Your couch not only needs to look good and match your style, but it also needs to provide an inviting space where you can relax and unwind; as well as deliver on a practical front, working with your lifestyle to offer everyday comfort and functionality. As a central seat space in the home, there are many things to consider when exploring living room sofas, such as upholstery choice, seat construction, and leg height, as well as other factors such as size, multifunctionality, like our best sleeper sofas, and how the design will be used in your home day to day.  In order to help with your search for the best couch, we have curated a collection of designs from the best places to buy a couch, as well as included couches that are on the Homes & Gardens teams’ radar. 

The best couches: a buying guide

While we may not have tested all of the best couches discussed in this guide, the H&G teams’ expert shopping and customer understanding, and awareness of the latest trends and the most successful brands, can support your decision-making when choosing the best couch for your space. For further information about how we conduct our reviews and for our product-testing process explained, explore how we test on Homes & Gardens.  Explore our best couch guide below so you can pick a stylish, sumptuous sofa design that you can sink into and enjoy everyday. 

The best couches on the H&G radar

The perfect couch for a period property, or for adding character to a contemporary home, the classic Paxton Sofa from Arhaus is designed with a refined silhouette featuring elegant curved lines, English rolled arms with pleat detail, and gently tapered feet. Available in six ready-to-ship tonal weaves, there are also over 500 custom upholstery options to choose from, making it simple to find the exact shade and texture to match with interior decor.  The couch also comes in a range of widths to ensure the perfect fit, and – a particularly useful feature – a choice of depths, which is brilliantly helpful when furnishing smaller rooms. As for comfort, the sofa base has a firm yet flexible ’no-sag’ support system topped with seat cushions filled with a core of eco-friendly foam and flexible coils, and then wrapped in an outer layer of down, feather and polyfiber. We love that this offers both plenty of sink-factor and enough bounce to combat too much cushion plumping. Backrests aren’t forgotten either, with flexible webbing support filled with resilient memory foam cushioning. For longevity, frames are built from solid hardwood certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and there is the option of sustainable fabric too, in the form of the SEAQUAL-Certified upholstery collection which is crafted from repurposed marine plastic. Denmark’s first Nordic Swan Ecolabel sofa, the Arbour Eco has an environmentally friendly and circular design at its heart.  A huge saving to be had on this configuration of the Arhaus Paxton Sofa. Savings can also be found across the whole Paxton range (opens in new tab) at Arhaus. A collaboration between Daniel Rybakken and Andreas Engesvik for the Scandinavian brand Hay, the design began by purposely throwing out the ‘rules’ of conventional sofa building, and stripping the concept back to its bare essentials. The result is an honest and simple design that allows the individual seating components to shine through in the build. Rather than go down the traditional route of layers of (often highly unsustainable and chemical-laced) fibres glued one on top of each other to construct the sofa frame and cushioning, Rybakken and Engesvik envisaged the wooden frame and upholstered cushions as independent solutions, with the benefit that all components are repairable or replaceable to prolong the longevity of the sofa as a whole.  And, there is no compromise on comfort, with feather and foam cushions and web suspension providing plenty of slouch factor. This approach means the sofa can achieve STANDARD 100 OEKO-TEX® certification  – unusual in a sofa build – which ensures textile products emit no harmful chemicals, and that all materials can be sourced sustainably, with the beautiful oak, walnut or beech timber frame options harvested from FSC-certified forests. We love Arbour’s sustainable and simple design and how it can look perfectly timeless and elegant in a range of settings. A sectional sofa is a great option for a larger living room, with modular seat units allowing you to tailor the couch configuration to best suit your seating needs and allowing you to add as many sections as required to create a sofa in proportion with a large scale room.  Investing in a sectional design is also a wise move if you have an open-plan layout. The seating will help to zone a larger area, creating a pocket of more intimate seating – especially if you throw in a corner section or two to create an L or U-shaped ‘room within a room’. The Sectional from Floyd has everything you need from a modern, modular design. We love the chunky, streamlined design and the cozy, deep seats, allowing you to properly sit back and relax. The Sectional is available in a range of different fabrics and colors, allowing you to tailor the piece to your exact style and needs. This isn’t a sectional you sink into when you sit, but the multi-density foam has been crafted from durability and optimum comfort and support. Paying homage to Denmark’s long-standing design heritage, Danish design house &Tradition aims to bridge old and new by creating furniture and interior objects with timeless appeal. From reissuing design icons to creating future classics in collaboration with acclaimed international designers, its collections honor craftsmanship, creativity, and longevity of use.  Floyd are currently offering 20% off sitewide for their Holiday Sale and 25% off for The Sectional collection (opens in new tab). The Cloud LN2 is just such a carefully considered design, blending the pared-back functionality of Scandinavian design with the exuberant luxury of designer Luca Niichetto’s Italian heritage. A simple linear black metal base is contrasted with sumptuous cloud-like pillows which form the seat, backrest and armrests, whilst a slim curved panel wraps around the sides and rear of the sofa to emphasize the feeling of cocooning comfort.  Available in two sofa widths – plus a lounge chair – we love the elegant low profile and well-thought-out side and back details. The design is a great seating option for central placement in a larger room, offering a useful zoning tool to break up an open-plan space and create intimate pockets of seating.   The high linear legs and raised seat base also create the feeling of floating mid-air – much like a cloud – which makes the furniture just as useful an option for a smaller living space, allowing your eye to travel under the sofa to the far wall of the room and maximizing feelings of spaciousness. A velvet sofa is a great way to bring some grandeur to a room, with the fabric’s sumptuous pile and soft sheen adding luxurious luster to an interior, and the KST sofa from CB2 proves you don’t need a grand budget to achieve the look. Our favorite, affordable 3-seater couch, designed in collaboration with Los Angeles interior designer Ross Cassidy, the design retails well under the $3000 mark.  Admittedly there is a limited upholstery color palette on this lower-priced model, but the light sand or rich forest green cotton and polyester mix velvets are both attractive and versatile shades – plus there are five other twills, boucle, and poly/linen blends on offer. Considering the price point, this couch doesn’t scrimp on the design detail either, with the eye-catching scalloped backrest making a welcome decorative addition, and materials are equally well-considered, with a frame crafted from FSC-certified oak and feather and down seat cushioning. Perfect for furnishing a summer home or for youngsters who’ve just flown the nest, the luxe-look piece makes for some great entry-level seating. The appeal of the curved sofa shows no signs of waning, and with a silhouette that both cocoons and lends a sense of voluptuous decadence to a room, it’s easy to see why curvaceous seating has become less of a trend and more of a design staple.  The cream of the curvaceous crop has to be Gubi’s Stay sofa. Designed to emulate “a continuous pencil stroke wrapping a solid texture”, its raison d’être is to embrace the sitter and encourage you to stay seated for longer, and its fluid, the organic shape has become somewhat of a sculptural icon. We think the design is best upholstered in a sumptuous velvet that catches the light and enhances the elegant curves.  This luxurious statement piece is perfect for an open-plan room where it can be appreciated from all angles, although the semi-circular form can also work well placed in a corner where it will subvert the usual tendency to push a sofa back against a wall. A refreshing alternative to the traditional ‘gentleman’s club’ style of the leather couch, the Madrone leather sofa combines timeless upholstery with a contemporary low-profile frame.  Despite its generous size, the track arms that run in line with the backrest create a simple and minimalist silhouette and the sofa’s solid wood legs are inset, making the sofa appear to float above the ground; all great design tricks to eliminate bulk and create a spacious sofa that works well in almost any size of the room. Add to that deep seating accented by subtle piping and aniline-dyed leather with a rich, matte surface and super soft feel, and you have a sofa that will age well in all senses of the word.  There are only two shades of leather on offer – a golden tan and dark grey-brown – but both are exceptionally versatile shades, with the natural details in the leather’s surface, uneven pebbling, and subtle color variations adding a unique beauty to each piece. For the ultimate in laidback sofa surfing, Maker & Son’s humungous and comfort-focused Song sofa may be hard to beat.  Another great saving at Arhaus, shop the discounted Madrone Leather sofa now. Savings can also be enjoyed across the whole Madrone collection (opens in new tab). Available in three spacious size options, from the generous 88" width to the yacht-sized 158", this is a couch built for oversized lounging – although there is also a loveseat option suitable for a smaller space. We think a sofa built for relaxing looks best in a relaxed fabric, and there are over twenty linens on offer for a gently rumpled look. Add to that a selection of cotton, velvets, and corduroys, plus three blue and white denim options that make great hardwearing options for a fun-focused beach house.  Even better, all of the covers are loose fit, making it simple to update the look or replace well-loved couch upholstery in a far more sustainable way than replacing the entire couch.  But, as much as looks, this sofa is about comfort. As well as being bed-sized, the seat and back cushions also contain two ‘duvets’ – designed to be as comfortable as premium bedding – which is filled with a mixture of ethically sourced feathers and down. Between these ‘duvets’ sits a natural latex core which helps the cushions to keep their shape and makes for less plumping over time; the perfect place to kick back and relax. There is something so luxurious about a velvet sofa.  One of the top-selling upholstery choices for seating over the last few years, velvet can not only enhance a feeling of coziness and comfort, but it can look utterly beautiful and inviting, making a real statement in a room.  The Fabienne Sofa by Lulu and Georgia smartly unites a traditional, vintage look with plush modern comfort. With a sleek silhouette, marked by the streamlined frame, cozy, soft cushions, and eye-catching, ornate-shaped metal legs (with wheels for ease of movement), all elements work as one to create a stylish and sophisticated design. We love how this sofa pays homage to a classic furniture style but still prioritizes the importance of relaxing comfort – our favorite colorway has to be the calming and grounding Moss. An iconic era of influential design, the term ‘mid-century’ refers to a style of products that were designed during the middle of the twentieth century. Typically, mid-century furniture embodies a simple, functional design language, and many pieces are often crafted from wood. A mid-century sofa is often defined by a streamlined frame, square armrests, wooden legs and rectangular seat cushions, establishing a clean and more formal look – this style of sofa has proved increasingly popular in homes of all ages and styles over the last few years. The Nomad collection by Burrow is a beautiful example of adaptable, mid-century design, ideal for the modern home. We love the large range of configurations available at Burrow, with the Block Nomad Sofa Sectional being our favorite.  The sofa has an elegant yet uncomplicated look and provides a supportive and relaxing seating experience. The design is only available in a small selection of colorways, but you can customize the armrest shape, cushion detailing, and leg finish –  each Nomad design also comes with a USB charger – over time, I’m sure we will be seeing this as an essential in sofa design!

Buying advice: how to choose the best couch

One size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to sofa shopping, and finding the best couch for any particular living space generally comes down to some proper planning and forethought before you hit the store – whether that be online or bricks and mortar.  After all, a couch is an investment piece, and although it can be easy to be swayed by sumptuous cushions, luxe fabrics, and dream silhouettes, however deeply you may fall in love with that uber-comfortable chaise sofa in the store, if it doesn’t fit the proportions of a room, or the design doesn’t suit its user’s lifestyle, a sofa can easily become an expensive source of regret rather than a dream investment. So, where to begin when embarking on the search for the best couch? A good place to start when furnishing any room is with a mood board. Whether physical magazine rip-outs or digital idea pinning, use it to collate all of the ideas you love into one place and then eliminate anything that doesn’t fit the overall scheme. This can help you to determine the room style you want to achieve and work out which sofa shapes will best suit that look. It will also keep you on track when you hit the stores, anchoring your ideas so you don’t become swayed by the uber-contemporary two-seater that doesn’t match your rustic country cottage dream. Our living room ideas page is a great place to find some inspiration. 

How to choose the right size sofa for a room

It may sound obvious, but the size of both the destination room and the sofa itself are two of the most important aspects to consider when deciding on a couch.  If you’re working with a small living room then you need a design that doesn’t overwhelm the space, and although in a large room you may think the sofa-world is your oyster, you still need to bear in mind proportions; a large room requires a sofa with enough impact that it doesn’t become lost within a scheme. One useful approach – especially if your sofa will be pushed back against a wall – is to utilize the two-thirds rule. This means opting for a sofa width that is no more than two-thirds the width of the wall behind it. If you have enough space to play with that you can opt for a sofa half the width of the wall behind then this will increase the feelings of spaciousness further, and allow room for useful side tables and/or floor lamps at either end. Read our full guide to sofa scaling secrets to find the right seat-to-room ratio for you. If you have an open-plan layout then a chaise or a corner sofa can be a useful zoning tool. In this case, it’s important not to go too small or the seating will appear lost.  Modular sofas, that allow you to extend beyond the remit of the usual three-seater width, can be a good choice for open-plan interiors, with the benefit that individual sections can be combined to create U or L-shaped seating configurations. Grouping seating on or around a large rug will help to ground the relaxation area and create a more intimate ‘zone’ within a larger space. 

How to measure up for a couch

We all know the rule to measure twice, and cut once. But beyond just measuring, being able to envisage the floor space that a sofa will take up can be particularly helpful in getting a room layout right. Use masking tape on the floor and wall to mark out the sofa’s dimensions – newspaper can also be useful to give a more ‘solid’ feel – and remember to include height and depth in your marking out. Height is a particularly important dimension to consider if a sofa will be placed under a window ledge or below a dado rail, whilst depth will allow you to check how far the sofa will protrude into the room. You’ll want to ensure there is plenty of room to walk around the couch comfortably, and that once a coffee table or side tables are added things don’t feel too cramped. And, whilst we’re on the subject, don’t forget access measurements. Your chosen sofa might fit perfectly within its destination room, but it’s likely it will have to travel through the rest of the house – via potentially narrow doorways, right-angled halls, or up twisting flights of stairs – to get there. All retailers should be able to give you access to dimensions. If they’re not clearly listed on a website, make sure to ask. If your access is tricky, don’t think that means you have to plump for the smallest two-seater you can find. A modular sofa is a great option for adding spacious seating to difficult rooms, and if you’re furnishing the third floor or above, the new generation of sofa-in-a-box that arrive flat-packed has come a long way in terms of style. Manufacturers often also offer features like removable legs and arms that can help with maneuvering into tricky spaces.

Getting the sofa style right

Beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, but there are a few useful tips you can bear in mind to make sure you choose the best style of sofa for a particular interior. Firstly, consider the sofa legs. Easy to overlook whilst you are browsing through swoon-worthy swatches of upholstery, the legs of a sofa can have a big impact on its overall appearance.  Generally speaking, large-scale, low-to-the-ground sofas that have no visible legs to speak of are best for large or open-plan rooms where a bulkier design will have a grounding effect, helping to anchor the seating scheme within the larger space. Smaller rooms will benefit from a leggy design where the sofa base is lifted clear of the floor. Allowing the eye to travel under the sofa – potentially to the furthest wall of the room – will create a feeling of spaciousness and stop what is potentially the largest piece of furniture in the room from dominating too much. Tall sofa legs can also be a particularly useful trick to employ if you’re struggling with skirting board depth. In a small living space where every inch counts, the skirting depth can push a sofa without legs further from the wall and deeper into the room. A sofa on raised legs (depending on how they’re positioned) could clear the skirting and enable the sofa back to sit flush with the wall. (You can find more ideas for space-savvy decorating on our small living room ideas page and get further top tips in our in-depth look at how to buy the right couch for a small living room).  Secondly, think about the upholstery. Unless you’re buying a ready-made model, you will usually find a huge selection of fabrics on offer, and each can subtly alter the way a sofa looks and even feels – fabrics with more drape potentially create a softer, more squishy sofa seat, whereas thicker less flexible materials creating more resistance and a firmer feel.  Velvets will add a smart, luxe feel, slubby linens can create a relaxed vibe, and hardwearing and stain-resistant cotton mixes can be a practical addition to a busy family home. Sofas that offer loose covers can also be a great solution, allowing the flexibility to update upholstery as and when needed, and ensuring your sofa has the ultimate longevity. You’ll find more seating styling tips in our guide to how to mix and match pillows on a sofa.

How to find the most comfortable sofa

Sofa sitters tend to fall into two main camps; those that prefer to sit upright with their feet planted on the floor, and those who prefer to sprawl, curl up or recline. Finding the most comfortable sofa will depend on which of the two seating styles you are most inclined towards and then finding a sofa that suits your sitting style. Those who prefer to sit upright will likely find a sofa with a shallower seat depth the most comfortable. This allows you to sit up straighter whilst your feet remain on the floor, rather than a deeper seat which will tip you back into a more reclined posture.  Finding a supportive backrest is also more important for upright sitters. Look for models where the sofa frame has a high backrest, rather than just relying on a high back cushion for support, and you might prefer a higher armrest. If you prefer to curl up or lay down as soon as the opportunity presents itself then you’re likely to be able to opt for a lower profile design with a more generous seat depth. You might want to consider arm height too, and opt for a lower arm that can double as a headrest when sprawled out. Sofa cushion construction can also affect comfort levels and will be a consideration for vegan shoppers. A pure foam cushion generally offers a fairly firm sitting experience but has the benefit of springing back into shape after being sat on. Whereas feather cushions can provide a more plumptious seat, but tend to settle over time so can require regular plumping. To combine the best of both worlds, many sofa manufacturers now offer foam cushion cores that are wrapped in a layer of soft feathers – providing comfort and retaining the sofa shape.

Which is more durable, a leather or fabric sofa?

Leather sofas tend to be more durable and long-lasting than fabric sofas.  Leather is an inherently strong, natural material, and one of the most durable and luxurious materials to use for upholstery. It can be easily cleaned and (with the right care) can remain in excellent condition for years and years; ideal for a sofa and for withstanding the wear and tear of everyday life. However, they can be the more expensive option compared to fabric designs. Fabric sofas tend to be more cozy and soft and come in a much larger palette of colors and collections of fabrics. If you’re set on choosing a fabric sofa but still require a durable material, wool can be a great choice. Resilient, durable, and sustainable, wool has a natural resistance to stains (ideal for a sofa which is always a central spillage spot) as well as being naturally flame retardant.

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