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A sofa is made up of many different parts. And all these different parts can vary from sofa to sofa, giving each a distinct look. Do you know how to identify each one? It helps to know so that you can describe the sofa you want to a salesperson or designer.
Deck: The surface that lies directly underneath the seat cushions on a sofa.
Down-proof ticking: The inner lining of a cushion, usually tightly woven, which helps tiny feathers from moving to a cushion's exterior.
Eight-way hand tied springs: When springs are connected to the adjoining ones with a strong twine that runs front to back, side to side and then diagonally in both directions. It helps tie each spring securely.
Filling: Foam, down and padding that is used to make the sofa comfortable.
Frame: A frame determines the bones of a sofa, and not just the shape, but also the quality. Quality sofas have kiln-dried hardwood frames, and joints are strong and reinforced.
Plinth base: A box base for upholstered furniture, instead of legs. This is often found on contemporary sofas.
Webbing: Interwoven strips of synthetic material, attached to the wood frame of a sofa.
Attached back: The back cushions are attached 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: This traditional sofa back is shaped much like a camel's hump, raised in the middle, and sloping down lower at the ends. A traditional and formal style.
Channel back: Deep vertical grooves on a tight back distinguish this sofa back.
Loose-cushion: In this case cushions are separate from the sofa back as opposed to attach back sofas.This allows for covers to be easily removed for cleaning.
Curved back: The back 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 which can also be adjusted by moving the pillows around. It does require more upkeep however.
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: This kind of a sofa back has two or more vertical layers of gathered and billowing cushions that are attached to the back.
Cushioned Seat: A cushioned seat is usually made up of two or three cushions. Since these cushions are made to support the weight of the sitter, they are usually firmer than back cushions. The cushions may be square or rectangle depending on the the number of cushions on the seat. Sometimes the end cushions are T-shaped to accommodate the arm. Covers are removable.
Single cushion seat: Oftentimes the sofa seat will have just a single cushion. This is also called a bench seat. The look can be clutter free and minimal, but can also be combined with a pillow back. A good single cushion will not rise up on the other end when you sit down at the other.
Tight seat: Sofas also come without any cushions on the seat. This look can be found both on traditional and modern sofas, or sofas with wood frames.It is a formal look.
English arms: These low sofa arms are set back from the front edge of the seat. English arms are very low profile and suitable if you like to take naps on your sofa. They are also good for small spaces as they don't project beyond the body of the sofa.
Lawson arms: A low profile, modestly scaled version of the rolled arm.
Pleated arm: When the front part of a sofa arm is covered by fabric that is continued from the inside of the arm.
Rolled arms: A very common traditional shape for sofa arms, a rolled arm curves outward. Although comfortable for lounging and reading, rolled arms do take up extra space, so take them into account when measuring the sofa.
Square arms: Also called box arms. These give a more modern and tailored look as they have straight lines and angles. These are useful for when you entertain, as they can serve as seats. However, they are not as comfortable as rolled arms for lounging.
Tuxedo arms: Tuxedo arms are slightly flared arms that have the same height as the back.