What Are The Pros And Cons Of One-Cushion Sofas?

One-Cushion Sofas Pros and Cons

The process of buying a new sofa or loveseat can be overwhelming. What size? Color? Style? Oh, and one more—do you want a single cushion or multiple cushions? One-cushion sofas have advantages over sofas with multiple cushions. As with most choices, they also have a few disadvantages.

The pros of one-cushion sofas include sleek appearance, flexible seating, no uncomfortable separating of cushions, and a custom fit to sectionals or curved sofas. The cons of one-cushion sofas include unattractive wear patterns, difficult maintenance, and potentially imprecise fit.

A sofa with one cushion, also known as a bench cushion, has a single cushion that covers the entire seating area of a sofa. The back of the sofa may have multiple sections, even if the seat has a single cushion.

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Pros Of One-Cushion Sofas

One-cushion sofas come in designs to complement any decorating scheme, from traditional to modern. They are especially helpful in small areas of a home where their clean lines make the space look uncluttered and roomy. The single cushion offers some seating and maintenance advantages over multiple-cushion sofas as well.

Sleek Appearance

The long, lean design of a single cushion gives a pleasing clean look. In addition, the sleek design elongates the appearance of the sofa as a whole to make it appear larger.

A small sofa with one cushion may look longer than its actual length because of the uninterrupted line created by one cushion. A side benefit of this optical illusion is that the room itself appears larger too. Many loveseats in particular, because they are smaller than full sofas, benefit from having a single cushion to make them appear longer.

Because of its sleek appearance, a one-cushion sofa helps make an area look uncluttered and uncrowded. Even if you like to place lots of throw pillows on your sofa, a one-cushion sofa calms the look of the pillow arrangement by providing a pleasant flat surface as a base.

Flexible Seating

Seating is more flexible on one cushion than on a sofa with multiple cushions.

With more than one cushion, it can be difficult to squeeze in another person without forcing someone to sit on a gap between cushions. With one cushion, guests can scoot over just a bit to make room for another person on the flat surface. And without the ridges and gaps of multiple cushions, napping on a one-cushion sofa is excellent.

If the sofa is of sufficient length, a one-cushion sofa also offers an extra sleeping option for overnight guests because the flat surface mimics that of a mattress.

No Cushion Separation

The separation between cushions on a multiple-cushion sofa can cause several problems that a single cushion alleviates.

Long cushions aren’t as likely to slip out from under seated guests, and kids have a smooth area to fidget without sliding down between cushions. In fact, even adults may fidget less on the more comfortable seating of a one-cushion flat surface, so it provides a welcome setting for extended, relaxed conversations.

An added advantage of one cushion is that coins, keys, crumbs, and other small items can’t slip down between cushions because there are no separations. Without these items disappearing from sight or sifting down to the sofa structure, cleaning becomes easier.

Custom Fit

A single cushion is made to fit its sofa exactly. If you find a custom-shaped sofa you like, a single cushion might be the best option because it can be tailored to the shape of the sofa. This will give it the clean, tailored appearance so valued in the choice of bench cushions.

On sectionals, a single cushion placed over the sections can provide a polished appearance and avoid the choppy look of separate unit pieces. Some furniture dealers will offer customers the option of choosing one cushion or multiple cushions for their sofa purchase. In some cases, they’ll let the customer buy both. Buying both is especially helpful with a sectional sofa in case you decide to rearrange the sections.

Cons Of One-Cushion Sofas

Of course, there are cons to one-cushion sofas as well. Some of them are the flip side of a corresponding pro. For example, while a custom-fit is one pro of having a one-cushion sofa, the corresponding con is that the fit may not be precise, especially for custom shapes of sofas, or that the fit may alter over time.

Unattractive Wear Patterns

With only one cushion on a sofa, there’s no opportunity to rotate or rearrange multiple cushions to compensate for wear patterns.

For example, if people repeatedly sit at the same end of a one-cushion sofa, that end of the cushion may flatten more than the rest and look uninviting. If people often sit in the middle of the sofa, by comparison, then the cushion can develop a so-called “smile” pattern where both ends of the cushion turn up to compensate for a flattened center.

If a cushion has inadequate filling overall, there is a longer distance for the filling to migrate and become poorly distributed within the cushion cover. Cushions that are not attached to the sofa may be able to be flipped for better wear patterns, but that is not true for attached cushions or cushions designed to fit sofas with specialty shapes.

Difficult Maintenance

Related to the unattractive wear patterns discussed above, difficult maintenance can make a one-cushion sofa show age quickly.

Single cushions are larger than multiple cushions, making them more difficult to handle and awkward to clean when needed. For people who have trouble lifting or wrestling with padded items such as mattresses, a single sofa cushion might be large or heavy enough to cause maintenance problems when it needs to be flipped or fluffed.

If a smaller cushion from a multiple-cushion sofa gets a stain that cannot be removed and the cushion needs to be reupholstered or professionally cleaned, the cost for reupholstering or cleaning will likely be less for the smaller cushion than for a larger bench cushion.

Seams on a long cushion are more likely to slip down off sharp corners than with smaller cushions or to be more noticeable when they slip, so keeping the streamlined appearance of a single cushion will take effort.

As an option, finding a slipcover might be an alternative solution, but locating a slipcover for a customized single cushion will be more difficult than finding ones for standard-size multiple cushions. As with wear patterns, slipcovers also often reverse the sharp, clean lines valued in a bench cushion in the first place.

Imprecise Fit

While one-cushion sofas convey a sleek and trim appearance, that appearance only remains attractive and functional if the cushion fits the sofa exactly.

On a sofa with multiple cushions, the cushions can be moved or adjusted slightly to compensate for minor fit problems. With a single cushion, there’s no room for adjustment if the cushion does not fit precisely. A custom cushion may look like it fits when the sofa is new, but wear patterns and flattening can affect the fit over time.

Because the poor fit of a large cushion is more difficult to resolve than a poor fit of smaller cushions, the sofa’s appearance may suffer. Even a new, correctly fit cushion can “pop up” on the ends when someone sits in the middle. The longer a sofa is, the more likely it is that a single cushion will not fit correctly or will clump up over time.

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Summing It Up

In summary, as with most choices, there are pros and cons of one-cushion sofas and multiple-cushion sofas. One-cushion sofas provide a clean and extended visual line, a custom fit and flexible seating, and no inopportune cushion separation. But they can be difficult to maintain or result in unattractive wear patterns over time.

Choosing a bench cushion should not limit your decorating design possibilities, since most design options can be found in both one-cushion and multiple-cushion styles. In some cases, you’ll have the option to choose one cushion or multiple cushions when purchasing.

Your choice for the type of sofa you purchase will essentially boil down to how you plan to use the sofa:

  • Do you plan to entertain groups? If so, a one-cushion sofa might be your best choice because it allows for increased seating space.
  • Do family members like to nap on the sofa? If so, a one-cushion sofa will likely be your most comfortable option because it avoids cushion separation.
  • Do you have difficulty lifting and flipping cushions? If so, a multiple-cushion sofa with smaller cushions might be your best choice because a single cushion could be awkward to handle.
  • Will your sofa get heavy use over an extended life? If so, multiple cushions might be your best choice because wear patterns might be unattractive and maintenance might be easier.

Whatever your choice of sofa, be prepared by knowing the pros and cons of the different cushion selection options. Then you can make the best choice for you and your family.

Paige Hanawalt

Paige is an elementary school librarian with a passion for writing. Her hobbies include reading an exorbitant amount of fantasy, slowly teaching herself to draw, and home decor. While she isn't the most talented artist or interior designer, what she lacks in skill she more than makes up for in enthusiasm. When she's not curled up with a book, you can certainly find her curled over the keyboard.

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