14 best couches and sofas for a contemporary home

The best couches for a contemporary interior: design-led sofas, spacious sectionals, and modern masterpieces, we've rounded up the best sofas on the Livingetc team radar

A gray sofa with a chrome frame in a modern living room
(Image credit: CB2)

Finding the best couch for a modern interior is one of the key factors in planning a successful living room layout. 

After all, as potentially one of the largest pieces of furniture in the room, the sofa is likely to be the main focal point that the rest of your decor will hinge around, whether you're looking for a modular sofa to zone an open plan layout or a compact option to maximize space in an apartment.

Plus, not only does the sofa have a big aesthetic role to play, but this everyday essential also needs to deliver a comfortable place to relax and unwind, somewhere to seat guests for entertaining (find more multifunctional options in our guide to the best sleeper sofas), and be able to withstand the rigors of day-to-day life.

As such, we've rounded up some of the best couches on the Livingetc team's radar, sourcing design classics, modern masterpieces, and some great affordable sofas that still pack a punch in the style stakes.


14 best couches and best sofas for a modern interior

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A contemporary gray velvet sofa

(Image credit: Interior Define)

1. Interior Define Lukas 3-Seat Sofa

Sofa: H33 x W104/112/120 x D37/42" | Upholstery options: 120+
If you have the space to play with, then the spacious Lukas sofa offers plenty of room to stretch out and relax. The variety of configuration options on offer also makes this a stress-free sofa to specify, with three width options, two super-useful depth options, alongside over one hundred upholstery options, making it easy to tailor the look to your interior. Beyond the three-seater, there is also plenty of choice in sectional seating, with chaise, corner, and U-shaped layouts available.


A curved divan sofa from Ferm Living

(Image credit: Ferm Living)

2. Ferm Living Rico Divan Sofa

Sofa: H31 x W75 x D32" | Upholstery options: 7
Curved sofas are now less of a trend and more of a staple design tool, and it's easy to see why when you encounter the sculptural form of the Rico divan. The perfect option for an open-plan space, those continuous curves look good from every angle, with the curvaceous shape softening a minimal or hard-edged interior, and providing a useful playful counterbalance to 'serious' period architectural detail. The neutral upholstery options strengthen the organic feel, whilst color-block pastels like the 'Light Blue Tonus' will amplify the fun-factor.


A black leather sofa from APT2B

(Image credit: APT2B)

3. APT2B Jude Leather Sofa

Sofa: H27 x W83 x D35" | Upholstery options: 2
Hardwearing and durable, a leather couch is designed to get better with age, and the Jude leather sofa looks good while it does it too, with a clean-lined wooden platform base and metal stiletto legs contrasting with deeply padded seats. Opt for sleek black full-grain leather upholstery or classic tan with smart knife-edge detailing. This compact design is perfect for small space living, but there is a sectional chaise available too, plus coordinating ottoman and armchair.


A pale green velvet sofa from MGBW

(Image credit: MGBW)

3. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Gigi Sofa

Sofa: H25 x W75/85/95/105 x D36" | Upholstery options: 100+
Smart and sleek, with simple curved arms and a raised frame, the Gigi sofa is the perfect blend of contemporary and classic, which, along with a multitude of upholstery options, make it a sure-fire hit whatever your decor style. There are twenty fabric choices as standard, but hit that customization button and you'll find patterns, prints, and statement upholstery galore, plus twenty leg finishes, three choices of cushion fill (made from ozone–friendlier CertiPur-US foam that contains a renewable soy–based biomaterial), and three frame width options.


An off-white couch from McGee & Co

(Image credit: McGee & Co)

4. McGee & Co. Remi Sofa

Sofa: H35 x W107 x D40.5" | Upholstery options: 15+
Relaxed, low-slung, and perfect for laidback living, the Remi sofa is made for Sunday lounging and comfortable day-to-day family life. We love the linen upholstery that lends a carefree beachy vibe to the proceedings, but you can also opt for a lived-in velvet look, hardwearing Cognac leather, or stain-resistant Crypton fabric. Seating is already fairly deep, which makes this a great sofa for curling up and getting comfy, but you can also opt for the chaise sectional if you want more room to get horizontal.


A modern sofa in smoke blue leather from MGBW

(Image credit: MGBW)

5. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Niles Leather Sofa

Sofa: H32 x W90/100 x D38" | Upholstery options: 100+
If you're looking for a sofa to make a statement, then this modern design has us going weak at the knees, not least because of the one hundred-plus swoon-worthy shades of upholstery on offer - whether you opt for creamy Mont Blanc, textural Tribeca, or tactile Nubuck Italian leather, or for a vintage boucle or luxe velvet fabric finish. Pair that with the playful, sculptural form and we think you have a modern masterpiece in the making, whether you decide on the 90" or 100" width sofa, or contemporary accent chair.


A rust colored velvet sofa from Maiden Home

(Image credit: Maiden Home)

5. Maiden Home Varick Sofa

Sofa: H30.5 x W75/80/85/90/95/100 x D40" | Upholstery options: 40
Bold proportions, a generous bench cushion, and low-to-the-ground form give the Varick sofa a comfortable, sink-in feel. We love the timeless design in the 'performance' velvet upholstery options that are built to resist crushing, marking, and pilling, especially in the muted shades of Cider, Seafoam, or Dusty Rose, but there are plenty of other choices too, from merino wool to textural tweed. What's more this sofa offers one of the biggest choices of widths on the block, with frame sizes increasing from 75" to 100" in 5" intervals; perfect for getting the proportions exactly right, whatever your room size.


The white cloud sofa from Restoration Hardware

(Image credit: RH)

6. RH Cloud Modular Sofa

Sofa: H31.5" x W varies by module x D varies by module | Upholstery options: 130+
A modern classic, the Cloud sofa from Restoration Hardware has inspired a plethora of copycat designs, but there's nothing quite like the original. It's those side cushions that do it, contrasting the sofa's blocky geometric form with full-on laidback luxe comfort. Plus, there's the versatility of the design to consider, with the modular sectional allowing for the configuration of pretty much any layout you can conjure, and two depths of seating offering a 40" deep seat, or a super-deep 45" space that makes for the ultimate relaxation.


A pink velvet sofa from Anthropologie

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

7. Anthropologie Willoughby Two-Cushion Sofa

Sofa: H33 x W69/79/89 x D43" | Upholstery options: 100+
The Willoughby sofa has classic design touches by the bucketful, with rolled arms and turned wooden feet on castors offering plenty of period charm. There are three sofa widths available, including a useful compact 69" option, and plenty of upholstery choices. We love the curvaceous cushioning in a light-catching velvet finish, but there are linens, leathers, and wools on offer too, along with three versions of leg finish and two options of hardware detailing. The perfect way to inject some character into a modern living space, the timeless design also comes in a slouchy armchair and put-your-feet-up-in-style ottoman.


A gray sofa from Vitra

(Image credit: Vitra)

8. Vitra Mariposa 2 1/2-Seater Sofa

Sofa: H32 x W83 x D40" | Upholstery options: 12
Designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby for modern furniture powerhouse Vitra, the Mariposa sofa offers a compact design with space to recline thanks to its ingenious adjustment mechanisms. They make it possible to individually adapt the side and backrest elements for various sitting or reclining positions; taking you from an upright position to an outward angle of approximately 30° and back again. The two-and-a-half-seater is actually generous enough to seat three, but the small footprint makes it a great option for apartment dwellers or for use in the home office.


A curved white sofa from MGBW

(Image credit: MGBW)

9. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Giselle Sofa

Sofa: H30 x W85/100 x D44" | Upholstery options: 28
A conversational piece, the Giselle sofa cuts a fine form in fabric or leather with its gentle curves offering a cocooning seat with an upright backrest. The three to four-seater sofa is a useful zoning tool in a larger room, whilst the vast array of sectional options take the curvaceous design to extremes. For those with less space to play with, the rounded Giselle swivel chair offers similarly stylish design on a smaller scale.


An olive green velvet sofa from MGBW

(Image credit: MGBW)

9. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Hunter Studio Bench Sofa

Sofa: H32 x W75/85/95 x D37" | Upholstery options: 28
The popularity of the Hunter sofa is obvious from the multiple reimaginings Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams has on offer, with the modern, geometric shape available in a classic two-cushioned design, or the more contemporary bench seat configuration. Clean, straight legs lift the squared frame high above the ground, making this a great option for smaller rooms thanks to the extra visual space that creates, although there is also a slipcovered version that we love for its more pared-back feel. Multiple widths, multiple upholstery options, and multiple cushion-fill options deliver the breadth of choice MGBW is known for.


A grey sectional sofa

(Image credit: Serena & Lily)

10. Serena & Lily Haven Modular Sofa

Sofa: H34 x W126 x D42" | Upholstery options: 165
The Haven Modular Collection is designed to fit, move, and evolve with your lifestyle, with the option to choose a tried-and-tested configuration, like this three-piece sofa layout, or to explore the entire collection to build the sofa or sectional you’ve been dreaming of. A modular ottoman can be used to transform the sofa sections into a chaise, or an L or U-shaped layout, and with deep seats, tailored box cushions, and sink-in comfort, plus 165 upholstery options to choose from, it would be hard not to create a swoon-worthy seating area.


A red framed sofa from HAY

(Image credit: HAY)

11. HAY Arbour Sofa

Sofa: H30 x W71/87 x D34" | Upholstery options: 30
A collaboration between Daniel Rybakken and Andreas Engesvik for Scandinavian brand Hay, the Arbour sofa has environmental concerns and circular design at its heart. Throwing out the 'rules' of conventional sofa building, the duo have forsaken the modern approach of using layers of unsustainable and often chemical-laced glued fibers to construct the sofa frame and cushioning, instead, creating the wooden frame and upholstered cushions as independent solutions, with the benefit that all components can be repaired or replaced to prolong the longevity of the sofa as a whole. Stripped back to its bare essentials, the result is a beguilingly honest design that allows the craftsmanship to shine through.


A contemporary dark gray sofa from Four Hands

(Image credit: Four Hands)

12. Four Hands Fenton Square Arm Sofa

Sofa: H30 x W98 x D41.5" | Upholstery options: 10
Upholstered in a polyester blend fabric that utilizes recycled plastic bottles, the Fenton sofa delivers contemporary styling at a, relatively, affordable price point. Available in the 98" width sofa, or chaise and corner sectionals, the design offers somewhat limited upholstery and size options compared to some similar options on this list, but if you're after designer looks on a budget, we think this big and bold, low-profile design hits the mark.


A cream sofa with gold ball feet from Jonathan Adler

(Image credit: Jonathan Adler)

13. Jonathan Adler Claridge Sofa

Sofa: H28 x W90 x D35" | Upholstery options: 3
Known for its OTT style and decadent decor, Jonathan Adler's eponymous store should be your first point of call if you're after some Miami glamor, and the Claridge sofa doesn't disappoint in delivering the designer's signature style. A spin on the classic Chesterfield, the design features smart, tailored tufting, luxurious upholstery finishes, and, the finishing touch, oversized and ultra-glam brass orbs in place of traditional wooden feet. The perfect sofa for a party pad, it makes the ideal place for perching, cocktail in hand.


A green velvet sofa

(Image credit: Lulu and Georgia)

14. Ginny Macdonald Belmont Sofa

Sofa: H32 x W72 x D37" | Upholstery options: 7
A part of an exclusive collaboration between British interior designer Ginny Macdonald and Lulu and Georgia, this classic sofa features a curved back and plush, oversized cushions that bring an air of relaxed formality to a living room. Inspired by Ginny's English heritage and handmade in Los Angeles, the collection fuses her British roots with her California lifestyle. Available in three-seater or chaise sofa, this timeless design is accompanied by a coordinating armchair and is available in seven on-trend shades of cotton velvet, including a calming lagoon blue, olive green, rich cognac brown, and russet red.


Best couches: a sofa buying guide

Finding the best sofa for your interior will depend on a range of factors, including the size of the room in which it will be placed, your style preferences, and, of course, your lifestyle. So what are the key points to consider when sourcing the best sofa for your home?

A cream boucle sofa in a living room with ceiling height windows

(Image credit: CB2)
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How to choose the right size sofa

It may sound obvious, but size is one of the most important aspects to consider before falling in love with your dream sofa. 

You're probably going to want the most spacious seating your room will allow, but it's also important to consider scale to ensure a design works in a particular space. Just as a couch that's too small can impact entertaining or family living, opting for too large of a sofa can also overwhelm a room. 

One useful approach – especially if your sofa will be pushed back against a wall – is to utilise the two-thirds rule. This means opting for a sofa width that is no more than two-thirds the width of the wall behind it. If you have enough space to play with that you can opt for sofa half the width of the wall behind then this will increase the feelings of spaciousness further, and allow room for end tables and/or floor lamps at either end.

If you have an open plan layout, then a sectional sofa can be a useful zoning tool. Modular units will allow flexible U- or L-shaped seating configurations, whilst grouping seating on and around a large area rug will help to ground the 'chill out' area and create a more intimate 'zone' within a larger space. 

A contemporary gray sofa in a classic living room

(Image credit: CB2)
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When considering size, of course, it's also hugely important to check your measurements.

As well as width, make sure to take into account the sofa's height, especially if it needs to fit under any existing architectural details like a windowsill or picture rail, and remember to consider the sofa's depth to ensure there's still plenty of room to walk and move around it. Marking out the dimensions with tape is an easy way to try and get a sense of scale. Even a compact two-seater can overwhelm a smaller room if the sofa depth is too deep.

Also, consider access dimensions. If you have a narrow entranceway, awkwardly shaped hallway, or need to negotiate a staircase, then measuring up to ensure the sofa will fit through any tricky access points will save a lot of stress on delivery day. 

And if your access is difficult? Don't think that means you have to plump for the smallest two-seater you can find. A modular sofa is a great option for adding spacious seating to difficult rooms, and – especially useful for high-rise apartment dwellers – the new generations of sofa in a box that arrive flat-packed have come a long way in terms of style. 

A dark gray velvet sofa in a high-ceilinged period property

(Image credit: MGBW)
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Getting a sofa style right

Beauty is, of course, in the eye of the beholder, but there are a few useful tips you can bear in mind to make sure you choose the best style of sofa for a particular interior.

Firstly, consider the sofa legs. Easy to overlook whilst you are browsing through swoon-worthy swatches of upholstery, the legs of a sofa can have a big impact on its overall appearance. 

Generally speaking, low-to-the-ground sofas that have no visible legs to speak of are best for open plan rooms where the more bulky design will help to add gravitas to the room and ground a scheme. 

Smaller rooms will benefit from a leggy design where the sofa base is lifted clear of the floor. Allowing the eye to travel under the sofa – potentially to the furthest wall of the room – will create a feeling of spaciousness and stop what is potentially the largest piece of furniture in the room from dominating too much.

Secondly, think about the upholstery. Unless you're buying a ready-made model, there is usually a huge selection of fabrics on offer at any sofa retailer, and each can subtly alter the way a sofa looks and even feels – fabrics with more drape potentially creating a softer, more squishy sofa seat, whereas thicker less flexible materials creating more resistance and a firmer feel. 

Velvets will add a smart, luxe feel, slubby linens can create a relaxed vibe, and hardwearing and more stain-resistant cotton mixes can be a practical addition to a busy family home. Sofas that offer loose covers can also be a great solution, allowing the flexibility to update upholstery as and when needed, and ensuring your sofa has ultimate longevity.

A mustard yellow velvet sofa in a large living room with panelled walls

(Image credit: CB2)
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How to find the most comfortable sofa

We think sofa sitters tend to fall into two main camps, those that prefer to sit upright with their feet planted on the floor, and those who prefer to sprawl, curl up or recline. The most comfortable sofa for you is likely to depend on which of the two seating styles you are most inclined towards and then finding a sofa that suits your sitting style.

Those who prefer to remain upright will likely find a sofa with a shallower seat depth the most comfortable. This allows you to sit up straighter whilst your feet remain on the floor, rather than a deeper seat which will tip you back into a more reclined posture. 

Finding a supportive backrest is also more important for upright sitters. Look for models where the sofa frame has a high backrest, rather than just relying on a high back cushion for support, and you might prefer a higher armrest.

If you prefer to curl up or lay down as soon as the opportunity presents itself then you're likely to be able to opt for a lower profile design with a more generous seat depth. You might want to consider arm height too, and opt for a lower arm that can double as a headrest when sprawled out.

Sofa cushion construction can also affect comfort levels and will be a consideration for vegan shoppers. A pure foam cushion generally offers a fairly firm sitting experience but has the benefit of springing back into shape after being sat on. Whereas feather and down cushions can provide a more plumptious seat but tend to settle over time, so can require regular plumping.

To combine the best of both worlds, many sofa manufacturers now offer foam cushion cores that are wrapped in a layer of soft feathers – providing comfort and retaining the sofa shape.

A small cream boucle sofa in a modern apartment living room

(Image credit: MGBW)
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Want more living room inspiration? From general living room ideas and living room color inspiration to gallery wall ideas, you'll find plenty of top tips for creating the perfect scheme online at Livingetc.