Our Top Picks
Best Sleeper: Sarah Sleeper Sofa at Wayfair
"This pick comes in over 100 different colors ranging from neutral grays to more vibrant reds."
Best Budget: Buxton Rolled Arm Sofa at Wayfair
"Perfect for a college apartment, den, or small living room."
Best Sectional: Pottery Barn Pearce 3-Piece Sectional at Pottery Barn
"A great option for a large living room or a large family."
Best Leather: West Elm Hamilton Sofa at West Elm
"Holds up to anything your pets and kids can throw it at."
Best Modern: Article Sven Couch at Article
"An updated take on a traditional mid-century modern piece."
Best Trendy: Joybird Preston Sofa at Joybird
"This fully customizable sofa features sleek lines and tapered legs."
Best Mid-Century: Burrow Sofa at Burrow
"The Burrow sofa is a classic piece with tufted cushions that are reversible."
Best for Kids: Ashley Furniture Ryler Sofa at Ashley Furniture
"Leather (or faux leather) is a great fabric for families with kids."
01 of 08
Best Sleeper: Sarah Sleeper SofaWhat We Like
What We Don't Like
Mattress is easy to pull out
Lots of color options
Mattress needs a foam topper
A sleeper sofa comes with a full-sized fold-out mattress and is perfect for anyone who has frequent overnight guests. This pick comes in over 100 different colors ranging from neutral grays to more vibrant reds. Reviewers agree that this is a wonderful sofa bed for the price. They note that the bed is easy to pull out when needed, but some say the mattress might not be the most comfortable for frequent use and recommend adding a foam topper.
02 of 08
Best Budget: Buxton Rolled Arm SofaWhat We Like
What We Don't Like
Aesthetically appealing design
Seat cushions slide out of place
The Buxton Rolled Arm Sofa rings in under $500 and is perfect for a small living room, starter apartment, or vacation rental. Measuring 35 x 78 x 32.5 inches, this couch is big enough for three people but easily fits in smaller spaces. It comes in four neutral colors, and the upholstery is a blend of polyester and linen.
Reviewers mention that the assembly is fairly easy (even for one person). However, some reviewers note that the seat cushions tend to fall forward since the depth of the couch is rather short. While comfort wise it's not going to compete with more expensive options, if you’re looking for an attractive couch at a low price, this is a great purchase.
03 of 08
Best Sectional: Pottery Barn Pearce 3-Piece SectionalWhat We Like
What We Don't Like
Perfect for a lot of poeple
Great selection of fabrics and colors
The Pottery Barn Pearce 3-Piece Sectional is a high-end piece that's built for a large living room or a large family. This rolled arm sofa has a traditional feel and is offered in a variety of fabrics—including linen, denim, and cotton—and even more colors. The sectional is made up of a left-arm loveseat, wedge, and right-arm loveseat, and measures 121 x 40 x 38 inches. It weighs 425 pounds, so it’s a sturdy piece that can take a lot of lounging. However, it comes at a high price tag so it's a true investment piece.
04 of 08
Best Leather: West Elm Hamilton SofaWhat We Like
What We Don't Like
High-quality, modern design
We love the West Elm Hamilton Sofa because it's a modern take on a classic silhouette, and you can choose from six shades of leather. The appealing design also features tapered wooden legs and thick, padded seat cushions that are filled with a poly-fiber and duck feather blend that’s both durable and comfortable. It’s 81 x 35.8 x 31.5 inches and great for medium to large living rooms—although it's on the shorter side, which may not be your preference. The frame is made from engineered hardwood and is kiln-dried to prevent warping.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best Modern: Article Sven CouchWhat We Like
What We Don't Like
Very fast assembly
Needs time to off-gas
Article is an online-only, direct-to-consumer furniture retailer that speaks to the savvy shopper. The Sven couch is an updated take on a traditional mid-century modern piece, complete with tufted seats, tapered wooden legs, and two matching bolster pillows. The Sven measures 34 x 88 x 38 inches, and the fabric is a blend of polyester and acrylic. It can be assembled in under ten minutes and is easy to move.
Owners love it for its style and comfort, remarking that it's deep enough for an afternoon nap. Reviewers say the colors you see on the website—aqua tweed, birch ivory, and briar gray—are accurate and eye-catching. A few warn that it does need to off-gas, but the smell will go away fairly quickly.
06 of 08
Best Trendy: Joybird Preston SofaWhat We Like
What We Don't Like
Spacious and comfortable
Takes some time to break in cushions
Joybird is a direct-to-consumer furniture company that makes it easy to find (and customize) pieces for your home. For a couch that is both attractive and durable, we recommend the Preston Sofa, which features sleek lines and tapered legs and can be made with 18 different fabrics (including pet-friendly ones) and three wood stains. It measures 86 x 35 x 33 inches, and people love the depth—tons of room for sprawling.
In terms of reviews, owners say the Preston is firm but comfortable. Customers rave about the quality of Joybird products and love that they offer a 365-day home trial and will send you a free swatch kit.
07 of 08
Best Mid-Century: Burrow SofaWhat We Like
What We Don't Like
Stylish and durable design
Built-in USB charger
On the firmer side
The Nomad sofa is a classic piece with tufted cushions that are reversible, so you can change up the look if needed. The backside of the cushions are solid, and customers can pick from a low or a high arm. The Nomad sofa measures 86 x 36 x 35 inches, and you can add on a chaise or ottoman. The stain-resistant fabric comes in five colors and can be easily spot cleaned.
In addition to affordable pricing, Burrow offers free shipping and a 30-day trial. Reviewers say this couch is both comfortable and stylish, although a few warn it's a little firm for complete relaxation.
08 of 08
Best for Kids: Ashley Furniture Ryler SofaWhat We Like
What We Don't Like
Easy to clean
No footrest or ottoman option
Attractive furniture and children rarely go together, but the Ashley Furniture Ryler Sofa is an affordable and chic couch made from faux leather that’s a breeze to spot clean. Plus, for less than $500, you won’t be constantly worried your kids will ruin an heirloom piece. The steel and charcoal grey options are both attractive and dark enough to easily camouflage stains.
The sofa measures 85 x 38 x 37 inches and requires no assembly. A platform foundation is designed to prevent sagging and drooping during use. Ashley Furniture reviewers say the Ryler sofa is attractive and comfortable, too.
Our writers spent 140 hours researching and testing the most popular couches on the market. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.
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.
The Ultimate Couch Buying Guide
Couches and sofas are an important part of most people’s home furnishings. They’re generally the main piece of furniture in living rooms and dens as they allow you to kick back and relax as well as entertain guests. From small loveseats that fit two people to large sectionals that can seat ten or more, couches are both functional and decorative.
Today, couches are made up of several key components—they’re actually more complex than you might think. First, you have the frame, which is typically made of wood. Metal springs are installed over the frame to provide the “give” when you sit down. From here, construction will vary depending on the style of sofa you choose, but there’s typically at least one layer of padding over the frame to increase comfort, and if the sofa has arms, there’s often extra padding over them since they won’t be covered by pillows. Then there are the back and seat cushions, which are either removable or attached to the frame. And, of course, you have the upholstery fabric and any decorative finishes.
While these are the most basic components of any couch, there are hundreds of variations in style, size, and material to choose from. There are loveseats, sectionals, sleeper sofas, and futons, as well as numerous design styles, including mid-century, chesterfield, camelback, and more. Depending on all of these factors, a sofa can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Be sure to have a budget in mind before you start shopping!
To help make your shopping experience a little easier, the following is a comprehensive guide to buying a couch.
Familiarize yourself with the different types, materials, and construction methods to become a more informed consumer.
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.
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.
Ashley Homestore sells sofas (and other furniture) all around North America, and their designs prioritize quality and value. No matter whether you’re looking for a standard sofa, loveseat, sectional, futon, or reclining sofa, you’ll find a variety of styles and prices from this brand.
This brand may be best known for its reclining chairs, but La-Z-Boy also sells a variety of standard and reclining couches. Most of their designs are more traditional, and prices start around $800.
If you’re looking for a high-quality sofa, you may want to consider Crate & Barrel, which has more than 100 stores around the world. Their designs are more contemporary, with sleek modern lines and high price tags.
Another high-end brand, West Elm offers a wide variety of contemporary and mid-century sofas, including sectionals. Their prices are high, but so is the quality.
For those on a budget, IKEA offers minimalist and Scandinavian sofas, sectionals, and sleeper sofas for affordable prices. While you can snag an IKEA sofa for as low as $300, you do have to build the items yourself.
The warranties on sofas can vary significantly, ranging from short one-year warranties to lifetime guarantees. In general, a longer warranty signifies a better product. However, as with any warranty, you’ll want to carefully read the fine print to see what is and isn’t covered, as well as how the warranty can be voided.
For instance, sofa warranties typically apply to the original buyer only, so if you inherit a couch from a relative, you won’t be able to cash in on the warranty if it breaks. Further, many warranties are voided if you don’t conduct proper maintenance on the sofa or if you make any alterations to it.
Normal wear, tear, and accidents typically aren’t covered under a manufacturer’s warranty, so if you spill wine on it or a cushion loses its puffiness, you’ll have to cover the repairs yourself. However, some furniture retailers offer protection plans that may cover these types of damages—for an additional fee. Just be sure to read the fine print on these types of plans, as many aren’t as good as salespeople make them sound.