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9 best sofas for a living room upgrade on every budget

Looking for both style and comfort? Take a pew on one of these fabulous settees

Ali Howard
Thursday 05 May 2022 12:28
<p>We tested each seat for quality of craftsmanship, style, affordability and comfort</p>

We tested each seat for quality of craftsmanship, style, affordability and comfort

Undoubtedly the most important furniture piece in the living room, our trusty sofa sees a lot of action, whether we’re catching up with friends, enjoying our latest box set binge, or simply indulging in quiet contemplation. It’s where we head to after a hard day’s work; it’s where we conduct those big heart-to-heart chats… essentially, it’s part of the family.

Choosing the perfect sofa then is quite the commitment. This is a piece that gets a lot of heavy use and so it needs to be comfortable as well as practical – and it has to suit the whole household: those with small children or pets would do well to consider a darker fabric that’s forgiving on stains, or a wipe-clean material, such as leather.

In terms of the latest trends, boxy, contemporary shaping is getting a lot of love. These sofas feel luxuriously low-sitting and slouchy and are made for causal lounging. That said, mid-century inspired statement seating is going nowhere. Often more compact and upright, these pieces are typically elevated off the floor with slender wooden legs, which gives the illusion of extra floor space.

Just like buying a mattress, the firmness of your sofa’s seat and back cushions is a matter of taste. If you like the slouchy look but need to feel supported, we’ve found a number of sofas that, with shrewd design, tick both boxes.

How we tested

We put our top sofas to the test in our living space, looking for quality of craftsmanship, great design, affordability – and that all-important comfort factor. Where appropriate, we tested how easy each was to put together, and whether the fabrics lived up to their durability claims.

Read more:

The best sofas for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Made Scott 3 seater leather sofa, charm tan premium leather: £1,750, Made.com
  • Best sofa in a box – Swyft model 06 3 seater sofa, vine: £2,900, Swyfthome.com
  • Best for understated glamour – Sofa.com Chester 3 seat sofa: From £1,125, Sofa.com
  • Best for lazy lounging – Sofology Brantwood 3 seater sofa: £1,699, Sofology.co.uk
  • Best for a classic look – The Sofa & Chair Company Spencer 3 seat sofa: From £3,510, Thesofaandchair.co.uk
  • Best bang for your buck – Habitat Julien 3 seater fabric sofa, dark green: £800, Argos.co.uk
  • Best design – Ercol Forli medium sofa: From £2,385, Ercol.com
  • Best affordable sofa – Ikea landskrona 3 seat sofa, gunnared light green/wood: £599, Ikea.com
  • Best for vintage lovers – Perch & Parrow citadel leather sofa in vintage brown: £1,650, Perchandparrow.com

Made Scott 3 seater leather sofa, charm tan premium leather

Best: Overall

  • Dimensions: W 225cm x H 86cm x D 100cm
  • Rating: 10/10

With its buttery tan leather and its cool, Seventies shaping, this is one seriously attractive sofa guaranteed to get compliments from house guests. Relatively simple in design, the three-seater comprises a hefty, angular frame, tapered legs, one long seat pad, two wide and plush back cushions and a pair of cylindrical bolster cushions, which, we found, act as great lower back support if you want to swing your legs around and adopt the chaise long position. Reasonably priced for a leather sofa, this one has a wonderfully soft feel and a high-quality finish with neat and intricate stitching. It will also age beautifully over time.

Swyft model 06 3 seater sofa, vine

Best: Sofa in a box

  • Dimensions: W 270cm x H82cm x D 96cm
  • Rating: 9/10

Sofa-in-a-box brand Swyft’s latest addition to its shape-shifting seating is a chunkier affair than the slimline mid-century settees we all know and love. This time, the model 06 is all about plump cushioning and contemporary forms with its pillow-like back cushions and generously deep and wide seat pads. As with all of Swyft’s sofas, the new 06 comes in a choice of earthy, nature-inspired colours, all in incredibly durable and stain-resistant fabrics. These are made to be lived in and loved. Of course, the main event is the way this nifty sofa slots together without so much as a screwdriver. Think of it as building blocks for grown-ups: simply connect the modular bases and sides with strong metal hooks, arrange the cushions and you’re good to go. This one’s super comfy – and a godsend for flat dwellers living several floors up.

Sofa.com Chester 3 seat sofa

Best: For understated glamour

  • Dimensions: W 218cm x H 89cm x D 97cm
  • Rating: 9/10

One trend we’re seeing a lot this season is settees with visible, external frames and Sofa.com’s Chester is a fine example. With its design roots in mid century modern, the sofa features an attractive mid-toned, handcrafted wood frame, complete with chic tapered legs, while the hard-edged material is offset with plush cushioning and upholstery. Owing to the lack of movable back or seat cushions, the piece remains beautifully clean-lined and fuss-free, leaving its elegant silhouette to do all the talking. That said, the seat is feather-topped and provides the perfect mix of comfort and support. There’s a huge range of fabrics to choose from: cotton/linen blends to textured boucle and tweed, through to plush velvets that, we think, work best when contrasted with the natural wood frame.

Sofology Brantwood 3 seater sofa

Best: For lazy lounging

  • Dimensions: W 191cm x H 76cm x D 115cm
  • Rating: 8/10

This is another contemporary sofa that makes a feature of its exposed wooden frame. Part of the George Clarke collection, the Brantwood boasts a sharp juxtaposition of materials with its honey-toned wood and its oh-so-soft upholstery. The three-seater comes in a choice of velvety chenille or a tactile boucle that’s impossible not to run your hands over. With its deep and boxy shaping, this is a low-sitting sofa that’s designed for casual lounging. Add to that plush, feather-filled back cushions and supportive seat cushions that feature a foam core and a honeycomb foam wrap, and the piece positively invites you to dive in. There’s a range of colours to choose from, but we’d advise you to go dark if you want the wooden accents to really stand out.

The Sofa & Chair Company Spencer 3 seat sofa

Best: For a classic look

  • Dimensions: W 220cm x H929cm x D 102cm
  • Rating: 9/10

The first thing that strikes you about the Spencer is its swooping armrests, which give the three-piece sofa a slice of Art Deco glamour – especially when upholstered in rich velvet. The piece features foam-wrapped feather and down cushioning; is elevated slightly with a visible wood frame and tapered legs; and features a traditional style piping which gives it a classic finish. We love The Sofa & Chair Company for its versatility. As with all its seating offerings, this one’s made to feel bespoke with an enormous choice of fabrics, colours and wood finishes to choose from. Simply choose your model and customise to suit your style. As its price would suggest, this is a finely crafted piece and is both comfy and supportive.

Habitat Julien 3 seater fabric sofa, dark green

Best: Bang for your buck

  • Dimensions: W 220cm x H 83cm x D 97cm
  • Rating: 8/10

What we love about the Julien is its clever design: it carries the aesthetic of a low-sitting and laid back boxy, contemporary sofa, yet it’s elevated off the floor with relatively tall, slender metal legs, which keeps the look light and airy. This also gives the illusion of extra floor space underneath. Despite its generous width, this three-seater won’t overwhelm a tighter space. Upholstered in a hard-wearing corduroy-like polyester fabric, and with a foam-filled fixed cushioning, it is also reliably comfy and supportive. The extra-wide armrests give this one the look and feel of a much more expensive settee. But it’s a snip at just £800.

Ercol Forli medium sofa

Best: Design

  • Dimensions: W 185cm x H 85cm x D 92cm
  • Rating: 9/10

You immediately know this is an Ercol piece thanks to its beautifully turned and tapered solid oak frame. The brand is, of course, famed for its spindle-backed wooden settee – a true Sixties design classic. This time, the wood is juxtaposed with a comfy two-seater, upholstered in a textured woven fabric from Ercol’s edit collection. We love the way the design plays with angles, and that the frame is very much a design feature – as if it’s simply cradling the settee itself. The sofa comes in a range of tonal shades, all earthy and nature-inspired, and of course, retro. Despite the Forli’s slim profile, it proves a cosy, comfy sit.

Ikea landskrona 3 seat sofa, gunnared light green/wood

Best: Affordable sofa

  • Dimensions: W 201cm x H 78.5cm x D 89.5cm
  • Rating: 8/10

At under £600, Ikea’s Landskrona offers incredible value for money. And yet there’s nothing to suggest this is a budget sofa. Rather its contemporary design and smart finish award it the look and feel of a more expensive piece. It’s upholstered in a durable polycotton that features intricate stitching, while the legs comprise solid oak and oak veneers. We love the nifty little design details in this one: the matching fabric sleeves, which cover part of the legs, and the fact that each end can be easily removed should you wish to turn your sofa into a chaise. The sofa comes in a conventional dark grey but we think the Gunnared light green is an unexpected spring-fresh addition.

Perch & Parrow citadel leather sofa in vintage brown

Best: For vintage lovers

  • Dimensions: W 218cm x H 89cm x D 97cm
  • Rating: 8/10

With its fuss-free contemporary shaping, Perch & Parrow’s citadel sofa is all about the material, namely a rich and naturally mottled mid-toned tan leather. This one features an all-in-one seat pad and two very generous plush back cushions. The frame itself boasts a slimline silhouette while the settee is elevated off the floor with retro-inspired tapered wooden legs. The high armrests give the sofa a cosy, enveloping feel and the settee is finished with fine stitching. Of course, over time the leather will take on a wonderfully aged look, further adding to its vintage appeal. This one’s made for piling high with colourful scatter cushions. Order now for early July delivery.

The verdict: Sofas

We loved the Scott 3 seater leather sofa from Made for its retro design and its wonderfully soft, buttery leather. This is a reasonably priced leather sofa and yet it is well-crafted with intricate stitching. Best of all is that it will age and evolve beautifully over time. We were also impressed with Habitat’s Julien 3 seater fabric sofa, which, we thought gave the best bang for our buck. With its wide and chunky design, it feels incredibly luxurious.

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Kick back and relax with our review of the best footstools and pouffes, for the ultimate lounging spot

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