What are the Different Types of Upholstery Springs?

Marisa O'Connor

Different types of upholstery springs are used for different types of furniture. Coil and sinuous springs are used for chairs and couches, while Marshall springs are used in mattresses. The size and gauge of the spring can be adjusted to fit the furniture in question and to different levels of softness and firmness.

Coil springs may be used in chairs.
Coil springs may be used in chairs.

There are different types of upholstery springs that are designed for different types of furniture. Couches, chairs, and mattresses are examples of furniture that uses springs. The springs are usually located in the body of the furniture, covered by padded material for comfort. The purpose of these springs is to provide resilience and firmness as well as absorb shock.

Some mattresses are made using Marshall upholstery springs.
Some mattresses are made using Marshall upholstery springs.

Coil upholstery springs are used in chairs and couches. This type of spring is considered to be the best on the market and is made of coppered steel. They can often be found in new, high-end furniture as well as antiques. Coil springs have a reputation for outlasting the seats in which they are installed.

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Sinuous, also called zig-zag, upholstery springs are also used in chairs and couches. Sinuous springs are called zig-zag springs because the metal goes back and forth in a zig-zag fashion. They are attached to the seat in parallel lines, which are linked together for strength. These springs do not last as long as coil springs, but they are used more often because they are less expensive to make.

Marshall upholstery springs are mostly used in mattresses. These springs are made of steel and are enclosed in fabric. A firm mattress can be produced by precompressing Marshall springs. The more firm a mattress is, the less movement on one side will affect the other.

There are different types of spring gauges within each of the above types of upholstery springs. With coil springs, gauges range from eight to 11, whereas sinuous springs range from eight to 13. Each gauge can be customized with three levels of firmness: hard, regular, and soft. The sizes of the springs can range from about 3 inches (76.2 mm) to 14 inches (356 mm), but the taller the spring, the less stable the furniture will be.

Different types of upholstery springs are sometimes categorized by what type of furniture is being built or restored. For example, furniture springs are used for seating, while pillow springs are used for arms and backs of chairs or couches. Car seating uses springs called cushion springs or auto springs.

Car seating uses springs called cushion springs.
Car seating uses springs called cushion springs.

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Discussion Comments


You will probably be really surprised if you go to an upholstery store and take a look at the springs available. There are a so many different sizes and it can be really difficult to figure out what you need when you are refinishing a piece of furniture.

When I was refinishing our couch last month I ended up taking photos of the springs along to the store with me. I am quite good at handyman work, but I am not to great with technical terms.

The photos worked great and I was able to find the replacement springs I needed with little hassle. It's good to, because my wife would have been upset to see her favorite couch finally bite the dust.


When you are shopping for a bed it is a good idea to make sure that you like the upholstery springs that they have used. You really need to try out the bed to get a feel for how comfortable it will be for you and if it has enough give.

The mattress we brought a few years ago from a showroom actually had a variety of spring sizes available for us to choose from. The springs really decide how firm the mattress will be. Bigger thicker springs offer a lot more firmness, and last longer.

For myself I like a bed that is firm, but with a bit of bounce. I don't want to feel like I am sleeping on a board.

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