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Welcome to Sofa Week, our seven-day stretch of, you guessed it, sofas. After years spent styling, sitting on, and searching for the best of the best—from bespoke designs to rare under-$500 gems—we’re compiling our couch knowledge in one comfy spot.
Before we’d heard of Homebody, the term sofa recliner conjured images of bulky faux leather monstrosities and the awkward clunking noises associated with popping open a La-Z-Boy. Unsurprisingly, our biggest qualm with the style boils down to looks. That said, we can understand why someone would be willing to sacrifice aesthetics in the name of comfort—there may be no better place to take a nap or curl up with a book than a cushy couch that allows you to lean back to an optimal recline (there’s a reason they became so popular in the ‘70s).
But we’ve since learned that not all are eyesores. In fact, our search to uncover one turned up a few shop-worthy options—they offer all the bells and whistles of a staple recliner without needing to be relegated to a hidden corner of the basement. Check out our design-forward finds, below.
Motorized or manual recline: Motor via remote | Fill: Sustainable down and foam | Configurations: Customizable from 2 to 7 seats
What we like:
- Easy to clean
- 100-day risk-free trial period
- Modular, easy assembly
- Hidden USB and USB-C inputs
- Pieces ship separately
- Price ranges from $3,000 to $12,000-plus
- Limited color choices (all are a performance fabric, though!)
Why we chose it: More than a recliner, this build-your-own modular slipcovered sofa includes an ergonomic headrest and comfy, edgeless arms for optimal lounging—no matter which way you prefer to lay.
As our assistant editor Raven McMillan so aptly puts it, Homebody’s couch is shockingly attractive “in all its svelte and slipcovered glory,” delivering on a promise to be comfier and cooler than the recliners of a bygone era. The marshmallowy cushions are a layered comfort sandwich of an eco-friendly down-alternative fill of cotton, memory foam, high-resilience foam, and high-density foam. That means you can enjoy that soft, sink-into-the-couch feeling without having to worry about them losing their pillowy shape over years of R&R. As for the exterior, you have your choice of a linen or velvet performance fabric cover in neutral, goes-with-anything shades of white, gray, and taupe. Stains and spills? Also a thing of the past.
While we could go on and on about the contemporary silhouette with piped detailing that rivals luxury furniture brands, what impressed us the most is the fact that this is a totally modular design held together by U-shaped connectors. Start with a compact two-seater, then build as your needs change. From the start, the brand’s site will show you all the different ways you can arrange the pieces from two to seven (an individual cushion is 37 inches high with a similar depth of 32.7 inches), so you can plan the L- or U-shaped couch of your dreams. Better yet, this one reclines via a remote control (stop it at whatever position you prefer) that you can store out of sight with the built-in pocket sewn into the headrest. All you need is 2 inches of clearance to enjoy.
More Sofa Recliners We Love
While you can opt for an Enzo equipped with two basic arms, why would you skip out on all the hidden storage potential of this reclining sectional? Not only does it feature built-in power footrests, you can also take advantage of hollowed arms and a L-shaped chaise waiting to be stuffed with blankets, extra throw pillows, and other miscellaneous living room knickknacks you’d prefer to keep out of sight. Control it with the press of a button to enjoy your ideal recline of the frame, which is made from kiln-dried solid pine and engineered wood. Take note that these cushions are filled with fiber-wrapped, high-resilience polyurethane foam, so it’s definitely on the firmer side. But to that we say: This one just offers a bit more support.
A Pottery Barn top seller, the Ultra Lounge Reclining Sofa has the touch of traditional flair we love. If you aren’t in a rush, we’d take the time to peruse all of the made-to-order fabric selections, whether you prefer a solid neutral or a statement weave, that this couch can be dressed up in. Four buttons hidden on the inside of the arms independently control the arms, headrest, and footrest of its “no-sag” poly-wrapped cushions. Another surprise: The cylindrical legs can be removed. This kind of versatility, of course, will run your receipt somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000. If you’re looking for a smaller yet deeper option, we’re also fans of the Pearce two-seater.
Would it be a sofa guide without a bouclé-covered recommendation? Who’s to say, but this nubby recliner from Crate & Barrel is the trendiest of the batch, inspired by the fabric made famous by Goop. It’s definitely pricey for the 84-inch size—but while technically a two-seater, it features deep, roomy cushions for plentiful seating (seriously, one shopper takes advantage of the 46-inch depth by dually tapping this piece as a guest bed). We love how the coated metal legs are barely visible, just peeping out from the double-flange tailoring. The same goes for the buttons that control the shelter-backed seat’s recline; its back and footrests move individually for lounging positions for the ultimate relaxing pad that reviewers have praised. “This is the perfect sofa for design aficionados who won’t compromise on comfort!” one comment reads. Another adds, “I am an interior designer and I am so happy with my purchase. This sofa is so comfortable and nicely firm. The fabric is perfect for our little kids and will disguise dirt and stains.”
This is not your grandparents’ faux leather recliner—Arhaus’s version is as chic as you’d expect from the luxury retailer. Its slipcovered look features a flanged edge around the pillowy cushions—dense foam padded with sterilized down and feathers—and sturdy, Craftsman-built frame of solid wood reinforced with recycled steel springs. It would be tough to choose between the six different artisan-finished leather covers (including indigo, chocolate, and pewter), though you can’t go wrong with a timeless natural camel. Our favorite part? It’s currently on sale for a limited time.
Wayfair Wade Logan Annchen Reclining Loveseat ($400, $490)
Compared to your standard couch, sofa recliners cost more on average, since there are all sorts of extra parts. But if you’re living in a studio apartment, are outfitting a smell den or guest room, or your budget simply doesn’t allow you to make a motorized upgrade yet, this love seat is a perfect stand-in till you can. The recline is mechanical, but reviewers say once you get the hang of it, it is easy enough to use. The cushions are firm, and while some reviewers are hoping theirs will break in, others found it to be so comfortable that they were able to fall asleep immediately after assembly. Another points out, “Two people can sit comfortably. I’m not a small person, and my hubby is 6-feet-4. We fit fine on it.”
Our Shopping Checklist
Seating and Size
With a sofa recliner, you have to factor in clearance—a good rule of thumb is to keep a foot of space open. That’s because a couch that’s fully extended versus closed up will impact how close you place your coffee table (if at all) and will likely need to be in a room large enough that it isn’t pushed up against a wall (or at least won’t awkwardly sit too far from one).
Sofa recliners also come in as many different shapes and sizes as other couches—you have your choice of everything from smaller two-seater love seats and sprawling L- or U-shaped sectionals. And as Homebody proves, modular recliners exist, too.
Filling and Upholstery
Both the interior fill and exterior cover are integral to comfort and aesthetics. A foam filling is often used if structure is important to the furniture; sofas that are more sculptural are typically far firmer than, say, a pillowy-looking one. Our preferred combination includes a hybrid of foam and down or featherlike polyester fill wrapped up in a performance fabric.
However, there’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to upholstery. While we love bouclé and velvet as well as natural options like linen, these can require a bit more upkeep than nylon, polyester, or vinyl. With leather, just embrace the lovely patina that will happen over time.
Another improvement we’ve seen happen to sofa recliners in the past decade or so—manual cranking levers are pretty much extinct. You’ll just need to make sure that you have an outlet nearby to plug one of our moto-powered picks into. Then via a dial, button, or remote, you can control your seat’s position based on how far the back and headrest go while the footrests raise up.
The Last Word
The best sofa recliners won’t make you cringe—better yet, we bet guests wouldn’t even know they can kick their feet up on your new couch unless you tell them. We made sure our picks easily blend in with most living rooms by prioritizing modern silhouettes dressed up in trendy performance fabrics and neutral colorways. No eyesores here.
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