9 best sofas for a stylish upgrade to your living room

Choosing new furniture is an investment, but we’ve found the comfiest seating to suit every space

Ali Howard
Wednesday 20 May 2020 17:45
If you have small children, consider a darker, wipe-clean fabric like leather, otherwise you’ll be cursing those felt-tips forever
If you have small children, consider a darker, wipe-clean fabric like leather, otherwise you’ll be cursing those felt-tips forever

Choosing a sofa for your living space is quite the commitment. It’s a furniture piece that sees a lot of heavy use, whether you’re curling up in front of your favourite boxset, relaxing with a well earned cuppa or indeed catching a sneaky 40 winks mid-afternoon. It has to be comfy.

And it has to suit the whole household: if you have small children, consider a darker, wipe-clean fabric like leather, otherwise you’ll be cursing those felt-tips forever. It’s a good rule of thumb to stretch to the best quality sofa you can afford. Consider it an investment piece that will be part of your family for years to come.

That said, choose a sofa that promises longevity: top craftsmanship and simple, timeless design that won’t look dated next season, and you’ll be doing your bit for sustainability – and your bank balance in the long run.

Like choosing a mattress, the firmness of your sofa cushions is a matter of taste, as is back support, so think about your own preferences, and those of your housemates or family members. Some styles are elegantly elevated off the floor with slim, wooden legs while others are luxuriously laid-back, boxy, and low sitting. These are super comfy but might be difficult for grandma to get out of.

We put our top sofas to the test, looking for the very best in style and comfort, craftsmanship and affordability.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Perch & Parrow Parker three-seater leather sofa, cocoa brown

Dimensions: H 79.5cm x W 197cm x D 81cm

Contemporary shaping with a nod to the traditional Chesterfield style – there’s so much to love about this cosy three-seater. Crafted from the softest tan leather and rustic ash wood, it offers an instant homely appeal. We loved the tonal variations of the leather and the pillow-shaped arm rests with their buttoning detail that adds interest to the sides of the piece. Also of note is the simple no-cushion design, which keeps the settee pleasingly clean-lined. This one’s perfect for curling up in. Finish the look with a bright scatter of cushions.

Made Amicie three-seater sofa, sea foam blue velvet

Dimensions: H 78cm x W 204cm x D 86cm

Art Deco influenced, this offering from Made is all about feel-good glamour. We loved the simple, boxy shaping of this striking sofa: the back and armrests form one continuous line, which creates a comfy and enveloping seat to sink into. Crafted from durable polyester velvet with gold-hued metal legs, this one hits all the right notes on both the metallics and rich jewel colour trends. The simple, single elongated cushion makes a clean contrast to the channelling detail on the backrest. Elegant and surprisingly affordable.

Argos Home Salisbury three-seater leather sofa, tan

Dimensions: H 90cm x W 190cm x D 94cm

You can’t go wrong with a boxy but slouchy tan leather sofa and this one is an affordable furniture piece that’s as good as many of its pricier counterparts. At 90cm in height, and with fixed back cushions angled for comfort, it offers greater back support than some contemporary sofas. The dual-cushioned, three-seater settee is upholstered in a thick and durable Italian leather that ages beautifully, along with chunky wooden feet to slightly raise it off the floor.

Pepper Sq Hugo three-seater sofa, linen

Dimensions: H 85cm x W 213cm x D 91cm

If mid-century modern is your thing, this elegant and elongated sofa wouldn’t look out of place among your favourite vintage finds. At 213cm, it is luxuriously wide – but it counters the extra floor space it needs with its chic, slimline silhouette. This one’s upholstered in a smart cotton/linen blend fabric that’s available in a small range of muted earthy tones. We loved the Sixties-inspired angled wooden legs and the understated elegance of the minimal buttoning detailing.

Sofa.com Saturday 2.5 seat sofa

Dimensions: H 86cm x W 198cm x D 108cm

This sofa specialist is generous with its sizing, meaning this 2.5 seat settee is wider than some of our three-seaters. Classic in design, it offers luxuriously plush seating, instantly upping the cosy feel of any living room set-up. This one gives ample ergonomic back support while arm rests are kept low for comfort. We loved the higher than usual sculpted wooden legs, which give the illusion of extra floor space underneath. And, as with all Sofa.com’s offerings, this is available in a huge range of fabrics.

Fairmont Park Kalea two-seater settee

Dimensions: H 86cm x W 132cm x D 71cm

For big retro impact in a smaller space, this plush velvet number sits pretty between pared-back mid-century styling and Deco-inspired glamour. The two-seater is gently curved at the back, making it less bench-like despite its lack of arm rests. Made from birch wood and with a fluted, buttoned design, its quality craftsmanship is tangible. We loved the high and tapered wooden legs, which award the piece an elegant silhouette. This one’s ideal for a diminutive living space but is equally at home in a dressing room or boudoir.

Habitat Hendricks four-seater sofa

Dimensions: H 76cm x W 240cm x D 92cm

There’s nothing like a sprawling four-seater family sofa to dive into and this one doesn’t disappoint. At 240cm in width, it demands some floor space, so make sure you measure up properly. We loved this settee for its chunky contemporary design – its impressive width is further accentuated with extra wide armrests while its low-sitting frame awards it a laid-back appeal. This super-cosy sofa is available in a range of colours and fabrics – but we think it’s best enjoyed in sumptuous velvet.

Sofas & stuff Brighton three-seater sofa

Dimensions: H 74cm x W 210cm x D 97cm

This elegant three-seater takes the classic Chesterfield shape and reimagines it without the buttoning, or removable cushions, awarding it a cleaner line. One way it does stay true to the Chesterfield style is how it luxuriously envelopes the sitter with its high and continuous back and arm rests. And if you prefer firmer seating, this one has a strong and supportive foam cushion. This is our priciest pick by far but it is an investment piece that, thanks to its timeless design, will never look dated. Choose from a comprehensive range of fabrics.

Swyft model 01 linen two-seater sofa, pumice

Dimensions: H 83cm x W 175cm x D 85cm

If you’ve ever felt the crushing disappointment of your favourite sofa not fitting through the front door of your new flat, we fully sympathise. Swyft’s sofa in a box concept is ideal not only for smaller spaces but for those with awkward access. This is a smart, contemporary and surprisingly cosy two-seater that ingeniously slots together by hand – without as much as an allen key needed. The chic and simple furniture piece is made from solid wood with firm, foam-filled cushions. This one is upholstered in a polyester/cotton blend but it also comes in plush polyester velvet.

The verdict: Sofas

Perch & Parrow’s Parker three-seater leather sofa won us over for its unusual shaping, yet it offers all the benefits of a classic leather settee. Cosy and homely, the rich tan material is super soft and with its subtle variation in tone, it promises to age beautifully.

Habitat’s Hendricks four-seater sofa was a hit for its luxuriously wide design. It proved the perfect settee to spread out on in style, while being on the purse-friendly side, Made’s Amicie three-seater sofa is a glamorous statement piece that looks much more expensive than it is.

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