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How to buy a sofa online

A blue Scandi-styled sofa in a lounge with a geometric rug in front.

We get it. For some, the idea of buying a sofa without sitting on it first can seem like a leap of faith - but it needn't be. In fact, with a little know-how and some savvy research, buying a sofa online can be simple and stress-free. Here's how...

Before you start

Going into your 'sofa surfing' with a clear idea of your priorities will help make your search quicker and easier. Grab a pen and paper...

A black leather sofa in a cosy lounge setting.

Is comfort or style more important?
If you're buying a sofa that's mostly 'just for show' then comfort may not matter so much over on-trend features. If this is going to be your main spot for napping/slouching/movie-marathoning then comfort is key. Our guide to sofa shapes will get you familiar with the different styles.

Do you have kids (or pets)?
Some fabrics are more durable than others. Check out our fabric guide and make a note of the types that will be the best fit for your home.

How many does it need to seat?
We'll take you through how to measure for your sofa later (Ready now? Scroll down the page), but you can narrow down your search to 2, 3 or 4 seaters if you know how many need a spot.

What's your budget?
Depending on size, fabric and material, sofas can range from around £150 to £1500. Make a note of how much you want to spend.

What to look for

So how do you judge squishiness from a picture? Can you really tell quality from a description? Thankfully yes, you just have to know what to look out for. We've summed up the top 4 key clues that suggest you're onto a winner...

Charcoal Habitat Lisbon 4 seater sofa in a modern lounge setting.

1. For comfort, remember ABC

Armrests: Like to lean against the arm? Opt for a style that has a taller armrest. Rounded arms or ones with thick cushioning are both comfy options, but don't worry if you love a style with shorter arms - a strategically placed cushion will still give support.

Back: Seats with a taller back (more than 45cm from the top of the sofa to where it joins the seat) give you a place to rest your head - great for lounging in front of the TV. The type of back will affect comfort too; while button-back Chesterfield sofas look great, cushioned styles will be comfier.

Cushioning:  We're talking seats - the deeper the cushion front to back the more space there is for lounging. Pay attention to the type of filling too. Foam-filled sofas tend to be firmer and give good support, much like pocket-sprung sofas which spring back into shape once you stand up. Fibre-filled create a softer feel and more casual finish but will need plumping.

An image representing customer reviews on a phone screen.

2. Read the reviews

Whilst our brand spanking new sofas might not have ratings yet, many of the existing range does. Reading through reviews can be a really helpful step in your research. Look out for people who have uploaded images of their new purchase in their home. Your fellow sofa-seekers will give you a completely honest and unfiltered insight on how the sofa looks and feels.

Detail showing the grey fabric on a sofa arm.

3. Get a fabric swatch

You can't stroke the sofa itself, but you get the next best thing - a swatch. You'll be able to colour match with the rest of your decor and check that you're happy with the finish. For us, it's a free service that covers most of our sofas, and we'd recommend taking full advantage of it. Order a few samples from your shortlist so that you can compare.

4. Check out the guarantee

If a sofa has a long guarantee included in the price, it's usually a good sign that you're getting a quality couch. For us, it's a no brainer. We're confident that our range has the highest quality and comfort that we, and you, would expect, so all our sofa frames are covered by a 10 year guarantee.

Read up on our sofa guarantee

Measuring for your sofa

Of course, you'll need to make sure your sofa is the right fit for its new home, but you'll also need to consider how it will get there (a sofa package that can't fit through your door frame = sad face). Measuring correctly is pretty important, so we've broken it down into steps.

1. Know your measurements

1. Know your measurements

You'll find these details in the product description of your chosen sofa.

Floor to seat height (1):  The height from the floor to the top of the seat.

Arm rest height (2): The inside arm height; from the top of the seat to the top of the arm.

Width between arm rests (3): The distance between the inside of both arm rests. The longer the width, the more space there is for people to sit.

Seat depth (4): The distance from the front of the seat to the back. The deeper the seat, the further your feet are from the floor. A depth of 61cm is good for curling up with a loved one.

Seat back height (5): The height of the back seat; going from the top of the bottom seat to the top of the back. Taller seat backs provide firm back and neck support.

2. Assess the space you have

You probably know if you want a 2, 3, 4 or corner seater depending on how many spaces you need. If you're replacing like-for-like you can use your current sofa as a guide - just compare the measurements to something you like online. Going for something new? Use masking tape, newspaper or even cardboard boxes to map out the area of the sofa you like.

3. Make sure you can get it to your room

What is the journey that your sofa will need to make to get from the delivery van to its new home? Many of our sofas will arrive in one or two boxes, and we've included the measurements for these packages in the description. With these in mind, measure the height and width of any door frames or stairwells that you'll encounter on your way.

Looking for a space solution?

If you're short on space, compact or modular styles work really well. Some (like this pale pink lovely) come packed in just a couple of slimline boxes ready to be assembled (ideal if you're going to be moving around rentals).

Shop our most space-savvy sofas

Start shopping

Now you're equipped with the know-how, it's time to shop! Here are some popular searches to inspire your search.

Why buy at Argos?