Help! Do you have a comfortable sofa?

Ok, so this is my sofa.

Peter Hvidt sofa

It’s by Peter Hvidt for France and Sons, late 1950s. It would be nicer if I recovered it in grey velvet or something, but it’s handsome isn’t it? A genuine design classic off eBay. The back and side cushions lift off and it becomes a comfortable bed for one. Only thing is, as a sitting down watching 4 hours of Made In Chelsea sofa it’s deeply, achingly, medical-bill-inducingly uncomfortable. I’m getting complaints.

Danish sofa bed

So what to do? I admired my friend’s 1950s style sofa from a high street retailer. ‘Is it comfortable?’ I asked. ‘God no.’ was the reply. So… the midcentury modern style that I love seems to be universally uncomfortable. But I watch so much Made In Chelsea that I’m prepared to go for something I don’t love the look of as much if it’s comfortable. But where to start? Sofa retailers probably don’t want you doing a four hour test stint on a sofa in their showroom. The only other way to find out what sofas are comfortable seems to be to ask you, dear readers. Can you help? Recommendations not just welcome, but begged for with a doctor’s note in hand.

17 Responses to “Help! Do you have a comfortable sofa?”

  1. Vicky Saunders
    March 28, 2013 at 9:48 am #

    Most sofas that look like squishy sofas are comfy, but it depends how you sit on them… If you can, go to Thorngate Upholstery in Reading. You can design your own from a limited but adequate range of shapes, size them up or down, and have them covered in anything – and for about half to a third of the pice of somewhere like S Workshop. I have no connection with them – purely a personal tip passed on by a friend. I have visited and will be getting a sofa made when my new extension is done.

  2. Emma
    March 28, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    I will be watching your comments with interest as I too am plagued with an uncomfortable mid-century sofa! Mine’s an Ercol day bed, and even with new firm foam seat cushion (courtesy of the fabulously-named Pentonville Rubber) its not comfy! Having said that, if/when I buy a new sofa, I am not sure I can bear to part with the daybed – its too lovely.

  3. patsy
    March 28, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    We purchased two new sofas made to measure, one 3 seater and one 2 seater, from a local Glasgow company, a family firm who specialise in this. They measure a person’s leg length to knee (seated) and the result is one which is ideal for Mr Wonderful and the other fits me to perfection. They feel firm but comfortable, ideal for lying on too. Advice would be to try to track a similar company in your location as they should offer good workmanship with ample choice in design and shape for a reasonable price. They also provide the chance to cover the finished article in a huge range of materials from tweeds to heavy cottons. Vicky’s tip on the Reading company sounds worth following up.

    • maureen fraser-lusk
      May 19, 2015 at 3:25 pm #

      Would you mind giving me the name of the Glasgow supplier of the feather & down sofas that you bought.

      • The Green Engineer
        May 5, 2016 at 6:25 am #

        Hello Maureen,

        would it have been you who left a message on my answer machine? I am an electrician but you didn’t leave a contact number.

        Kind regards

  4. Tiff
    March 28, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    I’d be really interested to get some recommendations too…..we are still using our 15 year old squishy Habitat number as I’ve bought several on ebay and they’ve all been really uncomfy! Surely there must be another comfortable sofa out there!

  5. Lauren
    March 28, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    Leather sofas are often nice and squishy. Also, I have one from Lazy-Boy furniture galleries that was my first love seat and it is the most comfortable piece of furniture I have. Super soft and squishy. And to be honest, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with testing something out for hours on a show room. Most people just want to make a sale, so as long as you’re serious about it… they probably won’t mind.

  6. Anna
    March 29, 2013 at 8:40 am #

    I found an old leather danish sofa and armchair set on ebay, it was advertised as 1950’s but i’m not completely sure it is. It had spent it’s earlier life in the reception of a factory that made shaving brushes and clearly no-one hung about there! It is a great design and very comfortable as the base is sprung. It’s fault? It’s absolutely enormous, it could seat about 6 and it wasn’t quite the colour I expected. However it was a fraction of the price of all the badly made leather sofas we could find in any shop (we prefer leather due to small children and spillage). I love, love, love it. Keep looking on ebay!!

  7. Deborah from What I always wanted
    March 31, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

    Absolutely love the sleek clean lines of these two pieces, but agree they might not be the most comfortable to sit on for hours on end! The only problem with made to measure sofas is that unless you live alone or with someone who is a similar size as you, it isn’t going to be ideal for you both. The obvious solution would be a pile of gorgeous cushions to snuggle up on, but they can spoil the overall simple look of this style of sofa.

  8. Wolves in London
    April 1, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    I’ve got officially the world’s comfiest sofa ever (TM). It’s a big brown leather two-seater that I bought about eight years ago when I bought my first flat in London. It’s huge, outrageously squooshy and was actually pretty fashionable back then. (Similar to this one.) It used to look brilliant in my slightly warehousey high-ceilinged sitting room, with loads of space around it, white walls and a whitewashed wooden floor.

    Only problem is, I’ve just moved to a small Victorian terraced house and my previously beloved sofa now looks pretty stupid hulking about and taking up far too much of the sitting room. I was thinking of getting a nice, elegant midcentury modern style sofa to replace it with. Now feel I may need to re-think that plan!

  9. Chantal
    April 1, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    I think it is essential to decided whether you want to sleep or to sit. If you go for a sofa bed you will have to compromise on comfort. Many friends have sofas from (in Lots Road, you can really test them out) They all seem very comfortable although perhaps not what you want in terms of style. They are also very reasonably priced. I think several scatter cushions are also very important for comfort. Just don’t do what I once did, and buy feather filled sofa cushions. Great when you first sit on them in the shop but thereafter only good once they have been majorly ‘plumped up’ which is a pain. The best filler is a foam core wrapped in feathers I think.

  10. Véronique
    April 15, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    ‘The Charles’ by B&B Italia is the best. Minimalistic look (personaly I much prefer the fabric cover to the leather one) yet super comfy. It is expensive but really worth it. Only trouble is it is too comfy so I never get to see the end of any film….

  11. myfriendshouse
    April 15, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    Hi Veronique and thanks for commenting! Apartment Therapy have run a whole post on cheaper alternatives of your lovely sofa, so it’s clearly sought after…

  12. Linda
    April 23, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    I have two from and both super comfy. Washable covers – handy for vomit (adult or child) – and in an inoffensive charcoal grey. Cheap as chips. Maybe not oven ready chips, but certainly not gourmet ‘five fat chips stacked Jenga style’ either. And they do a handsome press discount. Just saying…!

    • myfriendshouse
      April 24, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      well it’s been a while since I’ve been sick on the sofa, but the cat is always under suspicion. I’ve had loads of people recommend them so I think that makes up my mind! Thanks for commenting x

  13. Emma horan
    July 12, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

    Hello again! I thought i’d search your site for any info relating to sofas on the off chance and this sums up our current dilemma. Have seen a sofabed heavily heavily marked down in john lewis. We love the look but reluctant topart with £50 second hand heavenly confortable sofa that cwtchs (welsh for cuddle!) . I wondered if you went comfy and squigy or good lookin’ but a tad stiff? Here’s the sofa that we like

  14. graham
    April 6, 2017 at 11:33 am #

    Re Ercol sofa. I have a ladder back colonial Sofa. I have also had in the past Ercol windsor sofa, but for me as lovely as they were they were too low for me . I have also had a day bed. I also over the years decided that I didnt find them comfortable so got rid of them . I have come back to Ercol because , I simply missed them . So I brought an old one off of eBay and I have carried out a modification that has helped no end. BROOM sticks. I rewebbed it then attached some small blocks of wood underneath the webbing at the front , making sure its does not under hang and show from the front and make it just high enough so when you insert the broom sticks it raises the webbing, by about a centimeter . I got two broom sticks cut to length, drilled and counter sunk . I then attached ,by screwing in to blocks. This has soften the sharp edge you feel from the front of the wood. The next thing I have done is ditched the foam . Google sofa cushions bespoke and for a £100, I had made two 6 inch deep fibre sofa cushions made. I have recovered them . Got loads of cushions for the back different sizes. The improvement is so much better. Well I think and way. It does look more “Baggy” now . But if you used loads of retro fabrics you would still get that 20 century look .

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