transformer couch

How to Buy a Sofa Online

Saskia Rose Perron-Jansen

Saskia Rose

November 02, 2023

Nowadays, most shopping starts online - from researching, comparing price points, and sometimes right through to purchasing. Yet, when it comes to furniture purchases, it can be difficult to commit to buying a couch online when you have never seen or felt it in person.

Additionally, there are so many options when it comes to sofas - including types, sizes, and sofa styles. Keep reading to learn how to buy a sofa online.


What to consider when buying a sofa online

couch mineral 4 seats

There are so many things to consider when shopping for new furniture- whether online or in person. It can be helpful to have a strong understanding of what you're looking for before you start shopping to minimize any overwhelm at the options and help you feel more confident in making a decision.

It can also be helpful to check the FAQs on company websites to ensure you understand everything you need to know when you buy a couch online.


Size and comfort

If you're replacing an old sofa, determining what you did and did not like about it is a great place to start. Consider your unique tastes for things like:

  • Size: width, height, and depth
  • Seat depth
  • Seat height (are you sitting low to the ground or up higher?)
  • Arm height
  • Leg style and leg finishes
  • Cushioned armrests and plush cushions
  • Fabric
  • Style (mid century modern, modern design, etc.)
  • Durability
  • Colour
  • Versatility

If you're starting your search for a new sofa and not making a replacement, visiting local furniture stores offering an online store can be a great starting place to determine what styles you like and don't like before buying a couch online.

It can be helpful to sit, feel the fabric, see upholstery options, and understand what is most comfortable to you before you start to shop online. Don't forget to bring your measuring tape!



Your couch and your home

Once you have a sense of what you're looking for, start measuring. Be sure to check your measurements more than once to ensure your new couch will fit where you want it.

Start by making sure you understand the dimensions of the sofas online. Once you have that, measure the space where you'll put your new purchase and ensure it will fit.

It can also be helpful when ordering furniture online to try to get a feel for how items will fit in your space. Consider taping down the depth and width of the sofa you're considering on the floor to help you visualize and walk around it for some time.

You can also create a replica of the dimensions out of boxes, cardboard, or paper taped together to help visualize how it will fit in your home. Maybe you'll find that you're struggling to avoid bumping into it, or that you're stumbling around it, and in this case, you might want to consider a sofa with smaller dimensions.

Some online companies also offer apps you can download to help you visualize furniture in your space, and others will send a footprint of their items to help you get a feel for how it will fit.


Entryways and door frames

Don't forget to measure your entryways and doorways when ordering your new furniture to make sure it will be able to fit into your home to be placed where you envision it.

Check your doorways, corners, and entryway measurements and compare them against the measurements of the sofa you're considering.

Many online retailers offer information about the measurements of their furniture and the boxes it will be delivered in, so be sure to check the description and get a sense of the sizing before purchasing a couch online.



Most furniture ships differently, so depending on the sofa you order, it may come fully assembled, or it could come in pieces ready for you to put together. It's important to know if you should expect two-day shipping, white glove delivery, in-home delivery, or a different delivery method.

Some delivery companies also require someone to sign for large packages, so check with customer service or on the company website to understand the delivery process, and if you can schedule delivery so your sofa arrives at a time, you'll be home.

If you miss the delivery, you can pick up oversized items from a local location, but if the boxes are large, you'll have to consider a vehicle large enough to take the boxes home.



As there are many types of sofas, prices vary depending on different types of couches, including higher price points and more affordable prices.

Setting your budget before shopping online can help make your shopping experience less stressful.


Types of sofas to consider

One of the more difficult parts of shopping online rather than in-store with a knowledgeable salesperson is understanding the differences and definitions of sofa types and beautifully designed styles, including mid-century modern and mid-century ones, to best fit your home decor.

There are many types of sofas available, and doing research ahead of time will help you make your purchase.


Sectional sofas

sectional sofa is made of multiple pieces that can be arranged in different configurations to suit your home best. Some sectionals are large for big rooms, while others are smaller and better suited to apartment or condo living.

Most sectionals are "L" shaped or "U" shaped.


Modular sofas

modular sofa

modular sofa offers unparalleled adjustability and versatility.

Unlike a sectional sofa, each piece of a modular sofa can be disconnected into smaller, individual pieces make it versatile in many living rooms and easy to move or rearrange when necessary.

Check out the modular Transformer Couch if you're looking for modular furniture that offers 2 seaters as well as seats for up to 10 people.


Sleeper sofas

There are many types of sleeper sofas, including pull-outs, futons, and convertible sofas.

Pull out sofa bed

A well-known type of sleeper sofa, the pull-out sofa does double duty - acting as a couch during the day that can pull out into a bed when guests spend the night.

Since this type of sofa has added features, including a mattress, pull-outs tend to be more expensive and sell at a higher price point.


A futon sleeper sofa is a combination of a sofa and a bed. Typically, a futon unfolds from the back to create a flat, cushioned sleeping area.

Convertible sofa

A convertible sofa is different from a pull-out because while it does transform to create a flat sleeping area, there is no mattress and instead, the sofa cushions are rearranged to create a larger area to sleep.


A loveseat sofa isn't so much a type of sofa; it's a term for a sofa intended for two people to share.

These sofas are often included as a part of a sofa set.


Questions to ask when buying a sofa online

Are there reviews?

Checking the reviews online helps you see what others think about the products before you order them and can help you decide before buying online.

Reviews often include information about customer service, return policies, if it is well-made furniture, and how products withstand wear which can all be helpful in making a decision.


What are the shipping fees?

Sometimes online, you can find a great deal until the shipping fees are included and your budget is blown.

Be sure to understand shipping fees, or try contacting the company to see if they offer free shipping during the year when choosing the right sofa. Also, check to see how return shipping fees are calculated in case you need to return your items.


Could you receive samples of the fabric options?

Getting to feel the fabric can help in decision-making, and seeing the colour options in person - in the room with the lighting and existing decor that will surround your new sofa can make all the difference in helping you make a decision.


Are there discounts available?

Once you've chosen the sofa you're looking for, call the company to understand if there are any discounts available.

Some companies offer seasonal sales, and sometimes waiting an extra month or two for a sale or discount before placing your order can save you money.


What is the return policy?

Knowing the return policy can help ease your mind when ordering a sofa online, and every furniture brand offers slightly different policies so it's important to read the fine print.

For example, with West Elm, you have 30 days to return furniture, whereas Joybird sofas offer an entire year in case you change your mind.


How to buy sofa online

sleeper sofa

Overall, there are a few key things you can do to make your online sofa shopping successful:


Understand sizing

Know the size of your living room and understand the dimensions of the furniture before making any decisions. Measure, measure, and measure again to ensure that when your new furniture is delivered, it's not too big or too small but is just right for your home.


Do your research and check the reviews

One of the benefits of shopping online is the ease with which you can find information and compare retailers to find prices and comparisons with other sofas, so take the time to research.

For example, if you have pets, it could help to research the durability of different fabrics. If you have young kids with a tendency to spill, understanding the wash instructions for different couch cushions and fabrics that are more stain resistant might be helpful to you in making the right decision.

It can also be helpful to check the reviews to understand more about your new purchase and every step along the way. Reviews can be helpful in illuminating different steps in the process, including delivery, packaging, customer service, durability over time, and much more.


Understand your needs

Are you looking for seating that will make your small living room feel larger? Do you need seating for just a few, or many, or the versatility for both? Is premium white-glove service important to you?

These questions, and others like them, will help you make the best decision. One of the benefits of ordering online includes customization options when choosing your sofa, so understanding your needs and tastes is very helpful when ordering online.


Take steps to get a feel for your furniture before you order

It can be hard to make such a big purchase sight unseen. But there are things you can do to help you get a feel for your new furniture. Try visiting local stores to get a sense of your preference on height, colour, comfort, and style before you order.

Additionally, see if you can order fabric swatches to get a sense of the fabric, how it feels and how the colour looks in your home's lighting - this can help you make a more informed decision.


Know the return policy

When you know the return policy, it can help ease the anxieties of ordering big items online.

In addition to the return policy, familiarize yourself with the item's warranty and any other fees associated with returns. It's good to know ahead of purchase if the company you're considering will offer things like free shipping on returns or a full refund.


Buying a sofa online

Overall there are lots of considerations, benefits, and challenges when buying a sofa online.

But if you know what to consider, what types of sofas, and what questions to ask, and consult this list when making your purchase, you're well on your way to successfully buying a sofa online that you'll enjoy for years to come!