The 7 Best Couches of 2021

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Our Top Picks
"The modern modular form of this couch makes it extremely versatile, and there are so many great customization options."
"If you’re hunting for a more affordable option, this sofa won't break the bank and its classic appearance will never go out of style."
"A great option for a large living room or a large family, there's plenty of cozy seating for everyone on this L-shaped sofa."
"When you have overnight guests, this sofa easily converts into a queen-size sleep spot with a 4.5-inch thick mattress."
"This high-end leather sofa is both stylish and durable, and you can choose from both top-grain and vegan leather upholstery."
"With its deep seats, plush cushions, and “lived in” appearance, this modern sofa will be your favorite spot in the house."
"This sofa is 81 inches wide, and it includes both a pull-out mattress and a reversible chaise, making it oh-so versatile."

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

Burrow Nomad Sofa

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, you can choose between back cushions that are tufted or 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.

Best Budget: IKEA EKTORP Sofa

IKEA EKTORP Sofa

If you’re hunting for an affordable sofa for your first home or apartment, the EKTORP Sofa has a simple, classic design and a reasonable price tag. This couch is just under 86 inches long and 35 inches deep, and it features traditional rolled arms and reversible back cushions. The EKTORP Sofa also comes with a beige slipcover that can simply be removed and laundered—ideal for households with pets or children—and IKEA also sells replacement covers in case you want to change up the couch’s appearance.

This sofa has thick, comfy cushions that are filled with high-resilience foam and polyester wadding, and its cover is a cotton-polyester blend that you can simply toss in the washing machine. Because the piece is from IKEA, some assembly is required, but it’s worth the extra effort for all the money you’re saving.

Best Sectional: Pottery Barn Pearce Upholstered 3-Piece L-Shaped Sectional with Wedge

pierce-sectional

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 discreet 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

Carly Sofa Bed

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.

Best Leather: West Elm Hamilton Leather Sofa

West Elm Hamilton Sofa

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 Modern: Joybird Bryant Sofa

Joybird Bryant Sofa

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 for Small Spaces: Latitude Run Matney Reversible Sleeper Sectional with Ottoman

matney-sectional

To make the most of your small space, you need a versatile couch like the Latitude Run Matney Sleeper Sectional, which is covered with a soft chenille upholstery. This sofa is 81 inches wide, and it includes both a pull-out mattress and a reversible chaise, allowing you to easily change the configuration to suit your needs.

Unlike traditional sectionals that have a separate chaise section, this couch simply has a “floating” ottoman that can be arranged on either side of the sofa, creating a 52-inch chaise lounge. Alternatively, you can put the ottoman to the side and transform the couch into a queen-size bed, complete with a 4-inch innerspring mattress.

Final Verdict

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 EKTORP Sofa (view at IKEA) has a classic design that's easy to maintain thanks to its washable slipcover.

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.

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.

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. 

couch
The Spruce / Angelica Leich 

Key Considerations

Familiarize yourself with the different types, materials, and construction methods to become a more informed consumer. 

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. 

Couch Styles
Bailey Mariner / The Spruce 

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
couch
The Spruce / Angelica Leich  

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. 

Product Types

There are several types of couches and sofas you’ll encounter as you shop, each of which has its own pros and cons.

Standard

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. 

Sectional

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. 

Loveseat

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

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. 

Recliner

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. 

Futon

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.

couch
 The Spruce / Angelica Leich 

Brands/Retailers

There are hundreds of sofa makers you may come across, many of which sell high-quality products. However, the following are some of the most popular sofa brands if you need a place to start. 

Ashley Homestore

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. 

La-Z-Boy

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.

Crate & Barrel

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.

West Elm

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. 

IKEA

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. 

Warranties

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.

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