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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.
Best Overall: Burrow Nomad Sofa
Size: 86 x 35 x 33 inches | Type: Sofa | Materials: Birch frame, olefin fiber upholstery | Extra Features: Built-in USB
Lots of customization options
Weeks-long wait on made-to-order pieces
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.
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.
"As a military family member, I am always considering how versatile a piece of furniture will be in another home. I never know if we will have a large family room or just a small space, so I tend to avoid bulky or oddly shaped furniture. I assembled the Nomad using all three seats, but I could easily shorten it to a loveseat configuration if needed."—Katie Begley, Product Tester
Best for Small Spaces: Zipcode Design Cazenovia 81.63" Reversible Sofa & Chaise
Size: 81.63 x 59.63 x 35.38 inches | Type: Sectional | Materials: Metal and manufactured wood frame, polyester upholstery | Extra Features: Ottoman
Full assembly required
Manufactured wood frame
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.
Best for Dogs: Corrigan Studio Lesa Genuine Leather 88" Square Arm Sofa
Size: 88 x 33 x 34 inches | Type: Sofa | Materials: Solid wood frame, leather upholstery | Extra Features: None
Genuine leather upholstery
Easy to clean
Solid wood frame
Partial assembly required
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.
Best Leather: West Elm Hamilton Leather Sofa
Size: 70 x 35.8 x 31.5 inches | Type: Sofa | Materials: kiln dried hardwood frame, leather or vegan leather upholstery | Extra Features: None
Genuine leather upholstery
Available in three lengths
Kiln-dried wood frame
Weeks-long wait on made-to-order pieces
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.
Best Sectional: Pottery Barn Pearce Upholstered 3-Piece L-Shaped Sectional with Wedge
Size: 121 x 121 x 38 inches | Type: Sectional | Materials: Hardwood frame, custom upholstery | Extra features: None
Lots of customization options
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.
Best Sleeper Sofa: Wayfair Custom Upholstery Carly Recessed Arm Sofa Bed
Size: 93 x 41 x 29 inches | Type: Sleeper | Materials: Cotton and polyester upholstery | Extra Features: pull out queen-sized bed
Lots of color options
Down fill cushions
Converts to queen-size bed
No assembly required
Upholstery is tricky to clean
If you regularly host overnight guests—whether planned or spontaneous—you could definitely benefit from a sleeper sofa like the Carly Sofa Bed. This 93-inch sofa pulls out into a queen-sized bed, allowing you to make your guests as comfortable as possible, and its chic, slipcovered appearance will fit in well with just about any decor style.
This sofa comes in a dozen upholstery options, most of which are made from polyester or cotton fabrics. It has raised track arms with a slight slope for a touch of contemporary flair, and its inner mattress is 4.5-inches thick and made from innerspring—you can always cover it with a mattress topper to make it more comfortable for your house guests.
"The sofa frame itself should be made of kiln-dried hardwoods or furniture-grade plywood versus softer woods, like pine. Much of the lifespan becomes more about the durability of the fabric than anything structural." — Michelle Castagna, President of IFDA (International Furnishings and Design Association) Florida Chapter
Best Modern: Joybird Bryant Sofa
Size: 96 x 40 x 31 inches | Type: Sofa | Materials: kiln dried hardwood frame, custom upholstery | Extra Features: None
Lots of upholstery options
Kiln-dried wood frame
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.
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.
Best Budget: IKEA UPPLAND Sofa
Size: 88.25 x 36.25 x 36.25 inches | Type: Sofa | Materials: Solid and manufactured wood frame, cotton upholstery | Extra features: None
Limited delivery options
If you're looking for an affordable sofa for your first home or apartment, the IKEA UPPLAND is a great choice. This slipcovered couch comes in seven colors to suit your space and decor, and is slightly over 88 inches long and 33 inches deep, providing comfortable seating for three people. The frame is made from a combination of real and manufactured wood, and the cushions feature both pocket springs and foam for a soft, yet supportive feel.
This couch is also easy to care for, making it a great choice for those with kids or pets. The cover is removable and can be machine washed if it gets dirty or stained. IKEA also sells replacement covers if you ever want to change the color or appearance. Another great feature is that the back cushions are reversible, so you can turn them around to even out the wear and tear.
"When considering furniture purchases, look to manufacturers that meet the relevant standards such as the ANSI/BIFMA furniture standards. These standards include: safety, durability, emissions, sustainability, and ergonomics." — Dave Panning, Technical Director for Safety and Performance at BIFMA.
If you're looking for a couch that's stylish, comfortable, and versatile, go with the Burrow Nomad Sofa (view at Burrow), which has a unique modular design and allows you to customize its fabric, legs, armrest shape, and more. For those on a budget, the IKEA UPPLAND Sofa (view at IKEA) has a classic design that's easy to maintain thanks to its washable slipcover.
What to Look for in a Couch
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are several types of couches and sofas you’ll encounter as you shop, each of which has its own pros and cons.
As mentioned above, standard sofas are typically between 72- and 84-inches long and can fit three or four people. Beyond these measurements, standard sofas can vary significantly in their depth, style, and cost. You can find a budget sofa for as little as $200 or opt for a custom option that may run $4,000 or more.
As their name implies, sectionals are typically made up of two or more sections, and the most common configurations are L- and U-shaped. Depending on the size sectional you choose, you’ll be able to sit four or more people on the sofa at a time.
L-shaped sections can be right-arm- or left-arm-facing, and this refers to which direction the “L” is meant to face. If you’re planning to purchase an L-shaped sectional, make sure to figure out which side the arm needs to be on before you shop. U-shaped sectionals offer even more seating, and they’re a good option for large rooms. Many people place an ottoman or coffee table in the middle of the U, so you may want to take note of how much space is in the center of the configuration if you already have a table to use.
When shopping for a sectional, make sure the various pieces can be firmly connected. Fabric strips typically aren’t strong enough to hold pieces of a sectional together and may tear over time, leading to awkward gaps between the sitting areas.
Sectionals are typically more expensive than standard sofas. Low-end sectionals start around $400 and range up into the thousands for oversized, luxurious models.
Loveseats are smaller sofas designed to seat just two people. Loveseats are generally between 48- and 72-inches long, making them a popular option for apartments and other small spaces. If you’re looking for a fancier loveseat, you may want to consider a settee, which features a high back and shallow—designed more for aesthetics than comfort.
You can purchase loveseats individually, and they typically start at around $150. However, you'll also come across living room sets that include a matching sofa and loveseat.
Sleeper sofas, also called pull-out sofas, look like standard couches, but they contain a hidden mattress that folds out, transforming the sofa into a temporary bed. While not the most comfortable surface to sleep on, pull-out sofas are a great option if you frequently have houseguests and don’t have space for a guest bedroom.
When purchasing a sleeper sofa, you’ll want to consider how comfortable the unit is both as a sofa and as a bed. It’s also important to choose the proper size for your space, and if possible, test how easy it is to pull out and pack up the mattress. You can find twin-sized sleeper sofas for around $400, while larger options are more expensive.
Similar to reclining chairs, reclining sofas will simultaneously lower you backward and support your feet with a footrest, putting you in a reclined position. Many people find reclining sofas to be more comfortable for watching movies and even sleeping.
Typically, reclining sofas just have one or two seats that can recline, and they’re either manual, meaning you have to pull a lever, or power reclining, meaning it uses electricity to adjust the seat. Power reclining sofas must be plugged into an outlet to work, so keep this in mind as you lay out your decor.
Budget reclining sofas start at around $400, but a high-end model can cost well over $1,000.
Futons are a type of specialty sofa that, frankly, are hard to explain if you’ve never seen one. They look more like a bench than a sofa, as most models don’t have armrests, and they can be folded out into a sleeping surface.
Futons are typically less expensive—and therefore less comfortable—than sleeper sofas, and they’re a popular option for college dorms, small apartments, and anyone on a budget. You can find a small futon for as little as $50, and even high-end products won’t cost more than $400 or so.
Take a peek at some of the best futons you can buy.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer who’s an expert on all things home. She’s taken several courses on interior design and furniture, and she has firsthand experience testing sofas, as well as other pieces of decor. She has written for The Spruce since 2017. For this list, she considered each couch's size, type, style, material, and comfort, as well as additional features.