Sofa Ergonomics & Anthropometrics

Designer reviewing drawings of sofa

Finding the right sofa fit for your comfort

When making a decision on which sofa to buy, it's all too easy to make a decision purely based on the style of sofa you're looking for—some are just so good-looking! In short, form sometimes overtakes function.

But, just as it has to look good, a sofa has to fulfil a practical need too and considering the functionality of your sofa should go hand-in-hand with considering its design. Here's what you need to know.

Sofa Anthropometrics & Ergonomics

When choosing or designing a sofa, two terms which are important to know are anthropometrics and ergonomics.

Both might be words you associate with less-than-attractive desk chairs or bulky electric armchairs for the elderly but, in truth, anthropometrics and ergonomics are two things which everyone who is buying any type of seating should be aware of as well as the goal of every good furniture designer.

Terminology Explained

What is sofa anthropometrics?

What is sofa ergonomics?

Finding The Best Sofa Dimensions For You

In theory, when choosing or designing a sofa, there are no limitations. If you wanted, you could certainly have an extra deep sofa with an extra long chaise end or a sofa with a very narrow seat depth to fit in a tighter hallway. However, in reality, neither work well ergonomically and, just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

That’s why most sofas designed and manufactured by reputable furniture makers use of standardised dimensions. Whilst they may vary slightly, the average sofa dimensions have been identified to be the most appropriate for the majority of the population according to the rules of anthropometrics and prioritise posture health.

Sofa MeasurementDimensions (cm)Dimensions (in)
Seat Height40-4515-17
Seat Depth60-7023-28
Armrest Height57-7022-27
Back Height75-8829-34

Be Careful With Bespoke Dimensions

Changes to the basic dimensions of a sofa (except for its length) must be considered with caution and preferably in collaboration with a furniture or interior designer.

Yes, there may be times when a particular furniture piece will only be used by one person—perhaps a chair to be used solely by a 6’7” man or by an elderly relative - but, for the most part, sofas are the anchor of a living room and will be used by a range of people. Remember, the 5th% to the 95th% design rule.

When standard dimensions are compromised, the resulting sofa design can be both noticeably uncomfortable or awkward and unnoticeably damaging to one’s health.

The Furniture Industry Research Association warns, “It is all well having an aesthetically pleasing product, but if there is no real user value, then the product doesn’t function according to the users’ anthropometrics. Good ergonomic furniture dimensionally fits the majority of the population it is intended for.”

It's best to stick to the manufacturer’s suggested dimensions, even when designing a custom piece, and reserve any bespoke changes for materials, finishes, arm and leg shapes and trim.

Sofa Placement & Posture

Not directly related to the design of a sofa but something which dramatically affects the lounging experience is the placement of a sofa. You can choose the perfect sofa - one which is both well-designed in form and function—but if incorrectly placed, the results may be the same as a badly designed sofa or worse.



Creating Your Ideal Sofa

When it comes to sofa ergonomics and sizes, the most important thing to remember is to not try to be too adventurous and trust reputable manufacturers.

Sofa dimensions exist for a reason. If you stick with the established dimensions and opt for a high-quality frame and filling, your sofa will be as comfortable, supportive and long-lasting as possible.

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Here at LuxDeco, we are committed to helping customers around the world discover the sofa of their dreams.If you would like help designing or choosing your luxury sofa, contact our team at concierge@luxdeco.comor +44 (0)20 3322 8665.

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