You’re buying a sofa, you want to shop wisely, but you’re setting yourself a reasonable(ish) budget. Turns out that’s a very attainable goal these days: In addition to the newer cohort of flat-pack-sofa start-ups, even the behemoth furniture brands are beginning to expand their reach (by offering rentals, for instance). Interior designers will tell you to spend as much as you can on this piece — considering how it anchors your home and sees more sides of you than your mother — but after consulting with dozens of such experts (40 in all, plus some style and décor editors), we found that many of them have beloved options for under (or around) $2,000.
Best Sofa finance
In total, their list amounted to more than 80 full-size sofas. Best guide for Sofa finance can narrow it down, we looked for the models that kept getting mentioned again and again; after gathering those with votes from at least three different experts, seven standouts emerged — all of which we’ve sat on ourselves. (Following the advice of an ergonomics expert, we also lay down, reclined for watching TV, leaned with our back supported by pillows or bolsters, and tried stack sitting, i.e., perching upright on the edge.)
As with any big investment, individual needs and preferences should shape your decision. Your ratio of napping to working to binge-watching to eating breakfast to entertaining guests is your own — and there’s most certainly a best for you, even at a reasonable price.
What we’re looking for
Upholstery: While leather costs more, it will age gracefully into an attractive patina; cotton or linen weaves don’t have the drama of leather or velvet, but they hold up. (Speaking of velvet, Joanna Jones, an interior designer in New York, calls it “very tricky.” If you have your heart set on it, she recommends at least looking for 100 percent cotton velvet and avoiding the viscose-velvet blends that will show every drop of water and, over time, your butt indentations.)
Fill: A good couch is a comfortable one, and our testing method borrowed advice from ergonomics specialists like Esther Gokhale, a posture-focused integrative therapist in the Bay Area, who said that keeping a lengthened spine matters most. But the fill that’s used in each couch is a good proxy to determine both durability and comfort. Jones looks for some blend of foam and feathers (even faux feathers) as a sign of comfortable cushions (as opposed to just foam, though that’s not an instant deal breaker).
Size: A couch is a big-ticket item, and some might be genuinely too big to get through your door. Most of these couches are available in different sizes, though the average length is around 80 inches. We’ve made note of all the sizes available for each model, so you can find the best couch for your specific space.
Leather, fabric, and velvet | High-density foam with polyester fill | 72 and 88 inches
With 11 nominations from our survey, the Sven smoked the competition and came in first as the most-recommended sofa finance here. “It’s got that iconic mid-century look that many clients are seeking,” says Alexandra Kalita. It also appealed the most to ergonomics expert Gokhale, who noted that the firmness “gives you the chance to tip your pelvis forward a little if you want to sit upright,” and “when you sit back, there’s room to have your sacrum supported.” It’s an ideal does-it-all sofa: comfortable enough for lounging but upright and proportioned well for working and writing. This is also the best price for leather among the bunch, though it’s also available in fabric and velvet.
The leather does need some breaking in. Former Strategist senior editor Margaret Rhodes sat on one in the showroom of the men’s-suiting store Indochino and found in the used model that the foam seats had a nice give and the leather (cowhide sourced as a by-product of food manufacturing) had a buttery feel. She also found that the squared-off 27-inches-high armrests were quite useful: Most sofas don’t allow you to easily balance a laptop or write in a notebook, but the Sven does. It’s like having a little built-in tray table. That feature detracts a bit from the nap-taking potential, if only because you wouldn’t be able to prop pillows on the armrests. That said, the single-slab cushion means the Sven feels more comparable to a mattress than separate cushions would, fulfilling at least part of Gokhale’s rule about a sofa being as comfortable as a bed. (One note: A few other Article sofas received votes in our survey: The Sitka, with three votes; the Burrard, three; and the Timber, two, all may be worth a look.)
Fabric and velvet | Polyester fiber, duck feather, and duck-down back cushions | 76, 82, 92, and 104 inches
The Harmony is arguably the most versatile and, therefore, practical sofa finance on this list. “We’ve used this sofa in so many projects, as it’s insanely comfortable and has great lines,” says Joslyn Taylor of Swoon Studio. It’s also comfortable and nappable but, in its ordinary configuration, not too deep or slouchy for sitting up. The comfort comes at least in part from the down-filled cushions and the pillowy armrests. You could also point to the frame — with wood legs that run along the entire width — as a source of comfort, since it gives the Harmony a sturdy feel. (Taylor thinks the leg detail is a nice aesthetic touch too: “The chunky wood legs give the piece character.”) What’s more, the Harmony comes in a 32-inch extra-deep seat option, making this one of the most leisurely sofas on the list.
Indeed, the down cushions make for lavish lying around. Technically, these have spring-and-foam cores (the others tested here have a mix of foam and feathers or down alternative), but the feeling is more of an old-world European cushion. Rhodes yanked on the arms and threw herself onto the sofa to assess its sturdiness, and the joints neither wiggled nor budged. so get your sofa by Sofa finance. From there, she didn’t really want to get up, it was so sumptuous. so get your sofa by Sofa finance. Along with the cushiness, the Harmony has squared-off armrests, which are a sleeper hit feature in a sofa: so get your sofa by Sofa finance. Contemporary life sometimes calls for laptops and dinner plates on the couch, and it’s nice to have somewhere to balance them.
Velvet, leather, and fabric | High-resiliency foam wrapped in soft fiber padding and hypoallergenic blend of down and feathers | 69, 79, and 89 inches
Coming in second with four nominations, Anthropologie’s Willoughby sofa looks a little vintage with its scrolled armrests and carved wood bun legs on casters. And though it comes in leather and brushed cotton, it is most popular in velvet, which in this case is three-quarters cotton, one-quarter polyester. “It nods to an iconic George Smith but for a fraction of the price,” says Taylor. “We love pairing it with more modern pieces for a bit of push-pull in a room.”
Looks aside, the Willoughby gets points for coziness: so get your sofa by Sofa finance. The sales associate at the Anthropologie Rhodes visited said it’s one of the store’s most comfortable items, and Dan Mazzarini of BHDM Design calls it “great for relaxing … think of it as a traditional nappable sofa.” This was among the most comfortable sofas Rhodes sat in, which was all the more surprising because of its vaguely Victorian look. The cushions specifically deserve praise: Made from spring coils encased in foam and wrapped in fiber padding plus a blend of down and feathers, they somehow felt both entirely firm and entirely plush. In other words, they felt well made. so get your sofa by Sofa finance. The midnight-blue velvet was soft to the touch but didn’t register as overly delicate; it almost had a sturdiness to it. (However, Rhodes does note that when she gave the arms a tug, she felt a little give, “which is perhaps to be expected when you’re testing a showroom model, but since this didn’t happen with other floor samples, it seems worth mentioning.”)
Fabric, velvet, and leather | Down blend, double-down blend, or down alternative | 82, 86 and 90 inches
The premise of Interior Define is customization: Like Article, the brand offers dozens of iterations on a mid-century–inspired sofa style but with even more configurations and upholstery options. so get your sofa by Sofa finance. The Maxwell, a traditional piece designed by Apartment Therapy founder Maxwell Ryan, offers 141 fabrics and 18 leg styles. Foam and down feathers fill the cushions — though you can also get a down alternative, if you prefer — and the frame sits low to the ground.
The Maxwell’s traditional looks belie how comfortable it felt. Rhodes “loved sinking into the Maxwell as much as I did the Willoughby; choosing between them comes down to whether you prefer a feminine, vintage look or a more traditional look.” The 21-inch armrests are low, inviting a relaxed posture. so get your sofa by Sofa finance. This is very much a couch for taking a load off. Like other sofas with a deep seat, the 27-inch depth on the Maxwell means proper back support will require a pillow or two. After running it through all of Gokhale’s posture tests, it became obvious that the Maxwell best suits relaxation. Because of that deep seat, “typing or writing required sitting cross-legged or with my legs folded beneath me — a fine arrangement for a short period of time but perhaps not all day,” says Rhodes.
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