Where to Shop

Expert POV: Couch.com Insider Shows You The 12 Online Brands She’s Eyeing For Herself

"I know all the brands thanks to spending my career telling strangers on the internet where to shop and being my friends’ and family’s personal couch Google."

"I know all the brands thanks to spending my career telling strangers on the internet where to shop on top of being my friends’ and family’s personal couch Google." -Arlyn Hernandez, Couch Expert 

It’s me. I’m the insider in the title you just read. Since you’re here, reading this article, I have to assume you’re looking for a new couch, just like me. You’re likely the shopper I coin “the researcher”...you devour reviews and “best of” lists for months, juggling options in your mind endlessly wanting to make the right purchase. I see you. I am you. So far, on your hunt, you’ve probably come across a lot of company names, most of which are likely direct-to-consumer.

Where should I buy a new couch online?

Maybe you’ve asked yourself what the difference is between all of them. Are they any good? Will you be missing out on something by not buying in person? Could you really commit to a sofa without sitting on it first? If you’re looking for variety in style, endless color options and a seamless shopping experience sans the commission-based salesperson hovering, then yeah…you can. I know because it used to be my job to convince consumers to do just that when I worked in marketing at an online-only furniture company.

I’m also embarking on the same journey as you. Five years ago, I bought my “dream” sofa: a cobalt blue velvet rolled arm chaise sectional from Interior Define. It kind of became internet famous, and I did love it for a long time. But being planted on a bench cushion for three years during a pandemic would wear and tear anything. Add to that a move and a new addition to the family, and my husband and I desperately need an upgrade.

The issue? I want something that looks just as good, if not better, than my previous sectional, but my husband wants something he can sit on, test out and feel confident about. Those two don’t always line up sadly. As a “soft expert” in the field, I know all the brands thanks to spending my career telling strangers on the internet where to shop on top of being my friends’ and family’s personal couch Google. Can I find our next living room crown jewel amongst the long list of DTC brands I know and love that checks both my and my partner’s boxes?

If you’re in the same boat, come along with me as I peruse the full roster of direct-to-consumer sofa stores and (hopefully) find your own upholstery piece along the way.

But first…

What does direct-to-consumer actually mean?

I tried to think of how I would explain this answer if my 68-year-old Puerto Rican native mother asked me. Basically, direct-to-consumer, or DTC, means a company that sells directly to you. There are no third parties involved, so they aren’t buying from a wholesaler to then sell to you (which usually means a markup in price), and you can only find their product through them. The product is their own exclusive design to distribute, whether it’s manufactured by them or—more likely—another party or vendor. That box of Cascade dishwasher pods you bought at Target? Not DTC. The Casper mattress you bought from Casper.com? DTC.

Real talk: Is it cheaper? How does buying DTC benefit you?

Well, the idea is that since there is no middleman, the brands “pass on the savings” to you, but honestly, I’m not entirely sure that’s true anymore. Most DTC brands have a boutique feel, and because their products are unique, they can charge whatever they want. You’ll find that prices aren’t that different from big box stores, but what you will get is a more designer-y vibe with shapes and styles you might not find anywhere else.

Another thing that makes DTC worth your while is, typically, the customer service team knows the catalog inside and out. These people know their stuff and are usually far more helpful should you need advice or specific questions you need answered.

A Sofa Shopping Expert’s Thoughts on the Most Popular DTC Furniture Brands

This is not a “Best Of” list, but rather an “Arlyn knows what she’s talking about when it comes to sofas and here’s what she thinks of some of the most popular DTC couch brands she’s looking at for herself” list. Some of these I know personally from ::whispers:: insider information and others I am familiar with after picking pieces from their websites and writing about them for other publications.

Brand Name: Maiden Home

 Price: $$$

Any IRL Presence?: 1 showroom in New York’s Meat Packing District

The TLDR: Mostly made-to-order upholstery and other furniture for the home. I’ve ordered swatches from here before and if the quality of those are any indication of the quality of the sofa, then it’s well worth the price tag. The whole vibe is pretty posh and has “an interior designer shops here” energy. They offer 17 sofa models (that mostly all have sectional configurations, too). Styles range from fairly modern to pieces that would look right at home in a classic Craftsman, which I don’t own but wish I did. This is the kind of store that you shop at if you’re okay spending $4,000 on a beautiful sofa because they want something that’s inviting but also doesn’t look and feel like all your otherfriends’ Macy’s sectionals.

What I’m Eyeing: The Jones Modular Build-Your-Own Sectional | The Varick | The Sullivan

Brand Name: Article

Price: $

Any IRL Presence?: No

The TLDR: Great styles at great prices (comparatively) with enough options that you feel like you have something to decide on but are not forced into something you don’t totally love. I’ve owned a few Article pieces and I’ve always been impressed with their lineup. Good quality, helpful customer service, pieces that look modern but homey. Their Sven Velvet sofa is by far their most popular, and the one you’ve probably seen on your favorite home influencer’s feed, but for good reason: it’s really comfortable and looks good in so many different room aesthetics. Bottom line is that the selection and shopping experience feels like you should be spending way more money.

What I’m Eyeing: Beta Rowan Orange Right Chaise Sectional | Burrard Forest Green Left Sectional | Sven Yarrow Gold Sofa

Brand Name: Interior Define

Price: $$

Any IRL Presence?: 13 showrooms in the typical larger metro areas nationwide

The TLDR: I already own an Interior Define sofa as mentioned. It was acquired long before the company tanked and was purchased by another brand. There has been a lot of turmoil from customers over lost money, orders that never arrived, and general bad news. BUT, under new ownership, they seem to be actually delivering furniture, so…order at your own risk. However, ID has some of my favorite silhouettes and fabric colors, and in the past have brought on great design talent for collaborations. I liked my last sofa from them enough that I’d consider another style that better suits my needs at the moment.

What I’m Eyeing: James 4-Seat Chaise Sectional | Ella Slipcovered Sofa | Tatum Modular U-Chaise Sectional | Sloan 3-Piece U-Sectional

Brand Name: Sabai Furniture

sabai velvet sectional sofa

Price: $$

Any IRL Presence?: No

The TLDR: Sabai is fairly new on the scene but I like what I’ve been reading about their ownership, their ethics and their furniture. shipped in boxes via FedEx so you gotta put it together yourself. I wish I could speak for their quality and what their sofas feel like, but I’ve never laid hands on one. But the fact that they are well-reviewed and sell a 7-seater corner sectional for under $3,400 is seriously enticing. They claim their seating is made to withstand 10 years of regular use (I find that sofas tend to look quite worn after 4-5 years so their promise is of interest to me). I also really like that they have a “Repair Don’t Replace” program so that you can order replacement parts or upgrade parts of your sofa along the way if needed.

What I’m Eyeing: The Essential Corner Sectional (7 Seat) | The Elevate Sectional | The Evergreen Sofa

Brand Name: Joybird

Price: $$

Any IRL Presence?: 11 permanent showrooms in large metro areas and 2 smaller pop-ups in Kansas City and the Dallas-Fort Worth area

The TLDR: When I worked at the furniture company I won’t name here, Joybird was one of your biggest and most direct competitors, so there’s a part of me that feels like a traitor for including them here. But hey, I don’t work there anymore, so…all’s fair in love and sofas. Their look is mostly mid-century with a few contemporary styles sprinkled throughout. Most of the sofas I’ve sat on are actually pretty comfortable (the Briar was my favorite), and you get a ton of fabric options for almost every piece since they are made to order. Their customer service leaves much to be desired, so keep that in mind if you decide to order from here. Oh, and don’t be fooled by the sale you see on their site…they basically always have a sale running with 30-35% off, so don’t rush just to “get a deal” because it’ll be there tomorrow.

What I’m Eyeing: Holt Armless U-Sofa Sectional | Sebastian Modular Chaise Sectional | Briar Sofa

Brand Name: Burrow

burrow couch assembly is actually fun

Price: $$

Any IRL Presence?: 4 showrooms in New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Chicago

The TLDR: I have to be honest. I don’t love Burrow sofas, mostly because of the way they look. They ship in a flatpack box and frankly, kind of look like they do. But I’m including them here because it’s one of the most written about DTC sofa brands by editors so perhaps they have some merit. The interesting part is that you can grow with your sofa. Say you live in a studio right now and only have space for a loveseat, but then you move in with your partner and suddenly need a two-piece sectional with a chaise. All you have to do is order more pieces and change up the size. Smart, but just not for me.

What I’m Eyeing: Field 5-Piece Sectional | Mambo 4-Piece Sectional Lounger | Nomad Velvet King Sofa with Double Chaise

Brand Name: Floyd

Price: $$

Any IRL Presence?: 1 showroom in downtown Los Angeles

The TLDR: There’s something about the brands that come out of Detroit that just feel…cool. And Floyd is one of them. Unpretentious but hip, this company does a very good job of making you feel like they actually care about the customer and the world around them. They only offer three styles of sofas, but you can add on to them similar to Burrow as your seating needs grow and change. Specifically, I’m really into their Blue-Red fabric you see on their homepage which is made up of blue and red tiny squares to give it a super unique color. I’m into it.

What I’m Eyeing: Four Piece Form Sectional | Sink Down Sectional

Brand Name: Inside Weather

Price: $$$

Any IRL Presence?: 2 showrooms in Washington, D.C., and Minnetonka, MN

The TLDR: Have trouble with analysis paralysis? Well, Inside Weather is here to save your brain. You can take your pick of their wildly popular Bondi sofa in the size best suited for your living room, or you can get their Original Custom sofa…that’s it. That’s the catalog when it comes to couches. The Bondi sofa is an influencer favorite, and because their social advertising is aggressive, I’ve seen it everywhere, constantly. Color me intrigued. I don’t love a cushion you can flip or fluff, but their Bondi is pretty unusual looking and I like that. You’ll find washable fabrics in their lineup, which is a nice touch.

What I’m Eyeing: Bondi Collection | Original Custom Collection

Brand Name: Sundays

Sundays company sectional fluffy

Price: $$$

Any IRL Presence?: 1 US showroom in Seattle, 3 in Canada

The TLDR: Another newbie in the DTC sofa game, Sundays made a splash in my arena by launching their Movie Night sofa and sending out very cute press packages to a bunch of people I follow. Clever naming always gets me, too. While they do sell smaller sofas, they’re better known for giant, cushy, lounge-worthy pieces that everyone in your family can climb atop for…you guessed it…movie night. As someone who really prefers color, I wish they offered their pieces in a wider range of fabrics, but their neutrals are likely top-sellers and what most people are comfortable with.

What I’m Eyeing: Chill Time 4-Piece Modular Sectional | Get Together 5-Piece Modular Sectional | Movie Night 5-Piece Modular Sectional

Brand Name: Apt2B

apt2b yellow couch

Price: $$$

Any IRL Presence?: No

The TLDR: These guys have been around longer than you’ve probably known them. Their product lineup is a good mix of made-to-order upholstery and ready-to-ship options, though the former is their legacy. That as well as sleeper sofas and sectionals in tons of mattress sizes. You can order up to 10 free swatches (which is nice, because some places make you pay for them or don’t have them at all), and they may have a few “secret menu” customizations you can ask their sales team about like tufting and cushion configuration. Their styling is solid and comfortable with a few mid-century favorites thrown into the mix. Oh, and their customer service is known to be top-notch.

What I’m Eyeing: Windsor Collection | Tuxedo Build-Your-Own Sectional | Samson Sofa

Brand Name: Sixpenny

sixpenny sectional modular

Price: $$$

Any IRL Presence?: No

The TLDR: Similar to Maiden Home, Sixpenny has that “laid back, SoCal” vibe that’s both inspiring but also kind of intimate. Like…wait, am I cool or stylish enough to have this in my home? The Neva is their most talked about style, with cloud sofa-like cushions, which are great until you forget to fluff them. I’m a super deep sofa lover, and all of their pieces check that box (heads up, they’re BIG, even the sofa). The quality of their linen and cushion stuffing is top-notch with a price tag to match, but that’s what they stand behind: their craftsmanship. In theory, they’re made to last, but I can’t speak to the truth of that.

What I’m Eyeing: Devyn Sofa | Neva Corner Sectional | Esmé Corner Sectional

Brand Name: 7th Avenue

7th avenue modular sectional

Price: $$$

Any IRL Presence?: 6 by-appointment-only showrooms in California, Texas and New York

The TLDR: 7th Avenue is a new name to me on my hunt and I was drawn to it for the simplicity of its model: It sells one thing that you can configure every which way. Modular sofas are a fantastic option for anyone who craves versatility, and you get it in spades here. Not only in the pieces they offer but in the fact that all of them have removable covers (the whole sofa frame, not just the cushions) so you can properly launder the fabric if it gets dirty or even swap it out for another one of the five neutrals available. It’s a slipcover without looking like a slipcover, essentially. You can take your pick from a classic depth of 39 inches or an extra-deep of 47 inches. And if you want to essentially turn your entire living room into a couch, they sell what they call a pit sofa which you have to see to believe.

What I’m Eyeing: 6-Seat Modular Pit | 4-Seat Modular Corner Sectional | 5-Seat Modular Corner Lounger Sectional


So...? What's it going to be?

Aaaand…we’ve reached the end. That was a lot to take in, but honestly, so many good options for you, me, and the Internet as a whole. As much as I want to dive into all those cloud-like sectionals from places like 7th Avenue, Floyd, and Sundays, I know that the upkeep of fluffing down cushions is not for me. Plus, I need a little more support as someone with a temperamental lower back. So my top contenders are the Jones modular collection from Maiden Home (I love the shape of the arms and the overall structure), the Windsor from Apt2B (again, another modular sofa with simple yet contemporary lines) and the Sebastian from Joybird.

I may still need to marinate on my choices, but hopefully, you found some new brands to consider, and maybe even your couch de jour. Happy sitting!

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Arlyn Hernandez is obsessed with furniture, partly because she was paid to know everything about it for nearly 15 years (but also because she just really loves anything you can sit on). Between being a top editor at the luxury interior design publication Luxe Interiors + Design, launching the first design and shopping section of award-winning shelter website Apartment Therapy, running the wildly popular blog Style by Emily Henderson and serving as the Marketing Director for E-Commerce furniture company Apt2B, she knows a thing or two about couches and beyond. She’s someone who appreciates spending your money on the right things, and being well-informed to help avoid any kind of buyer remorse. No matter what phase of life you’re in, she believes in loving your home and everything in it.
Arlyn Hernandez
Couch Expert