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While there are numerous benefits to purchasing furniture online, such as the ability to scroll through hundreds of designs and click “add to cart” from the comfort of your, well, potentially sagging sofa, a clear disadvantage is the ability to try each piece out for yourself.
Meet the experts
At Living Cozy, we produce our content alongside interior design and home decor experts. In this guide, you’ll advice from:
While factors such as style and color scheme are certainly more fun to consider when selecting your new sofa, it’s important to keep the measurements of both your sofa and your living space in mind as well.
“Make sure you can accommodate the size of the sofa when moving it into your home,” says Megan Torres. “Are there any tight hallways or turns that might pose a challenge and, if so, do you have the ceiling clearance to put the sofa on its end while moving?”
Key measurements that are often overlooked are doorways and entrances. Ensure that the sofa can fit through one of the entry points of your home and up the staircases, especially when furnishing spaces such as basements or attics.”
April Gandy agrees, and suggests downloading a floor planning app so that you can play with dimensions for seating. “You want to ensure that you have enough room to move around the sofa comfortably, but not choose a sofa so small that it doesn’t fill the space properly,” says Gandy. “Key measurements that are often overlooked are doorways and entrances. Ensure that the sofa can fit through one of the entry points of your home and up the staircases, especially when furnishing spaces such as basements or attics.”
Anna Franklin also warns about dooways, encouraging you to measure “diagonal opening of all doorways in your house before you make a purchase.” Franklin also recommends keeping key measurements handy at all times: “Make sure you have these numbers in your phone or written down when you are shopping so you can make sure it will fit and work while you are shopping.”
Andrea Rathborne advises clients to keep sun exposure in mind when placing their sofa. “As much as a big, beautiful window with plenty of light pouring in is appealing, almost all materials and fabrics are subject to the incredible power of the sun,” says Rathborne. “A sofa that sits in the sunlight for a great deal of time or, if part of the sofa is in the sun while another part is not, will endure fading or discoloration over time.”
Once you’ve gotten your room measurements down, ensuring that the dimensions of the sofa fit the space is key.
“You’ll want to start by making sure the sofa fits proportionally into your room,” says Megan Torres. “Many people make the mistake of buying the largest possible sofa for their space, but this can make a room look crowded or heavy. Instead, think about proportions so that everything in the room works together.”
Many people make the mistake of buying the largest possible sofa for their space, but this can make a room look crowded or heavy."
Andrea Rathborne recommends considering the size of the people that will be using the sofa while shopping. “If the humans that will be using the sofa are smaller in stature, they will perhaps like a sofa that has a lower profile and a shallow seat depth,” says Rathborne. On the other hand, “folks who are taller in stature might look for a higher profile sofa with a deeper seat and higher back and arm rests.”
"Finally, consider the height of your ceilings. A higher ceiling will allow for a taller sofa, while a lower ceiling may require a shallow sofa," advises Karen Rohr.
Tip: BenchMade Modern sends you a life-sized paper printout of your custom-sized sofa. You can use this to double check the sizing in your room as well as the clearance for moving the sofa inside.
Once you’ve selected your sofa, the next challenge is getting it home to you. Delivery processes and their associated costs vary from brand to brand. Many offer free shipping, while others offer a flat fee or adjust costs based on your zip code. Be sure to check out delivery processes before purchasing your sofa, information often found on the FAQ page of your brand’s site.
Many are surprised to learn the range of pricing when it comes to sofas. Before you start shopping, know how much you’re looking to spend. This will help guide you towards either high or low budget brands, and inform you on what materials, such as upholstery or wood quality, are realistic.
In this day and age, however, there are a variety of performance fabrics or faux options that mimic pricey materials, such as velvet or leather, if you have your heart set on a specific fabric.
What Makes a High-Quality Sofa
According to Megan Torres, “a sofa is an investment… you’ll want a piece that withstands the test of time rather than something disposable that quickly looks worn.”
So, how can you tell if a sofa is high quality? Our team of experts break it down below.
A high quality sofa frame is sure to make any piece of furniture last a long time. According to Margarita Bravo, “a durable frame ensures a sofa’s longevity. Soft wood, like pine, is inexpensive, but it may distort or sag after five years.”
For those looking for material guaranteed to last a long time, Bravo suggests a hardwood frame, such as kiln-dried oak, ash, or beech.
When it comes to the construction of the frame, Andrea Rathborne recommends looking for the term “corner blocked” in the description of the sofa’s structure, as quality sofas are typically constructed with a piece of wood at the couch’s joints to help improve stability.
"It should be made from sturdy wood, such as oak or maple, and it should be put together with dowels, screws, and corner blocks for added stability. The legs should also be securely attached to the frame," adds Karen Rohr.
Next, take a look at the sofa’s suspension system. According to Andrea Rathborne, “just like in a car, a solid suspension system will make the ‘sit experience’ a smooth one.” Rathborne recommends looking for a support suspension system made of a strong material, like rubber.
Fact: Eight way hand tied springs are the gold standard in sofa suspension systems, as the ability to install the system requires a highly skilled craftsperson. Many are fearful that the technique will become extinct as stronger materials are introduced to the furniture industry.
As anyone who’s ever sat on an overly dense, uncomfortable sofa knows, the quality of sofa cushions makes a big difference in both everyday comfort and overall longevity.
When shopping for a new sofa, Megan Torres recommends asking about the foam density of the cushions, “as this will tell you the quality of the foam being used, and how it will stand up over time.”
Below are four different types of cushion filling to look out for.
Poly-wrapped foam: Also used in items such as mattress toppers, poly-wrapped foam is high-resiliency foam that holds its shape and bounces back after compression. Poly-wrapped foam is usually synthetic, and offers more support than natural materials.
Down: Soft and cushy down is recommended for those who prefer minimal support from sofa cushions. Down sofa cushions tend to change shape with use, giving the sofa a more weathered appearance.
Innerspring core: Innerspring cores have been used in mattresses forever, and in room furniture items, such as sofas, more recently. Cushions that feature innerspring cores feel bouncy, and can fit a wide range of budgets.
Memory foam: Memory foam consists of between two to five foam layers that mold around the body. While memory foam does vary in quality, cushions made from the material are known for their longevity– typically lasting upwards of eight years.
Upholstery and Fabric
Finally, consider what type of fabric is covering the sofa. Upholstery is the sofa’s key layer of defense between the environment and its inner workings, so it's important to choose a material that matches your lifestyle. Megan Torres recommended considering performance fabrics for sofas in high-traffic areas, particularly those frequently used by kids and pets.
We’ll go more in-depth on upholstery later on in the guide.
Finally, consider the features you’d like your ideal sofa to include. To meet the needs of customers and offer more customization options, sofas may incorporate features including cupholders, reclining seats, built-in mattresses, replaceable covers, built-in storage, and other amenities. Other sofas contain ports for device charging as well as built-in cooling systems.
According to Margarita Bravo, “sifting through the variety of options available might be made more accessible by knowing what you would appreciate the most” in a sofa. For those that haven’t purchased a sofa in a long time, you might be surprised by the featured offered by sofas today!
About the brand: With a mission to offer high-quality, timeless pieces, Maiden Home offers a wide selection of furniture handcrafted in North Carolina by the finest artisans. The brand hand selects each material used in its pieces to achieve beauty, texture, and longevity.
Starting price for a sofa: $2,025 for a three-seat sofa
What we liked:
According to our reviewer, Zoë Roscoe, shopping with Maiden Home is “extremely easy,” as “you don’t have to sift through pages of items to find what you want.”
Of the brand’s 10 sofa styles, Roscoe found The Jones Sofa attractive for its modularity, which can grow and change to accommodate her changing lifestyle in the NYC area. “With The Jones Sofa, you can add and remove sections to fit the dimensions of your changing space,” Roscoe said.
Reviewer Natalli Amato was impressed with Maiden Home’s online shopping experience, which “provides helpful descriptions that allows everyday people to understand the differentiations between fabrics.” Amato also mentions the brand’s free design consultation service for anyone who’d like to chat through styles and fabrics before purchasing.
In Amato’s experience, the photos she saw online matched up with what arrived on her doorstep, and was impressed with the white glove delivery option, which allowed her to schedule the date and time of both delivery and assembly.
Return policy: Maiden Home offers full refunds within 30 days of purchase, unless the item is excessively damaged or soiled.
Shipping: Regardless of size or spend of the item purchased, customers pay a flat fee of $135 for product shipping. For smaller items, such as stools, the brand offers free shipping.
Warranty: Maiden Home offers a lifetime limited warranty on its frames, spring systems, and hardware, and a 2-year limited warranty for mechanisms including gliders and swivels.
About the brand:BenchMade Modern is a rebellious luxury brand that demands style and quality from all of its products. Each of its hand-crafted pieces are highly customizable, upholding the belief that all pieces should be built to fit your unique space.
Starting price for a sofa: $2,833 for a three-seat sofa
What we liked:
Our team was impressed with BenchMade’s easy customization, online tools, and a delivery timeline that did, indeed, arrive at the doorsteps of our reviewers in just four weeks.
BenchMade is known for making ordering furniture online easy with tools that let you visualize the piece in your space. According to our reviewer, who ordered the Skinny Fat sofa, “ordering a couch online can be stressful, but BenchMade Modern made it actually exciting.”
In addition to playing around with the online tool, our reviewer requested actual paper layouts of the sofa configurations she was interested in, so that she could “play with the proportions in the living room” before delivery.
Return policy: BenchMade offers a full refund on all items for returns initiated within 14 days of delivery, and a full refund minus a 10% restocking fee on all items for returns initiated within 100 days of delivery.
Shipping: BenchMade Modern offers a flat shipping rate of $249 for all of its pieces. The flat fee includes delivery of each piece directly to your front door.
The brand also offers a white glove delivery service for $399, where delivery agents will deliver, unwrap, and assemble each piece for you.
Warranty: BenchMade Modern offers a lifetime warranty on all framing and suspension in its sofas, chairs, and beds, and a one year warranty against manufacturer’s defects.
About the brand: Founders Darryl and Jessica founded Albany Park to eliminate decision fatigue in the furniture shopping process. To do so, they developed 3 models of sofa that collectively fit the needs of all consumers and are delivered in apartment-friendly packaging.
Starting price for a sofa: $1,205 for a three-seat sofa
What we liked:
Our team was impressed by the durability, comfort, and modularity of Albany Park’s sofas.
Sibylla Nash, who reviewed the Kova Sofa, reports that the sofa “is the perfect fit for her space and lifestyle” due to its comfort and durability. “Because the pieces are modular, it’s easy for me to rearrange them if I want to change up the room’s look,” Nash said. “Or, I can add more pieces. I love having options!”
Additionally, Nash reports that the sofa’s performance velvet holds up to even the beast that is sriracha mayo, which was “a cinch to wipe off with water and a napkin without leaving a stain.”
Terri Williams, who reviewed the Park Sectional Sofa, reports that the sofa is “durable enough to handle anything” and “manages to be a big sofa without being bulky.” The sectional was shipped to her home in several easy-to-assemble boxes that were able to be transported up Terri’s 17 steps by one person.
Return policy: Albany Park offers returns within 30 days of delivery. The brand offers a full refund for the item minus a 10% return shipping fee.
Shipping: In line with the brand’s mission of making furniture shopping and delivery as easy as possible, Albany Park offers free shipping on all of its products.
Warranty: Albany Park offers free replacement of all pieces after the first ten years of purchase. After ten years of purchase, the brand will replace and repair damaged items free of cost, or will replace the item if repairing it is not possible.
About the brand:7th Avenue is known for designing “the world’s greatest modular sofa,” a sofa that offers endless flexibility, is made from some of the most durable materials, and is both stain and water repellant. Functional design meets luxury when it comes to the brand’s highly customizable sofa.
Starting price for a sofa: $2,700 for a three-seat sofa
What we liked:
As 7th Avenue claims to offer “the world’s greatest modular sofa,” we obviously needed to put this bold claim to the test.
Reviewer Marah Eakin reports that she was able to choose between sofas “in a range of configurations and pieces, meaning you could get a two-seater with double-ottomans, a traditional three-seater, or even a ten-seat-wide mega-sofa.” Eakin goes on to report that, for folks that want to change the color of the upholstery down the line, “the company will sell you all new sofa covers so that you can make your couch look brand new.”
Because Eakin lives in the L.A. area, the brand’s local delivery team brought her sofa directly to her house, and set it up within the span of 15 minutes. “They also moved our existing sofa to the garage, just because they’re nice,” Eakin said.
Additionally, Eakin reports that all of the brand’s upholstery choices are “water-repellent and stain-resistant, and that they’ll easily repel water, coffee, pet (or toddler) urine, ketchup, and even red wine.”
Sounds like one of the world’s greatest modular sofas to us!
Return policy: 7th Avenue offers a 7 day return policy. Refunds are distributed upon inspection of the item.
Shipping: 7th Avenue offers flat rate shipping for all of its products, shown at checkout. For those who live within 60 miles of Los Angeles, local delivery is available.
Warranty: The brand offers a limited lifetime warranty on all modular sofas. The warranty does not extend to stains, spills, and wear and tear.
About the brand: Article was founded in 2013 on the premise that great style can be well-priced. The brand works directly with manufacturers to produce furniture that is durable and made from high quality materials.
Starting price for a sofa: $749 for a three-seat sofa
What we liked:
Known for its highly curated, easy-to-navigate website, our team was drawn to the brand’s ability to shop for beautiful pieces without the sense of helplessness that often comes with online shopping.
Alesandra Dubin, who reviewed Article’s Sven Sofa, reports that she was able to pick the date and time frame that her sofa would be delivered to her home. “The gentlemen who delivered it — driving a company truck, not one from a third-party delivery service unfamiliar with the merchandise — were friendly and helpful,” says Dubin.
Additionally, Dubin reports that the sofa was impressively easy to assemble. “I opened the box and screwed in the legs — and the assembly was complete,” she said.
Return policy: The brand offers returns and exchanges for all items within 30 days of delivery. Returns include a $49 shipping fee, and must be sent back in its original packaging.
Shipping: Article offers three levels of delivery: front-door delivery, in-room delivery, and in-room + assembly delivery. Front-door delivery is free for all items over $999, and $49 for all other items. In-room delivery starts at $119, while in-room + assembly delivery is $199.
Warranty: Article offers a one year manufacturer’s warranty that covers defects in materials and craftsmanship. The brand will organize repairs, delivery of replacement parts, and a full replacement of the item if necessary.
About the brand: When Burrow was founded in 2016, its goal was to change the furniture industry through modular design, a focus on function and fashion. All of its pieces are highly modular, easy to move, and made to shrink or expand based on the needs of your space.
Starting price for a sofa: $1,040 for a three-seat sofa
What we liked:
Our team was impressed with Burrow’s free shipping, easy-to-move boxes, and customizable, modular designs that allow your sofa to grow with you.
Reviewer Alexandra Frost reports that she was able to customize her Range Sectional to meet the needs of her family, and was able to choose between four color combinations so that the sofa perfectly matched her home decor.
Additionally, the sectional arrived at her home in just under one week from the time she placed her order online.
Return policy: Burrow offers a 30-day return policy for all of its pieces. The brand charges a return shipping fee equivalent to 10% of the price of the product.
For those looking to exchange their product, Burrow offers a one-time free exchange within 30 days of delivery on items equal to or less than the cost or the original item.
Shipping: Burrow offers free shipping on all of its products, no matter where you live. The brand packages its pieces in manageable boxes that are shipped just like a normal package would be.
Warranty: Burrow offers a one year warranty on all of its products. However, extended warranties for up to five years can be purchased through a third party company, and covers stains, rips, tears, and much more.
About the brand: Floyd Home is a Detroit-based furniture company that creates systems for living, including a highly modular, modern sectional that is meant to achieve the perfect fit in any space. Founded in 2013 by Kyle Hoff and Alex O’Dell, the brand was created to combat the amount of used furniture ended up in landfills.
Starting price for a sofa: $2,306 for a three-seat sofa
What we liked:
Our team liked that the minimalist Floyd Sofa is designed to fit in anywhere, and offers a comfy space for relaxation with a simple design.
Reviewer Meg St-Esprit reports that the Floyd Sofa has “a black powder-coated steel frame that supports a solid wood base” and that the “base is available in three finishes– a light birch, a darker walnut, or upholstered in the same fabric as the cushions.”
When ordering the sofa, St-Esprit had the ability to choose between two sizes: a three-seater and two-seater/loveseat. There was also the ability to add a chaise to the three-seater configuration.
The sofa arrived at St-Esprit’s home in four boxes, which she reports as “light and easy for me to move by myself.” When it was time to assemble the sofa, it “lived up to its easy assembly promise.”
Return policy: Floyd offers returns within 30 days of delivery, subject to a 10% restocking fee. International returns, and returns from Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico are not accepted.
Shipping: The cost of shipping is 12% of the order’s value, with a $399 maximum shipping charge. White glove delivery is provided for eligible items at checkout.
Warranty: Floyd offers a one year warranty promise in the contiguous United States.
About the brand:Apt2B was founded in 2010 with the mission to offer furniture that’s built to last at affordable prices. The company is known for its highly customizable pieces built by USA craftsmen, and an array of high-quality, hard working materials to choose from when customizing your piece.
Starting price for a sofa: $1,553 for a three-seat sofa
What we liked:
Our team appreciated Apt2B’s variety, easy to navigate website, and durability.
Reviewer Cassandra Brooklyn reports that the brand’s website “allows you to search and sort couches by type, best sellers, those designed for apartments, and current sale items.” There was even a feature that allows for you to sort for sofas that fit your particular living arrangement.
Brooklyn, who reviewed the Melrose Sectional Sofa, reported that she had a “vast choice of configurations, from armchairs and loveseats for small spaces to 8-seat U-shape sectionals, and everything in between.” With hundreds of sizes, shapes, colors, fabrics, and configurations, Brooklyn felt that it was impossible not to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Return policy: Apt2B offers 100 day returns on all items, with a full refund minus a 15% restocking fee.
Shipping: The brand offers free shipping and an option to add on white glove delivery for $129. Orders are usually made and ready for delivery around 5 to 10 days after the order is placed online.
Warranty: Apt2B offers a lifetime guarantee on all sofa frames and workmanship.
About the brand: Sabai is a BIPOC, woman-owned furniture company with a mission to set a new standard for earth-friendly, affordable, and beautiful furniture. All of the brand’s furniture is made from non-toxic, sustainable materials.
Starting price for a sofa: $1,395 for a three-seat sofa
What we liked:
As promised, Sabai delivered when it came to sustainability, comfort, and easy to assemble design.
Erica Reiner, who reviewed Sabai's Essential Sectional, reports that the brand’s website is beautifully designed and user friendly. She was able to choose between a variety of colors and materials, including upcycled poly and recycled velvet, and had a choice of dark brown or natural colored legs made from maple.
Reiner was most impressed with the brand’s promise to replace single pieces of furniture as needed, and the comfort of the sofa’s cushions, which conform to your body with use.
Return policy: Returns are accepted within 30 days of delivery. A $50 return pickup fee is deducted from the original price of the product.
Shipping: Shipping costs vary depending on item and location, but do not exceed $150. All of Sabai’s shipping costs can be found here.
Warranty: The brand offers a 1 year warranty, and promises to replace any parts that break during that time frame, or arrive broken.
About the brand:Allform offers high quality, modular pieces designed for real life. The company designs pieces that are both durable and modern, made from high quality performance fabrics that are built to withstand high-traffic homes.
Starting price for a sofa: $1,895 for a three-seat sofa
What we liked:
Reviewer Matthew Gattozzi put Allform’s promise to design durable, modern pieces to the test in his review of the 4-Seat Corner Sectional. As the sofa measured up Gattozzi’s standards on design, assembly, and comfort, it seems to have delivered on its promise.
According to Gattozzi, who ordered the 4-Seat Corner Sectional with Charcoal fabric and natural hardwood legs, “the sofa arrived to the door of my second-floor apartment, so there were no awkward struggles in trying to get the couch through tight doorways or hallways in our building.”
Once assembled, Gattozzi reports that he and his wife “love to sit back on the couch, drink coffee and reach on the sofa.” Because of it’s L-shape design, the corner section of the sofa is a fantastic spot to relax and put your feet up.
Return policy: Try out any of Allform’s sofas in your home for up to 100 days with the brand’s 100 day return guarantee.
Shipping: The brand offers free shipping and promises delivery in less than 3 months.
Warranty: Allform offers a limited furniture warranty that varies from state to state. Learn more about what the warranty covers here.
About the brand: Medley was founded by two brothers that wanted to create furniture that prioritized beauty and the health of both humans and the planet. All of the brand’s pieces are highly customizable and built to last using eco-friendly design, for timeless comfort.
Starting price for a sofa: $2,247 for a three-seat sofa
Online customization of the sofa was “fun and easy” and “creating something to fit my little room was exciting.”
Upon arrival via the brand’s White Glove delivery service, Golding reports that the chunky, low-profile sofa is modern, with instant visual appeal. Its deep seats, wide arms, and numerous customization options made for an easy fit in her home.
Return policy: Medley offers 30 day returns on all of its products with a full refund, minus original shipping costs. Schedule a pickup for the item for an easy return.
Shipping: Shipping is determined based on the individual piece and your location, calculated at checkout.
Warranty: Medley offers a lifetime guarantee on all frames, internal springs, and structural elements. In addition, the brand offers a 10-year guarantee on cushion cores and a 5-year guarantee on upholstery fabrics. Learn more about Medley’s warranty here.
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How to Pick the Right Sofa for Your Home
Before diving into your search for the perfect sofa, it’s important to know what type of sofa you’re looking for.
Narrow down your search by considering one of the following types of sofa:
Standard sofa or couch: A standard sofa is what you think of when the typical 3-seater comes to mind: a sofa that fits more than two people, and consists of cushions, armrests, and a backrest. While there’s plenty of variety when it comes to the standard sofa, the style is by and large constructed the same way.
Loveseat: Designed similarly to the standard sofa, loveseats are meant to fit two people instead of three or more. These sofas are often placed in smaller spaces, or perpendicular to a standard sofa to create a seating area.
Sectional: Great for sitting large groups of people, sectionals are sofas constructed in two pieces or more, traditionally in an L shape.
Modular: Modular sofas are sofas that consist of multiple “modules,” or sections that come together to create a full sofa. These sofas are often easy to move, highly customizable, and sections can be added or taken away as needed.
Sofa bed: Often confused with a sleeper sofa, sofa beds contain a hidden mattress covered by an upholstered cushion cover.
There are many different styles of sofa to choose from. When choosing a sofa that checks all your boxes, your own sense of style might fall to the wayside. But it’s important to remember that no matter how well constructed a sofa is, you won’t love it unless it fits your personal sense of style.
April Gandy agrees, and says to “be sure to select a sofa that compliments your unique style! You want to feel comfortable and happy in your space, so let your personality shine!”
Additionally, Gandy says that you want your guests to experience you through your furniture, so be sure you’re giving them the right experience.
Mid-century modern: The mid-century modern interior design aesthetic uses minimalist, Scandinavian styling and a neutral color scheme to cultivate relaxation. Look for tapered legs and clean lines when shopping for a mid-century modern sofa.
Lawson: With loose back cushions, a simple silhouette, and supportive arm rests, Lawson style sofas are a classic. The style of sofa is known for its modern design and comfort, as the back pillows can be moved around.
English roll arm: The timeless, eye catching English Roll Arm sofa adds a bit of old English charm to your space. While the design has certainly been modernized, the timeless low, tight back and rolled arms add a classic feel many are looking to cultivate.
Chesterfield: Many choose to add elegance and sophistication to the living room with the addition of a Chesterfield Sofa. The timeless sofas feature deep button tufting and plush seat cushions that serve as a nod to Victorian design without sacrificing comfort.
Tuxedo: With a high back and arms, tuxedo sofas have a sleek, tailored frame that brings 1920s glam to any space. Many appreciate the sleek, clean cut design that the design brings to any space.
Camelback: Originating in the 18th century, Camelback sofas introduce a unique silhouette to your living room with its dips and curves. Just like a camel’s hump, camelback sofas feature a back that either dips or bumps depending on its design.
Track Arm: The über modern Track Arm sofa features clean lines that grab attention. The sofa has a high back and square arms that introduces a contemporary edge to any space.
Deep Seat: Home is for lounging, and nothing will aid your lounging experience like a deep seat sofa. While sofas with shallow seating helps you sit up on the sofa, a deep seat is for curling up and relaxing.
Recliner: If you’re seeking a sofa that adjusts to your mood or activity, you might want to try a recliner sofa. These sofas feature a hidden button or handle that lets you adjust the sofa’s back to the perfect position for you. Many recliner sofas also feature a leg rest that pops up as you lean back.
Low-Profile: A low-profile sofa is modern, comfortable, and close to the ground. These sofas, which are similar to a traditional 3-seater with a lower back, are perfect for small spaces, and to create the illusion of ceiling height.
Slipcover: These sofas feature cushions that are individually wrapped in removable upholstery designed to perfectly fit the sofa.
This depends on your lifestyle. If you have kids, pets, or host large events frequently, choosing a performance fabric, like microfiber, is recommended. Performance fabrics are built to withstand spills, sticky hands, and resist piling. On the other hand, high-maintenance materials, like silk, work well in seldom-used rooms.
Choosing the best fabric for your lifestyle also depends on how much effort you’re willing or able to invest in upholstery maintenance. “Some sofas will require more attention to keep them looking in their best shape for a long time,” says Andrew Rathborne. She recommends asking yourself, “do I have the patience to keep this sofa looking its best?” If the answer is “no,” then finding a material that requires less maintenance will be the better choice.
In order to determine how durable a fabric is, many turn to rub count as a metric. Rub count is the number of times a fabric can be rubbed back and forth before the textile begins to wear through, and is meant to inform shoppers how durable the fabric is.
Common fabric choices include:
Linen: Light, eco-friendly linen is a popular choice of fabric for furniture because it’s easy to clean and is breathable in hot weather.
Velvet: A statement fabric that is relatively easy to take care of, Velvet is a great sofa material for those that want to add a unique touch to their living room while taking durability into consideration.
Chenille: A more affordable version of velvet, chenille is popular for those looking to add style while retaining durability. The fabric has a soft feel and easy to clean fibers, a popular choice for those seeking a stylish, comfortable sofa.
Vegan Leather or Faux Leather: Budget friendly vegan leather creates the same look as real leather, but is often easier to maintain.
Leather: Many of us remember growing up with a classic leather sofa for a reason– the durable material holds up to grit and grime while making a stylish statement.
Microfiber: A performance fabric, microfiber has become popular in recent years for its durability. The fabric holds color well, stands up to spills and stains, and creates a comfortable exterior for all to snuggle up on.
Many sofa retailers offer fabric swatches so you can check out the fabircs at home before buying.
Before deciding on a sofa, consider your goal in purchasing the piece. Will the sofa be located in a formal living room, or a cozy family room? Will it be a do-it-all sofa for napping and sleeping overnight guests? The use of the piece, and who specifically will be using it, contributes to the size, style, and durability needed.
“When you're shopping for a couch, it's important to think about the functionality of the couch and what features you would like it to have and how you will realistically be using it. For example, built-in beds, built-in storage, plugs for charging devices,” explains Anna Franklin.
For those seeking a sofa that will be able to sleep guests, Andrea Rathborn recommends considering a longer sofa (over six feet). Additionally, she suggests “perhaps a bench seat, instead of a separate cushioned seating design, would be more desirable… or a sofa bed if you expect you’ll have frequent overnight guests.”
For those who entertain frequently, Margarita Bravo suggests “considering an enormous sofa or complementing your couch with easy chairs or extra seats.” Bravo also suggests purchasing a sofa big enough for “everyone in your family to sit comfortably,” to allow for all to participate in reading, relaxing, and family bonding.
Lastly, make sure to take your pets into account. If your pet sheds or scratches, you’ll want to purchase a sofa with upholstery that stands up to paws and claws. Andrea Rathborne recommends “leather or a tighter weave material,” known to stand up to both scratches and stains.
Sasha Weilbaker is a freelance writer with bylines in Thrillist, Business Insider, and The Vegetarian Times. She's particularly interested in the intersection of sustainability and materials. In the wild, she can be found cycling around New England, scouting coffee shops, or obsessing over new podcasts.
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