Maybe you have a hand-me-down or a thrifted floral confection that isn’t cutting it. Or maybe being stuck at home during quarantine left your sofa seats sunken in and worse for wear. If you need a new sofa, you’ve come to the right place.
A few of us here on the Gear team have spent several months testing a batch of couches you can order online. We haven’t tested enough to make a definitive Best Overall Couch pick yet, but our current favorites are below.
bed-in-a-box mattresses, ordering a couch online is simpler than it sounds. You simply choose what you want, place an order, and voilà: Several boxes will arrive on your front porch. Assemble the parts and you’re good to go. But it’s important to do your research first. Many couch makers offer sample swatches of fabrics, which you should take advantage of, to ensure that the color and feel is exactly what you want. Make sure to measure the area where your couch will be too, as well as doorframes and stairwells for walk-up apartments.
Updated December 2021: We’ve added the Kova, plus an optional Lovesac upgrade.
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Great Stain Resistance
Allform 3-Seat Sofa
Allform (the child company of
Helix) furniture isn’t cheap, but you can customize it to be up to eight cushions long or get it in custom shapes like an L or U.
made sustainably, at least partially. The wood used is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and excess wood is recycled. Glues and finishes are nontoxic and water-based, the steel components are at least 95 percent recycled, and the seat cushion padding is 100 percent recycled. The packaging is both recycled and recyclable.
The couch is comfortable, with deep-set cushions that have stayed fluffy under heavy use, and the three-seater is long enough for my tallest pals to snooze on. The seats are deep enough that I can comfortably sit pretzel-style, and the detached back cushions allow for relaxed lounging. They also make good elbow rests when visiting with a friend.
There are leather options available, but I tried a couch made with Allform’s “performance fabric,” which is designed to be stain-resistant and generally tough—two qualities I can verify. One of my hellion cats decided to ralph up a hairball onto a couch cushion while I slept. It sat there until I woke up. Miraculously, all it took was some cleaning solution and paper towels to completely eradicate the evidence. Persuading my furry criminals to stop scratching the sofa arms is another battle entirely.
Assembly was easy, and made easier with
this helpful video. One thing to note: The boxes this couch comes in are huge. Allform backs the sofa with a 100-day trial and a lifetime warranty on the frame. You can order free fabric swatches here.
Photograph: Benchmade Modern
Benchmade Modern Tyler Sofa
Benchmade Modern features a wide range of couches for 1950s or 1960s-styled homes. It’s the best-looking and most comfortable couch I’ve ever sat on.
It isn’t just the couch that’s great, though. Benchmade Modern has put a level of polish on the online couch-buying process that doesn’t exist elsewhere (at least in our testing). The company’s website lets you browse colors and resize couches with a slider to see cushion layout. When you have some idea what you want, you can also order a full book of fabric swatches, along with a full-size printout of your sofa so you can make sure it fits in your living space.
The couch arrived well packaged in a full-size box. (If you’re upstairs, be sure it will fit up your stairwell.)
Quick and Easy
Burrow Nomad Sofa Sectional
The Burrow sofa sectional is plush, comfy, and fairly compact, but its best feature is how quickly it assembles. The Nomad sofa sectional ships in a few large boxes, depending on the options you choose (with or without an ottoman, extra cushions, etc). Once you open the boxes, the build goes pretty quickly. Everything snaps together like a big plush Lego set.
The Nomad has held up well over the last year, considering I’m in a three-pet household. The cushions are still just as plush as they were on day one, and despite the need to occasionally push the cushions back in (they tend to slide if you sit and slouch for a long time like I do), it’s one of the best couches I’ve owned. Additionally, it’s pretty compact without sacrificing seating space. The sofa sectional can easily seat three people, four if you seat someone on the chaise. It’s a great choice for small apartments, and it really opened up my living room.
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