Many of us have been there before—sitting on a chair only for it to buckle underneath us, grabbing a towel after a shower just to discover that it’s entirely too small. Just like with clothing, the furniture in our lives needs to work for and support our bodies. So, we chatted with Leslie Jeffries, Managing Editor at Hayneedle, the leading online home décor retailer, to learn exactly what we should look for when it comes to making our homes as accommodating as possible. After all, ’tis the season for hosting—and every guest should feel as comfortable as possible.
Dia&Co: When it comes to picking out armchairs and sofas for larger bodies, what styles should we look for?
LJ: Specifically for larger-sized family members and friends, here are some rules of thumb to keep in mind.
Weight Capacity: Always look for specific weight capacity on furniture in the specs. If it’s not there, ask for it.
Legs: Block feet and wider legs generally provide more stability than spindly styles. But still, check the specifications and details on how the piece is made first. Some sofas will also include a middle leg, in addition to the two on the sides, offering additional support. Look out for 8-way hand-tied coils, which indicate superior construction.
Armchairs: Armless slipper accent chairs like this one pictured at right are a great addition to any room, and armless chairs provide more flexibility, allowing for more sizes to fit comfortably. Chair-and-a-half style accent chairs are cozy for two but can also comfortably accommodate one.
Cushions: Sofas with firmer cushions are easier to sit on than low, loosely filled cushions. Avoid styles that you sink into as they are less accommodating to those with limited mobility. Firmer cushions allow easier in and out.
Dia&Co: Is pricier furniture sturdier than what is available at a lower price point?
LJ: Not necessarily! The furniture industry has become much more aware of the customers’ needs. Read the specifications of the item, in particular, the material and the weight capacity. Wood frames are remarkably strong and can be affordable. What makes a big difference in comfort is the density of foam cushions, so look for firmer cushions, like the cushions on this velvet sofa pictured at right, to accommodate larger sizes.
Dia&Co: Does ready-to-assemble furniture support as well as pre-assembled furniture?
Hayneedle: Ready-to-assemble furniture works just as well as pre-assembled furniture. What’s most important is the quality of the materials and careful assembly. As an online furniture and décor company that’s been around for over a decade, we’ve seen all major manufacturers at every price point grow in all areas.
Dia&Co: How can we assure that a bed is sturdy enough to support two plus-size bodies?
Hayneedle: Both the mattress and the frame are important to consider when it comes to supportive beds. There are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for the right mattress and frame. When it comes to the bed frame, steel, reinforced, or welded frames are great as they’re generally sturdy. Take a peek at this heavy duty metal bed frame (that has a weight capacity of 1000lbs) to get an idea. For mattresses, look for a thickness of at least 10 inches and high-density foam mattresses labeled as firm.
Dia&Co: It’s that time of year where many of us either will be an overnight guest or will be hosting overnight guests! What are some reliable temporary bedding solutions?
Hayneedle: Most quality air mattresses from well-known brands like Coleman and Pittman state a 300-pound weight capacity, but that may not work for everybody. Keep in mind some additional choices for guests such as futons and high-density foam fold-over-type furniture that converts to a bed. Most futons by DHP furniture boast a weight capacity of 600 lbs.
Dia&Co: Towels, especially at gyms and spas, can be too small to wrap around ourselves. What sizes of bath towels do you recommend for larger bodies?
Hayneedle: Try shopping bath sheets, which are just like bath towels but larger, typically measuring 35 inches x 60 inches. If you’re looking for something you already own, opt for a beach towel as they are significantly longer than bath towels. Our favorite is the very on-trend Turkish or “Fouta” towels. At 72 inches x 34 inches, they’re more than twice the size of regular bath towels, made of super comfortable lightweight cotton, and come in an array of global and boho patterns and colors.
Dia&Co: What is one easy thing that we can do to make our home as guest-friendly as possible this holiday season?
Hayneedle: Think of a variety of seating options and heights, groupings of gathering spaces, and plenty of room to move around the space and breathe. In the end, all that really matters is mindfulness. Be aware of the needs of others, imagine yourself in others’ shoes as you go through your house, and choose well-made furniture with consideration. These are the things that will make your guests feel loved and will make you feel good about your home.