In recent years, mattresses in a box have exploded in popularity, thus normalizing the concept of buying and receiving all of our furniture in a series of boxes, delivered to our door for free. Among the newest sector to catch the attention of millennials and Gen Xers? Sofas in a box.
Many young Americans navigate their lives by continuously relocating — and thus need furniture that can work in a variety of spaces. “Since these consumers rely very heavily on online ratings and reviews, [online furniture retailers] will continue gaining in popularity, assuming more and more consumers make purchases and report satisfactory experiences,” says Pat Bowling, vice president of communications for the American Home Furnishings Alliance. “Online upholstery sales are [also] particularly appealing to consumers in rural areas where selection might be limited and to those living in small spaces where there are physical limitations for accepting delivery of a full-size sofa.”
As a result, the sofa sector is being reinvented; now we can simply hop online and purchase an affordable couch. And instead of waiting weeks or even months for it to show up, it’s delivered in a jiff in boxes that can easily be carried into the home, regardless of tight stairwells or narrow doorways. More good news: These modular couches can grow with the consumer. Sure, your first apartment might only be able to fit a loveseat, but having the option to add a chaise or corner seat to it a few years later is just another reason to buy it in the first place.
Which brings us to the top sofas in a box you can buy right now. After scouring the market, we found six brands that are total winners. From design and quality to customer service and warranty coverage, these are our current favorites.
BenchMade Modern was dreamt up one night during a dinner party conversation when former Pottery Barn designer Edgar Blozona overheard his friends complain about the “long delivery times” and the “lack of choice” that comes with the furniture-buying process. Fast-forward to the spring of 2015, Blozona started selling modern custom sofas to consumers — on demand.
Unlike other furniture companies, which typically deliver items within a three- to four-month time span (if not longer due to Covid-19 shipping delays), the San Francisco-based brand turns around their sofas in less than five weeks. I repeat, you can get a custom sofa delivered to your doorstep (in a box) within a month. And, even better, if you order a “ready to ship” sofa, it’ll ship out in only two days. Customers can also track their order and get updates about the construction process in real time.
The process is simple. First, you choose between 14 different styles, ranging from traditional to ultra modern, then you choose your size. BenchMade Modern’s sofas are handcrafted and custom designed by you, in 5-inch increments and a variety of orientations, to seamlessly fit into your space (and not just the brand’s delivery truck). Could it get any easier? Well, yes. Before you choose a material (BenchMade offers over 90 options), it’ll send you a swatch kit free of charge so you can see, feel (and scratch!) the material before you buy your sofa.
Ready to explore the collection? Go here.
We ultimately decided to try the Skinny Fat Loveseat (starting at $3,985) in the marfa caramel leather and stained walnut legs, and even received a blueprint of the sofa before it arrived to ensure it fit in our space. It’s incredibly sleek, modern and timeless, and it’s no doubt the center of attention in our home’s smallish office. We also opted for the extra-deep cushions, which are 3 inches longer than the standard option, and I can’t recommend it enough. More than one person can fit comfortably on the couch, whether you’re curling up with a book or bingeing some Netflix.
The leather is also an excellent option if you live with someone who is particularly prone to spilling things, since it is so easy to clean. But a note to all pet parents: We’re not sure leather is the smartest choice if your dog or cat likes to dig their claws into almost anything. It’s not a deal breaker, but it’s definitely not scratchproof in our experience. As for assembly, we opted for the white-glove service, so our sofa was carefully delivered in a box and assembled exactly where we wanted it by two people in less than 10 minutes.
More to know: All BenchMade Modern pieces feature a 100-day return window and a lifetime warranty, and curbside delivery starts at $99 and goes up in price if you’d prefer white-glove service. The Skinny Fat collection that we tested comes in 90-plus material options (velvet, leather and polyester) and four leg finish options (stained walnut, brushed nickel, espresso and honey), making each piece truly personalized to fit your aesthetic.
Price: Pieces in this collection start at $1,628.
When former NFL linebacker Darryl Sharpton and his wife Jessica went sofa shopping back in 2017, the couple quickly came to the conclusion that the entire process “sucked” (their word, not ours!). Faced with hundreds of options and a poor shopping experience — not to mention a six-plus week delivery timeframe — the Sharptons were inspired to disrupt the market with their own direct-to-consumer brand that simplified the sofa shopping experience. Enter: Albany Park.
Offering only three furniture models — the Albany, the Park and the Kova — in a variety of modern fabrics and sizes (from armchairs and ottomans to sofas and sectionals), the brand is aiming to completely change the way consumers shop for couches. Read: No more wandering aimlessly in a huge warehouse with thousands of options. Instead, Albany Park’s highly curated collection offers a well-tailored option (the Albany), a relaxed-but-sophisticated choice (the Park) and an utterly comfy modular set (the Kova), all of which is delivered in boxes that can be carried into your suburban manse just as easily as it can to your sixth-floor walk-up. Want to compare each collection side by side? Go here.
We tried the Albany loveseat ($795) and the chair ($595) in the sumptuous blue velvet (with the chic gold legs), and to say the duo is a showstopper would be an understatement. Incredibly soft, both pieces are curl-up-and-take-a-nap-level comfy, but they’re also structured and design-minded enough to look stylish during cocktail hour with friends. We love how roomy the chair is — with 28 inches of seat cushion space it can easily accommodate an adult plus a kiddo or two, making it the ultimate reading nook.
And because that fabric is polyester, it’s also easy to clean and kid-friendly — we had a fruit punch juice box spill that was erased with soap and water moments later. As for assembly, the couch was put together by one person in less than 15 minutes, and it can be de-assembled even more quickly if we ever need to relocate it.
More to know: All Albany Park pieces feature reversible cushions, a 30-day return window and a lifetime warranty. The Albany collection that we tested comes in eight fabrics — from a distressed vegan leather to a pretty pink velvet — and two leg finish options (gold metal or brown wood), making each piece truly customizable. While the brand was known for fast delivery within days of purchase pre-pandemic, Covid-related delays have arisen, with pieces now arriving between one and six weeks.
Price: Couches start at $995.
From the company that brought you the custom Helix mattress in a box comes Allform, a durable and sustainable modular sofa that can range in size from an armchair to a sprawling sectional. Launched in May 2020, Allform sofas are made in the United States — and, in our opinion, they stand out from the crowd for two reasons. First, their performance fabrics and top-grain leathers are scratch-, pill-, stain- and spill-resistant, making them perfect for families, pet owners and pretty much anyone who spends 24/7 on their couch.
“This is not the sofa in the fancy living room,” Allform co-founder Adam Tishman says. “We’re product-obsessed people; our whole background is making sure people are comfortable when they are sleeping, so when it came to making a couch, we wanted it to be more durable and more comfortable than any others out there. The goal is for this sofa to be used by you, your loved ones and your pets.” And having tested the couch for ourselves, we can confirm the fabric is no joke — it has easily stood up to four kids jumping, lounging, snacking and building forts on it 24/7.
Our second favorite detail about Allform? Those roomy seats! Specifically, they are 3 inches wider and 2 inches deeper than most on the market, making them feel like a “normal,” nonmodular couch — not to mention they’re ideal for taller people or anyone who’s a big couch napper. And the pieces are incredibly comfortable too. With a hardwood frame and steel suspension (which are, by the way, backed by a lifetime warranty), the couches are created from 95% recycled materials, and the seating consists of downy foam and fiber cushions that are soft and comfy but also sturdy.
More to know: Couches ship for free in a week or so, free fabric swatches are available here, the brand boasts a 100-day trial period with free returns and the sofas can be customized in more than 500 configurations (from a three-seat option to a U-shaped sectional). The tool-free assembly is a bit of a bear and requires some muscle to get the pieces to latch together, but with super-clear instructions, the process should be complete in an hour or so depending on your couch’s size. Advanced warning: The boxes are cumbersome, but thankfully they’re also labeled by piece (seat, chaise, etc.), so while they’re big, they’re also quite organized.
Price: Couches start at $1,145.
Elephant in a Box
The brainchild of a Harvard Business School grad and two MIT alumni, Elephant in a Box came to market in 2020 as a solution to the traditional process of couch shopping that they found to be costly, stressful and loooong. Frustrated while waiting weeks for a traditional couch to arrive with nowhere to sit in the meantime, the founders started thinking outside (or, ahem, inside) the box — specifically about swapping the standard sofa base of wood and steel for honeycomb structure technology typically found in airplanes and race cars.
The result? A lightweight, ultra-strong couch that’s flexible, portable and easy to ship. A key perk of the honeycomb foundation is its accordion-like construction, which makes assembly a breeze (no tools necessary) and means that the couch can be folded and unfolded over and over again, whether you’re moving it from the living room to the basement or from one apartment to the next. Another design detail that we appreciate: The couch can hold up to a whopping 3,000 pounds (this is nearly three times the weight other sofas in a box can handle) with nary a divot in the sofa afterward.
“We want to bring joy back into the furniture buying experience,” Daniela Terminel, EIAB’s CEO and co-founder, told us. “I’ve been in New York 11 years and moved 14 times — it’s not easy, and our mission is to save you time, energy and money by reinventing the mechanics of home furniture to make purchasing, setting up and moving a joyful experience.”
More to know: The sofas are delivered for free within two to four days, each features machine-washable covers (replacement covers in a variety of colors can be found here), fabric swatches are available upon request and the 30-day trial includes free pickup (with or without a box) if you’re not satisfied with the product. The brand’s latest launch is the Working Sofa that features an armrest with a hidden pull-out desk.
Price: Couches start at $849.
If there were an OG in the couches-in-a-box sector, it would be Burrow. Launched in 2017, the direct-to-consumer retailer offers consumers the most options of any brand on our list. Its bestselling Nomad Sofa, for instance, has reversible cushions and comes in nine configurations — from a loveseat to a double-chaise sectional — in addition to three fabric types (performance, top-grain leather and velvet), three wood or metal leg finishes (we’re partial to the brass) and three arm shapes. Beyond that, you can also opt to upgrade your sofa by adding a movable chaise ($300), an ottoman ($295), a sleep kit ($200) or a set of lumbar pillows ($135). Did we mention that each piece also comes with a built-in USB charger for your phone?!
We tested the Burrow Slope Nomad Sofa Sectional and found it not only extremely simple to assemble — it came with an easy-to-read instruction manual packed with lots of pictures — but also incredibly durable, even with a feisty cat in the household. Burrow boasts about “spilling red wine and spaghetti sauce” on its performance fabrics without them staining, and that claim holds up. Our reviewer spilled everything from coffee and marinara sauce to hot sauce and even chili-infused olive oil on her couch, but with a few swipes of either a wet cloth or some generic stain remover, it all came out within minutes.
More to know: The brand recently launched an ultra-plush, minimalist-leaning modular seating collection dubbed Range that is, like Nomad, highly customizable. And that’s in addition to a slew of new home decor items like a bar cart, a side table and rugs. Burrow offers free swatches and free shipping on all its furniture, with deliveries usually arriving within a few weeks, and the 30-day return policy includes a 10% restocking fee with the original boxes (that goes up to 20% without packaging).
Price: Couches start at $995.
Since launching in 2014, made-in-Michigan furniture brand Floyd has been churning out simple yet intuitively designed sofas to a cult following. Seriously. If you’ve ever met a Floyd Sofa owner, you’ll know immediately — because they’re dying to share the joys of owning a Floyd. And we’re here to explain why all that hype is actually deserved.
First up: Floyd is rooted in its mission to combat the high-waste furniture industry by creating a quality, made-to-last sofa crafted from honest, nontoxic materials that’s compact enough to be shipped in a flatpack, reducing carbon emissions and the brand’s footprint. Mainly, though, Floyd’s goal is to stop the steady flow of cheap furniture ending up in landfills.
“Up until a few decades ago, furniture was thought of as something you keep and even pass down to future generations. However, with the growth of ‘fast furniture,’ the cultural norm of how we consume furniture dramatically shifted toward one of disposability and planned obsolescence,” Alex O’Dell, co-founder and COO of Floyd, told us. “Floyd designs its products with the intention of being able to grow with you over time through modularity.”
Next, there’s the cozy modern design of the brand’s sole couch, The Sofa. Available in three configurations — two seats, three seats and three seats with a chaise that can move to either side — the piece comes in five hues, ranging from bold (a saffron yellow) to mellow (a creamy oat). The soft yet durable fabrics are stain-resistant, while the downy but firm cushions stay put, even after some major roughhousing from pets and kids.
Finally, there’s the assembly and disassembly. It is, in a word, easy. The only tool needed is the included Floyd Tool, which just so happens to double as a bottle opener. The brand specifically created the couch to be so intuitive even for a novice that it can be set up in under 45 minutes. And if The Sofa’s hundreds of reviews and overall 4.7-star rating are any indication, that’s exactly what the brand achieved. It’s a couch that can move throughout your house, or with you as you navigate your way through life, with ease.
More to know: The brand offers a limited 10-year warranty, free swatches and a 30-day return policy with original packaging. There’s a 10% shipping fee, and the couch will arrive via either FedEx or UPS, or for an extra $49 you can upgrade to a room-of-choice delivery.
Price: Floyd’s The Sofa starts at $1,295.
Los Angeles-based design firm Capsule is known for creating beautiful, elevated sofas dreamed up by a team of emerging designers. Modern and oozing with California-cool details, the pieces would be right at home in Architectural Digest and beyond — and yet the prices are surprisingly affordable, thanks to the company’s direct-to-consumer model.
Our favorite, and one of the brand’s bestsellers, is the roomy Kellan Sectional Sofa ($2,299, originally $2,499) designed by Eric Lin. With clean lines and tapered legs, the low-to-the-ground piece has reversible cushions with removable covers and comes with throw pillows, making it perfect for big families, entertaining or anyone who needs to sprawl out while bingeing Netflix.
More to know: Capsule offers a 90-day return policy (original packaging is appreciated but not a must), free swatches can be perused here and, while shipping is speedy (two to 10 business days) there is a fee depending on your cart total (max rate is $300).
Price: Capsule’s couches start at $1,299 on its website.