The best couch for a living room update; from spacious sectional to stylish sofa, or compact chaise

Discover the best couch for your home; find the right balance between style, comfort, and quality with the best leather, sectional and chaise sofas

Best sofa 2020
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(Image credit: West Elm)

Choosing the best couch for your living space is an important decision. After all, the piece you pick will play a major role in your daily routine, whether you're entertaining guests, relaxing with friends and family, or catching up on your favorite TV show after a long workday.

Not to mention the fact that this key piece of living room furniture needs to suit both your decor and your budget.

Once you start your search for the best couch, you'll soon discover there are a whole lot of options to choose from, including classic two or three-seater sofas, chaise sofas for putting your feet up, sectional sofas that come in modular units you can configure into your own bespoke seating layout, plus, multifunctional sofa beds that allow you to offer guests an overnight sleeping space (find more of those in our guide to the best sleeper sofas).

The options can soon begin to feel a little endless, which is where this buying guide steps in. To help you decide which is the best sofa for you, just scroll to the end of this article for some in-depth buying advice on choosing the right size, shape, construction, and upholstery, or just browse through the Real Homes team's round-up of the best couches you can buy right now.

Best couches 2022: stylish sofas that offer comfort and affordability

A gray chaise sectional sofa with dark wood legs from APT2B

(Image credit: APT2B)
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1. APT2B Scott Reversible Chaise Sofa

Best couch with a chaise: a compact sofa with space to stretch out

Specifications

Seats: 2-3
Size: H31 x W79 x D66"
Upholstery options: 60+
Cushion filling: foam

Reasons to buy

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Compact chaise configuration that's great for small living rooms
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Reversible chaise ottoman
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Over 60 upholstery options
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Choice of 3 leg finishes
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Removable cushion covers for easy cleaning
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Matching furniture available
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Made in the U.S.A

Reasons to avoid

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If your couch needs to withstand the rough and tumble of family life then the chaise ottoman could come adrift

This compact chaise sofa offers the opportunity to stretch out and get comfortable, even if your living room isn't blessed with the most generous of proportions. Plus, for added versatility, the floating chaise cushion and ottoman can be swapped from one side of the sofa to the other; making moving home, or just rearranging your living room a much easier affair.

The simple shape and clean lines make for a timeless design that will sit just as happily in a mid-Century as a minimal home, and those high tapered legs are a brilliant way to increase your floor space – visually, at least – by raising the sofa frame so that your gaze is drawn underneath the sofa rather than being blocked by a bulkier, low-to-the-ground design.

The elegantly shaped legs also come in three finish options – natural light wood, a darker pecan wood, or smart black – along with over sixty upholstery choices to tailor the look to your home. And, the cushion covers are removable for easy cleaning –  always a bonus in our book.

If you're looking to match your new couch to your wider living room suite then coordinating furniture allows you to do so, with the Scott range offering a loveseat, armchair, and choice of larger sectionals and sofas.

A tan brown leather sofa

(Image credit: Anthropologie)
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2. Anthropologie Bowen Leather Sofa

Best leather sofa: a stylish leather couch with a good range of width and color options

Specifications

Seats: 2-3
Size: H31 x W71/81/91 x D35"
Upholstery options: 9
Cushion filling: down and feather and fiber wrapped foam with spring coil

Reasons to buy

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A modern take on the classic leather sofa
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Available in three widths
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Good choice of leather upholstery colors
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Spring coil cushions with a mix of down,  feather, and foam

Reasons to avoid

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It's not an option for vegans

A leather sofa is a piece of furniture that's intended to get better with time, making it one item of furniture that you won't mind wearing in a little. Plus, leather upholstery can make for durable and easy to clean seating that – depending on the finish – will stand up well to the spills and mishaps of daily life.

One of the team's favorite options from our leather sofas round-up, the Bowen  leather couch offers a contemporary take on this popular classic. Deep T-shaped seats, well-padded back cushions, and a – often hard to come by – wide selection of leather colorways make this a great addition to a modern home.

There are seven options of burnished top-grain leather for a more relaxed look, including two tan options, a camel, two dark brown colorways, a black and an oxblood red option, as well as two full-grain leather options in black or tan that offer a sleek and polished look.

Plus, as well as multiple leather hues to choose from, you also get a great choice of frame widths, with 71", 81", or 91" seating on offer, all with the option of cast iron or brass finish legs.


A gray upholstered queen sleeper sofa

(Image credit: Lark Manor)
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3. Lark Manor Lourenco 77'' Square Arm Sofa Bed

Best sleeper sofa: a compact couch that hides a queen-sized pull-out mattress

Specifications

Seats: 2-3
Sleeps: 2
Size: H34 x W77 x D37''
Upholstery options: 40+
Cushion filling: fiber wrapped foam
Type of bed: queen-size innerspring pull-out

Reasons to buy

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An affordable sleeper sofa option
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Versatile design that works with a wide range of decor
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40+ upholstery options
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Queen-size pull-out innerspring mattress
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Coordinating furniture available

Reasons to avoid

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A sofa bed will likely feel firmer to sit on than a regualar couch

Opting for a sleeper sofa rather than a classic couch can be a great option for a smaller home, allowing you the versatility to host guests, even if you don't have a dedicated guest bedroom to spare, and there are a few good reasons that the Lourenco Square Arm Sofa Bed as made it to the top of our best sleeper sofa round-up. 

This compact pull-out couch is especially useful for a small living room, or for adding to a home office to create some additional sleep space. Even better, despite its petite proportions, there's a queen-sized innerspring mattress hidden under the seats.

The straight-lined design is classic yet contemporary, so will suit a wide range of interior decor styles, and there are over forty upholstery options on offer which should deliver enough choice to make this sleeper your own, and there's also a matching loveseat, ottoman, and armchair available if you want to create a coordinated living room suite.

A grey L-shaped sectional sofa

(Image credit: Burrow)
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4. Burrow Block Nomad 5-Seat Corner Sectional

Best sectional sofa: a versatile modular sofa that offers affordability and flexibility

Specifications

Seats: 5
Size: H33 x L88 x W88 x D35"
Upholstery options: 5
Cushion filling: fiber wrapped foam

Reasons to buy

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Modular design means you can easily add or subtract seating sections
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An easy way to get a large piece of furniture into a hard-to-access room
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Choose from 3 styles of armrest
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Choose from 6 different leg options
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Choose from tufted or plain back cushions
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Includes a built-in USB charger & 72” power cord

Reasons to avoid

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Limited upholstery options
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You can end up with quite a lot of sofa legs in the final build

If you're looking to invest in one of the best sectional sofas you can buy, then for style and affordability, Burrow's modular seating is a great place to start (and end) your search. 

The Nomad sofa is one of the brand's bestselling couches, and with its versatile configuration options and customizable design, it's easy to see why. 

Built from individual modular units to the size and shape you prefer, this sofa allows you to tweak both your layout and your seating size as the whim takes you, enabling you to adapt the sectional if you move home, or if and when your budget – or family  – grows.

There are also plenty of options to make it your own, with three choices of armrest style, and six different leg options on offer, plus a choice of either plain or tufted cushions. And, although there are only five upholstery shades available, all are good, solid colorways that will be perfect for a wide range of homes. 

floyd sofa - best sofas 2020

(Image credit: Floyd)

5. Floyd The Sofa

Best eco-friendly couch: made in the U.S.A with FSC-certified wood

Specifications

Seats: 3
Size: H32 x W87 x D31”
Upholstery options: 5
Cushion filling: foam

Reasons to buy

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American-made, from a Detroit-based company 
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FSC-certified wood
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Stain-resistant fabric

Reasons to avoid

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The seat depth is fairly narrow – so you won't have room for many cushions

Floyd has gained traction in the design game since coming onto the market in 2013 as a company focused on creating furniture that is built to last. In the time since, it’s become one of the most well-known sustainable furniture companies, and its pieces have ended up in nearly 30,000 customers’ homes. 

For Earth Day 2020, the company announced their Sustainability Plan, aiming to ensure 70 percent of the material comes from either recycled or renewable sources, use 100 percent FSC-certified wood across all products, and measure, disclose, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across our supply chain by 2025. Further, the company will be launching the Floyd Resale and Refurbishment program to extend the useful life of our products.

The Sofa — one of three versions of the piece available — offers a flexible, stylish staple for your home, for a low-cost and low-impact on the environment. The modern and modular design blends in perfectly with the styles of past, present and future, all while being toxin-free, easy to clean, and made with reusable and sustainable materials, including all-natural, Top Grade radiata pine plywood and free of chemical flame retardants.

A pink velvet tufted couch from Everly Quinn

(Image credit: Wayfair)
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6. Everly Quinn 83.25'' Velvet Flared Arm Sofa

Best tufted couch: add a touch of glamour with this channel stitched velvet sofa

Specifications

Seats: 3
Size: H30 x W83 x D30''
Upholstery options: 3
Cushion filling: foam

Reasons to buy

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Statement design
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Affordable price point

Reasons to avoid

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Limited color options

Channel tufting remains a major trend in upholstered furniture, with versions of this high-glamour look popping up all over the interior scene.

If you're looking to cash in on the look without breaking the bank, then this affordable option delivers an elegant look at a budget-friendly price point.

The curvaceous design features deep channel stitching, soft velvet upholstery, and sleek tapered legs, all in three focal-point colorways; soft dusky rose, statement emerald green, and a smart all-black design. 

The foam seating may be on the firmer side, but if you're looking to nail the latest trend, then this fashionable three-seater could be well worth having on your radar.


How to find the best couch for your home

Choosing a sofa is about more than just looks, although, of course, those are important, too. Finding the best couch for your living space will depend on a few key factors, not least the size of your living room, your lifestyle, and of course, your budget. So what are the key things to consider when shopping for this all-important investment piece?

How big should your sofa be?

It may sound obvious, but size is one of the most important aspects to consider before falling in love with your dream couch. 

Generally speaking, you're going to want the most spacious sofa your room and budget will allow, but it's also important to make sure your sofa will be in proportion to your room size.

After all, it's easy to fall in love with a roomy sectional in a spacious sofa showroom, but back home that corner sofa might make your living room feel cramped and cluttered. 

A top tip is to measure out where the sofa will stand in your room using tape or newsprint to mark out all dimensions. As well as width, make sure to consider the height of the sofa – especially if you want to place it under a window sill or beneath existing architecture – and its depth to ensure there is plenty of space to walk around it comfortably. 

And don't just measure the room where your sofa will (hopefully) end up, unless you want a stressful few hours come delivery day! Ensure your chosen sofa will fit through doorways, around bending hallways, or up flights of stairs. Most retailers list packaging dimensions on their sites, so ensure these match the access you have. 

And if your access is tricky? That's where sectionals and especially modular sofas really come into their own. Look for options that are delivered in sections that can be more easily squeezed through tight spaces, or self-assembly sectionals that have the advantage of being able to be constructed within the destination room.

You'll find more top tips for planning your living space in our round-up of the best living room layout ideas, as well as style inspiration in our modern living room ideas and small living room ideas sections.

What's the most comfortable sofa?

Just like finding the best mattress for you, finding the most comfortable sofa for you will depend a lot on personal preference, and there's nothing that can quite replace going into the showroom and sit-testing a few of your favorite styles if that's a viable option.

However, whether you're shopping online or in-store, we've rounded up some of the most important points to consider when shopping for a sofa that you and your family will love to curl up on.

Cushion padding
The fill of your sofa will impact not only how comfortable your sofa is, but also the way it looks. Down fill, for example, is super soft and cozy, but the cushions will also lose their shape faster than a sofa with foam cushions. If you don't want an imprint left on your sofa every time you stand up, then down may not be the fill for you. Foam cushions, on the other hand, tend to be firmer, but will also hold their shape better than down. You'll also find foam-down hybrid cushions, which can be a happy medium. 

Frame support
If you're using a sofa to zone a room, then a low-to-the-ground model can offer a great way to create dedicated areas without breaking up the space too much, but, the flip side is that low seating can encourage you to sprawl more than sit, which, – depending on your back, and, let's face it, age – can make for a less comfortable seat.

Ergonomically, the recommended seating position is to have your thigh bones parallel to the floor, which for most of us means sofa seating that's a roundabout knee height when standing. 

Opting for a sofa with enough back support is also going to make sitting more comfortable. Look for models that have a dedicated backrest, rather than sofas that offer a low back and then rely on the cushions to provide support.

How to choose your sofa's upholstery

As well as color and style preferences, choosing the best upholstery option for your seating will have a lot to do with lifestyle. Especially if you have kids or pets, who are potentially going to give your couch a more rigorous workout than it might get in an adult-only home (although, of course, there are those coffee and red wine stains to think about too!).

That's why the fabric that your sofa is covered in is of particular importance. 

A performance fabric will resist stains (liquid beads up on it before sinking in giving you more chance to sponge it off before it sinks in) and can stand up to a good scrub. 

If you have pets, you'll also want to look for a fabric that won't trap hair and hold it in its grip for eternity. Fabrics with a large or chunky weave tend to be extra good at attracting pet hair, while materials like microfiber and velvet are easier to wipe hair away from. 

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