The best sofas for comfort and style, tried and tested (2022)

In the average sofa’s 11-year lifetime, it will be used for an estimated 6,500 hours of TV-watching, according to a semi-scientific 2017 survey by retailer Furniture Village. As the centrepiece of the living room and the furniture that sees the most day-to-day use, the comfort and durability of a sofa is very important indeed. I’ve spent months researching the best sofas to buy because, as a big ticket item, it’s a decision you want to get right first time, and there are lots of factors to consider.

Even the best online homeware or interior shops can't let you try before you buy, which is why bricks-and-mortar sofa stores continue to thrive. I couldn't have written this article without them. But there are upsides to internet shopping for a sofa – more fabric options, wider choice, and the fact that you can shop from the comfort of your (current) sofa. That's why I have only chosen sofas you can buy online.

Scroll to the bottom of this article for Telegraph interiors editor Jessica Doyle's expert guide on how to choose the right sofa for you. In short, while trends for styles, shapes and colours come and go, the most important factors within your budget are the size of your room, the uses you want to put the sofa to and how long you want it to last.

How I tested the best sofas

Quite simply, a sit test –it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. I visited showrooms and quizzed experts, taking into account the design, comfort, range of fabric options, quality and filling of each sofa.

Which are the best sofas in 2022? At a glance

Read on for my reviews in full

The best sofas

1. John Lewis & Partners Refine large three-seater sofa

From £1,449, John Lewis

Most versatile sofa

We liked: the vast range of upholstery options

  • In 120 fabric and colour combinations and two leg finishes
  • 84cm high, 202cm wide, 97cm deep
  • Two and four-seater versions available

With a traditional design and comfortable sprung seat and back, John Lewis’ Refine sofa excelled in my sit test. The brand’s ‘Design Your Own’ service and commitment to affordable quality means it’s a great place to start if you’re shopping for a sofa to fit into the existing style and colour scheme of your living room.

This model comes in a huge range of 120 fabrics and colours, from hard-wearing polyester blends and patterns to linen and luxurious velvet, as well as two, three and four-seater designs (plus an armchair and a ‘snuggler’). The birch frame comes with a 15-year guarantee. My only gripe is that delivery is within 20 weeks.

(Note: If you need a sofa sooner, you can browse a range of John Lewis sofas available for delivery within seven days.)

2. MADE Scott three-seater sofa

£1,395, MADE

Best modern sofa

We liked: the mid-century design

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  • In ivory weave, tan leather or five colours of cotton velvet
  • 86cm high, 225cm wide, 100cm deep
  • Two seater, four seater and corner sofa versions available

As far as sofa trends go, it seems jewel-toned velvet is here to stay. The luxuriously comfortable Scott sofa comes in two, three and four-seater designs and seven cheerful shades of cotton velvet. I especially liked the mid-century inspired design, pillow detail and plush velvet bolster cushions. It performed well in my (highly scientific) sit test, and felt soft yet supportive.

It’s by no means the cheapest sofa out there, but the design and quality make me confident it’s good value for money. Delivery is in 10-12 weeks.

  • In 63 combinations of colour and fabric inc. cotton, velvet, wool, weave, linen
  • 86cm high, 186cm wide, 98cm deep
  • Four and two-seater versions available

The Heals Devon is deeply cushioned, comfortable and classic – the kind of sofa I’d be more than happy to sink into on a Sunday afternoon (sadly, I only got to sink into it briefly at the showroom on Tottenham Court Road).

It’s scroll arms and high back will appeal to traditionalists but the range of colourful fabrics (including velvet and a lovely linen-cotton blend) keep it looking contemporary. It’s available in 63 fabrics and colours, and two-seater, four-seater, loveseat and armchair styles. Each piece is made to order with delivery in 12-14 weeks.

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4. MADE Bonnie two seater sofa

£750, MADE

Best two-seater sofa

We liked: the on-trend bouclé fabric, but it won't take very kindly to a spilt glass of wine

  • Polyester blend bouclé, one colour
  • 79cm high, 140cm wide, 80cm deep
  • Armchair available

Crescent or curved sofas are continuing to rise in popularity, according to Doyle. The Bonnie sofa is a Soho Home-esque curvy two-seater that costs a lot less than the original. (MADE’s Reisa three-seater sofa, £1,250, is an even better dupe.)

The Bonnie is made from an off-white bouclé fabric with a padded back and arms. It’s not that roomy, so is best for two people (or it would be the perfect secondary sofa for a living room or statement sofa for a bedroom or study). Delivery in four to six weeks. If you’re too wary of spillages to go for white, I also liked the statement Kooper velvet two-seater sofa in three fabrics, including bouclé and 19 colours (£795, MADE).

5. Sofa.com Izzy Small Corner Sofa

£3,100, Sofa.com

Best corner sofa

We liked: that it has ample space for a large family

  • In 20 fabrics (inc leather, bouclé, tweed, velvet), 13 colours and two choices of wood legs
  • 87cm high, 249cm wide (both directions), 97cm deep
  • Medium and large versions available

I know from experience that this plush corner sofa can fit a deceptively large number of people on it –ideal for family movie marathons or entertaining friends. The slimmed down arms mean it’s smart and space-saving without compromising on pillowy comfort from the feather-wrapped foam cushions.

It’s available in a modular design or, if you have a smaller space, two, two-and-a-half and three-seater designs. It can be delivered in parts, so there’s no need to worry about the logistics of getting into your living room.

Sofa.com offers a range of 160 fabric and colour combinations, including linen, velvet, Norfolk cotton and spill-resistant smart fabrics. I’m particularly taken with their on-trend herringbone weave and textured bouclé. Each sofa is handmade and delivered comparatively quickly in six to eight weeks.

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6. Swyft Model 02 sofa

£1,395, Swyft

Best sofa for fast delivery

We liked: the quick, easy delivery, perfect for renters or small spaces

  • In linen (three colours), velvet (seven colours) or chestnut faux leather
  • 82 cm high, 205cm wide, 85cm deep
  • Two-seater, four-seater and corner sofa versions available

Hot off the heels of mattress-in-a-box brands such as Simba and Emma, a new crop of sofa-in-a-box brands have launched to offer next-day delivery and easy assembly. My favourite of these is Swyft. Their Model 02 sofa is supremely comfortable, with feather-filled back cushions, a dual-layered foam seat and specially treated stain-resistant fabric that repels spills.

If you order by 4pm, you can get next day delivery, and the sofas come in manoeuvrable boxes so you needn't worry if you’re short on space or live up a flight of stairs.

7. Maker & Son Marnie Loveseat (two-seater)

£4,500, Maker & Son

Best linen sofa

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We liked: the sumptuous softness and sustainable ethos, though expect to pay for it

  • In linen, brushed linen, corduroy or velvet, nine leg styles, four cushion styles, two skirt styles, two fill options and up to 24 colours dependent on fabric
  • 77cm high, 140cm wide, 105cm deep
  • Three-seater, chaise longue, armchair and dog bed also available

Anyone who’s dipped their toe into the interiors-themed corner of Instagram will likely have seen a video of someone jumping onto a soft, pillowy Maker & Son sofa or loveseat in slow motion, such is the power of their social media marketing.

The brand is a family-run father-and-son business operating out of an idyllic country house in Sussex, although they’ll pay you a visit in their charming mobile showroom-in-a-van wherever you are. I can confirm the Marnie Loveseat (pictured above) is as sumptuously soft and comfortable as it looks.

There’s no way around the fact that Maker & Son is expensive – but if you’re looking for a sustainably-sourced piece of furniture that’s been made with longevity in mind, it’s a brand you should have on your radar.

There are several slightly different (but equally soft) designs, available in armchairs, loveseats and sofas, each with sumptuous pillows, a range of linen, velvet, corduroy and brushed cotton upholstery options, plus customisable legs, skirts and cushion edges.

FAQ: How to choose the right sofa for you

Size and versatility

Start by choosing the type of sofa that will best fit your needs. There are five key types: two-seater, three-seater, corner, and modular sofas, plus sofa beds (and you can read my recent tried-and-tested guide to the best sofa beds here). The first two are self explanatory –they can sit two or three people. Corner sofas have an L-shaped design which is useful for families who need to squish extra people into a small space.

Modular sofas, which can be rearranged to suit your space, are rapidly rising in popularity according to the Telegraph’s design and interiors editor Jessica Doyle. “Barker & Stonehouse have seen an 83% increase of sales in modular sofas over the past two years," she says. "People are using them to create multifunctional living spaces and divide open-plan rooms." Doyle also recommends the Australian sofa brand King’s modular designs (kingliving.co.uk).

Shape

“Rounded shapes are a huge trend," says Doyle. "Curved backs and crescent-shaped sofas soften a room and are good for conversation." This is echoed by Charlotte Thomason, a sofa buyer at John Lewis which is launching a new curved cream bouclé sofa as a result of rising interest. MADE.com is another good port of call for affordable trend-led sofas. They have several curved and crescent-shaped options.

Durability vs cost

If you’re looking for something more traditional, then it’s worth investing in a sofa that will last. “People are investing in a well-designed sofa that they'll keep for years," says Doyle, "rather than a five-year stopgap sofa that will end up in landfill.”

For an investment piece, Doyle recommends Lorfords, whose traditionally upholstered sofas are handmade in their Cotswolds studio. “You can choose the style, the exact dimensions, and the fabric you want. They're expensive but built to last a lifetime."

Fabric

Durable, stain-resistant fabrics may be the best choice if your sofa is likely to get a lot of wear and tear from kids, pets or drink spillages. The common sofa fabrics that need less TLC are linen, leather or polyester. “Leather has always been a popular choice for those with families and pets; it’s easy to clean and really durable so will stand the test of time,” says Thomason. “Bouclé and more textured weaves are also growing in popularity with our customers.”

If you have more freedom, you could opt for velvet, wool or cotton, all of which need a little bit more care. “Velvet is still really popular, particularly in strong colours, and patterned fabrics are also on the up, especially stripes and florals,” says Doyle. “They’re more practical as they help to hide marks.”

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FAQs

Which type of sofa is comfortable? ›

The Lounger Sofa is a tufted collection made with a hardwood frame. This gives the couch its durability and strength making it the most comfortable sofa set design for living rooms. The seats are constructed with high-density foam to make the seating experience a luxurious one.

How can you tell if a couch is good quality? ›

How to tell if you're buying a quality couch - YouTube

What are the most durable sofas? ›

Hardwood frames are the most durable, but most sofas are made from engineered wood. Avoid MDF or particleboard; furniture-grade plywood, engineered hardwood, or solid wood are all better choices.

Which sofa is better leather or fabric? ›

By its very nature, leather is more durable than fabric and so will last on average last at least five years longer. And whilst fabric sofas can come with a stain repellent treatment, leather is easy to clean with just a quick wipe.

What is the most durable fabric for a sofa? ›

Durability: The sofa fabrics with the most durability will be cotton, linen, wool, polyester, and olefin. Linen becomes stronger when wet and doesn't pill. All of these fabrics are prone to lasting longer and withstanding wear and tear better over time that other types of fabrics.

What is the best frame for a sofa? ›

When looking at the frame of a sofa this is what you should consider:
  • The best frame is made out of kiln-dried hardwood. ...
  • In a good-quality frame, the joints get special attention. ...
  • Generally speaking, plywood and particleboard frames are inferior, especially if they are held together with staples.
May 13, 2022

How long should a sofa last? ›

Sofas: Consider replacing your sofa before the seats start sagging to the point of not supporting you, the fabric has become stained and worn, and the frame is breaking down or squeaking. How long should a couch last? On average, a typical sofa lasts between 7 and 15 years.

What's the best filling for sofa seats? ›

Foam & Fibre

Foam wrapped in a layer of fibre (SupaWrap) is the most recommended seat cushion filling as it provides the support of foam and the softness of fibre, it is also cheaper than feather wrap.

Are Joybird couches worth it? ›

If you bought a Joybird sofa and are happy with it, your experience has been much like that of our testers. But we stopped recommending the company's products in 2017, after a number of readers reported negative experiences with Joybird's customer service, long delivery times, and even manufacturing defects.

Is Henredon furniture still in business? ›

The Henredon Story

While they were successful for many decades, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2013. At that time, most of the Henredon operations were moved to a Drexel Heritage plant. The company's assets have been sold many times since then. The Authentic company bought the Henredon name in 2020.

What is the most comfortable seat depth for a sofa? ›

For a person between 5'4 and 5'10, a seat depth of 21" to 22" will allow plenty of clearance between the legs and the front edge of the seat. For a taller person, a seat depth of 23" to 25" is a good option, and for a smaller person, a seat depth of about 20" could work well.

Which furniture fabric is the most durable? ›

Microfiber Furniture Fabric

Synthetic microfiber is typically the most durable furniture fabric available in today's market. Microfiber's durability can be attributed to its ultra-fine fibers. These fibers are tightly woven to create a powerful layer of protection.

What sofa material is the easiest to clean? ›

Leather: This material is known as one of the most durable and sophisticated materials out there. It is a favorite for people with kids and pets, as it tends to withstand the wear and tear of everyday life while also being incredibly easy to clean.

How do I choose a good sofa set? ›

7 Sofa Quality Guide to consider while buying Sofa for your Living Room;
  1. Room Size and Shape.
  2. Choose a Sofa according to the Wall Décor.
  3. Choose the best Material for the Sofa.
  4. Consider the Fit and Comfort.
  5. Joinery.
  6. Test the Sofa Arms.
  7. Consider your Budget.
Sep 13, 2020

Are firm sofas comfortable? ›

Firm sofas provide structured, even comfort. Consider a firm sofa if you like more resistance and support in your seating. Jasper is a crowd pleaser. Its soft cushions and moderate seat depth and seat height mean that it's comfortable for most.

What is a comfortable sofa depth? ›

The exact number will vary depending on your height, but 20 to 22 inches tends to be a good range for most people to sit up comfortably. To figure out the seat depth you prefer, sit in a few different sofas and measure the one that works best for you.

How can I make my sofa more comfortable? ›

How To Make Your Couch More Comfortable
  1. Re-Plump Your Couch Cushions With Foam Inserts. ...
  2. Instantly Re-Cover Your Couch With A Sofa Slipcover. ...
  3. Firm Up Your Springs With A Wood Support. ...
  4. Snuggle Into A Super Soft Blanket. ...
  5. Elevate Your Feet With An Adjustable Wedge Pillow. ...
  6. Curl Up With The Cup Cozy Deluxe Pillow.
Nov 9, 2019

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