Best sofas 2021: comfortable, design-led and stylish sofas

The best sofas of 2021: design classics, modern masterpieces, and, of course, the most comfortable sofas that still pack a punch in the style stakes

Included in this guide:

A white boucle sofa with a rounded cocoon shape in a modern living room with black Crittall doors
(Image credit: Love Your Home)

Looking for the best sofas for your interior? This key piece of furniture can make or break a living room interior scheme, so it's a decision we all want to get right. 

As an integral part of the home and everyday life, it isn't enough that a sofa just looks good, it's also imperative it's somewhere comfortable to relax and unwind at the end of a long day, will suitably seat guests for entertaining, and can withstand the rigors of family life if needs be.

Finding options to choose from is certainly easy; from classic two and three-seater sofas, chaise sofas, modular sofas you can configure into a bespoke layout, and spacious corner sofas that are perfect for open-plan rooms, there is a wealth of choice available. Plus, of course, there's the multifunctional sofa bed that allows you to offer guests a quick and easy overnight sleeping space. Find more of those in our guide to the best sofa beds.

However, sourcing a sofa that actually delivers in terms of style, size, comfort, and budget without a compromise in any one area can still be a tough task, which is where this guide is designed to help.

We've done the leg work to track down the best sofas for design-led aesthetics and comfort. Tried and tested, we think these are the best sofas available right now.


The best sofas of 2021: a buying guide

A chalk boucle three-seater sofa with wide armrests and rectangular formLivingEtc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: The Conran Shop)

1. The Conran Shop Planar Plinth sofa

Best sofa overall: a comfortable and good-looking sofa with generous size options

Specifications
2 seater sofa: H73 x W180 x D107cm
3 seater sofa: H73 x W220 x D107cm
4 seater sofa: H73 x W240 x D107cm
5 seater sofa: H73 x W300 x D107cm
Seat height: 53cm
Upholstery options: 70+
Matching furniture: No
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable seating with just the right mix of squish and support+Four generous width options+Wide armrests+Good range of upholstery options including lots of leather choices
Reasons to avoid
-No matching furniture other than smaller/larger sofa sizes-Best for large rooms

Deep comfortable seats, a soft yet supportive backrest, and a good range of widths make The Conran Shop's Planar Plinth one of our favourite sofas. 

Delivering the elusive mix of seats that are deep and squishy enough to curl up on and a low backrest that still offers a good level of back support if you prefer to sit, we found this sofa comfortable on all levels. 

As long as you have the space for it, it's a sofa that feels generously proportioned in all aspects, from the perfect-height wide armrests to the deep blocky seats and four ample-sized widths including a super-generous 300cm wide 5-seater.

The low profile means it works well in an open-plan layout as it won't block the vista, and the black-stained fir plinth base lifts the sofa frame clear enough of the floor to stop the bulky form from feeling too heavy, whilst that boxy shape is weighty enough to ground a seating area.

We like it best in the Chalk boucle upholstery which provides a tactile and organic contrast to the sofa's geometric shape, but it also lends itself well to the wide range of leathers available, including a good mix of desaturated shades from Coal black to Graphite grey and tan Cognac. Plus, there are plenty of wools, velvets, linens and cotton weaves to choose from.

With prices starting from just over £5000 for the 2 seater model, this sofa is certainly an investment, but as an option that delivers both comfort and style by the spadeful, we think it's well worth considering for a larger living space.

Shop now:
Planar Plinth 2 seater sofa, from £5006, The Conran Shop
Planar Plinth 3 seater sofa, from £5775, The Conran Shop
Planar Plinth 4 seater sofa, from £5995, The Conran Shop
Planar Plinth 5 seater sofa, from £8071, The Conran Shop


A teal blue velvet sofa with wooden legs in a living room with blue painted panelled wallsLivingEtc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Sofa.com)

2. Sofa.com Holly sofa

Most affordable sofa: a good value, stylish and comfortable sofa with chaise and corner sofa options too

Specifications
2 seater sofa: H87 x W155 x D90cm
2.5 seater sofa: H87 x W185 x D90cm
3 seater sofa: H87 x W215 x D90cm
4 seater sofa: H87 x W288 x D90cm
Chaise sofa: H87 x W255 x D150cm
Corner sofa: H87 x W266 x D266cm
Seat height: 50cm
Seat depth: 54cm
Upholstery options: 70+
Matching furniture: Armchair & footstool
Reasons to buy
+Good value+Comfortable seating with just the right mix of squish and support+Four sofa width options+High legs can make a small room feel more spacious+Good range of upholstery options+Matching furniture available
Reasons to avoid
-Armrests may be a little high and thin for some

One of the most stylish, comfortable and affordable sofas we've come across in our search, the 2 seater Holly sofa starts at just £850 so it's a good option if you want luxe-look seating on a budget. 

A great range of size options makes this a versatile solution for most small to mid-sized rooms, including 2, 2.5, 3 and 4 seater straight-backed sofas, plus a chaise and a corner sofa option which also comes in four sizes - from the extra small 2-3 seater corner sofa to a more spacious 5-6 seater option.

Neither too modern nor too emphatically classic, the design will suit a wide range of interiors, from period properties to contemporary homes. The high-legged build is also useful for lending a more spacious feel to small living rooms.

Comfort-wise, in our opinion, the sofa has just the right mix of squish and support thanks to its substantial feather-wrapped foam seat cushions, feather back cushions, and its high-backed frame; comfy enough to curl up on but with great back support if you prefer to sit.

We especially like the high armrests as it means you have something to support your back if you like to sit sideways and put your feet up, but some might not like the thin tapered design and the armrest's height.

Over 70 upholstery options also make finding a colour and fabric to suit your decor easy, and all fabrics we handled felt good quality. The velvets are a particularly good choice with plenty of colour-popping statement shades to choose from, but there are also family-friendly polycotton mixes, linens, wools and some great statement fabrics like on-trend textured boucles.

Shop now:
Hollly 2 seater sofa, from £850, Sofa.com
Holly 2.5 seater sofa, from £935, Sofa.com
Holly 3 seater sofa, from £1025, Sofa.com
Holly 4 seater, from £1320, Sofa.com
Holly chaise sofa, from £1410, Sofa.com
Holly corner sofa, from £1715, Sofa.com


A contemporary grey sofa bed with a tan leather strap underneath the seat for transformation from sofa to bedLivingEtc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Heal's)

3. Heal's Oswald Sofa Bed

Best sofa bed: a king-size sofa bed with pocket-sprung seating and sleeping

Specifications
3 seater sofa bed: H98 x W222 x D103cm
Seat height: 43cm
Seat depth: 55cm
Sleeps: 2
Sleeping area size: H98 x W222 x D152cm
Upholstery options: 3
Matching furniture: Footstool
Reasons to buy
+Pocket-sprung foam seat and backrest makes for comfortable sitting and sleeping+Foam and feather back cushions+A super generous king-sized sleeping area+Hidden storage
Reasons to avoid
-Only one width option-Fairly low seat-Limited upholstery options-Limited matching furniture available

If your guest bedroom has recently been turned into a home office, or you just want to make a spare room work a little harder for you, then a sofa bed makes for a great piece of multifunctional furniture. 

However, finding an option that offers both comfortable sitting and sleeping can be a far harder task than you might hope, but, thankfully, we think Heal's Oswald sofa bed has achieved this seemingly elusive goal. 

This is a fold-out sofa bed where the sofa seat extends forwards and the backrest folds flat to create the sleeping surface. Initially, that might sound less comfortable than a pull-out option with a dedicated mattress, but in this case, the seat and backrest are formed from several foam layers, and - the important bit - there are 10cm deep pocket-springs nestled in the foam’s midst. 

This makes for a sofa base with a good amount of give and bounce - not a soft and squishy sofa, but definitely enough comfort that you could use this sofa bed as your main living room seating if you desired. It offers a comfortable sleep experience too - in our opinion akin to a dedicated mattress - with a generous king-size mattress-sized sleeping area.

And, once the sofa bed is pulled out into position via the leather strap - a manouevre made easy thanks to the bed legs which unfold automatically - a handy storage area means these cushions can be stored safely away so as not to clutter the room.

Fabric choices are limited, but the mid-grey and navy blue are both versatile options. If you want more upholstery options then our round-up of the best sofa beds offers some alternatives with wider fabric selections.

Overall, this is one of the best sofa beds we’ve come across though; satisfying all needs without too much of a compromise in any area.

Shop now: Oswald sofa bed, £2499, Heals


A white boucle sofa with a rounded cocoon shape in a modern living room with Crittall doorsLivingEtc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Love Your Home)

4. Love Your Home x Livingetc Hepworth Sofa

Best curved sofa: this crescent sofa in boucle fabric hits all the key trends

Specifications
2 seater sofa: H88 x W190 x D98cm
3 seater sofa: H88 x W226 x D98cm
4 seater sofa: H88 x W260 x D98cm
Upholstery options: 100+
Matching furniture: Armchair, small footstool & large footstool
Reasons to buy
+On-trend design+Livingetc x Love Your Home collaboration+Love Your Home promise carbon-neutral manufacture, offsetting 100% of their carbon emissions+Good range of upholstery options+10+ leg options+Matching furniture available
Reasons to avoid
-Add extra back comfort with scatter cushions available separately

We may be somewhat biased, but with its gentle curves and cocooning shape, we can't think of a more soothing place to sit than the Hepworth sofa, designed in collaboration between Livingetc and Love Your Home.

This sofa encapsulates all of the moment's key trends in one; a curvaceous cloud-like shape that appears to float on its linear legs, all wrapped up in tactile textured off-white boucle upholstery that enhances the organic form.

The capsule Hepworth collection offers the sofa and a coordinating armchair, all designed with rounded seats and wraparound backrests. On the firmer side rather than a squishy-type seat, it makes the perfect spot for drinks before dinner. 

There are three sofa widths available to suit a variety of room sizes, plus the Hepworth armchair, and two sizes of lozenge-shaped footstool to transform this sofa into a chaise.

Upholstery-wise the sofa benefits from Love Your Home's extensive and exclusive fabric collection, plus a carefully considered edit of upholstery options curated by the Livingetc team; think sumptuous toffee velvet, supple pale leathers, and textured Seafoam or Leopard boucle.

There are also 10+ material options in those tall legs to complement your fabric choice, including dark walnut, pale oak, warm hickory, and luxe brass.

Plus, Love Your Home is aiming to get serious when it comes to sustainability; all furniture frames are made with sustainably produced FSC-certified beech wood, fabrics are sourced directly from third-and-fourth generation European mills, and its manufacturing and showrooms offset 100% of their carbon emissions.

Shop now:
Hepworth 2 seater sofa, from £2428, Love Your Home
Hepworth 3 seater sofa, from £2728, Love Your Home
Hepworth 4 seater sofa, from £3054, Love Your Home


A dark navy blue velvet sofa with high back cushions and high legsLivingEtc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: The Conran Shop)

5. The Conran Shop Chiltern sofa

Best sofa for small living rooms: a comfortable high legged sofa with compact measurements

Specifications
1.5 seater sofa: H79 x W130 x D96cm
2 seater sofa: H79 x W152 x D96cm
3 seater sofa: H79 x W205 x D96cm
4 seater sofa: H79 x W228 x D96cm
Seat height: 45cm
Upholstery options: 70+
Matching furniture: Armchair
Reasons to buy
+Comfortable seating with just the right mix of squish and support+Four compact width options+High legs can make a small room feel more spacious+Good range of upholstery options+Matching furniture available
Reasons to avoid
-Back cushions encourage you to recline slightly rather than sit up straight, which might not suit everyone.

If space is at a premium, then we think this small sofa nails compact design without it feeling like you're scrimping on design-led details or luxurious comfort.

Available in a super small 1.5 seater sofa or neatly proportioned 2, 3 or 4-seater widths, this contemporary design is elevated on high tapered legs that will enhance the size of a smaller room by allowing your eye to travel underneath the sofa frame to maximise the floor space the eye can register - making a room appear far larger visually.

Seating-wise this is a sofa to sink into, with squishy seats that invite you to curl up and get comfortable the moment you sit down. The high back cushions make leaning back comfortable too, although as the backrest ends a little below the cushion height you do tend to tip slightly backwards into a reclined position rather than an upright posture, which might not suit everyone. 

Unlike with many compact sofas that save space by reducing armrest widths or even removing them entirely, the Chiltern's armrests still feel perfectly ample which adds to the feeling that nothing has been lost in gaining back some living room space.

In terms of upholstery, we think this refined shape suits a velvet fabric best, so it's lucky there are plenty of options on offer, from the deep and rich Cobalt blue to a warm Avocado green or Petal pink. It also looks fresh and contemporary in a linen selection, or the Mustard yellow wool for a hit of sunshine-hued serotonin.

Shop now:
Chiltern 1.5 seater sofa, from £2563, The Conran Shop
Chiltern 2 seater sofa, from £3008, The Conran Shop
Chiltern 3 seater sofa, from £3484, The Conran Shop
Chiltern 4 seater sofa, from £3714, The Conran Shop


The Ligne Roset Togo sofa in blue velvet upholstery

(Image credit: Heal's)

6. Ligne Roset Togo Sofa

Most iconic sofa: a modular design classic that's still going strong

Specifications
1 seater sofa module: H70 x W87 x D102cm
2 seater sofa module: H70 x W131 x D102cm
3 seater sofa module: H70 x W174 x D102cm
Corner sofa : H70 x W276 x D233cm
Seat height: 38cm
Upholstery options: 8
Matching furniture: Armchair module & footstool
Reasons to buy
+A cult classic+Modular sections allow you to create your ideal layout
Reasons to avoid
-Firm seating-Super low to the ground seat height won't be for everyone-Limited upholstery options

Instantly recognisable for its distinctive shape and deeply quilted folds, Ligne Roset's Togo sofa has retained its cult classic status for the past 40 years.

The iconic sofa form was designed for Ligne Roset in 1973 by Michel Ducaroy; dreamt up as the ultimate chill-out space for afternoon siestas, lazy evenings, and - as the seating came to be depicted in magazines and films of the time - hazy Seventies' hedonism.

The deep modular design can work especially well in large open-plan spaces, where you can continue adding sections to your heart's content to create a seating solution in proportion to your space. 

To help you create that bespoke layout there are four main Togo components available; the classic 2 and 3 seater modules, along with a single-seater chair and a corner module that allows you to create an L-shaped or U-shaped sofa configuration.

Perhaps surprisingly, we actually find that slouchy silhouette pretty firm for sitting, and the concave dips that form the seating areas mean you're a little limited with how you can sprawl. Plus, of course, the low-to-the-floor design won't be ideal for everyone.

The standard upholstery fabrics are also a little limiting, with 9 main velvet options to choose from.

It's still hard not to be beguiled by that iconic silhouette though. Not just for contemporary interiors, the playful design works especially well contrasted against otherwise formal interiors and classical architectural detailing.

Shop now:
Togo single seat module, from £1563, Heal's
Togo 2 seater sofa, from £2240, Heal's
Togo 3 seater sofa, from £2983, Heal's
Togo corner sofa, from £7518, Heal's


How to buy a sofa online

Quick, convenient, and without the hassle of schlepping around the shops, increasing numbers of us are now turning to online platforms to source homeware and furniture that we previously might have bought only offline. 

But what should you know before buying a sofa online? Well, as with any major purchase, it pays to do as much homework as possible before clicking that buy now button. In particular, you might want to:

- Order fabric samples of your favourite upholstery to test with other elements of an interior scheme 

- Take advantage of online video consultations to get expert advice from the retailer 

- Check your measurements, and then check them again! 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 masking tape is an easy way to try and get a sense of scale.

- Also consider access dimensions. If you have a narrow entranceway, awkwardly shaped hallway, or need to negotiate a staircase, then measuring up to ensure your sofa bed will fit through any tricky access points will save a lot of stress on delivery day. A sectional sofa that's crafted in several parts and can be configured in situ is always a good option for builds with difficult access. 

Amy Lockwood
Amy Lockwood

Amy’s eye for colour, form and composition was honed in the design studio, creating prints for the interiors industry whilst studying textile design at Winchester School of Art. Here she developed her knowledge of key design principles and gained a deeper understanding of how a space can influence our sense of wellbeing, the ways we respond to our environment, and what we deem to be of value.


Amy’s own style is considered, contemporary and timeless, with a strong interest in contemporary craft and homewares that champion collaboration between traditional makers and innovative technologies. A belief that design must exist in balance with the natural world fuels her interest in exploring sustainable, circular, and regenerative design processes and underpins her passion for natural materials and responsible craftsmanship.


When she’s not writing about interior design or sourcing the latest homewares for Livingetc, Amy is most often found deliberating over the perfect shade of white paint, adding to her ever-growing plant collection, or printmaking in her home studio.