Today, I’m talking about how to select seating for aging bodies… if the topic wasn’t immediately clear. I know, typically when we think about sagging seats and aging we’re discussing a completely different topic, but if you’re making changes to your home in preparation for retirement, there are some things you need to consider when selecting new sofas and upholstered chairs. Sagging seating can be a real pain point for many consumers. There’s nothing worse than buying a piece of upholstered furniture just to have it start sagging after a couple of years. I’ve put together my top 3 tips for selecting seating that will be beautiful and functional for many years to come!
Tip 1: Pay Attention to Seat Height
Probably the most important part of selecting a new sofa or chair is getting the seat height correct. If you are ordering a custom sofa directly from the manufacturer, you may be able to ask for a specific seat height, but most retail sofas cannot be modified. That means you will need to find a sofa in the seat height you need.
So, what is that magic number? 18-19 inches or higher for most adults. Why is this number magic? Shorter seat heights would allow the hip to rest at an acute angle or less than 90 degrees and could drop the hip joint below the knee joint. This would mean that you will need more muscle engagement from the quadriceps and gluteal muscles to rise to a standing position. If you have any issues with your knees or hips or vestibular (balance) system you may find this action challenging. Finding seating that allows your hips and knees to rest at 90 degree angles – or as close to that as possible – will make this transition easier.
Tip 2: Seating Quality – Buy the Best You Can Afford
If you read my blog regularly, you know I am passionate about quality. You’re probably thinking, she always says “buy the best you can afford”. Ad nauseam. Ad infinitum.
… but seriously, here’s the deal. The better the quality, the longer the seating will maintain its shape. You see, upholstered furniture works as a system. If the frame fails it won’t support the springs. If the springs fail, they won’t support the cushions. If the cushions fail the seat height won’t be maintained. Poorly constructed, low quality seating could lose inches to your seat height over time. If your joints and sofa are aging together, you may find it increasingly difficult to get up!
If you need a refresher on the quality indicators for seating, you can get all caught up by reading my previous post on sofa quality.
Tip 3: Performance Fabrics
Here’s where you can’t let your guard down. You may think you don’t need performance fabric because you don’t always have kids around, but if you have pets or grandchildren, you should still invest in performance fabric. If you have a high quality piece you can always have it recovered, but do you really want to?
Right now there are so many amazing performance fabric options out there. There are some familiar brands like Crypton and Sunbrella that make amazing fabrics that can withstand dirt, food, oil, and even ink. Crypton has a line of cleaners that can be used to clean the surface of your sofa. Several fabric vendors also offer stain resistant treatments on their fabrics.
A lot of people are skeptical about how well these fabrics perform in the real world. If this is a sticking point for you, make sure to check out the video below where I “road tested” several fabric samples. In this video, I don’t even use the specially formulated cleaners, just a mixture of mild detergent and water.
Beyond stain resistance, performance fabrics also hold their color better and withstand wear and tear better. Often, performance fabrics have been tested for commercial use and will have a Wyzenbeek score. The Wyzenbeek test is a test of durability in which a fabric is rubbed repeatedly until it starts to show wear and tear. The fabric is then assigned a “double rub” number. This number equates to how many times a person can sit in a seat and rise from it before the fabric will show wear. Many performance fabrics have 50,000 double rubs or more, meaning someone could sit and rise 50,000 times before the fabric will show wear. It also means that if your fabric gets stained and you need to clean it, the cleaning effort will have less impact on the look of your fabric.
I’d love to hear which tip you found most helpful and if you will use any of them the next time you shop for a sofa. If you’re ready to plan your next big remodeling or redecorating project, we would be honored to help you. You can set up your complimentary Getting to Know You call with the click of a button!
As always, here’s inspiration beautiful board that you can shop!
Bamboo Chandelier by Ballard Designs – Carlton Sofa by Ballard Designs – Tessa Acrylic Lamp by Ballard Designs – Marina Rug by Ballard Designs – Raffia Wrapped Table by Ballard Designs – Ginger Jar – Pagoda Terrarium – Bamboo Tray by One Kings Lane – Foo Dog Statues by Ballard Designs – Manchester Chair by Ballard Designs – Tailor Pillows – Ollie Pillow – Savannah Ottoman by One Kings Lane