Best Living Room Sofas 2021
Best Living Room Sofas 2021
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Best Overall: Burrow Nomad Sofa

1 Best Overall: Burrow Nomad Sofa
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What we like

  • Modular design
  • Contemporary appearance
  • Lots of customization options
  • Affordable

What we don’t like

  • Weeks-long wait on made-to-order pieces
2 Best for Small Spaces: Zipcode Design Cazenovia 81.63″ Reversible Sofa & Chaise
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What we like

  • Affordable
  • Compact design
  • Chaise seating
  • Reversible orientation

What we don’t like

  • Full assembly required
  • Manufactured wood frame
3 Best for Dogs: Corrigan Studio Lesa Genuine Leather 88″ Square Arm Sofa
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What we like

  • Genuine leather upholstery
  • Easy to clean
  • Solid wood frame
  • Mid-century appearance

What we don’t like

  • Partial assembly required
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Best Leather: West Elm Hamilton Leather Sofa

4 Best Leather: West Elm Hamilton Leather Sofa
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What we like

  • Genuine leather upholstery
  • Available in three lengths
  • Kiln-dried wood frame

What we don’t like

  • Weeks-long wait on made-to-order pieces
5 Best Sectional: Pottery Barn Pearce Upholstered 3-Piece L-Shaped Sectional with Wedge
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What we like

  • Lots of customization options
  • Classic appearance
  • Hardwood frame

What we don’t like

  • Relatively expensive
  • Weeks-long wait on made-to-order pieces
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Best Modern: Joybird Bryant Sofa

6 Best Modern: Joybird Bryant Sofa
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What we like

  • Lots of upholstery options
  • Deep seats
  • Kiln-dried wood frame

What we don’t like

  • Weeks-long wait on made-to-order pieces

Many people—ourselves included—would argue that every home needs a couch. After all, where else are you going to lounge and watch TV, read a book, or host a game night with friends and family? Couches are often the main seating area in a home, which is why you should put ample time and consideration into finding the right one for your needs.

When you’re shopping for a couch, you’ll naturally want to take size into consideration—measure twice to ensure the furniture will not only fit comfortably in your living space but also fit through doorways and stairwells. Of course, there’s also a matter of finding a couch that fits your decor style—whether it’s modern, contemporary, rustic, or something else—and has the features your family needs, such as a built-in sleeper, easy-to-wash upholstery, or even tech bonuses like built-in USB chargers.

Here, the best couches for every style and budget.

The Burrow Nomad Sofa isn’t like other couches—and that’s why you’ll love it! Burrow is known for its modern, modular furniture, and the Nomad Sofa is one of the brand’s most popular offerings thanks to its unparalleled versatility and wide range of customization options. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it has a sleek contemporary appearance.

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Best Overall: Burrow Nomad Sofa

This couch is 86 inches long and 35 inches deep, and it’s made up of three individual sections that connect via galvanized latches. You can choose between five colors, and the upholstery fabric is made from a tight olefin fiber weave that’s scratch- and stain-resistant.

However, the customization doesn’t end there! You have your choice of six wooden and metal leg finishes, as well as three armrest styles. Plus, the cushions are reversible—one side is tufted, the other is solid. Finally, you can add on a matching moveable chaise, ottoman, sleep kit, and/or lumbar pillows, allowing you to perfectly tailor the couch to your needs.

What we like

  • Modular design

  • Contemporary appearance

  • Lots of customization options

  • Affordable

What we don’t like

  • Weeks-long wait on made-to-order pieces

To make the most of your small space, add a versatile couch like the Zipcode Design Cazenovia Reversible Sofa, which is upholstered in linen-like fabric and has an interchangeable Ottoman. This sleek and modern sofa is the perfect size for smaller living rooms, dorm rooms, and apartments.

The couch arrives in one large box (there are two pieces inside plus the removable cushions), and it takes between 15 and 20 minutes to slot the pieces into place. The foam-filled back and seat cushions are on the firmer side, so if you prefer a plush seating area, you might want to add some throw pillows to make it feel softer. Another bonus? This couch has an interchangeable ottoman that can be arranged on either side, creating a comfortable 45-inch chaise lounge that’s perfect for reading and relaxing.

What we like

  • Affordable

  • Compact design

  • Chaise seating

  • Reversible orientation

What we don’t like

  • Full assembly required

  • Manufactured wood frame

If you’re looking for a stylish sofa that can hold up to claw marks, pet hair, and stains, the Lesa Square Arm Sofa is a solid choice. Leather is one of the best couch coverings if you have pets (or children) because it’s simple to clean and maintain. In fact, leather tends to look better with age and a few scratches here and there give it a weathered look.

We love this pick for its mid-century modern look, rich details, and comfortable foam cushions. The back and seat cushions are wrapped in genuine Italian leather (no leather match or bonded leather), so it will feel soft and smooth to the touch, and pet hair can be wiped off in seconds. With a seat depth of 22 inches and a medium-firm feel, this couch is perfect for curling up with a good book or watching a movie. Because the cushions are removable, it’s easy to vacuum any crumbs or dirt that might accumulate underneath the cushions.

What we like

  • Genuine leather upholstery

  • Easy to clean

  • Solid wood frame

  • Mid-century appearance

What we don’t like

  • Partial assembly required

Do you love the look of a sleek leather sofa? Then you’re sure to swoon over the Hamilton Leather Sofa, which comes in a delectable cognac-colored finish that’s perfect for a boho or mid-century style home. This couch is available in 70, 81, or 91 inches lengths, and while the “Burnt Sienna” color is the standard choice, you can also have the piece custom made in other top-grain or vegan leather finishes.

This high-end leather couch is crafted from kiln-dried wood and it features down-wrapped back cushions that are simply delightful to sink into after a long day. The silhouette of the sofa is inspired by 1950s design, and it features piping all around the edges for a more defined appearance. 

What we like

  • Genuine leather upholstery

  • Available in three lengths

  • Kiln-dried wood frame

What we don’t like

  • Weeks-long wait on made-to-order pieces

Sectionals are a popular style of sofa, as they can seat more people and have unique configurations that help to fill up a living space. If you’re in the market for a new sectional, the Pearce Sectional is a stunning L-shaped option with a traditional appearance and a nearly endless number of upholstery choices.

This sectional is made up of three pieces—the left arm, right arm, and corner wedge—and it’s 121 inches long and wide, so make sure your space is big enough to accommodate it before you buy. The Pearce Sofa has classic rolled arms and square, tapered legs, and it features welted seams for a more elegant look. Plus, it’s available in dozens of upholstery fabrics, including everything from traditional woven materials to sofa suede, trendy velvet, and even performance fabrics like Sunbrella.

What we like

  • Lots of customization options

  • Classic appearance

  • Hardwood frame

What we don’t like

  • Relatively expensive

  • Weeks-long wait on made-to-order pieces

Joybird is known for its high-end modern furniture, and the Bryant Sofa is a dreamy couch that just about anyone will love—don’t you just want to sink into those plush, welcoming cushions? The couch is 96 inches wide and 40 inches deep with generous 26-inch seats, and it has a low profile and “lived in” appearance that make it oh-so welcoming.

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Best Modern: Joybird Bryant Sofa

This sofa is available in dozens of fabrics, including a wide range of neutral and vibrant shades. It has a kiln-dried hardwood frame that’s wrapped in foam, and the cushions are filled with contouring foam that will make you feel like you’re lounging on a cloud. The brand also offers a matching ottoman if you like to kick up your heels while you binge-watch your favorite shows.

What we like

  • Lots of upholstery options

  • Deep seats

  • Kiln-dried wood frame

What we don’t like

  • Weeks-long wait on made-to-order pieces

What to Look for in a Couch

Size

Before you start shopping, it’s important to measure the space where you want your couch to go. There’s nothing more frustrating than falling in love with a piece of furniture, only to discover it won’t fit in the room. So make sure you measure the area where you want to place the couch and figure out a range of dimensions that would fit comfortably. Don’t forget to consider the depth of the couch, too, as many have deep seats that take up more space. 

Also, be sure to measure the doorways and any stairs leading to the room. You’ll want to make sure there’s clearance to fit every piece of the couch into the room.

Type

There are a few common types of couches and sofas that you’ll encounter when shopping. We’ll go into more details about each kind below, but here are the basics you should know. 

First, there are standard sofas, which are one straight line and typically between 72- and 84-inches long. These can generally seat three or four people, and they come in a wide range of styles, materials, and price points. Similarly, you’ll find loveseats, which are essentially small couches, measuring 48- to 72-inches long. Loveseats can comfortably seat two people—hence their name—and are a great solution for smaller spaces. Some people like to have a matching sofa and loveseat for a cohesive look in their living room. 

Today, sectionals are an incredibly popular style of couch. These modular couches are made up of more than one piece, and they’re commonly L- or U-shaped. Sectionals provide more seating, making them a good solution for large families or big rooms. 

There are also sleeper sofas, which transform into a temporary bed, as well as reclining sofas. Your style options may be more limited if you choose one of these specialty couches, but there are still an impressive range of options available at numerous price points. 

Style

One of the most challenging parts of buying a couch can be finding a style you like. There are hundreds of styles available today, but here’s a rundown of the most popular styles you may want to consider. 

  • Mid-century: features clean lines, simple legs, and a low profile
  • Chesterfield: features rolled arms, tufted back, and often made of leather
  • Lawson: features a boxy shape and detached cushions, and prioritizes comfort
  • Bridgewater (also called English roll arm): has low arms that lean outward and is very cushy
  • Tuxedo: features a boxy shape and its arms are the same height as its back
  • Contemporary: modern, unique, and often unconventional
  • Camelback: features a curved back with a “hump” in the middle, as well as high arms
  • Scandinavian: popularized by IKEA, has clean lines and is minimalistic
  • Settee: a specialty loveseat with a high back and shallow depth
  • Chaise: an asymmetrical design with just one arm

These are some of the most common couch and sofa styles, but there are many variations of each. As you shop, you’ll want to take note of which features you like and which styles will look best with your existing decor.

Materials

What your couch is made from will not only dictate its appearance, but its durability, ease of cleaning, and more. The first thing you’ll want to consider is the frame material, as a sturdy frame will ensure your sofa lasts for years. Avoid materials like particleboard and plastic, which can warp or break easily. Pine is a low-cost option for frames, but it won’t last as long as a hardwood such as oak, ash, or beech. To test the frame of a sofa, lift one corner up 6 inches off the ground—the other leg should lift up, as well. If it doesn’t, the frame is likely too flexible and prone to warping or breaking. 

You’ll also want to consider the filling of a sofa’s cushions. Perhaps the most comfortable, long-lasting option is high-resilient foam, but this can be quite expensive. Polyurethane foam is a popular option thanks to its low cost and ease of care, but you’ll want to make sure it’s a higher density, otherwise, it may deteriorate over time. Polyester fiber is another inexpensive option, but it flattens quickly, so only choose this option if you’re looking for a short-term furniture solution. There’s also high-end goose down fill, which is incredibly comfortable, but extremely expensive and requires a lot of maintenance. 

Finally, you’ll need to consider the upholstery material, and be sure to weigh both appearance and functionality. If your couch will be getting a lot of use, you’ll need a tough, durable fabric to ensure it lasts for years to come. Here are some of the most popular fabric options and their benefits:

  • Leather: durable and easy to clean, but expensive and can fade over time
  • Faux leather: durable and easy to clean, but not as long-lasting as real leather
  • Cotton: soft and somewhat durable, but stains and wrinkles easily
  • Linen: beautiful and upscale, but hard to care for and soils easily
  • Microfiber/polyester: soft, durable, easy to clean, and inexpensive
  • Chenille: soft and luxe, but hard to clean
  • Velvet: soft and stylish, but also trendy

Comfort

Another key consideration when purchasing a sofa is whether it’s comfortable! It’s hard to gauge whether a couch will be comfortable if you’re buying online, so if you’re able to see the piece in person, you should always do so. 

When testing a couch for comfort, you should sit and lie down on it. Evaluate whether it’s supportive enough for your needs and easy to get up. You’ll also want to see if your feet can touch the floor when you’re sitting upright—if not, you may want to look for a sofa that has a shorter depth. 

Special Features

You can find couches with several special features. For example, some models have either manual or automatic recliners built into the sofa. You can also find couches with built-in drink holders, USB ports, hidden consoles, and more. 

Care

As mentioned above, you’ll want to consider how much maintenance you’re willing to put into keeping your sofa looking nice. Certain materials are easy to care for, while others require professional cleaning. This is an especially important consideration if you have pets, kids, or both. 

If you want a low-maintenance sofa, look into leather, faux leather, or polyester options. Most of these models resist spills and stains and can simply be wiped down to clean. There are also treated cotton fabrics that resist stains. If you have pets, you’ll want to ensure whatever fabric you choose won’t get caught on their nails and is easy to vacuum. 

FAQs

What is the difference between a couch and a sofa?

Historically, a couch referred to a low piece of furniture without arms that was used for lying on, and a sofa was more bench-like with arms and a back and cushions. Today, the general consensus is that couches refer to more casual pieces designed for comfort and sofas are more formal, stylish pieces of furniture. However, for the most part, the two words are used interchangeably and it often comes down to personal word preference.

How do you clean a leather couch?

For regular cleaning, you can vacuum loose dirt and crumbs and wipe the leather down with a damp cloth and mild hand soap (test in a small area first). Then buff it with a dry cloth—no need to rinse the soap, it acts as a conditioner to the leather. Use talcum powder or cornstarch to get out grease stains and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before brushing away with a soft-bristle brush. For more specific spot cleaning techniques, check out our guide to cleaning leather furniture.

How do you clean an upholstered couch? 

Check the label of your upholstered couch: “W” means you can use a water-based cleaner, “S” designates a solvent-based cleaner is safe, “WS” means you can use either, and an “X” means it should be professionally cleaned. To clean with soap and water, combine a half teaspoon of clear dish soap with warm water and gently spread over the fabric without soaking, and then wipe it clean with a damp cloth. For more specific spot treatments of upholstery, check out our guide to washing upholstery fabric.

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