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There’s so much to be said for sofa shopping: you’re buying a piece of furniture, after all, designed to provide years of comfort and support.
That said, of course, the market for couches is glutted, so picking a piece that offers a stylish place for you and your housemates to park themselves of an evening can sometimes prove a little confusing.
The opportunities are myriad - from timeless practicality to Avant Garde fashion sofas, there’s something for everyone.
And contrary to what you might fear, there are some excellent options out there that come in under £500.
Which are the best furniture stores to purchase a sofa from?
You likely haven’t failed to notice that sofas come in at every imaginable price point.
And yes, as always, spending more will likely result in a more luxurious sofa, made of hard-wearing materials and with firmer, more long-lasting packing. But there are some great choices for those on a tighter budget Wayfair is reliable.
Mid-range, Nkuku, Swoon, Cox & Cox, Maisons du Monde and Darlings of Chelsea are our go-tos when making recommendations, while if you’re in the position to flash some serious cash, The Conran Shop crafts luxuriant sofas, with top-flight specifications.
What style should I go for?
We’re wary of citing interior trends, because in our experience it is smarter to purchase furniture to match your living situation, rather than buy a fashionable piece that won’t blend in with the rest of your surroundings. We do have some advice, though.
If you’re a renter, bold colours or more interesting prints can be a good way of introducing some personality into a flat which will otherwise not necessarily have décor to match your taste.
Think about the fabrics you enjoy the feel of, or will serve your lifestyle.
Velvet is fantastic if you love tactility.
Leather is a great go-to if you live with mucky creatures, who will leave paw-prints or hand-prints wherever you go.
If you’re worried about the feel of leather under (ahem) bottom, rest assured there are some delightfully soft, buttery options available now, that simply soften and improve with age.
Don’t disregard linen, however. Arguably a less sexy choice than leather or velvet, it’s machine washable, stain resistant and understatedly charming.
It also feels comfortable against the skin.
If you’re in an open plan home, or a studio space, consider a sofa that may serve as a room divider, which can help create a sense of specific, fit-for-purpose areas without interrupting the appealing flow of an open plan room.
Small rooms, and a sofa with a slim footprint can create cosiness without impinging on all what little space you have available. Consider low slung sofas with raised legs (to let light through) - this helps suggest spaciousness in a room that is anything but.
Why we like it: You can’t beat a classic chesterfield for timeless elegance, and this fully customisable option from Sofas and Stuff is the classic sofa done right.
Ideal in a smart living room, with a smart, ‘sit-up-straight’ back - but nevertheless plush and cushy to sit on.
Can you customise it: Yes, you can choose the size, the materials, and the fabric colour. Be it a muted, understated linen, or a vibrant, eye-catching pink velvet - if you can dream it, Sofas and Stuff can customise it. Lush.
Key Specs: Materials: Hard wood frame, upholstered sprung seat and buttoned back, duck feather fill cushions
Upholstery: Linen, velvet, cord, wool, easy-clean poly - the choice is yours.
Dimensions: 74cm x 97cm x 21 cm
Why we like it: We love a modern sofa that tips it’s cap to tradition, and this sofa nods at Chesterfields, with their buttoned cushions, while retaining modern day comfort.
Chose from a two, three, four-seater, or chaise option, this is a reasonably priced number - the cheapest option comes in at £1449.
But enough of that - what of the comfort levels? Ooo, boy, they’re good. With high back cushions, this is a sofa for those of you who want things soft-yet-firm. A high backrest offers extra support if you’ve an achy breaky spine.
Not as plushy-soft as some sofas, you’ll be ample-supported though, and the seat cushions are suitably squishy for when you want to splay out.
Can you customise it: Yes - in terms of size and upholstery
Key Specs: Materials: 90 varying upholstery styles available
H87 x W202 x D95cm *other sizes available*
Seat Height: 43cm
Why we like it: Everything the Conran Shop produces is of superlative quality, and the Lennox 2-Seater is one of the few sofas they sell that is affordable, as well. In plush velvet, this is a deep-seated, soft sofa, that nevertheless provides enough support to look after after or ailing backs.
Understated and chic, it will fit almost any surroundings. Lovely stained beech wooden legs, too.
Can you customise it: there are 42 different colour options, paired with 6 fabric options.Key Specs: 178cm (w) x 78cm (h) x 91cm (d) Seat Height: 45cm
Why we like it: If you’re looking for a sofa that you can plant yourself on, and then never want to get up, the Harper Sofa is in. With a gorgeous velvet upholstery, it’s soft to the touch, while the sofa itself is perfect to slouch on - the reclined back is ideal for lengthy spells of idleness. Lovely low-slung armrests for if you need an afternoon nap, too. The shell-shaped design is ever so chic. We love it.
Can you customise it: Absolutely. There’s too many to list here, but it can be made in any colour, or material, you can imagine. That said, we think the dusty pink velvet model is too, too gorgeous.
Key Specs: Depends so much on how you chose to customise that it’s not worth itemising here.
Why we like it: This is a very reasonably priced sofa that, made by Joules in collaboration with DFS, will nevertheless last well (and is awfully comfy). The Art Deco, fluted design is effortlessly cool, and by being armless it avoids the ‘boxed-in’ feeling some more traditional sofas can give to a room.
Can you customise it: Available in rich blue or grey.
Key Specs: Materials: wooden legs Upholstery: Velvet Dimensions: H 79.5 x W 130 x D 68cm
Why we like it: Because, to be frank, it looks utterly cool. Extremely comfortable, it has a deep seat to sink into, and curved arms and chunky walnut wooden feet to give it a rustic look - but still thoroughly modern. Best of all, the layered fibre deep cushioning makes its bliss to sit on, while the leather upholstery makes it effortless to clean.
Key Specs: Materials: masonite frame, wooden feet, foam filling with layered fibre Upholstery: leather Dimensions: W221 x D101 x H84cm
Can you customise it: There’s a choice of 27 different leathers, in different colours.
Why we like it: The Rennes wouldn’t look out of place in an English manor house, but will look equally handsome in a family home or chic apartment. With brass capped feet, for that classic feel, it contains feathers in it’s filling to help make it plushily soft to sit on.
Key Specs: Dimensions: 164 cm x 90 cm x 66 cm Weight: 39 kg Materials: pine and engineered wood frame, beech legs Filling materials: foam, feather and polyfibre
Can you customise it: Yes, with an exterior of velvet, smart wool, or soft wool fabrics, in a choice of multiple different colours - all solid, block colours.
Why we like it: Inspired by a 19th century Petworth chair, the Chiddingfold has that old-school elegance, matched to the high-performance materials of modern day. With a Howard arm and a deep, button back, it looks chic, feels great to sit on, and will remain forever in style.
Key Specs: Materials: Traditional hardwood frame, solid oak feet, feather wrapped foam seat cushions. Dimensions depend on the model purchased.
Can you customise it: With fabrics from a choice of velvet, linen, plain, cotton, wool, and corduroy, in a choice of solid block colours or patterned fabric, and as a chair, two, three, or four seater - if you can dream it, they can make the Chiddingfold to match.
Why we like it: Love to sink into your sofa? The Deni is for you, deep seated with plush cushions for proper relaxation. It’s intended for two people who want to stretch out and relax - no fighting for couch space here.
Key Specs: Dimensions: 78 X 225 X 110cm Materials: wood frame and legs Upholstery: pure linen cloth
Aesthetically, its gentle contours look contemporary, not stuffy, but manage the neat trick of being timeless, too. If you love real, hard-would floors, exposed brick, and earthy tones, the Deni will likely suit you to a T.
Can you customise it: The fabric is always pure cloth linen, but you can choose one of six solid block colours, in muted tones.
Why we like it: The Conran Shop proclaims this sofa to be “created as a celebration of the art of leather working” and my word, is it ever.
British designer Lucy Kurrein collaborated with design house Molinari Living and the Conran Shop to create a luxury leather 3-seater sofa meant to be reminiscent of a boxing punching bag. We think that undersells this astonishing piece, which is just effortlessly glamorous.
The cushions are hefty and full, while the legs are slim and discrete. With leather so buttery you’ll be tempted to eat it, this masterpiece is ideal if you’re after a sofa that’s - miracle of miracles - firm and cushy all at once. If you can afford it, you won’t regret it.
Can you customise it: What, try and improve upon perfection?
Key Specs: Materials: Nobilis Tegola tan leather Dimensions: 240cm (w) x 75cm (h) x 96cm (d)
Seat Height: 44cm
Why we like it: It’s a fabulously chic, compact, mid-century styled sofa that will slot into your home nicely.
A two-seater, it’s a classic design, with a button finish - timelessly cool. Ideal if you have a lot of natural materials in your home.
Can you customise it: No
Key Specs: Materials: Ash wood and leather
Dimensions: H 77.5 x W 117 x D 66cm
Why we like it: Linen sofas are casually cool and stylish - they’re never trying too hard, but always sophisticated.
This option from Soho House is cool in the summer, and its wide, fixed seat and flared arms are ideal for fully-fledged, body-splayed relaxing.
Can you customise it: No
Key Specs: Materials: Birch and beech frame
Dimensions: H70 x W221 x D101cm
Why we like it: A sofa in a box may initially seem an uncertain notion - how could it possibly be as sturdy, supportive, and comfortable as a ready-built sofa?
But the genuises at Swyft have managed to craft a frame simulatenously so straight-forward our nine year old assembled it, yet sturdy enough to provide the support you’d hope for from a sofa. It slots together like a large scale Lego set.
The cushions are plushly filled, making for robust, comfortable support. Our favourite aspect of this excellent sofa system though - part from arriving in environmentally friendly packaging - is that it’s a modular system.
We have the two-seater but if we wished to add to it, we could move the cushions, armrests and backs, to build it out to a three-seater or corner sofa. Fabulous flexibility.
Key Specs: Size: W190cmH95cmD96cm
Upholstery: Royal velvet
Can you customise it: Yes. It comes in twelve colours ways and the modular system means you can ‘grow’ the sofa as and how you need, if you want to turn it into a corner unit.