So You Want to Buy a Couch Online? Here’s Where to Start.
Five of our favorite brands that make the process easy, from Burrow to Article
Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, InsideHook may earn a small share of the profits.
We understand if it’s taken you a while to come around to the idea of buying a couch online. There are obvious pitfalls — from the sofa not being as luxurious as the pictures imply to the cushions not being as comfy as they seem — but some of the problems just come with the furniture-buying experience. After all, even if you’re shopping at a brick-and-mortar store, you won’t know how the piece works in your house until it’s ultimately shipped, assembled and in its proper place nestled amongst the lamps and bookshelves.
Meanwhile the benefits of the online couch-buying experience are undeniable. You can shop from your current couch, you can have it shipped to your door (no borrowing your friend’s pickup) and today you have dozens of worthwhile options at your fingertips. We should know, we’ve tested a number of them ourselves.
That said, not all couch purveyors are created equal; even the online-native, direct-to-consumer brands differ wildly in their offerings, whether we’re talking the design of the furniture itself or the experience of ordering it online. To help you out, we’ve picked out five of our favorite sofa-selling furniture brands below with all the details you need to know about the buying (and testing) experience, from ordering swatches beforehand to the return policies.
We’ve tested out two couch styles from this DTC brand, Burrow’s original Nomad and the more design-forward Range (recently, they’ve added the in-between Field collection); all of them are fairly traditional due to the modular design. Where Burrow differentiates itself is its ability to fit a couch into any space. If you’re dealing with an apartment building with cramped stairways, an old house with small doors or even a cabin where you need to bring the couch out yourself, they make it easy as the sofas are shipped in a variety of easy-to-carry boxes, and the pieces inside are easy to assemble via a proprietary pin-and-latch system. In terms of materials, the sofas come in performance fabric, performance velvet or leather, and you can order free swatches before you make your purchase. Additionally, Burrow does have a showroom in Manhattan if you’re in the area and consultants on call if you’re not. They offer a 30-day return policy, but charge a return shipping fee if you’re not exchanging it for something else.
Unlike some of the other brands here, Article offers a variety of styles spanning modern, mid-century modern and Scandinavian aesthetics. That said, the brand has a great eye, so you really can’t go wrong with anything they offer. We particularly like the Sven line, which is available in velvet, leather or fabric (a polyester/acrylic mix), and the Timber line, which is available in the latter two options. If you’re trying to decide between different styles, Article offers up to 10 fabric or leather swatches for free, as well as complimentary design consultations. They offer a 30-day return policy, but charge a return shipping fee if you’re not exchanging it for another item.
Paralyzed by choice? Floyd is here to help. They offer just two choices: the Sofa and the Sectional. There are just a few size options for each, and there are only color choices to make as they each come in just one fabric option. The Sofa is similar to Burrow in that it’ll be split up into multiple easy-to-handle boxes, though the base is one piece instead of multiple pieces that latch together. If you need some help figuring out which couch is right for you, there’s a form you can fill out for advice. They offer a 30-day return policy with no extra fee to ship it back.
Allform’s simplest furniture offering is the Armchair. Their most complicated offering is the 8-Seat U Sectional, which is basically the armchair multiplied by eight. This is modularity in its purest form, especially when you consider the tool-free assembly. Along with choosing between different colored performance fabrics and leather, Allform also includes optional pillows in the checkout process. If you want swatches to test in your home, they offer a book with a complete set of all of their options free of charge. The reason to try Allform over other options is their longer 100-day trial, which allows full returns and refunds if you’re not satisfied in that time period. There’s no extra fee, but that’s because Allform either donates the couches near where you live or has “a trusted recycling partner remove it from your home.”
If you want something modular but are underwhelmed by same-same aesthetic of most brands, Inside Weather offers sofas with a little more personality. We like the Bondi collection because it’s deep and sturdy with “cloud-like comfort” but doesn’t sit completely flush on the floor, so it’s easier to clean around. No matter which style you go with, the benefit Inside Weather offers is its even larger list of customization options, including over 400 fabrics across all their offerings, some which are kid and pet friendly (which we know is a top priority for many). You can order up to 10 swatches for free and get in touch with a designer for help via email, Facebook, Instagram, an online form or even text. They offer a return policy more generous than anyone else on this list: a 365-day home trial, but that includes a 25% “environmental fee” (and a 15% fee for those returned within 14 days).
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