Choosing a sofa to relax and unwind is no easy task. There are many models of different sofas in the market and each one has its specific characteristics, and you need to choose the one that best suits your body type, morphology, and especially your back, in order to find the best sofa for your body.
Nowadays, the design in terms of sofas and ergonomics does not stop evolving, and it takes into account criteria such as seat angle, lumbar area (and the back in general) or inclination of the footrest. The goal is clear and it is none other than trying to find the best position possible so you can feel well relaxed every time you use it.
Ergonomics, what does this mean?
That is the first question you need to answer, and we are here to help you: Ergonomic is the adaptation of any type of equipment to the biomechanics of human movement. Whether we are talking about smartphones, gym equipment, car seats, baby strollers, anything can be improved upon so the final product is more comfortable for the user.
The main purpose of ergonomics is to design products, spaces and jobs, with the objective of adapting them to the needs and abilities of the people that will use them or perform them. This results in improved efficiency, increased safety and overall well-being of the people involved.
What is the purpose of an ergonomic sofa?
You might have heard about ergonomic pillows or mattresses, why wouldn’t there be ergonomic sofas as well? The science of ergonomics is responsible for designing places and objects taking into account the capabilities and characteristics of its workers, residents or users.
When designing an ergonomic sofa, these principles are applied to produce a sofa that comfortably accommodates the hips, back and arms, to maximize comfort and minimize problems that could derive from its use, such as back and neck pain and other ailments.
When using an ergonomic sofa, the lumbar area should be sheltered and the hips cannot be below the knees once we are seated. As we mentioned above, another important thing to consider is that the armrest is at elbow height. Having a sofa that meets these criteria is a guarantee that you will have maximum comfort.
How can you choose an ergonomic sofa?
There can be no doubt about the importance of ergonomics, and it is also an important factor to consider when choosing a sofa. Unfortunately, ergonomics is not a widespread concept and a lot of people make mistakes when looking for an ergonomic sofa. There are three different aspects you need to focus on:
The height of the backrest
For a couch to be really comfortable it is important that the height of the backrest from the ground to the highest part of its structure measures between 33.5 and 37.5 inches (85 and 95 cm), so the user can maintain a correct posture while sitting. This height supports the head so that the neck rests optimally. This detail is of vital importance, since in the long run we will avoid those annoying back and neck problems.
The depth of the seats
It should allow to sit comfortably without any pressure on the knees. The depth should be at least 35.5 inches (90 cm). When sitting, your legs should be at a 90 degree angle and your hips should align with your knees for best posture. It is convenient to choose a sofa that is firm for sitting but has a more plush back, that will better protect the kidneys.
The position of the armrests
If you use the sofa every day to rest or take a nap, it is best to focus on choosing a sofa with comfortable armrests. Why? Because the armrests often become improvised pillows and these should be soft to facilitate the rest of neck and head.
The ideal height of the armrests is around the 12 -20 cm from the seat to its highest part. The sofa should always have armrests at the height of the elbow and if possible the best option is to find a sofa with adaptable armrests. There is no reason to give up a sofa with high or hard armrests. If you like to rest on the sofa and the armrests are tall or hard, you should opt for a longer sofa of 78 inches or more (2 meters) from one end to the other, (usually these sofas have 3 seats) so that you can stretch completely on the sofa without having to rest your head on the armrests.
There are other important aspects to consider, such as the materials of the sofa, the rigidness of the structure, and of course, the style of sofa you want for your living space.
Do you want a soft or hard sofa? Usually, the correct answer is: neither too hard nor too soft. The firmness of the furniture will depend to a great extent on the filling of the seats, backrests and in some cases of the armrests. The materials with which these parts are filled are foam (the most usual and economical) and feathers, although the latter option is more expensive. Keep in mind that ergonomic sofas are more firm in the sitting area and a bit softer in the back, so make sure to try different models until you find the perfect combination of hardness and plushness.
If you want a sturdy sofa that will remain in good condition over the years, the best you can do is take a look at the rigidity of the structure. You can check if the inner framework of the piece you like is firm enough by lifting one side of the sofa. If it is very easy to lift it will be better to choose another model. A good, resistant sofa will feel robust and should be on the heavier side.
Finally, you need to consider where you will place your ergonomic sofa and what kind of look you are going for. If your space is not that big, a three-seater might not be the best choice. Measure the space and draw a sketch of your living room so you know what you will be able to fit in there.
The different types of ergonomic sofas
Ergonomic sofas are the best option if you are looking for comfort, either for pleasure or because you need it for your health. If you suffer from back problems, you need to be seated most of the time, or you are in the third age, an ergonomic sofa will give you the necessary comfort. Of course, if you just want a good sofa to watch movies or relax with a good book, they are a perfect choice, too.
Ergonomic sofas come in all styles, as long as the basic points (height of backrest, depth of seat, and positioning of armrests) are covered. You can find ergonomic chesterfield sofas, sectionals, sofa beds, Lawson sofas, mid-century, contemporary, camel backs, chaises, you name it. The important thing is that they adapt to your body’s needs and don’t cause you any discomfort or harm.
Where to buy an ergonomic sofa?
Buying an ergonomic sofa is not as difficult as it sounds. As with buying anything else, you just need to make sure to buy something of quality and think of your purchase as an investment in your quality of life.
If you are the kind of people that needs to visit stores and look (and maybe try) what you want to buy, you should see what furniture stores are in your area. If, however, you prefer doing your research online before jumping into the quest, there are several choices around; here you have some of them:
A Norwegian company that specializes in ergonomic furniture, the brand focuses on aspects that boost comfort and helps solve practical problems for the user. One of Ekornes main interests is to combine efficiency with quality by using high-quality components and designs in their standardized production, which satisfies both the requirements of their clients and their own high-standards. They are also a green company, and are committed to preserving the environment through the use of sustainable materials and best practices of the industry.
Another Norwegian brand, Fjords is the product of the labor of the Hjellegjerde brothers, who started manufacturing furniture in their family home’s cellar, in the town of Sykkylven, back in the 1940’s. Their principles are producing the best possible furniture using high-quality materials and Norwegian design, to satisfy their clients’ need of comfort.
The amazing curated marketplace for modern and new look design of home furniture. If you have an eye for design and wants something original with unique lines and a story behind each piece, Clippings is the place for you. You’ll find lots of different sofa designs including unique ergonomic styles.
An online store for homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home professionals. Launched in 2009 by a young couple, the site has kept growing and now represents a worldwide community of 40 millions members. Tons of sofas to choose from, including ergonomic ones.
A household name in the home décor business, OKL started in 2009 and they work with furniture and home accessories designers to offer limited-time sales to their clients. Their catalogue includes brands such as Barclay Butera, Kristin Drohan and Baker Furniture. A plus of their website is the inspired pictures of different styles that make your search easier.
No list of online shopping can leave the giant retailer out. Amazon is a great option to check out styles and find bargains. Just make sure to check the reviews of your favorite sofas before hitting the buy button!
If you need more help to find a fantastic sofa for your home or office, check out out other articles.