A sofa might just be the most important household purchase you make — you certainly spend more waking hours on it than anything else in the apartment. Sure, you could spend several thousand dollars on a piece from Knoll or Minotti, but to make it really fun, we decided to challenge interior designers to pick out their favorite affordable sofas and love seats (ones that won’t become notorious for falling apart). Below, the 14 best for under $1,000 — and a few under $500.
Best modern sofas under $1,000
This sofa from CB2, designed in collaboration with furniture designer James Patterson, comes recommended by three of our experts. “I love how sophisticated the lines are,” says designer Ryan White. Sophia Venturo, a designer at online interior-design service Havenly, agrees that the sofa’s “sleek rounded lines and narrow arms create a refined look,” adding that “there’s still plenty of cushion in the arms to comfortably lounge on.” Decorist designer Emerie Forehand also says that the Ronan offers “maximum lounging and comfort.” Another detail that Venturo likes is the sofa’s continuous seat, which she calls “a personal favorite of mine both aesthetically and practically,” because it limits “crumbs falling between cushions.” White, meanwhile, likes how the “thin, black legs give it a bit of a modern edge.” The legs are a detail that Forehand also loves. Summing all of this praise up, Venturo calls the “minimalist” Ronan “the ultimate wallet-friendly modern sofa,” noting that, in general, CB2 “is well-known for high-quality pieces,” so you can rest assured that you’re making a good choice.
Here’s another sofa that got multiple recommendations by our panel of experts. “This sofa is Article’s most popular to date,” according to Venturo, who says that it “delivers in every category: value, style, comfort, and quality.” She calls out its “high-quality construction, which means a sturdy frame, durable upholstery, and comfy cushions that hold their shape.” Venturo adds that its mid-century modern lines are “surprisingly versatile,” something that Decorist designer Baylee Floyd agrees with. She says that the Sven “is a good staple piece for just about any living room.” As for its value, Floyd says that “the sleek design of this sofa is hard to come by at this price. I love how expensive and stately this sofa looks.” In addition to the ivory-colored fabric shown, the sofa comes in a darker gray and a blue-gray “aqua” for the same price. And if you’re looking to splurge, you can also get it in different velvet or leather options (which are more expensive, at $1,299 and $1,799, respectively).
Article’s Cirrus sofa also got two mentions from our designers. Allison Whitt of Design X Interiors, a hospitality-design firm in San Diego, recommends the less-expensive version upholstered in gray fabric above, while Venturo likes it in green velvet (which will cost you $100 more). Whitt calls the sofa sophisticated, comfortable, and versatile: “It has just enough detail to anchor a room without weighing it down.” Ventura agrees, saying that “this chic, tufted style brings a luxurious touch to any space without the hefty price tag.” In addition to tufting, the sofa features a back and arms that are the same height, which give it a geometric and streamlined feel. Whitt also calls out its “generous depth,” which she says “serves as an ideal backdrop for personalized touches such as pillows and a throw.” Venturo adds that it can easily be dressed up or down, while still always looking polished. And according to Whitt: “The construction stands up to commercial use, which means this is a couch you won’t need to replace any time soon.”
If you like the look of the Cirrus sofa but prefer to spend a little less, consider the similar Myles sofa from World Market that Floyd recommends. She told us it’s a “stately piece” that’s also quite comfortable. Like the Cirrus, it has the same tuxedo silhouette (that means that the arms and back are the same height) and tufting on the seat, back, and sides. But the slightly heftier frame and the nail heads going up the arms give it a more traditional touch.
Yet another Article sofa that two of our panelists recommend is the Mirage sofa in a “rich gold velvet” that, according to designer Meghan Noyes, “makes a bold statement in any room.” She likes how the “delicate slope in the armrest” makes it “stand out from other modern sofa shapes.” Forehand agrees that it’s “super chic” and likes how the velvet gives it a vintage look. She also appreciates the detail of the tapered legs. If you don’t like the gold, it’s also available in a blush pink for the same price.
This is a more streamlined, velvet three-seater that’s no less enticing, according to Forehand, who likes its “retro vibe” and adds that it comes at a great price for a sofa that’s made-to-order. At just under $1,000, it’s available in eight jewel-toned colors that she says would “create a focal point in any room.”
“Some clients are scared to transition from traditional to modern, and this is the perfect first step for the price,” Forehand says of this (on sale) option that costs $500 and will allow you to experiment without having to spend a fortune. Extra-thick cushions and rounded edges give it a softer feel even though it has a modern shape, and the velvety upholstery in a pastel-y sage green is a little subtler than your typical jewel-toned velvets, making it easier to incorporate into a more traditional decor scheme. Still, it doesn’t look boring, thanks to the contrasting exposed wood base and legs that, according to Forehand, “give it a unique look.”
This mid-century modern sofa looks “like you might have stumbled upon it during a trip to Copenhagen,” according to designer Josh Greene. And at $600, the price can’t be beat, “especially for the style,” he says. The tufting on the back, flared arms, and splayed wooden legs make it a fun statement piece.
Here’s another mid-century modern–inspired piece from Modway that interior designer Vicente Wolf says is another affordable option that “works well mixed with higher-priced pieces.” He likes that it has “firm seating with generous width,” which makes it comfortable. With just one arm rest, it can also work as a divan or a daybed for a more casual kind of seating.
For something quite different that still feels more modern than traditional, try the Larson love seat, an ultracomfortable, ultracasual couch that designer Andrew Galuppi recommends. “I like this because it’s basically a grown-up bean-bag chair reinterpreted in a classic blue-denim fabric,” he says. Galuppi promises the love seat is just as comfortable as a bean bag, but will give you a little more support. It’s also ideal for styling: “Pair it with a few textural elements — like a huge basket to hold books, some Japanese indigo cloth — and paint everything else white.”
If you’re furnishing a uniquely shaped or super-tiny space, Floyd says the Doyer line is “perfect because it is modular, so you can choose exactly how many pieces you want to make your sofa, from a two-piece to a five-piece.” Upholstered in a linen-viscose blend, “this sofa is one of my favorites because of its versatility,” she adds. While the smallest ready-to-order configuration is a three-piece couch (that costs more than $1,000), you could theoretically combine two of these armless chairs to create a loveseat, or a corner chair and armless chair to create an open-ended sofa, for less than $1,000.
Best classic sofas under $1,000
For those who prefer more classically styled seating, two of our designers recommend the Brynn sofa, which Forehand calls “more traditional, with the slipcover style.” She adds that this is soft — “like a big comfy bed” — thanks to its feather-filled cushions (that also happen to be reversible). It’s one of Floyd’s favorite sofas as well, and it reminds her of Restoration Hardware’s (much more expensive) Cloud sofa line, but for a fraction of the price. She agrees that it’s extremely comfortable and loves its “casual, laid-back vibe.”
Recommended by Venturo, the Harris has a boxy silhouette like the Brynn above, but with more defined cushions. She calls it one of the most versatile of her picks. According to Venturo, it is a “neutral piece that fits easily into any space,” from a modern apartment to one leaning more farmhouse. That’s thanks to the sofa’s “clean, modern lines and timeless no-fuss shape,” she says. It’s also comfortable and practical, with cushions that are reversible and have removable covers for convenient cleaning, and a deep-seat design that’s great for lounging. Venturo adds that it strikes the “perfect balance between tailored and cozy,” and that you can customize it with dozens of fabric options.
For an even less expensive sofa that’s just as versatile, White recommends the Ikea Ektorp. “When I see this sofa, I just think comfy and cozy,” he says. The best part, he notes, is that it has an easy-to-remove slipcover that you can just toss in the washing machine — or swap out for a completely different look. He notes that it’s just as good for someone out of college as it is for a family with little kids. In addition to gray, it comes in a range of colors at different price points. For instance, you can get the sofa in white for $499, or in beige for just $399.
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