Finding your dream sofa (or chair) is much easier said than done — especially if you’re unable to view it in person before making your big purchase. That’s where our Personal Shopper series comes in. For each installment, we visit the brick-and-mortar stores of your favorite home retailers, including West Elm, Pottery Barn, Burrow, and Ashley, to test their furniture and decor. Afterward, we give you a detailed breakdown of which sectional, bed frame, coffee table, or rug is best for your space.
On our most recent visit, we ventured to one of Design Within Reach’s New York City showrooms to view the brand’s sofas and accent chairs (including outdoor seating!). Some showrooms we’ve visited had sofa after sofa, but Design Within Reach’s in-store selection was a bit more curated, though it still meets the needs of many different types of shoppers. Whether you’re after a small-space-friendly sectional, a modern-looking sleeper, or a cozy armchair with an ottoman to match, they’ve got something stylish that’ll check all of your boxes.
Much of our content at AT centers around budget-friendly furniture. We love an under-$100 coffee table or an under-$1,000 sofa, not only because the right one can prove deceptively luxurious, but also because it can hold you over until you’re ready to purchase your dream investment piece. Investing in a more expensive piece of furniture sometimes buys you better materials, a more solid construction, and a timeless design that you can pass down from one generation to the next. Enter: Design Within Reach, the swanky furniture retailer known for sourcing pieces from iconic brands and designers (think: Charles Eames, Hans Wegner, and Sarah Ellison). Consider DWR your playground if you’re enthusiastic about modern, inspiring, and downright artful furnishings that make a statement without sacrificing practicality. In total, we viewed 23 of their sofas and accent chairs but narrowed down the picks below to our 14 favorites that’ll fit a variety of interior styles.
We judged every Design Within Reach sofa and chair in-store based on the following five criteria, giving each category an average rating between 1 and 5. These scores helped us determine who the sofa suits best, from the first-time apartment renter to the patio lounger.
Seat firmness: How soft or firm are the seat cushions? How do they contribute to overall posture and comfort?
Seat depth: How far do you have to scoot to meet the backrest? And when you do, are you in an upright or reclined position?
Loungability: Can you spend hours on this sofa or chair? And would you want to?
Durability: Is the fabric easy to care for and able to withstand everyday use? Does it require frequent upkeep and spot cleaning?
Appearance: What style does it best suit? Does it lean more traditional (i.e., rounded lines, tufted cushions, classic silhouettes) or more contemporary (i.e., clean lines, bright hues, modern silhouettes)?
Every Editor-Tested Sofa and Chair at Design Within Reach
What impressed us: The low profile and the chaise.
One of the biggest things that stood out about Design Within Reach’s seating is how plush and comfortable most of their sofas are. The Pastille sectional might not look like something you could sink into because of its clean lines and low profile, but we found the opposite to be true. Both its back and seat cushions are almost bouncy in their construction, and despite the sofa’s compact frame, it offers plenty of room for stretching out. It also stands out from traditional models because of its unique chaise, which almost appears to be floating, and noticeable piping throughout. You also have the choice between either a left-hand- or right-hand-facing chaise, so you can tailor the sectional to your living space. Regardless of whether you get the Pastille in leather or fabric upholstery, it’ll serve as a subtle statement piece and help make the surrounding area feel calm and contemporary.
What impressed us: The wide seats and adjustable headrests.
If you have more space at your disposal, you might opt for the inviting Kelston sectional, another low-profile number that beckons you to sprawl out on its wide seats and chaise. It, too, will imbue your space with an air of laidback luxury with its soft modular silhouette, foam and feather-blend cushions, and matching platform base. But the star features of this sofa are, without a doubt, its adjustable headrests. When folded down, they reach the same height as the armrests, but you can pull the tops of the back cushions up to create a taller surface for back support. This is definitely practical when watching TV, reading, or socializing. The sectional is available in several different fabrics, including Maharam Mode, an 80% recycled polyester blend that you’ll find plenty durable for daily use. Careful, though — once you recline back on the Kelston, you might find it hard to leave.
What impressed us: The bench-style seat and soft leather upholstery.
The Emmy sofa is also a solid pick if you live in a tiny apartment, but aside from its small silhouette, we were first drawn to its striking leather upholstery. A full-grain surface provides a nice texture, but because the material is lightly finished with a minimal top coat, the leather is prone to scratches. As a result, this sofa would best suit the single, aesthetic-minded apartment-dweller as opposed to a parent or pet owner. We also love that the Emmy boasts a contrasting oak base (although you can also opt for a darker walnut) and matching black side cushions. Although this piece would be classified as modern, it’s still cozy enough to curl up on, thanks to its bench-style seat and supportive back cushions. And of course, if you’d like something a little more resilient, you can always buy the sofa in a pretty pebble weave or stain-resistant velvet.
What impressed us: The bubble-like silhouette and expanding backrests.
Much like the Kelston sectional, the Luva modular sofa has backrests that you can fold up and down, creating extra support for your upper back. When folded down, however, they offer fantastic lumbar support, conforming to the natural contour of your body. Gabriel Tan, the designer of this piece, was inspired by the shape of a boxing glove when creating it (Luva means “glove” in Portuguese), and you can see that in the sofa’s buttery-smooth leather upholstery, rounded curves, and folded-over armrests. It sits very low to the ground, so that’s something to keep in mind if you have mobility issues, although we love its relaxed profile. Even better still, the sofa’s modular design means you can add more seats should you want to expand its size past the offered two- or three-seater. As for its firmness level, we’d classify the Luva as medium-firm. And, it goes without saying that this find is bound to garner endless compliments.
What impressed us: The smooth pull-out design and comfortable seats.
Many of the sleeper sofas we’ve tested in the past have had impossibly firm seats, which makes sense when you consider they’re usually hiding a steel mattress frame underneath. That’s why it was such a pleasant surprise to find that the Tuck sleeper sofa’s seat was quite comfortable and not all that stiff. Its mid-century design is simple in the best way, as you’ll have no trouble styling the piece with both pared-back and maximalist decor. Dress it up with accent pillows, or keep it bare and clean. Notably, the seat pulls up and out with little effort to create a two-person bed. The back cushions fill the empty gaps in the makeshift bed, meaning your floor will remain conveniently free of clutter should one of your overnight guests make a middle-of-the-night bathroom run. Technically, the Tuck boasts three different configurations, as you can extend it only partially to create a chaise-like lounging surface. Although we viewed the sleeper in an unpretentious gray fabric, you can snag it a variety of fun upholstery colors and truly make it your own.
What impressed us: The lattice cord detailing and curved frame.
Even those with the smallest of decks or patios can still enjoy stylish outdoor seating in the form of the Crosshatch settee. At just 61 inches wide, it’ll easily fit between your flower pots and fire pit table. Plus, you can’t ignore its chic crosshatch backing, which is made from parachute cord that’s immune to stretching. The settee is also outfitted with UV-, mildew-, and weather-resistant cushions that provide comfort, although you will find the seat to be a tad firm. This can be attributed to the sturdy webbing underneath, which allows water to run off instead of pooling on the seats. An elegant teak frame envelops it all, instilling the settee with a homey sensibility. As you’ll quickly come to find, Design Within Reach’s outdoor sofas and chairs are just as durable as they are fashion-forward.
What impressed us: The wide seats and sleek design.
The most notable thing about the Eos sofa is that it’s just very square in its design. This no-frills outdoor staple offers little else besides a strong aluminum frame, soft and weather-resistant cushions, and a well-proportioned silhouette, but we enjoy its simplicity. If you’re into a minimalist aesthetic, you will, too. Despite its average depth, the Eos still provides enough room for lounging in several different positions. It’s also worth mentioning that the powder-coated foundation won’t succumb to rust, so you can rest assured that the sofa will look great by the pool for years to come. Of course, it arrives fully assembled and is available as either a two-seater or a three-seater. There’s nothing difficult or high-maintenance about this smartly designed sofa!
What impressed us: The wide arms and pillowy cushions.
When it comes to comfort, the Terassi sofa leaves nothing to be desired. It’s the next best thing to a chaise lounge when it comes to lounging by the pool — it might even be better. The three-seater’s sprawling frame is home to six pillow-soft cushions in your choice of black, navy, or light beige upholstery. But don’t worry — the seats and backrests are encased in UV- and mildew-resistant fabric and filled with quick-drying foam, so you can keep the Terassi out all summer long. We also noticed that the sofa sports wide, plank-style arms that are perfect for holding your ice-cold drink if you don’t have a table nearby. That being said, the teak frame will naturally become weathered with time, and you want to be careful that it doesn’t retain any moisture for too long. With this piece, coasters and avoiding the rain are key!
What impressed us: The sheepskin upholstery and unique curves.
Although it was designed nearly 85 years ago, the iconic Pelican chair still looks as modern as ever. Because it’s so compact, you could easily place it in just about any room — be it your living space, bedroom, or even the closet, if it’s a walk-in. Although the chair comes in three different fabrics at Design Within Reach, nothing beats the snowy white sheepskin, which is every bit as cuddly as it looks. Although the chair’s angled silhouette suggests a reclined sitting position, we were still surprised to find just how far back your body goes once you slide in. This, coupled with the inward-curving arms, makes you feel like you’re being hugged. And, as if the Pelican couldn’t get any more adorable, its short walnut legs further lend a Scandinavian appeal that’ll draw the eyes of anyone who visits. Who needs decor when you have furniture like this?
What impressed us: The contoured back detail.
The 1970s have been a major source of inspiration for home design in recent years, and you can capitalize on the aesthetic with the Soffi chair. Not only does it stand out because of its fairly large size, but the chair also draws attention with its contoured back detail, which creates a groovy U-shape. The chair’s curves will also help soften up your space, as modern interiors can sometimes lean cold and angular. Plus, it swivels! You’ll be able to grab your book off the side table without leaving your seat (which is firm but supportive, by the way). Inspired by inflatable furniture, the Soffi is a fun take on luxury and doesn’t take itself too seriously. If you like to entertain, this one is a must.
What impressed us: The mixed material construction.
The Sejour chair is full of contradictions in the best way possible. It’s rounded yet angular in its curved backrest and square frame. Soft velvet upholstery is juxtaposed with hard walnut and brass underneath. A small silhouette yields a deep, inviting seat. Design Within Reach carries the chair in black and navy — both of which would add depth to your favorite sitting corner. A modern take on Victorian-era slipper chairs, the Sejour is perfect not just for the living room, but also any small alcoves in the home that could use a cozy touch. What’s more, it was designed to be comfortable to sit in for hours on end, so don’t be surprised if your guests are reluctant to leave. And thanks to the chair’s compact frame, you could easily get two for a more cohesive living room layout.
What impressed us: The folded-in arms and tall back.
Of all the pieces we viewed in-store, the famous Womb chair was one of the most memorable. And we’re not just saying that because it was displayed twice — one model upholstered in a dense white bouclé and the other in this golden matte velvet. The chair also comes with a matching ottoman, so you can elevate your legs while you lounge. This piece will serve as a conversation starter. Architects Florence Knoll and Eero Saarinen made it out of a fiberglass shell covered in foam, which shouldn’t feel as comfortable as it does. But if you do end up opting for the ever-elegant Womb chair, consider it your new favorite spot for kicking back. Bonus: It comes fully assembled!
What impressed us: The seat width and depth.
Although it’s technically not wider than the individual seats on the Eos sofa, the Eos armchair looks huge for its category. Sitting on it feels like you have all the space in the world to sprawl out; you could even sit cross-legged and probably avoid touching your knees to its arms. Aside from that, we love this chair for all the same reasons we love the sofa version: It’s modern, durable, and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, if any. Plus, at 53 pounds, the chair is pretty lightweight. If you stow it away for the season, you’ll have no problem moving it into the shed or garage. Those who spend a lot of time in their backyard might as well invest in something big and comfy enough for hours-long lounging, and the Eos armchair is a solid candidate for just that. It’s also a fabulous alternative if your poolside area isn’t quite big enough for a full-on sofa.
What impressed us: The woven seat and two-toned design.
Although its materials were chosen to withstand the outdoor elements, the Sommer lounge chair is every bit as stylish as your favorite indoor accent chair, thanks to a clean frame and woven resin cord seat and back. It had a cushion and lumbar pillow in the store, which you can buy separately in four neutral colors. We’d recommend doing so for added comfort; plus, you can remove the quick-drying foam cushion whenever you’d like. In terms of the sit, the Sommer feels very much like the Terassi — soft and expansive, but with undeniable support underneath. The cord detailing is also present on the arms, which is a nice touch. Although the chair looks dashing in all-black, the white-and-tan color scheme we viewed is enough to get you excited for summer. Just imagine how classy it would look on your patio.