Sofa and armchair buying guide

If you have questions about sofa styles, upholstery fabrics, recliners, headrests and more, as well as how to match sofa looks to interior design styles, you've come to the right place. Welcome to the Furniture Village sofa and armchair buying guide.

What extra features does your sofa or armchair need to have?

These days, sofa and armchairs come with all kinds of extras designed to make them more comfortable, more stylish and more relaxing. If you have the option to choose optional extras, be sure you know what you need - and what you want.


A recliner sofa or armchair features a mechanism that allows you to adjust your seated position from upright to reclining by moving the seat back backwards as the front of the chair lifts to become a supportive footrest. Different types of recliners suit different people and different homes.

Power recliners

Power recliners allow you to recline in an almost infinite range of positions at the touch of a button either on a pad or on the side of the sofa or chair. You'll need to position your recliner chair or sofa close to a power source.

Manual recliners

The original recliner mechanism, manual recliners are easy to operate - you simply push gently against the sofa or chair arms. Manual recliners can be affordable but may not be the best choice for someone with limited strength.

Battery-operated recliners

Battery-operated recliners take all the work out of reclining and have a smooth mechanised motion. As with manual recliners, armchair or sofa position is not restricted by power source location. Battery-operated recliners are more affordable than power recliners.

Extra comfort

It's a given that sofas and armchairs are going to be comfortable. And while you may not always get to choose what kind of suspension or cushioning your sofa has, it’s always good to know what you’re sitting on – especially if you need extra lumbar support.

Seat cushion fillings

The fillings of a sofa or armchair can be the last thing you think about after style, size, fabric and colour. However, fillings do make a big different to the feel of a sofa and to how the sofa cushions retain their shape. Some sofa brands even let you customise the fillings. So what is the best filling for sofas?


Foam has a firm bounce and retains its shape best. The more traditional furniture-makers tend to prefer foam fillings.


Fibre refers to man-made, synthetic fillings, usually wrapped in fabric. Fibre offers medium to soft comfort, depending on its density.


Feather-filled sofas provide a softer, more luxurious cushioning option and have that sumptuous 'sink-down' feeling.


Same sofa designers use a mix of fillings, like foam cushions with a fibre wrap, or feather cushions with a foam core.

Springs and suspension

Our sofas and armchairs come with a variety of different spring and suspension systems, from traditional springs and webbing to coil, pocket and zigzag springs. As superiority of springs generally correlates to a higher price, it's a good idea to visit us in store and sit on lots of sofas to see what's most comfortable for you.

Extra support

If you have a bad back, suffer from neck pain or just generally like more support from your sofa, be sure to shop around for one that has what you need, whether that's high-back style, built in lumbar support or even adjustable headrests.

High backs

High back sofas and chairs offer great support for those with back problems. If you prefer low-back style but occasionally need high-back support, choose a sofa or armchair with drop down headrests

Lumbar support

Many sofas come with additional lumbar support. This is where the back of the sofa or armchair is stitched in such a way that the back cushioning is in exactly the right place to support the back.


Inbuilt headrests give plenty of comfort and extra support to your head as you relax, and are particularly helpful for people with back issues.

Drop down headrests

Drop down headrests are as wide as each sofa or armchair seat. They allow you to quickly change the look and feel of your sofa from high-back support to low-profile style.

Ratchet headrests

Manually operated, ratchet headrests let you choose between a selection of headrest positions. A fairly low-tech option, they're often a more affordable extra.

Power headrests

Like a power reclining mechanism, power headrests adjust smoothly and quickly at the touch of a button for the perfect head-supporting position for you.