Tips on Sofa Recliners

You're thinking about getting a new sofa, but you want something more than just a place to watch TV, something a little different. Don't limit yourself to merely sitting on or lying across this piece of furniture. With the introduction of the reclining sofa, you now have a third option. Research, measure and go shopping equipped with all you need.


There's more than one way to lie down with a recliner sofa.

There are two types of reclining sofas, those that have electronic components and those that recline manually. The manual is adjusted by hand, typically with a lever or simply by a push-back motion of the body; you might want to try this in person in a store to get the feel. The manual may have only one or two positions or might be customizable for the degree of recline. Electronic recliners may be adjustable to a precise degree; they also might have additional bells and whistles such as a built-in massager or heating pad. Study the pros and cons of each type before you leave home or by quizzing salespeople at a retail store; if you're looking for one type or the other, you will have fewer choices to risk being overwhelmed by. Research the reputations of manufacturers.

Size Matters

Use a tape measure to determine exactly how much space is available in that perfect spot you have chosen for your recliner sofa. Sketch a layout of the room including any coffee table, TV stand or fireplace hearth. A freestanding sofa may be fine, but one up against a wall or another piece of furniture needs additional clearance in back to allow for the recline -- and in front to allow for the foot rest that comes up and out. Be sure the sofa can fit through doorways.


Think about the purpose of your sofa recliners. When considering length, take into account how many people you need to accommodate. A love seat works for a single or couple or in a room with more seating available. Many sectional sofas offer at least one segment with a reclining feature, and this might be practical in a multipurpose room or for big families or people who entertain.


Choose a manufacturer whose reputation is for solid construction. Ask to see the exposed framework and cushion construction. Hardwood frames of maple or oak will take more use and abuse than a softer wood such as pine. Select the fabric based on your needs and intended usage. Leather endures and is user-friendly, especially in homes with kids and pets. Loosely textured weaves can catch on fittings such as zippers and buttons. Modern microfibers are likely to last a long time and clean up well; they also are available in many colors and patterns. Velour and similar fabrics may show wear in spots as the fibers are worn away or permanently crushed.

About the Author

Maria D. Laso is a trilingual writer-editor with more than 25 years experience; she now freelances, teaches and coaches writers. She publishes two 'zines written by and for young women and has a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Northwestern University.