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Best sofas tested for style and comfort, by an interiors expert

From glamorous design to affordable options, take a pew on one of these fabulous sofas

Ali Howard
Thursday 11 May 2023 17:05 BST
<p>Choose one wisely and your settee will serve you for years to come  </p>

Choose one wisely and your settee will serve you for years to come

Our Top Picks

Choosing the right sofa is no mean feat. Arguably the most important furniture piece in any living room set up, it sees a lot of action, from morning to night. Whether we’re curling up with our 7am coffee, catching up with friends, or bingeing our latest box set obsession, we need a trusty settee that will have our back.

The best sofas are practical as well as comfortable – and they have to suit the whole household: if you have small children or pets, consider a darker fabric that’s forgiving on stains, or a wipe-clean material, such as leather.

If you enjoy hosting at home, your new sofa’s going to get a lot of heavy use, so think about durable fabrics that can take a bashing – some polyester velvets are surprisingly hardwearing, which in no way detracts from their luxe appeal.

While it’s tempting to follow trends, a sofa is a big investment, so think about future-proofing yours. We’ve found a number of great designs that hint at mid-century shaping or with art deco accents, but overall, they boast a classic, timeless quality. Choose wisely and you’ll have your settee for years and years to come, and you’ll be doing your bit for sustainability in the process.

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 some sofas that, with shrewd design, tick both boxes.

How we tested

We lounged our way through a range of two, three and four-seater settees, looking for great design, qualify of craftmanship and fine finishes. We considered affordability, upholstery fabric choices, and where appropriate, ease of assembly. Most importantly, we looked to find that sweet spot between comfort and support.

The best sofas for 2023 are:

  • Best overall – Swoon landau three-seater sofa: £1,769, Swooneditions.com
  • Best affordable sofa – Dunelm bellamy luxe velvet 2 seater sofa: £549, Dunelm.com
  • Best glamorous sofa – Sofology 3 seat Bridgerton sofa : £999, Sofology.co.uk
  • Best sofa in a box – Snug the rebel 3 seater sofa: £1349, Snugsofa.com

Swoon landau three-seater sofa

best sofa for all budgets
  • Best: Overall
  • Dimensions: H 79cm x W 235cm x D 92cm

Generously sized for a three-seater, the landau is one inviting couch, designed for spreading out in style. With a nod to both a traditional Chesterfield and a low-sitting mid-century sofa, it boasts a classic look, promising not to go out of fashion any time soon.

The settee is handcrafted with a birch frame, simple and modern metal feet, and a foam and polyfibre filling, which gives it a medium-to-soft level of comfort and support – there’s no denying this one’s made for diving into. Its finely finished buttoning on the seat, back, and side cushions award it a rich visual texture, while upholstery fabrics, including wools, leathers, and velvets, are in jewel, earthy, or neutral tones.

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Raft New York 4 seater sofa

best sofas review Raft New York 4 seater sofa
  • Best: Quality craftsmanship
  • Dimenions: H 80cm x W 245cm x D 99cm

As the name suggests, Raft’s New York sofa is made with city-dwellers in mind, especially for those of us who need our furniture pieces to work extra hard to maximise on space. Thoughtfully designed, its fuss-free lines allow it to slot into a tight spot, yet it retains an invitingly laid-back slouchy appeal. And it would still be just as happy in a spacious living room as a compact one.

Boasting satisfyingly wide square arms, tall back cushions, luxuriously deep, supportive seats, and a chic wooden frame with chunky legs that elevate it off the floor, it is as stylish as it is comfy. The sofa is handmade to order and comes in a huge range of fabrics and colour choices – go bold in stain resistant velvet or keep the look calm in a neutral cotton linen weave.

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Ikea grönlid 3-seat sofa with chaise longue

best sofa for all budgets
  • Best: Practical sofa

The first thing that strikes you about the grönlid is its abundance of cushions, making it an inviting prospect to dive into. The back pads are in fact moveable, positively inviting you to slouch. That said, this is a relatively upright three-seater, compared to most contemporary slouchy numbers, making it easier to get in and out of. It also boasts hybrid pocket sprung and foam seat cushions for the ideal mix of comfort and support.

The chaise is a luxurious addition – and it’s practical, too: there’s hidden storage under there, while the modular nature of this self-assembly sofa allows you to choose which side you want to position the chaise. It comes in a small range of six colourways, including four neutrals that promise to complement any interior scheme, while the sofa covers are easily removable and machine washable.

  1. £930 from Ikea.com
Prices may vary
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Dunelm bellamy luxe velvet 2 seater sofa

best sofa for all budgets
  • Best: Affordable sofa
  • Dimensions: H 84cm x W 178cm x D 72cm

This is a compact sofa with big impact. Taking its cue from art deco design, the two-seater features a solid upright frame, plush integrated cushioning with attractive pleating, and tall slender metal legs, awarding it an unapologetic flash of glamour. It is upholstered in a soft to the touch but hardwearing polyester velvet and boasts five luxe colourways to choose from, including the chic and understated sandstone.

The bellamy is as sturdy as it looks (despite those lofty legs), while the foam filled seats and backrest offer great support. Thanks to its enveloping form, you can’t help but feel hugged in it. Fine finished with piping, it also boasts top craftsmanship for its affordable price tag.

  1. £549 from Dunelm.com
Prices may vary
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Sofa.com Izzy 4 seat sofa

best sofa for all budgets
  • Best: Timeless design
  • Dimensions: H 87cm x W 260cm x D 97cm

If you’re investing in a quality sofa, you’ll want to make sure it’s future proof. Thanks to its pleasingly simple design, Sofa.com’s Izzy is a timeless piece that promises to become part of the family. As with all the brand’s handcrafted seating, this one boasts exceptional craftsmanship, and that’s palpable from the delicate stitching around the structured arm rests, to the fine finished tapered legs – choose English oak or dark mahogany.

The four-seater boasts a slim but sturdy frame, making it all about the plush seat and back cushions. The angular settee is available in a truly comprehensive choice of fabrics and colourways, meaning yours could be practically bespoke. There’s also the option of a modular configuration if you’d struggle to get it through the door.

  1. £2,630 from Sofa.com
Prices may vary
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Sofology 3 seat Bridgerton sofa

best sofa for all budgets
  • Best: Glamorous sofa
  • Dimensions: H 80cm x W 202cm x D 96cm

A distinctive update on the traditional Chesterfield sofa, the Bridgerton boasts a buttoned interior and arresting sloping arms which give the sitter a pleasing, cosseted feel. This encroaches on the available seating space, but of course the sofa’s unapologetic excess is its charm. The angled arms are also perfectly primed to have your back should you want to swing your legs around and adopt the chaise position.

Providing the perfect balance between comfort and support, the seats, back and arms are foam-filled, while serpentine springs distribute weight evenly. We love the way the bulky sofa is elevated with tall, slim wooden legs. Choose from textured slub velvet or a velvety chenille in a comprehensive range of colours, including the Lady Featherington-approved nugget gold.

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Arlo & Jacob Noah medium sofa

best sofa for all budgets
  • Best: For comfort
  • Dimensions: H 75cm x W 203cm x D 106cm

Stylish and minimal, the Noah is a beautifully crafted settee that boasts generous proportions. This is another contemporary sofa with a relatively slimline frame that prioritises comfort in its cushioning. Medium in size, it measures up to the equivalent of a three-seater, although it boasts a single, reversible seat pad, keeping its lines pleasingly clean and fuss-free. We love its chunky side arm cushions, which make ideal pillows for an impromptu afternoon nap. The sofa comes in a wide range of rich upholstery fabrics including velvets, tweed and linen weaves, with some eye-catching earthy and spicy tones on offer, as well as all neutral shades.

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Snug the rebel 3 seater sofa

best sofa for all budgets
  • Best: Sofa in a box
  • Dimensions: H 90cm x W 206cm x D 88cm

While most contemporary sofas boast boxy shaping and angular lines, this one celebrates its curves. The rebel features swooping arm rests, pillow-like plush cushioning, and tall, pointed feet. Its luxuriously deep seat cushions are perfectly comfy with a composition of pocket springs, fibre and foam, giving the right amount of support to your slouch.

This is the brand’s original sofa in a box design, meaning it arrives in easy to manage boxes that promise to get through the tightest doorways and up the most awkward staircases – a no brainer for flat-dwellers. Yet it’s a doddle to put together and it’s both modular and customisable so you can add to it over time. As with all of Snug’s settees, the rebel comes in a choice of highly durable and stain-resistant upholstery fabrics.

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The verdict: Sofas

Swoon’s landau three-seater sofa ticked all the boxes for us: this is a mid-century inspired furniture piece that’s as comfortable as it is stylish. We loved its plush cushioning, its low-sitting design, and its generous proportions. We were also impressed with Dunelm’s deco-inspired bellamy sofa. This is a quality settee that looks and feels much more expensive than it is.

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