Best Online Sofas of 2018

Nicole Johnston ·
Internet Security & Appliance Editor
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

After we narrowed down 80 popular online furniture sites and dedicated 160 hours to researching online sofa companies, we feel Wayfair is the best choice for purchasing a sofa, or any furniture online, because it has the largest selection, including name brands and custom designs. It also has an easy ordering process, a fair return policy and online helps that include fabric selection guides, great customer feedback and design tips. 

Best Overall
Wayfair
Wayfair has the largest selection of name-brand sofas, plus custom design options at a fraction of the cost of brick and mortar furniture stores. Styles range from small apartment trends to oversized sectionals.
View on Wayfair
Best Value
IKEA
IKEA has European-style sofas that are cheaper than most online sofa stores, and are still high quality. You can buy extra fabric covers and change the look without having to buy a whole new couch.
View on IKEA
Best Custom Sofas
west elm
west elm specializes in custom sofas with a good selection of wood finishes and custom fabrics, and has several sizes to fit in any space.
View on west elm
Best Overall
Wayfair is by far the best place to shop for a sofa online. It has over 8,000 name-brand sofas in a variety of styles that are ready to ship. Some available brands include Serta, Ashley, All Modern and Lay-Z-Boy.
Chances are if you see something you like in a showroom, you can buy it from Wayfair for less cost. In addition, you can customize many of the sofas with different types of fabrics in different colors. When you order from Wayfair, your sofa arrives in pieces and you must assemble them yourself. Talking to customers who have purchased sofas from Wayfair, most of the sofas are easy to put together in just a few steps. The Serta Franklin Sofa is one of Wayfair’s bestselling couches with hundreds of positive reviews and high customer ratings. This sofa is made from a cotton polyester blend that follows California’s TB 117-2013 requirements and has ECO friendly foam filling that doesn’t hold indents after you stand up. The Wayfarer FAQ section is robust and is the place to visit first for questions. If you don’t see the answer you’re looking, feel free to ask your question and a Wayfair representative will quickly respond.
Pros
  • Large selection of couches
  • Q&As for each individual item
  • Fast shipping
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer white glove delivery service
  • Some items are difficult to assemble
  • May need to pay for shipping when returning some items
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Best Value
IKEA is known throughout Europe and the United States for its low-cost quality furniture, and its specific style follows popular European trends. Most fabric-covered furniture pieces have multiple cover options, and you can buy extras to update your sofa with a new look in the future for a fraction of the price of purchasing a new couch or reupholstering an old one.
IKEA’s biggest drawback is that you assemble the furniture yourself, and the company is notorious for having instructions that aren’t the most user-friendly. However, IKEA has been actively working to make its instructions easier to follow and offers assembly services in some areas, so you don’t have to build your budget sofa yourself. The IKEA EKTORP sofa has a clean look and comes in multiple sizes. You can customize this couch by choosing one of eight different sofa covers. Because it is a popular budget sofa, IKEA keeps covers in stock, so you can always purchase a replacement or one in another color later.
Pros
  • Cheap sofa options
  • Easy to replace slipcovers
  • Unique European styles
Cons
  • Assemble all furniture yourself
  • Instructions can be hard to understand
  • Wait lists for popular items are long – sometimes months
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Best Custom Sofas
One of the things that impressed us about west elm’s custom sofa services is not only do you have several color and fabric options, but you can also choose between patterns if you are not into the solid color trend. And west elm will send you large fabric swatches, so you can easily see and feel its quality, and match it to your current décor.
west elm has several color options such as navy, red, turquoise and silver. This means you’re not limited to the neutral pallet that is in now, or the typical custom sofa options offered by other online sofa outlets. And west elm sells its fabric by the yard, so you can use it to make matching window treatments or reupholster furniture you already have. Most couches come in a variety of sizes, so if you like a design and pattern, but need a sofa that will fit in an apartment, chances are west elm will have exactly what you need. The Henry sofa is 86 inches long, so it can comfortably hold several adults or someone who needs a place to temporarily crash. It also comes in other lengths, so you can enjoy a stylish, custom sofa if your living room space is a bit smaller.
Pros
  • Specializes in custom orders
  • Couch styles available in variety of sizes
  • Sells fabric separately by the yard
Cons
  • Strict return policy
  • Custom orders take 12 weeks for delivery
  • Pricy shipping fees
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Free Interior Design Services
Pottery Barn offers free interior design services to help you find furniture and accessories that work with your home, style and budget. This includes meeting face-to-face with a design professional at a local Pottery Barn store.
Pottery Barn has several of its most popular sofa designs available online, including sectionals and sleeper sofas. The company makes its furniture using flame-retardant fabrics and kiln-dried wood to create high-quality sofas that are stylish and comfortable. Most styles are in-stock and ready to ship, but you can choose a custom-made sofa. Large furniture, including sofas, come in pieces that require assembly. But, Pottery Barn offers a white glove delivery service to assemble and place your couch where you want it and remove all the packaging material.
Pros
  • 360-rotate tools lets you see all angles of the sofa online
Cons
  • Custom orders are non-refundable
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White Glove Service
Joybird is an online sofa outlet that specializes in customer sofas. For a flat $99 fee, any furniture item you purchase will be delivered and setup in your home with all packaging materials removed.
Joybird has over 140 sofa designs to choose from with styles that include traditional sofas, sleeper sofas and sectionals. After you choose a style, the site walks you through the customization process. The couches can only be upholstered in leather or a single softer fabric option, but each has several color selections. You can also choose a wood stain finish if your sofa has exposed legs. You can order a swatch kit, so you can feel and see the fabrics before making a final decision. All of Joybird’s couches come with a one-year trial, so you can return it if it doesn’t settle in like you’d hoped. One big drawback is that even through there are several options in stock, it takes seven or more weeks for Joybird to make your couch and sent it to you.
Pros
  • One-year in-home trial
Cons
  • Very long shipping times
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Why Trust Us 

As with all the products we review, we talked to experts, read through articles and blogs, and spoke to consumers who have used these services, to get a good understanding of what to look for and what to think about before you buy. We spoke with professionals within the industry, such as residential and commercial interior designers. These people directed us to good online resources, such as Better Homes & Gardens, Dr. Sofa and Do-It-Yourself online home improvement.

Some of the things we considered when making our recommendations include the average apartment or home size of customers who have purchased a sofa online. Also, the average budget of these buyers and their lifestyles.

How We Tested 

We relied heavily on customer feedback to get a good feel of exactly what people are looking for when purchasing a couch online, including typical lifestyle, home or apartment size and budget. Using this information, we were able to wade through the hundreds of online furniture sites to find the best options for buying a sofa. While we understand there are some great options, we chose to focus on the services that most people tend to use because of their established presence, amount of customer feedback, available selection and options for even the most budget-conscious buyer.

Customer experience and the expert advice of interior designers were helpful in understanding the ordering, customization and return process, plus gave us some additional insight on what to look for and consider before making a final purchase. We walked through the customization and ordering process, and read the fine print to discover what is included with the shipping costs, the refund policy and warranty information for each service.

Finally, we researched the California law, TB 117-2013, designed to ensure sofas purchase in or by California residents are flame retardant. We ensured that each of the online sofa services we recommend have a good selection of couches that adhere to these standards.

How much does it cost to order a sofa online?

As with a physical showroom, sofas ordered online can cost anywhere between a couple hundred dollars to tens of thousands depending on the style and build. You can find budget sofa options online between $200 and $2,000 that look like the fancier styles but made with cheaper materials. Shipping charges will also be added to your sofa purchase price. A handful of online sofa stores offer shipping for free or for a small flat fee. However, most online furniture stores charge a percentage of your overall purchase for shipping and handling.

Buying a Sofa Online 

The Benefits
Buying a sofa online comes with a few risks, but many people find that it is an economical option. Most showroom models are available online for less money, plus you don’t have to deal with salesmen hovering around. Often the selection on the showroom floor isn’t the best, and when you do find a great piece, it may not be available right away. You are also locked into the fabric and color choices that are in front of you.

Marjorie Smith bought a sofa online when the large couch she and her husband moved with didn’t fit into the stairwell or through the doorways of their small deco downtown apartment. “We found that most of the couches [in local furniture shops] were too big to fit. So, we looked into buying one online that we could bring up and build in our apartment.”

Smith relied heavily on online reviews since with a toddler and two dogs, she wanted to make sure the sofa she chose could withstand paws, jumping and climbing. She eventually found the perfect option.

“I wanted this couch in a specific color scheme and noticed that a lot of the reviews were from dog owners with active animals, just like I had. They said the fabric held up great to paws and hair and roughness.” Though she and her husband had to assemble the couch themselves, it wasn’t hard, “maybe three steps,” Smith said.

If given the choice, Smith would definitely purchase a sofa online again. “I think sometimes when you go to a place you settle a lot because it is a big-time investment and you don’t want to go through that again at another place. Online, you have more selection and you can take your time to find and get what you want. You don’t have to deal with annoying salesmen. And you can also do it at 10 o’clock at night.”

Choosing A Fabric
Whether you buy a sofa online or in person, you need to know what type of upholstery is best for your room and lifestyle. For example, while a linen couch might look amazing in your family room, it’s not the best option if you have young children or pets in the house because of how easily it wrinkles and stains.

Jessica Wignall, an interior designer with 11 years of experience with both residential and commercial projects, and owner of Jessica Erin Designs, offered several tips on how to tell if a fabric is good quality, and exactly what to do with the swatches sofa stores send you.

First, try and get a good-sized swatch. A 3" x 3" swatch isn’t going to be helpful, especially if it has a pattern. A 6" x 6" swatch is much better size to work with, see what it will look like in your space and evaluate the overall quality. Both Pottery Barn and west elm send 6" x 6" swatches.

According to Wignall, your fabric samples should come in a swatch kit with specific comments such as ease of cleaning, weave count (higher is better) and elasticity (how well it stretches). Some fabrics may come with a double rub count. The double rub count is how many times a piece of tough fabric, known as cotton duck, is rubbed back and forth across the material until it starts to show wear. The higher the double rub, the longer it’s going to last. A fabric with 15,000 double rubs is a decent count for residential sofa fabrics.

Wignall suggests when holding fabric swatches to pull them tightly to see if the material has any stretch to it. If there is any stretch, this is a good indication that the fabric will quickly become loose and leave indentions in your couch as people sit on it. Also, if the fabric is see-through, it’s a cheap material or one not meant for a sofa.

There are a couple of thoughts Wignall offers if you are a pet owner, or have young children. “If [a client] has a pet, especially one that sheds a lot, I always recommend leather.” The same goes for children. “Leather is easy to clean and a higher end leather isn’t going to show oil from your skin when you sit on it, or hold liquid” if it is spilled.

However, if you do choose a fabric sofa and you have children, Wignall says, “get it treated.” Treating the fabric makes it easier to clean up spills and dirt, and harder for stains to set in. Treated fabrics cost extra, but is worth the cost to help extend the life of your sofa.

Natural vs Synthetic
Fabrics are generally grouped into two categories: natural and synthetic. Both have pros and cons, and are appropriate for certain furniture pieces, lifestyles and design statements. Here are some common fabrics choices for sofas.

Cotton: Made of the ultimate natural fiber, cotton fabrics are a good choice for high-traffic areas because they are easy to clean. The way cotton is woven determines how durable the fabric is. For example, a damask weave is more formal and begins to pull and fade quickly, while a canvas weave (also known as duck or sailcloth) is more durable and a good option for casual living areas.

Cotton blends combine natural cotton with another, usually synthetic, fiber to create a more durable fabric. These blends are some of the most durable and family-friendly fabrics, and depending on the weave, they can last a long time without fading or pilling. Cotton blends are easy to clean yourself, and you can apply a stain-resistant finish to your sofa. Polyester is the most common synthetic fiber blended with cotton.

Microfiber:  It is made using a blend of polyester and nylon, so it’s super soft and easy to clean, and it lasts a long time. It doesn’t generally fade or pill, which makes it a top choice for many manufacturers that make sofas for families and high-traffic home areas.

Leather: Leather is a tough, natural material made from animal skins, or hide. It is durable and easy to wipe clean, which makes leather one of the most popular upholstery options for sofas. Since it doesn’t have the fibers most materials have, pet hair doesn’t catch and stick to it, so it’s a nice choice for homes with furry friends. Leather sofas can be vacuumed or wiped down with a damp cloth if they get dirty, though too much water, or liquid of any kind, could damage it and cause permanent staining. A true leather sofa costs more than most consumer’s budgets allow, and repairs are also very costly.

Vinyl: Vinyl is often a great, affordable substitute for leather. Vinyl looks like leather and it is easy to clean with soap and water or a vacuum, making it a good option for homes with children. Look for a durable, good-quality vinyl if your sofa is going in a high-traffic room to help avoid cracks and other damage that can occur over time. Vinyl becomes very cold or warm depending on the surrounding temperature, so it isn’t as comfortable in that respect as leather.

Wool: Wool couches are very durable and typically resist wrinkling and pilling. While wool is a natural material, it is usually blended with a synthetic fiber since it isn’t easy to clean on its own. Wool couches can fade over time, especially if it is exposed to continual sunlight. Wool also attracts insects, such as moths, that can damage the material.

Acrylic: Acrylic is a synthetic material that looks and feels like wool but is less expensive. It is also easier to clean than wool and doesn’t fade in sunlight. However, it doesn’t last as long as wool, so depending on your lifestyle, it may be more cost effective to go with the real thing.

Olefin: This is one of the most durable synthetic fibers available. It is stain-, mildew- and insect-resistant. This makes it a good choice in humid climates or where bugs tend to be more of a problem.

Silk: Silk is beautiful, but it doesn’t wear well. This natural material wrinkles easily and fades quickly. If it gets dirty, it must be professionally cleaned to avoid staining, pulling or tearing. Silk couches are good for formal living rooms and in adult-only homes where they won’t be used very often. Because of the fabric’s delicate nature, silk sofas aren’t good for homes with active pets or those with claws that can easily tear the material.

What Is White Glove Delivery?
Most sofa stores offer white glove delivery services as part of the shipping and handling. This means the delivery service assemble the sofa completely in the room of your choice so you don’t have to worry about assembling it yourself. As an added perk, the delivery persons also remove any packaging mess from the delivery and assembly.

There isn’t a clear standard for manufacturers charging more for white glove service or including it as part of the delivery service. However, those that do charge tend to keep the fee around $100.

Other Online Furniture Stores to Consider

We looked at several online furniture services in addition to the five highlighted above. Here is a little bit about the other online sofa stores we reviewed.

Article: Article features a modest collection of trendy sofas that are under $2000 and several under $1000. This online furniture store has readymade sofas, but you can choose to have one custom made with both the fabric and leg wood stain of your choice. When you choose a fabric swatch image online, Article will let you know if that color option is in stock or how many days it will take to have your custom sofa made and shipped to you.

Crate & Barrel: This sofa service lets you filter the over 150 couches online by size, color and popular styles. Each sofa description page gives you clear dimensions and a firmness graph to give you an idea of the sofa’s build. Most couches are in stock and will ship quickly, but you can choose a more custom fabric or leg stain that will take a bit longer to be delivered. You can read user reviews online to get an idea of Crate & Barrel’s services and other customers’ buying experiences.

Design Within Reach: Design Within Reach mixes traditional styles with European trends. Most of its couches have exposed legs and a straight-line design. The 100 sofas available include sleepers and sectionals, plus standard couches, though none are small enough to fit into an apartment. And these sofas can be a little pricy, between $3000 and $5000. One unique feature offered by Design Within Reach is its 3D design tool that lets you get an idea of how the sofa will look in your room.

Interior Define: This online sofa company has a good selection of sofas priced under $2000, and each one is made with the fabric of your choice. The online design click and grab tools lets you take hold of the sofa image and rotate it in several directions so you can see every angle, even sofa sleepers can be seen with the bed pulled out. Interior Define offers financing, delivers your couch assembled and has a 365-day return policy.

One King’s Lane: One King’s Lane’s furniture is inspired by Europe’s trendy styles that often include bold colors and busy patterns. You can search sofas online by a specific style including Bohemian Allure, Modern Glamour and Parisian Chic. Every couch is made to order once you’ve chosen the color and fabric you want, and you can get decorating help by browsing room collections, checking out design tips from the Style Guide blog, or connecting with a professional designer.