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Upholstered furniture

Sitting properly – also on a three-piece suite

We all know what it's like: a cosy evening at home or with friends, but although the mood is good and the atmosphere pleasant, we just can't relax and we keep on fidgeting. We just don't feel right, and we often even get backache. Long evenings spent in front of the TV (statistics indicate that we spend 3 to 4 hours in front of the TV every day) become torture. It's not necessarily the programme that's at fault but unsuitable upholstered furniture, developed with an eye to design rather than ergonomic aspects and functionality.

Functional upholstered furniture fulfils both comfort-related and ergonomic requirements

Unfortunately, the seat height and depth of three-piece suites can't always be adjusted to individual requirements, in contrast to reclining chairs or television chairs designed to sit on for long periods. Which without dispute would be the ideal solution. Even so, there is a series of products where the couch and armchairs can be selected and combined with different seat heights and depths. This then permits back-friendly sitting also in the living room. So if there are people of different sizes living in the household or for visitors, it is possible to take everyone into consideration by appropriate combinations of different seat dimensions.

Alternatively, you can also fall back on an average standard height and and seat depth. In this case, however, it is highly recommended that a relax function is included in the sofa. Because quite honestly, how much time do you spend sitting on the sofa and how much time in a relaxed reclining position? After all, the upholstered sofa is often the retreat for the relaxing time of the day.

How do I know which dimensions are correct?

When sitting upright, your feet should rest comfortably on the floor, with the thighs and calves at an angle of approx. 90 degrees. When you're sitting, make sure that the front edge of the seat does not press against the back of your knees. Instead, it's better to allow for a gap at this point rather than having the calves being pressurised by the edge of the seat, which can cause unpleasant pressure after only a short period. This could also hinder the circulatory system which would soon make itself known by a tingling sensation in your calves or feet. A backrest that goes right up to the shoulders gives your back good support. The lumbar spine should preferably be supported by an adjustable lumbar or pelvic crest support or by special padding or a lordosis cushion and a spine-friendly design of the backrest.

What else matters when choosing a three-piece suite?

A lying function is not necessary for every seat but advisable for every person who uses the furniture frequently. It should be possible to integrate this kind of function on request. Here again, it is important to be able to make individual adjustments to the upper end of the backrest. A relax alternative is also, for example, a pull-out function with fold-down armrests. Finally, a couch is far more frequently used for relaxation in a supine position than a pure armchair. Different seat hardness settings are also ideal for satisfying subjective sitting comfort. Caution: "Firm or soft" padding certainly does not primarily indicate correct sitting. Even where good armchairs and couches are concerned, the principle still applies: keep moving to change the load! So don't stay sitting down for too long: instead, use the next set of TV adverts as a welcome opportunity for a little exercise.


  • A three-piece suite should be offered with different sitting heights, depths and ideally also widths, so that everyone can sit in an individually ideal position.
  • If you decide on an average standard height and/or depth, a reclining function must always be included. After all, the sofa is mainly used for precisely this relaxation position. Even better, without question, if the seat depth can be adjusted. This way, even tall people will find sufficient support in the sitting posture.
  • The backrest must support the spine along its full length right up to the shoulders. The furniture should also have an adjustable lumbar support or at least a spine-friendly shape, and offer support for the upper pelvic crest (waistline).
  • While three-piece suites are categorised as sitting furniture, they are frequently used for relaxation. An integrated lying function should therefore also be possible with the option of adjusting the head of the backrest. Alternatively, a pull-out function with fold-down armrests would also be recommended.
  • Firm or soft padding is not an indication of correct sitting, but does make a considerable contribution to personally subjective sitting comfort. Attention should therefore be paid to padding with different firmness levels, for the comfort of every user.

Minimum requirements

  • Different seat heights. Alternatively, average seat height in combination with a relax function.
  • Different seat depths. Alternative, average seat depth in combination with a recliner function.
  • Sufficient height for the backrest
  • Lumbar support or effective support of the lumbar spine
  • Good sitting comfort
  • It should be easy to change position and load

Also appropriate

  • Adjustment of the seat tilt. Alternatively, average seat height (approx. 450 mm) in combination with a relax function.
  • Headrest with adjustable height and tilt
  • Integration of a lying function incl. adjustment of backrest head
  • Heart balance position
  • Integrated or separate footrest
  • Combined seat depth and seat height adjustment
  • Different seat widths
  • Reclining function
  • Pull-out function and fold-down armrests
  • Stand-up function

Products in this sector with the AGR seal of approval


Unsuitable chairs

Poor sitting posture places an added burden on the spine

Design and ergonomics

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