Which is better: bench cushion or multiple cushions sofa?

Written by: Steven Lam

When selecting from various sofa and sectional designs, you often encounter a choice between two seat types: the bench cushion and multiple cushion seats. The question arises: which option is the right one for you?

Bench Seat Cushion Sofa

Pictured: Kent Sofa with Bench Cushion

To begin with, a bench cushion refers to a singular, elongated cushion that encompasses the entirety of the seating region of a sofa, in contrast to the presence of many distinct seat cushions. Based on my regular interactions with consumers, I have found that the main factors that lead individuals to choose a bench cushion are typically as follows:

Pros of a Bench Seat Couch

  • A single bench cushion creates a more clean and streamlined appearance to the sofa. When there are multiple split cushions that are very narrow it can look busy and un-proportional. Combining the seat cushions into a bench can be very effective to create a balanced look.

    example of small split cushions Bench cushion as an alternative when split seats are very narrow

  • The functionality of bench cushions extends beyond their visual appeal. In small spaces, their coherent silhouette maximizes seating area without contributing to a cramped feeling.

  • Having the ability to maximize how many people can fit on a sofa. A sofa with two cushions may give the impression of being designed for two individuals, despite being a standard three-seater. Likewise, a three-seater sofa can accommodate four people but may seem tailored for three. A bench cushion makes it easier to sit more people closer together and no one will get the unlucky “crack”.

  • There are fewer places to lose things: A single cushion also means there are less locations to misplace stuff on your sofa. Gaps between many seat cushions increase the number of areas where items might get misplaced.

  • Many of our customers at What A Room chooses a bench cushion because it provides a calm place to lie down or take a nice nap. They find that bench cushion provides a more comfortable sleeping experience. At times, we recommend our customers to choose our extra firm bench cushion giving a more supportive cushion that resembles a mattress.

Cons of a Single Seat Couch

  • A single bench cushion creates a more clean and streamlined appearance to the sofa. When there are multiple split cushions that are very narrow it can look busy and un-proportional. Combining the seat cushions into a bench can be very effective to create a balanced look.

  • Wrinkling may be more prominent since fabric stretches. Longer cushions tend to make it more obvious. Some customers like to use the sofa for napping and laying down. They find that sleeping on a bench cushion provides a more comfortable experience. At times, we even customize the firmness to be extra firm so it is supportive and more similar to a mattress.

  • While cleaning and removing covers may appear simple, it can be more intricate and challenging than dealing with smaller seat cushions. Replacing covers on a large foam insert can be difficult, and aligning the fabric to ensure straight seams is much easier with smaller cushions.

Multiple Cushions Sofa

Having explored the pros and cons of bench cushions, the focus now shifts to the advantages of multiple cushions. Many of the drawbacks associated with a bench cushion design serve to highlight the various benefits that split cushions can offer.

Pros of a Two or Three Cushions Couch

  • Ability to rotate cushions for longevity: Humans are creatures of habit, often gravitating towards the same spot on the sofa time and time again. This repeated use can cause the cushions in that area to break in and wear down faster compared to the others.

  • With split cushions, the ability to regularly rotate the individual seat cushions is a significant advantage. By switching up the placement of the cushions, you can ensure even wear and tear, preventing one section from becoming overly soft or misshapen. This helps maintain the overall comfort and appearance of the sofa for a longer period.

  • In contrast, a bench cushion design offers limited options for evening out the cushion wear. Without the flexibility to rotate the single, long cushion, the area that sees the most use is prone to developing an uneven, sunken-in look over time.

  • Balancing Proportions: While a bench cushion can be a suitable choice when split seat cushions appear too narrow or disproportionate for the sofa's dimensions, split cushions can be the better option if a single, long bench cushion starts to look overly expansive or out of scale for the frame.

  • Ease of cleaning: Multiple separable cushions are ideal for families with young children or pets since the seat may often be cleaned simply removing the covers for washing. You may pick and choose which ones need to be cleaned rather than having to deal with a bigger cover.

Cons of a Three Cushions Couch

  • Potential Gaps Between Cushions: This is pretty self explanatory. No one likes the “crack”. In addition, having two or three separate cushions can create gaps between them, which some users may find less comfortable, especially when lying down.

  • Potential for Uneven Appearance: Over time, the split cushions may develop an uneven look as the fabric and filling settle differently in each section. This becomes more apparent when someone does not rotate their cushions.

Which Seat Cushion is Better?

To make an informed decision based on your preferences for aesthetics, usefulness, and comfort, it is important to understand the pros and cons of bench cushions compared to split cushions. Bench cushions and split cushions provide unique advantages that respond to different needs and design preferences, whether your goal is to achieve a smooth appearance or prioritize practicality in seating configurations. The selection between bench cushions and split cushions for a sofa is ultimately a subjective decision that should be in accordance with one's lifestyle and design vision.