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Going back and forth between sofas and theater seating

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
My wife and I are at somewhat of a standstill with our seating choices. We each have our favorite but are not 100% committed in our choices and it could go either way. Whatever is decided, there will be two rows with the second row on a riser.

First option is the sofa (three seater) which is my wife's favorite. Her main issue is the "cuddle" factor of being able to sit closer and having the option of having guests sleep on the sofa if needed, like an extra bedroom (although we already have a guest bedroom/office). Whatever sofa we get would have to have built in recliners. My problem with this is that the "money seat" will be front and center, and it just feels awkward to me to sit in the center of a sofa with no arm rests. Two people sitting on the sofa would probably sit at different ends by the armrests, leaving the best seat in the room unused. In defense of the sofa, I could see being able to watch TV or a movie by myself and lie down across the sofa as being a plus. To the people who went the sofa route, has this been your experience? Do you sit in the middle even without armrests?

My favorite is the theater style seating (also three seater) such as the Berklines. The big advantage is that the money seat should be more comfortable with two armrests. We both agree that cup holders are a huge bonus. I feel like you can still cuddle with an armrest between you and your spouse, but not to the extend you could on a sofa. You lose the option to sleep guests in there, but I'm not really concerned about that because we have other places after the guest room for sleeping if needed (we do have family over somewhat regularly). To the people who have theater seating, can you still get a little close to your spouse, even with the armrest? I know these sound like silly questions, but cuddling is probably the driving factor in our decision here! That, and how awkward the center of the sofa feels.

Any other considerations with the sofa vs. theater seating debate? One other thing that may decide it all is the door to the home theater is up a flight of stairs. Open the door and there is a wall where you immediately turn left after going through the door to enter the room. Any sofa would have to come apart a pretty significant amount to fit, and it's my understanding that theater seating comes apart fairly easily into smaller parts. Thanks for any input!

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post #2 of 25
We went through the same decisions as you. In fact in our old house our dedicated theater was also upstairs and we had to disassemble the sofas on arrival to get them up the stairs mad.gif. Yes, almost everything out there can be broken apart. Anyway, in the end we went with one two-seat sectional sofa with a large console storage box between both reclining seats. This equates to two armrests for both seats. The storage console was the best investment. We keep all sorts of things in there including remotes, Xbox controllers and figures, and nail clippers. The other sofa is a three seat reclining sectional sofa with a non-reclining center section.

We have kids and kids visiting a lot. All wives and kids seem to prefer stretching out on the 3 seat sofa which I now have aligned against the wall to the right of the screen in our new house. This position was a necessity in our new house/family room setting. It is kind of an L shape layout with both sofas now. I usually sit in the sweet spot in the two seater with two armrests. I think it is a guy thing. Everyone else seems to pretty much sit, or rather, lay down on the three seater. Sitting in the sweet spot for sound and viewing is just not important to most folks out there. That's fine with me since it leaves me sitting in the sweet spot. If your theater is frequented by family time and kids, then I wouldn't go with two rows if possible. Comfort and social friendliness is what most folks enjoy.

In the end the most important thing for us was finding sofa/seats with big cushy upper headrests so we could recline way back and still have comfortable but solid head support while watching the screen. Definitely try out headrests while reclining on some showroom samples before buying. Comfort comes first!
post #3 of 25
Well, since my HT is also my living room, sofa was the only option that was going to have WAF. If alone, I lay on it. I don't find sweet spot varies too much in the 2 feet from center to left or right seat.
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
I guess I should clarify that the room is 100% home theater, but I don't know if that changes the arguments for sofas. We have a 5 year old son, but I think he could do theater seating. Also planning on having family and friends over for movies and sporting events.

Any input from those that went with theater seating? Are you comfortable with it?



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post #5 of 25
I'm locked in the same debate... The "cuddle" factor is the prime argument from her side, and the cup holders is my prime concern. I worry that without cup holders there will be a bunch of spilled drinks during sporting events when people in the back row try to put them down on the carpet. My thought was to put a knee wall behind the front couch that comes up in front of the riser that can house some built in cup holders. This idea was shot down fairly quickly, so the debate continues..

I'm very interested in what you decide...
post #6 of 25
I am also going couches. But not a dedicated room. I think that for a "dedicated theater" you need "theater seats" smile.gif
post #7 of 25
Why not the great compromise? Like this...

**edit: Won't allow links nor linked images, so it's a rialto theater seating with flip up arms from Seatcraft . specifically at Theaterseat dot com
Edited by scfoxman - 10/4/13 at 8:43am
post #8 of 25
I had the same debate with my wife. I lost that battle, but it was for the best in the end. We have a small to midsize room (21'x14') meant for general use, and I would only have been able to fit one row of 3, with maybe a bar table being those with a couple stools.

We ended up going with a sectional from IKEA that fits 5 adults very comfortably. It has worked out well. My daughter climbs all over it, and there is nothing to crack her head on. (3 years old)

The IKEA sofa comes in pieces and was breeze to assemble. Once assembled it still breaks into 3 sections that will still fit up our stairs. The backs should come off any reclining couch, but beware most sectionals. They get returned to furniture stores all the time because they don't like stairs.

post #9 of 25
We also went with a sectional, but our room is multipurpose. I had a dedicated theater room in my old house that I ended up using as a general media room. I set up my gaming computer and watched TV most nights. We had "theater" seating with a loveseat on one side and a single seat on the other (with an armrest and cup holders in the middle). I preferred the loveseat side, even when I was alone. It gave me more room to stretch out. (Think napping with golf on the big screen. LOL)

Not sure that helps, but it's my experience! tongue.gif
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the input! Like NickTheGreat mentioned, I think "theater seating" is partially what defines the room as a home theater (that, and the 120" screen).

I like the Rialto models with the flip-up armrests. The only downside is that the armrests look pretty wide and I'm already looking at "space saver" models. I need to keep the width close to that of a three-person sofa (~90-94"). I'll keep looking around for models with flip-up armrests that will fit in my space.

My wife confessed that she is starting to lean more towards the theater seating. We're going to try and find a furniture store tomorrow to try out a few options. She's really big on having them be super cushy, almost like you would sink into them when sitting down. I've read reviews on some of the Berklines that mentioned them being harder. We'll just have to see what we like. Right now, I'm leaning towards something like the Berkline Tangiers 13175 since they seem pretty popular and they fit the budget.

Thanks for all the advice! I'll update after we get a chance to try out some more theater seating.
post #11 of 25
We went through this as well, and while we've come to a decision, I haven't purchased yet.

Our decision is Fusion Jives in a sofa configuration (integrated arms only at the ends). I understand (though I haven't confirmed with Roman) that all three seats in a sofa configuration still get power recline. We have decided to purchase the accessory arms to fit between the seat cushions, so that the seats can be made to be separate feeling, with each having at least one cup holder. As a bonus, this is the smallest configuration I could find for my narrow room (just under 12' finished).


post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flatland2D View Post

I guess I should clarify that the room is 100% home theater, but I don't know if that changes the arguments for sofas. We have a 5 year old son, but I think he could do theater seating. Also planning on having family and friends over for movies and sporting events.

Any input from those that went with theater seating? Are you comfortable with it?



Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2

Movies, theater seats are nice. A bunch of friends for sports, I think the casual layout of sofas is actually better. You stay more engaged with the other viewers as opposed to pure forward focus.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lespurgeon View Post

Movies, theater seats are nice. A bunch of friends for sports, I think the casual layout of sofas is actually better. You stay more engaged with the other viewers as opposed to pure forward focus.

That's interesting and something I hadn't though of. At this point I think it will be more movies than sports, at least with others around. My wife and I will be watching a lot of football and basketball games in there, but probably without company.

However, I think we might be going the theater seating route. We stopped at an Ashley's and Rooms To Go which each had a limited selection of seating. We both really like the power recline. We also like the idea of having USB phone chargers and removable table tops on each chair.
post #14 of 25
We ended up in the same situation a few months ago. We ended up going with theater seats from Macys. They give the best of both worlds. We have the love seat center and separate outsides. You can move all six pieces to your liking. Plus they are all power recline.

http://www1.macys.com/shop/product/justin-ii-fabric-reclining-sectional-sofa-6-piece-power-recliner-4-power-motion-recliners-2-consoles-124w-x-53d-x-39h?ID=838211&CategoryID=29391&LinkType=PDPZ1
post #15 of 25
I would suggest giving some serious thought to power recline. We bought a couple of power recliners for our den, which is right off of the kitchen and dining room. We use them frequently in the early evening for casual TV watching. They are small, leather and super comfortable….but they are slow! Sit down and press the button….wait for the chair to get into position. And don’t plan on getting up fast. It can be frustrating if the phone rings or if you need to jump up to stop the dog from chewing something. LOL

Don’t get me wrong. I like being able to stop the chair at any angle I want and pressing the button brings out my inner child, but the power recline is not the nirvana I expected when I bought it. So please give it some thought and make sure it is what you want.
tongue.gif
post #16 of 25
I'm going with a front row of 3 theater recliners and the back row will be a sofa on a riser.

We've just had the sofa in there until now (picking up my theater recliners after work today), and, quite frankly, it screws up my back. I like having it for laying down when it's just me, but when we sit up to watch a movie, the natural inclination to lean into the center usually has me in pain by the end of the night. And we don't cuddle up so much that having the armrest there to help keep me up straight will affect things too much.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrillcat View Post

I'm going with a front row of 3 theater recliners and the back row will be a sofa on a riser.

I like having it for laying down when it's just me...

Note that if the sofa is in your second row, your sight line while laying down is much different than from the seated position. I had mentioned the same scenario to a seating rep when I was building my theater, and he correctly warned me about that. Even on the riser, your eyes may not clear the seat back in front of you. You can avoid that if you put the sofa in the front row, but that probably changes a lot of your thinking...

I also liked to lay down while watching movies, but I've gotten very used to the recliners in the theater such that I don't miss not being able to do that. But I also don't do casual TV viewing in that room - my answer would be different if my theater was in the family room.

Same opinion on the power recliner - they gives you a lot more comfort / adjustments, but quickness to get up is NOT a feature. Which is probably why guests/kids tip them forward all the time scurrying out of the chair instead of power-lowering it first! I agree that for a family room, the manual recliners may be a better choice. Or perhaps a mix...


Jeff
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Note that if the sofa is in your second row, your sight line while laying down is much different than from the seated position. I had mentioned the same scenario to a seating rep when I was building my theater, and he correctly warned me about that. Even on the riser, your eyes may not clear the seat back in front of you. You can avoid that if you put the sofa in the front row, but that probably changes a lot of your thinking...

Jeff

Excellent point, and one I've considered. I think I'm hoping that, like you, the recliners will be enough of a relaxation mode that I won't need to lie down sideways. I always hate what lying on my side does to the sound field anyway.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorchad View Post

I would suggest giving some serious thought to power recline. We bought a couple of power recliners for our den, which is right off of the kitchen and dining room. We use them frequently in the early evening for casual TV watching. They are small, leather and super comfortable….but they are slow! Sit down and press the button….wait for the chair to get into position. And don’t plan on getting up fast. It can be frustrating if the phone rings or if you need to jump up to stop the dog from chewing something. LOL

Don’t get me wrong. I like being able to stop the chair at any angle I want and pressing the button brings out my inner child, but the power recline is not the nirvana I expected when I bought it. So please give it some thought and make sure it is what you want.
tongue.gif

Ours are pretty slow too. But the motors and mechanisms are really good compared to the cheaper rooms to go stuff. Those motors are very fast but louder. We ended up putting our phone and remote charger in one of the storage consoles so we don't have to get up. We don't have the dog problem so I can't help you there. smile.gif
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred View Post

We went through this as well, and while we've come to a decision, I haven't purchased yet.

Our decision is Fusion Jives in a sofa configuration (integrated arms only at the ends). I understand (though I haven't confirmed with Roman) that all three seats in a sofa configuration still get power recline. We have decided to purchase the accessory arms to fit between the seat cushions, so that the seats can be made to be separate feeling, with each having at least one cup holder. As a bonus, this is the smallest configuration I could find for my narrow room (just under 12' finished).



If you do end up getting this please post pics and your thoughts. This was actually an option I've been thinking of but with 4 chairs in a sofa option with the Fusion Jives.
I as well am limited in space in terms of width. and need to keep the seating around 112" but want to have at least 7' of actual seat space which is essentially unheard
of in a sofa option. I still have not found one that can work for me AND not be real expensive. Sure there are custom sofas but I don't/can't spend over 2K for my seating.
post #21 of 25
^ Agreed. Would like to know what you decided on the Fusion Jive layout, as I'm facing a similar issue (13' wide room).
post #22 of 25
Me and the wife battled over this one also. And after a while I decided that she is right and were going with a couch rolleyes.gif

But seriously the way my room is I did decide it's just easier to go with more of a "media room" then a dedicated theater room. Maybe my next house will have a better laid out basement were I can do a fully dedicated theater then I would do levels with seats for sure.
post #23 of 25

I went back and forth on this when I was building my room.  Before building the room I was 100% convinced I was going to buy dedicated theater seats.  That was then and this is now.  I spent hours at furniture stores sitting in recliner sofas, theater chairs etc.  My buddy had some decent theater chairs and I sat in those for about 1/2 an hour while watching some tv one day.  I ended up with power reclining section sofas.  I was able to buy just the sections I wanted to create the right size for my room.  I had the option of buying sections that had arm rests to separate the seats but I chose to keep the seats open to each other.  I use throw pillows as arm rests and they work fine.  One thing to remember is arm rests in some chairs are spaced far apart and smaller or skinny people may not even be able to comfortably rest their arms on them anyway.  On mine now people are able to lay down across the chairs or intermingle across chairs etc.  My seating would have been limited to 6 or maybe 8 and now I can seat 10 comfortably.  I don't regret the decision for a minute.  I'm 6', 205 lbs and have a family of 3.

 

post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by RLBIL View Post

I went back and forth on this when I was building my room.  Before building the room I was 100% convinced I was going to buy dedicated theater seats.  That was then and this is now.  I spent hours at furniture stores sitting in recliner sofas, theater chairs etc.  My buddy had some decent theater chairs and I sat in those for about 1/2 an hour while watching some tv one day.  I ended up with power reclining section sofas.  I was able to buy just the sections I wanted to create the right size for my room.  I had the option of buying sections that had arm rests to separate the seats but I chose to keep the seats open to each other.  I use throw pillows as arm rests and they work fine.  One thing to remember is arm rests in some chairs are spaced far apart and smaller or skinny people may not even be able to comfortably rest their arms on them anyway.  On mine now people are able to lay down across the chairs or intermingle across chairs etc.  My seating would have been limited to 6 or maybe 8 and now I can seat 10 comfortably.  I don't regret the decision for a minute.  I'm 6', 205 lbs and have a family of 3.





Too funny RLBIL that you posted here as well. Everyone here you should check out his theater post, nice job on it.
Please do tell about your seating, as far as dimensions/whatnot. And what it actually is, thx so much.
post #25 of 25

Well I think your location and access may answer the question but in my last house I had a dedicated room, but it was also "my" primary tv watching location.  We used two rows of sofa's (front was a 10' sofa 2nd row was two 8' sofa).  I really liked the ability to lay down and when my son's friends came over they could really pack in the seating:rolleyes:

In my new house we decided to go with theater seats with power recline along with a rear bar - I have just started using this room but do like the recline for movie watching.  I am not able to get as many people packed into the room but not sure this is a "bad" aspect.  Depending on your room width and how many seats your will include per row I would suggest allowing one area of 3 seats w/o arm rests between that could be used for the lay down viewing option (I don't have this but have already received feedback from family members that want to lay down vs recline)

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