Where To Find Cheap Couches That Still Look Expensive

grey tufted sofa in sunny living
Courtesy of Wayfair

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Picking out furniture is exciting, but let’s be real, not everyone can afford an interior designer. If you’re like us and can’t outsource and then automatically sign off on any furniture purchases, you’re likely wondering where to find cheap couches. A piece of furniture as substantial as a comfortable couch will require more deliberation than smaller accent pieces in your home. It’s a big decision, and making it without seeing furniture in person can be difficult. Fortunately, there are tons of high-quality, cheap couches that can be purchased online from reputable brands.

There are a few factors to consider when buying a cheap couch. Size is a major one. The most common choices include a full-size sofa, a loveseat, sectional, or a settee. A loveseat will be best for a small space, while a sectional works great for open-concept areas or corners.

Your lifestyle is another thing to pay attention to — if you work from your couch or have kids and furry friends, it should be the perfect blend of comfort and durability. If you frequently fall asleep on your couch, it should be large enough to stretch out on, while taller people might prefer a high-backed sofa for additional support.

Many big box stores offer a tempting solution on where to find cheap couches. However, quite a few smaller businesses are following the direct-to-consumer model, offering high-quality furniture for your home at a more affordable cost. This cuts out the middle man, allowing both you and the brand to save on costs.

  

What To Look For and What To Avoid When Shopping for a Cheap Couch

1. The Frame

Interior designer and co-founder of Swanky Dens, Kate Diaz, suggested to SPY, “Find a couch made from real wood instead of particle-board or MDF (medium-density fiberboard). Particle-board is often composed of glue and sawdust, making it weak and susceptible to warping. MDF is made from wood fibers and resin, so it’s not as strong as real wood. Veneers are a type of thin plywood that is often used on particle-board or MDF to make them look more like real wood. However, veneers can also peel and chip, so it’s important to check their quality before you buy.”

While veneered pieces do have a longer lifetime than 100% MDF pieces, we still recommend ditching both for solid wood (kiln-dried, ideally) if possible. Metal is also a durable choice that will last you for the long haul. How the joints are held together is also important — you’ll want to seek out couches held together with wooden dowels and metal screws. Avoid models that are only held together with glue, nails and staples.

2. Cushions

Cushions are also important — couch-in-a-box options often use high-density foam cushions which provide support. Avoid anything with memory foam, which deforms with use, and focus on high-response materials like poly-wrapped foam. Another common cushion on inexpensive sofas is an innerspring core, which is built-in and not removable. Coils are individually pocketed within the foam, and provide more of a bouncy feel and the best long-term longevity. While you may come across down-filled pillows, they’re expensive and can flatten with time, so consider a blend of feather and foam instead.

3. Upholstery

Try to search for upholsteries with tighter weaves, which will create less pilling over time. Additionally, look out for features like waterproofing and stain resistance, which are ideal for those with kids or pets. Leather is also a popular alternative that’s easier to wipe down than fabric alternatives.

4. Legs

Opt for legs that are made out of real wood — while low hairpin legs made from metal can look stylish, they can scratch hardwood floors. The way that the legs are attached is also important for long-term durability. Avoid legs screwed into the frames and instead opt for ones that are directly bolted in and made more secure with T-nuts. Be aware this may cost a bit more, but adds longevity to a piece.

  

How To Shop For a Cheap Vintage or Thrift Couch

Brands like Ikea and Fernish are taking on furniture leasing programs, proving that used furniture definitely does not have to be shabby. We’re currently living in the era of fast furniture, which is all about convenience and cheaply made items. Unfortunately, most of them end up in landfills. As an alternative to renting, if you’re looking to reduce waste and your environmental impact, you can shop for a cheap vintage or thrift couch. There are many ways to do this, including yard sales, thrift or antique shops and online places to buy ore-owned cheap couches.

Hit an estate sale: They’re more reliable than garage sales due to the fact that items are being sold because they can no longer be kept — not because they’re no longer wanted. For this reason, estate sale furniture is often in better condition but listed for an affordable price because it needs to go. Garage sales require more careful inspection.

Inspect and look for good bones: Always check for durability and signs of damage — avoid pieces with excessive sagging, wobbly legs and cracked areas. Still, if a piece looks a little beat up but is made from strong materials, you can always give it a makeover. Diaz shares, “Be prepared to do some work. A lot of times, vintage furniture needs to be refinished or reupholstered. This can be a fun project, but it’s important to factor in the cost of materials and labor.”

Opt for a timeless look: While you might find a stunning standalone piece, it’s important to choose a piece with classic lines and minimal details. Go for classic over trendy — remember that this piece will be going in your living space and will need to fit in with the rest of your decor, so visualize it accordingly.

Check out online stores: Websites like kaiyo.com offer a surprising solution on where to find a cheap couch. Kaiyo is a large online marketplace for pre-owned furniture from high-quality brands like Article, Crate & Barrell, West Elm and more. Sites like Everything But The House act as a modern-day eBay specifically made for furniture bidding. If you prefer to rent rather than picking out forever furniture, check out sites like CORT and Feather.

  

1. Wayfair

BEST SELECTION

Wayfair has one of the largest furniture catalogs you can choose from, and specific filtering tools to help you narrow choices down. They also have an impressive amount of reviews that can shed light on whatever you’re browsing. Their couches are well-constructed, ship fast and won’t break the bank, They have a range of aesthetics for every style, including more modern pieces, traditional looks, and mid-century styles by brands like Allmodern. One downside is that items can go out of stock quickly, so if you bookmark for later, keep that in mind. That said, if you’re wondering where to find cheap couches, Wayfair should certainly be your first stop.

Mercury Row Brumback Velvet Square Arm Sofa

Brumback 69.7' Velvet Square Arm Sofa Courtesy of Wayfair

  

2. Walmart

BEST BUDGET PICK

Some of you are probably scratching your head and wondering, “does Walmart actually sell good furniture?” With recent collaborations with Bobby Berkin like the Queer Eye collection, Walmart is now a great destination for those wondering where to find cheap couches. We’re talking modern silhouettes and colors that will have guests wondering where you got the pieces from. No one will ever guess that this velvet green sofa is actually a futon that folds down into a bed with its split-back design — all for under $400.

Queer Eye Liam Futon

 Queer Eye Liam Futon Courtesy of Walmart

  

3. Target

CLASSIC MEETS MODERN

Wish a professional interior designer could design your dream home? You don’t have to anymore, thanks to Target’s recent collaboration with well-known experts like Joanna Gaines and Studio McGee. Add to your collection over time with Studio McGee’s modular furniture, which features classic lines and colors with a chic wooden frame that’ll fit in with most decor themes. On this three-seater, one buyer says, “I love that the seat is one long cushion. It’s my go-to sofa for taking naps.” One single cushion means fewer lost remotes and hidden crumbs, so we’re on board!

Threshold Lyndhurst Sofa

Threshold Lyndhurst Sofa Courtesy of Target

  

4. IKEA

MOST RELIABLE

IKEA has always been a trusty destination for those wondering where to find cheap couches. From college students to those furnishing their starter homes, this Swedish retailer has plenty of options and showrooms all over the country, so you can see if you like the couch before committing and purchasing online.

While it’s not the most customizable pick, many IKEA couches have at least a few upholstery colors to choose from. Plus, you don’t have to worry about items going out of stock — they often keep the same lines in stock for years. They also recently announced their new furniture rental model, letting you lease a couch, which is ideal for renters.

IKEA Morabo Sofa

IKEA Morabo Sofa Courtesy of IKEA

  

5. Floyd

MOST COMPACT

Floyd is a direct-to-consumer furniture brand manufacturing everything from bed frames to couches. They’ve developed a cult-like following, and for good reason. Their frames are solid, and the cushions are cloud-like yet supportive, so you don’t have to deal with a sinking sensation. Floyd is ideal for small spaces due to the couch’s compact nature, but some consumers do note that the profile is too narrow to comfortably lay down or sleep on. If your sofa is used more for seating than sleeping, this is still a top pick.

Floyd 3-Seater Sectional

floyd sofa Courtesy of Floyd

  

6. Allform 

BEST MODULAR PICK

A cozy place to stretch out with medium firm cushions, the Allform couch, recently launched by mattress brand Helix, is our top modular pick for where to find a cheap couch in both fabric and leather. Arriving at your doorstep in a compact box, this small space sofa lets you add on as many pieces as you want. The modular nature of their sofas also often include movable chaises that can be placed on either side, so if you want to refresh your living space with a new look, you can do so.

Allform 3-Seat Sofa With Chaise

allform 3-seat sofa with chaise Courtesy of Allform

  

7. Amazon Home

BEST CUSTOMER VETTING

While retail giant Amazon does make it sometimes tough to figure out the true quality of a piece of furniture, the sheer number of users who leave reviews on the site makes it easier to gain insight into the products from real buyers. With the launch of Amazon Home, you can now get striking sofa options, from reclining options to impressive sectionals. Reviewers often attach images of the couch in their living space, making it easier for you to imagine how it might look in yours. With the launch Free shipping is also a major perk, and for Prime members, so is speedy delivery.

Stone & Beam Bradbury Chesterfield Tufted Leather Sofa Couch

Stone & Beam Bradbury Chesterfield Tufted Leather Sofa Couch  Courtesy of Amazon

  

8. Burrow

BEST CUSTOMIZABLE PICK

Burrow is another major couch-in-a-box player that’s gained popularity over the past couple of years. Their pet-proof cheap couches have substantial firmness, which customers love. While they might not have the largest selection of different couches to choose from, they have tons of customizable mods you can switch up, including upholstery colors, materials, arm style, and leg finish. It’s also perfect for adding to your collection over time since they sell extra pieces like chaises and extensions as upgrades to make your sofa longer. Burrow also uses sustainable manufacturing practices and recycled materials in its furniture.

Burrow Field 3-Piece Sectional Lounger

burrow field 3-piece secitonal lounger Courtesy of Burrow

  

Also Consider: “Last Chance” Savings

Got expensive taste but don’t want to pay top dollar? Higher-end spots like Article have a sale section with “Last Chance” buys that offer significant price savings on pricier alternatives — like the $1,100 discount on this Scandinavian-style leather three-seater. Similarly, Blu Dot has an Outlet section on their site that sells their stunning designs at a way more affordable cost.

  

Burrard Bella Tan Sofa

Burrard Bella Tan Sofa article Courtesy of Article

  

Chassis Right Left Sofa with Cushion

Chassis 104 Right Left Sofa with Cushion Courtesy of Blu Dot

  

Where To Find A Cheap Couch That Still Looks Expensive