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Top 7 Sofa Back Styles

Top 7 Sofa Back Styles

sofa back styles

The shape and size of your sofa’s back affects how you enjoy your space, but also informs the overall look of your living room. Read on to learn about popular types of sofa backs to help determine the best function and style for your space.


Camel Back Sofa

camel back sofa

If you want to lend traditional style, grandeur, and refinement to your living room, consider a camel back sofa. With its gracefully curved silhouette, the camel back sofa features a distinctive arched backrest. Equally impressive whether viewed from the front or back, the camel back sofa is an ideal choice for a large living room.


You can float a camel back sofa in the middle of the room instead of positioning it flush against a wall. Try pairing it with a couple of accent chairs to create an intimate seating area and add warmth to a formal space. For an alternative furniture grouping that encourages conversation, position two camel back sofas perpendicular to your fireplace with a coffee table between them. This look embodies classic symmetry.


Pillow Back Sofa

pillow back sofa

Featuring soft pillows filled with cushy down or foam, the pillow back sofa invites you to sit back and kick off your shoes. These comfortable sofas project casual charm, making them perfect for a family room. To give you plenty of support while you watch a game or catch a Saturday afternoon nap, the back pillows rest against a strong, rigid frame.


Pillow back sofas are generally a great size for living rooms with lower ceilings since the backrest is often a modest height. As an added bonus, the back pillows are usually unattached, easily removable for fluffing and vacuuming. You don’t have to worry if you spill a bowl of popcorn on family movie night.


Tight Back Sofa

tight back sofa

If minimalism is your design mantra, the tight back sofa is for you. Since there are no back cushions to plump or flip, the fully upholstered tight back sofa always looks tailored and ready for company. This sofa style offers a structured and slightly formal appearance combined with a firm feel. When you want to mix things up, tight back sofas allow you to express your individuality by adding accent pillows in your choice of complementary colors and patterns.


Tufted Back Sofa

tufted back sofa

In a tufted back sofa, sections of fabric are gathered and anchored in place by covered buttons or stitching. Chic and sophisticated, tufted back sofas are equally at home in mid-century modern or formal traditional interiors. When upholstered in leather, they’re an iconic choice for formal offices. The pattern provides the time-honored appearance of an English library. As an added bonus, the tufted design helps prevent the stuffing from shifting, so the sofa tends to retains its shape and firmness for many years.


Cushion Back Sofa

cushion back sofa

Cushion back sofas typically come with two or three upholstered cushions that span the length of the backrest, providing just the right blend of support and softness. They have a more tailored look than a pillow back sofa but less firmness than a tight back sofa. Cushion back sofas provide a happy medium, making this one of the most popular sofa back styles. Although the back cushions are usually loose, some models feature semi-attached cushions, allowing you to combine the appearance of a loose back sofa with the low maintenance of a tight back sofa for the best of both worlds.


Split Back Sofa

split back sofa

The split back sofa offers plenty of individualized comfort for each sitter. A hinged back allows each side of the backrest to recline to a different position, while the other side remains upright. You can catch a few z’s while your partner enjoys the game or watches the nightly news.


Split back sofas require a little more floor space than other models. In order to allow the backrest to tilt backward, you need to position split back sofas away from a wall to permit free movement. Thanks to its versatility and casual appearance, the split back sofa is a popular choice for family and media rooms. Split back sofas come in a variety of silhouettes, from sleek, streamlined styles that look right at home in modern interiors, to traditional models with overstuffed backrests and headrests that give your room an inviting, homey feel.


Loose Back Sofa

loose back sofas

As the name suggests, loose back sofas feature unattached back cushions or pillows. While some sofa buyers choose loose back sofas primarily for their supreme comfort, there are some practical advantages to this style to consider, too.


For example, choosing a model with loose cushions can help extend the longevity of your sofa, since the cushions can be flipped to minimize fabric fading and wear. Loose back sofas require a bit more maintenance than tight back models, since the cushions and pillows should be fluffed periodically to keep the padding evenly distributed and prevent bunching and lumps.

As the largest piece of upholstered furniture in your living room, a sofa is a major investment. See our Sofa Buying Guide for more shopping considerations, or explore our range of available sofa back styles to get free shipping* on EVERYTHING!

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