushions is unlikely to be a problem unless the cushions get heavy use. Seat cushions with this kind of filling might need occasional addition of filling for the first few years (once or twice a year?) even with moderate use. Another disadvantage of the puffy cushions is that the loose fiber filling is relatively combustible, compared with solid polyurethane foam filling; all of the filling in our standard (all foam) cushions passes the California 117 standard for fire-resistance.



Two months after receiving the above Virginia-model set, our customer commented that it was just as comfortable as a sofa that had cost them as much as both the sofa and the loveseat from us combined. He and his wife chose the puffy back cushions, with the standard foam seats and the 2"-higher back, and they took advantage of the ability to adjust the firmness of the puffy back cushions.

As you see here, our puffy back cushions can look neat (as opposed to the rumpled look shown above) when not subjected to a very relaxed kind of sitting/reclining; or they can be made neat again after becoming rumpled, by means of some simple straightening up. And our foam-filled seat cushions almost always look neat.


Customers should be aware that the exposed corners of all cushions will be well filled out as of the time the furniture is packed up or delivered by us, but that some corners can become partly emptied of filling as a result of incorrect handling. This is especially true of the puffy filling, which does not have the constant outward push that characterizes the foam filling. Moderately careful handling (mainly, not grasping the cushions by the corners) will help prevent corners from becoming baggy. But in any case, the problem can be remedied by unzipping and reaching inside a cushion (and inside the separate inner casing of a puffy cushion), grasping some filling from a place away from the corner, and pushing it firmly out into the corner.

Please note that it's good to turn your cushions over and rotate their positions occasionally to prevent distortion, especially if somebody tends to sit in the same place on a sofa regularly. Do this more frequently if a grown-up's weight is on a cushion's edge much of the time.

Cushions with dense, durable, very supportive filling may tend to feel overly firm at first, but will break in with use, like a new shoe. (If a cushion starts out feeling cushy, you probably wouldn't get good support after it had softened with use.) The softening can be greatly accelerated by having the heaviest available person sit up and down on the cushions vigorously for a few minutes. Also, medium-firm support is often firmer than what people are accustomed to; but, once they get used to it, people usually like it better (and their backs appreciate it also) compared with the saggy support of typical sofas. A California customer wrote, "We watched a movie last night and my back did not get at all sore. The back support seems quite good, unlike our old sofa which was great for leaning back your head but offered little back support. I note in your handout that the cushions appear firm at first and will soften up. They do seem firm when you first sit on them but this is simply a first impression and does not sustain itself during a sitting."


What's below and behind the cushions?
Our back cushions, 8" thick, have a plywood panel behind, providing good support that won't give excessively, like typical springs will do eventually. Despite the solid support, you won't have a feeling of hitting anything hard behind, unless you're a heavy person leaning back hard. If you're over 250 pounds, you may want to order our firmer cushions to prevent feeling the hard support behind. The standard support for the seats is a thinly-padded wood base, again providing good, non-sagging support. The 6 1/2" of very high-quality foam on top of it feels soft for the first few inches but becomes progressively firmer as it compacts and as you sink down a little further, without allowing a feeling of hitting bottom. It provides comfortable support that stays comfortable for decades of hard use, judging by the fact that over half of our customers who come back to us to renew their furniture after 20 years or more just buy replacement covers for their cushions; their inner cushions are still providing comfortable support after all those years. Again, for those over 250 pounds, you should consider one of our firmer options. For softer support, we also offer a webbing suspension (see just below for more information on construction of that). To see how our padded-wood cushion supports are constructed,
click here.

Details about our webbing suspension, which provides softer support below the seat cushions: It consists of two layers of high-quality, full-width synthetic webbing affixed to a sturdy oak frame.On top of that goes a layer of extra-heavy-duty olefin fabric, with a band of resilient webbing at the rear, and with coarse-textured surface facing up, to resist slipping on the part of the cushions that rest on this suspension. This frame is separate from the main sofa frame and is easy to lift out for adjustments, for repair, or for disassembling the frame for moving. To see how that suspension is constructed, click on the link just above, and scroll to near the bottom of the page. We can send you a sample of the webbing material at no charge on request. If at any time you want greater firmness and/or higher support, old towels or other material could be inserted between the upper and lower levels of the webbing. The webbing suspension is covered by our standard ten-year warranty. NOTE: If you are ordering without having had a chance to come to our showroom, or without trying our sample cushion platform, keep in mind that you can easily convert from one kind of base to the other: You could get the standard firm base at first, and (if it still seems too firm after a couple of weeks) order the webbing suspension later, and simply lift the firm base out of the frame and replace it with the webbing suspension.


A sample chair is available that we can send to you to try sitting on if it isn't convenient for you to come to our showroom, and if it's important to you to test how our furniture feels to sit in. It would normally come by Fedex ground, there would be no charge, and we pay the shipping both ways, but we ask for a $50 deposit. It will feel the same to sit on as our regular sofas and chairs that have the wood support below the cushions, although it won't look normal. And we can include some blocks to raise it up, and/or samples of our firmer cushions so you can feel what it would be like if we made a sofa higher or firmer than standard. It won't look good, but that is compatible with our expectation that you will return it to us within a few days.


We do not offer cushions filled with down or feathers. Loss of height and support after extended use is a problem with that kind of filling. Also, given the concerns about a bird flu pandemic, avoiding products taken from fowl is a reasonable precaution, for the health of both the people making the furniture and for customers. And, according to Real Simple magazine (July, 2007, p. 132), "Today's synthetic fills are as comfy as down and feathers. Synthetic is an especially smart choice for pillows that experience a lot of wear and tear."

To return to the page dealing with the Florida model, click here.

To return to the page dealng with the Custom 05 model, click here.

To return to the page dealing with the California model, click here.

To return to the page dealing with the Virginia model, click here.

To return to the page dealing with the higher-priced, New Jersey and Maryland models, click here.

To return to the page dealing with sectional sofas, click here.

To return to the page dealing with the heavy-duty construction of our furniture, click here.

To return to Comfy 1 home page, click here.