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- A sofa or couch will likely be one of the biggest investments you make in your home.
- We spoke with two experts to learn more about finding a sofa or couch that you’ll love.
- These nine brands offer stylish designs, sturdy materials, and great customer service.
A new sofa or couch can be a big investment. Whether you’re planning to relax, work, or even sleep on your couch, you’ll need a sofa that’s built for comfort. You’ll also want to purchase a couch that is durable enough to survive spills, accidents, and everyday wear and tear.
We spoke with Stephen Kuhl, co-founder, and CEO of popular furniture brand Burrow, and Beth Wangman, an interior designer of over 25 years who currently works as a senior designer for non-profit Digs with Dignity in addition to running her own design business. We compiled their advice to curate a selection of brands that combine striking designs, durable materials, and a great customer experience. Our selection also features brands that cater to various price points, making it easy to find a solid sofa or couch no matter your budget.
Kuhl and Wangman also shared advice on shopping for sofas and couches on a budget, the best materials to look for when shopping, and how to navigate shopping for a couch online versus in-store.
Here are the best places to buy sofas and couches in 2021
If you’re looking to avoid the typical challenges associated with purchasing furniture online, Burrow offers a seamless shopping experience, speedy delivery, and durable sofas and couches.
When creating Burrow, its founders sought to address the pain points of shopping for large furniture, including poor delivery experiences, unfair warranties, subpar quality, and high prices. Burrow offers “very simple elegant solutions to designing furniture so that it can be shopped more easily, delivered more conveniently, and be more functional and durable in people’s homes,” said Kuhl.
The brand uses a direct-to-consumer (DTC) model to offer high-quality, customized sofas at a fraction of the cost of traditional retailers and is also very open about its production process, which includes rigorous sofa testing. As “Burrow is meant to be the evolution of furniture” said Kuhl, it offers many modular sofas designed to grow with you as your seating needs change over time.
This feature persuaded Insider Reviews’ senior editor Lauren Savoie to purchase a Burrow sofa after a lengthy search. “One concern was how we were even going to get a sofa up our staircase (the previous tenants had to take a chainsaw to their couch to get it out!). When I saw Burrow’s Nomad sofa comes apart in chair-sized sections, I was sold,” she says. “I love that it’s not going to be a nightmare to move, and that we can add or remove sections to suit whatever apartment we end up in next.”
All Burrow sofas are equipped with built-in USB ports, and offer easy, tool-free assembly. Each sofa is designed to prioritize comfort, with a layered foam design. Customers can customize their couch in several ways, such as choosing fabrics and colors, leg finishes, and arm shape. Add-ons are also available, including matching chaises, ottomans, and pillows depending on the design of the sofa.
What to buy:
While custom-made sofas can take several months to arrive, Benchmade Modern offers custom options constructed in about five weeks.
Benchmade Modern specializes in custom furniture for those looking to purchase a custom sofa on a tight timeline. Compared to the industry standard of waiting 14 weeks to receive your handcrafted sofa, Benchmade Modern takes a shorter amount of time, while maintaining high quality.
The brand also prioritizes creating sofas that are made to be lived on and enjoyed, so it uses durable family-friendly, and pet-friendly performance fabrics. It also offers a wide color and fabric selection, allowing you to choose from bold pops of color or more neutral tones. You can also customize the sofa legs and cushion type depending on whether you’d prefer to fluff your cushions frequently or not.
As for assembly, most of Benchmade Modern’s furniture is shipped fully assembled and only requires a quick leg assembly. Although the brand specializes in fast construction, it is currently experiencing some pandemic-related delays, so we strongly recommend paying close attention to estimated delivery timelines if you’re in a crunch.
What to buy:
Article provides customers with long-lasting furniture at a fair price point.
Article uses a DTC model to offer its stylish furniture at prices up to 30% cheaper than traditional retailers. The brand has a mix of pre-made ready-to-ship sofas as well as customizable sofas.
Article’s designs are both modern and vintage influenced, making it easy for customers to find unique sofas that will complement their living spaces. Many of the brand’s sofas are modular and can be arranged to be left- or right-facing depending on your preferences.
With few exceptions, Article’s sofas either don’t require assembly, or have a simple assembly that should take under 15 minutes.
Article is also Wangman’s top retailer for purchasing a quality sofa online; she said she loves the brand’s great pricing, high quality, and fair return policy.
What to buy:
Popular mattress brand Zinus also offers affordable sofas, all priced under $500.
While splurging on a sofa is an option for some, many of us are working on a tighter budget, making Zinus‘ affordable sofa selection the best place to start shopping. While most of the brand’s best-selling items are priced under $500, you’ll still be getting something solidly built. The sofas are pre-made, but the brand offers unique designs that you likely won’t find elsewhere at a similar price.
All of Zinus’ couches have a no-tool assembly and take less than 30 minutes to fully assemble. Each sofa’s product page includes assembly instructions just in case you misplace them, as well as care and cleaning instructions. The brand also offers a generous 100-day trial period on all of its products.
What to buy:
Crate & Barrel
Crate & Barrel offers structurally unique sofas that can be customized to your liking.
If you’re looking to add a high-quality piece to your living area, Crate & Barrel offers several sofa options. The brand has more than ten sofa collections, each available in different fabric colors. Many of its sofas are made of sustainably-sourced materials such as chenille, velvet, and polyester. It also offers full fabric breakdowns, which can be found by simply hovering over each fabric option on the website, and includes information on the fabrics origin and durability. Although on the pricier side, the quality is unmatched, making Crate & Barrel’s sofas worth the splurge.
While assembly varies by sofa, Crate & Barrel offers white-glove assembly for an additional fee. The brand is currently experiencing delays across its wide selection, but offers stock color options that are ready to ship if you don’t want to wait for a custom couch.
What to buy:
Popular home brand Wayfair offers customers multiple sofa designs and styles, all available at a variety of price points.
If you’re unsure exactly what style couch you’re looking for or are working with a tight budget and still want tons of options, you’ll want to shop with Wayfair as it offers various styles and unique brands. Some of the brands available at Wayfair include pieces from its sister brand AllModern, as well as sofas from family-owned brand, Novogratz.
You can also avoid extreme delays some other retailers are experiencing by shopping with Wayfair. However, if you’re looking for a custom-designed sofa, Wayfair may not be the best choice as most of its sofas are pre-made.
Wayfair offers some of the most extensive customer service hours in the industry; its team is available daily until midnight EST, ensuring you’ll be able to get in contact with someone if you experience any issues.
Assembly varies widely by sofa, but each product page includes assembly instructions, which we recommend looking through before deciding on a sofa.
Wangman likes Wayfair for its budget-friendly prices but strongly suggests closely reading reviews prior to making a purchase.
What to buy:
Well known for its modern, stylish designs, you’re sure to find a stunning sofa or couch while shopping at West Elm.
West Elm is another must-shop brand if you’re looking for a modern, conversation-starting sofa or couch. The brand specializes in quality furniture and its customization options include sofa size, fabric, color, and more.
Sofa assembly varies by item, and assembly instructions, as well as care instructions, are listed on the site, with some couches even having care instruction videos.
While the retailer is currently experiencing delays on certain sofa models, it has many options that are in stock and ready to ship. We recommend reading estimated ship times carefully before purchasing.
As some customers have experienced issues with certain West Elm sofas, we also strongly recommend reading the reviews of any sofas you’re interested in to ensure you’ll receive the best quality.
What to buy:
Raymour & Flanigan
Raymour & Flanigan has been providing quality furniture at various price points for several decades, and is well trusted by many consumers.
Raymour & Flanigan is a well-known option for furniture shopping due to its wide variety of durable, high-quality furniture. Search the site by your preferred back style, color, fabric, reclining features, and more to find the sofa of your dreams. The retailer is great for those looking for classically designed sofas that will remain in style as home design trends shift.
The brand is one of the few in this guide that offers in-person shopping, with some sofas available for pickup directly from its showrooms, which quickly eliminates long waiting times.
Each couch requires different levels of assembly, with instructions available on each product page.
What to buy:
Interior Define allows customers to create a totally unique custom sofa completely from scratch.
If you’re looking for a full custom sofa creation experience, Interior Define specializes in offering its customers total control when designing their sofas. Customers can choose fabric type and color, legs, couch size, couch depth, seat cushions, and cushion fill for thousands of possible combinations. The brand also offers short clips of people of varying height sitting on each sofa, so that you can get a feel for its true fit.
The brand has several different types of performance fabrics available including performance velvet, performance basketweave, performance tweed, and more. These fabrics are key to a durable and stain-resistant sofa.
Interior Define also offers options for those who don’t want to wait for a custom sofa to be constructed, with its Quick Ship page featuring items that usually ship within 2 to 3 weeks.
What to buy:
What are the differences between sofas and couches?
While many designers prefer to use the word “sofa” to indicate luxury or higher quality, the terms “sofa” and “couch” can be used interchangeably and refer to the same item, so search both while shopping.
What are the best sofa and couch materials for durability and comfort? Are there specific materials parents and pet owners should look for?
If you’re spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a new sofa you’ll want to make sure your new investment will last through everyday wear and tear, spills, and other accidents that are bound to happen. You’ll also want a couch that continues to feel comfortable over time. Kuhl recommends looking for couches made with olefin yarn as “it’s sustainable, it’s super durable and soft.”
If you have children or pets, you should look for fabrics labeled as “performance.” Performance fabric has been treated to be more durable against spills and heavy usage. You can find performance versions of your favorite fabrics including velvet, linen, microsuede, chenille, tweed, and more. Parents and pet parents might want to look for sofas with removable covers that can be washed or replaced as needed. Our experts also recommend parents choose a couch with fewer cushions, as cushions will eventually show signs of heavier use.
Where do I start when looking for a sofa online?
Shopping for a new sofa can be a difficult task, especially when shopping online and being unable to judge the materials, and comfort of the sofa.
You should start your process by establishing a realistic budget that will ensure quality while also allowing you to avoid overpaying. “Sofas are definitely a category where you get what you pay for, for the most part,” said Kuhl. You’ll also want to think about the main functions you desire from your sofa. Whether you’re looking for a couch based on aesthetic, design, comfort, or durability, you’ll want to establish these factors prior to shopping.
After you’ve determined the key functions you’re looking for, you’ll want to seek out brands that offer those features and go from there. Do some research and become familiar with the brand’s return and warranty policies and make sure you have a clear way to contact customer service in the case that any issues arise. Pay close attention to reviews, as they will quickly help you determine a sofa’s quality, comfort, and even any major design flaws.
Lastly, as many brands are currently experiencing pandemic-related shipping delays, you should also be looking for estimated shipping dates while shopping.
How do I choose the best sofa size and proportions for my space?
In addition to taking accurate measurements, it’s important to consider size, scale, and proportion when purchasing a new sofa. Wangman recommends that customers sketch out a floor plan of their space that includes the length and width of the room as well as the ceiling height. If you’re not comfortable drawing a floor plan out by hand, she also recommends using free floor plan software programs such as SketchUp, SmartDraw, or Draft It.
What does a good sofa or couch cost?
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How can I afford a sofa or couch on a budget? How do I budget for a sofa/couch?
Many brands currently offer financing through third-party partners such as Affirm, or through opening a store credit card. Many of these options include a 0% APR time period that can last anywhere from 12 to 18 months depending on the price of the items purchased.
However, if you don’t pay off the entire balance by the end of the 0% APR time period you’ll be stuck paying off high amounts of interest.
If you don’t have a huge budget but are in need of a new sofa or couch you have a few options. First, consider shopping with more budget-friendly retailers such as Wayfair and Zinus. You can also wait for sales, which typically occur during the summertime and during major sale events like Black Friday.
Our experts recommend, if you can, spending more money initially to ensure you’ll purchase a piece that will last you a long time versus having to constantly replace cheaper-made furniture every few years. Another tip is to buy modular furniture (Burrow is a popular option) that can be added on to and adjusted over time, allowing you to slowly expand your seating as your budget increases. You can also purchase a smaller sofa or couch with a chaise, which will allow for additional seating space at a lower price.
Should I purchase a pre-made or custom couch?
When deciding whether to purchase a pre-made or custom couch, you should consider two main factors: budget and timeframe. While custom couches allow you to choose the fabric, style, and even the legs of a sofa, you’ll also have to wait several weeks to months for the couch to arrive due to the custom nature of the sofa. Custom sofas also typically come at a higher price. While pre-made couches don’t allow customers as much design flexibility, they are available in many designs and fabrics, typically have a lower price point, and offer faster shipping times. Overall if you have time to wait and a higher budget, a custom couch can be a unique fixture in your home and better match the rest of your decor.
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