Purchasing a sofa is made easy by the seemingly endless variety of color and styles on the market. As long as you know your own comfort and style preferences already, you can probably find several in-stock candidates to choose from and an endless list of custom sofas to meet your needs. To simplify your search, here are a few term definitions that may help you communicate your style or your comfort preferences:
Blendown: This is down used in combination with other materials. Blendown is a mixture of down, feathers and polyester fibers. Layers of blendown are wrapped around high density foam or foam-encased springs to give a soft top and more firm core.
Sinuous Spring: are “S” shaped and run from the front of the seat to the back where they are clipped to the frame. These springs are connected using cord from side to side. They offer the spring of a coiled seat but unlike coil options if one fails you can replace a single one rather than the entire seat.
Attached back: Attached back cushions are fastened, clipped, or sewn to the back of the sofa. The advantage is that they don't move around and you don't have to worry too much about keeping them in shape.
Camel back: A camel back is a traditional sofa back that is shaped much like a camel's hump, raised in the middle, and sloping down lower at the ends. It often imparts a formal look.
Channel back: Deep vertical grooves on a tight back are the distinguishing features of a channel back.
Loose-cushion: Loose cushions are separate from the sofa back, as opposed to attached back sofas. This allows for covers to be easily removed for cleaning.
Curved back: The back of a curved-back sofa curves all the way around so that it forms one solid piece with the arms, which are not attached separately.
Pillow back: A pillow back sofa has more pillows than seat cushions, and therefore a softer feel. This style offers comfort that can also be adjusted by moving the pillows around. It does require more upkeep, though.
Tight back: A tight back in a sofa is upholstered but does not have loose cushions. The back has a firm feel and can provide a clean, tailored, and formal look.
Waterfall back: A waterfall sofa back has two or more vertical layers of gathered and billowing cushions that are attached to the back.
Deck: The deck is the surface that lies directly underneath the seat cushions.
Down-proof ticking: Ticking is the inner lining of a cushion, usually tightly woven, that helps keep tiny down feathers from moving to a cushion's exterior.
Eight-way hand-tied springs: Tied springs are connected to one another with strong twine that runs front to back, side to side, and diagonally in both directions. This construction interconnects the springs for durability and even support.
Frame: The frame comprises the bones of a sofa and determines not just the shape but also the quality. High-quality sofas have kiln-dried hardwood frames with strong, reinforced joints.
Plinth base: Instead of conventional legs, a plinth base is a box-like base often found on contemporary sofas.
Webbing: Webbing consists of interwoven strips of synthetic material, attached to the wood frame of a sofa. It is typically used in place of support springs.