What Do I Need to Know about Couch Depth?

Posted In Knowledge - 05/12/2017

Seat depth isn't something many people take into account when buying a new couch, but it can have a huge impact on your long-term comfort. More than simply determining whether a sofa will fit in your space, the depth of a couch can also determine who will be able to sit on it comfortably, as well as how it can be used and whether it will suit your room.

You may have heard it said that the perfect sofa is 40 inches deep, 60 inches long, and 36 inches high with a 19 inch seat height. These fairly standard dimensions are a classic for good reason, as they fall right in the middle of the normal range of sizes and shapes available for most couches. However, depending on your height, room, and how you like to sit, an average sofa with these golden measurements may not actually be the best fit for your needs.

Standard Couch Measurements

To begin, it's important to clarify what is meant by couch seat depth. When shopping for sofas, you will most often come across two measurements of depth: overall depth, also called outside depth, and seat depth, also referred to as inside depth. It's important to understand how to measure sofa depth to give a better idea of the type of couch you are looking for.

The outside depth is the distance from the back of the couch to the front, while inside depth measures the space between the front of the seat and the couch's back cushion. Typical outside depth for most couches ranges from 31 to 40 inches, while inside depth is usually between 21 and 26 inches.

A sofa with depths on the lower ends of these scales tends to be traditional with narrow seats that encourage upright posture and two feet firmly on the ground. Sofas with greater depths are often more cozy, taking up greater space with a daybed-like feel ideal for lounging.

Sofas with shorter depths feel more formal and traditional while those with greater depths are more casual and cozy, ideal for lounging.

How to Choose the Right Sofa Depth

Consider Your Family's Height

Couch depth is among the primary reasons why a one size couch doesn't fit all. People above 6'2" may find it uncomfortable to sit on couches narrower than 23 inches deep, while petite individuals will likely have to deal with dangling feet and poor back support from a couch any deeper than 22 inches. What is considered a deep and wide sofa for some may be too shallow and narrow to be comfy for others. 

To accommodate guests or family members of various heights, being able to adjust depth is key. Add plenty of removable toss pillows to a deep couch, or offset a narrower sofa by adding a chair with oversized deep seated cushions.

Take How You Sit into Account

Most traditional ways to determine the right couch depth assume that everyone sits in the exact same way: upright, with feet planted on the ground. If you enjoy curling up on your couch with loved ones and pets or sitting cross-legged, you might find that deep couches are comfier.

To fit two people laying down, overstuffed couches 24 inches deep or more are the best bet to make sure no one feels precariously close to the edge. At least 23 inches are usually required to comfortably tuck your legs under you on the sofa.

Balance Out Your Room

The depth of your sofa can also play a part in the overall look of the space. Extra deep sofas often look out of place in small areas, where a sofa with narrower seats looks in proportion with the room. Conversely, pieces without deep seat cushions may get a little lost in large spaces. A deep couch with a tall back makes the room look cozy rather than cavernous.

Couches for All

There is no guide for right or wrong when it comes to buying a couch, only what feels and looks inviting to you. Furniture.com collects all the best pieces of furniture and deals in one convenient place, ensuring that you find exactly the right sofa for your home and needs.

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