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.
- Show all
- Sort By Score
- Most Popular
- Most Favorite
What to Look for in a Couch
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are several types of couches and sofas you’ll encounter as you shop, each of which has its own pros and cons.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.