After Months of Searching — and One Bad Couch — I Found My Dream Sofa in a Surprising Place
As a home and commerce writer, I do a lot (like, a lot) of online shopping, testing, and reviewing on a daily basis. I spend hours poring over customer reviews, I make pro and con lists, take Instagram polls, talk to friends and family, and reach out to interior designers to get every last morsel of information about the best possible product in a given category. So you can bet I did the same when it came to buying a couch, as it’s such a large purchase. After weeks of researching, my boyfriend and I finally landed on what we thought would be the perfect sofa: a moderately-priced, neutral modular sectional with a chaise lounge for stretching our legs out on. As it turned out though, our search was far from over.
It started with shipping delays (of course!), which left us sans sofa for a good month in our new apartment — understandable nonetheless. When the model finally arrived, it was missing the legs we ordered and instead came with different legs in the incorrect amount, plus the chaise was nowhere to be found. This led to another two months of back and forth with customer service to get the proper parts. In the meantime, we simply weren’t impressed with the couch. It was stiff, shallow, and the fabric, which appeared beige online, was actually white and prone to staining. To prevent our dog from leaving marks behind on the cushions, the sofa sat covered in blankets most of the time. It just wasn’t functional for our lifestyle, which happily revolves around hanging on the couch together with our dog. By the time we finally had the full setup, we admitted defeat and resigned ourselves to another arduous couch search, which we fully anticipated costing us more money and resulting in more frustration.
One place I didn’t think to look in our first sofa search bubbled up to the top of my list this time around: Raymour & Flanigan. While I was busy getting swept up in the trendy DTC sofa brands, high-end custom pieces that weren’t in our budget, and a slew of over-priced sectionals on Facebook Marketplace, I forgot to consider a traditional furniture showroom like Raymour & Flanigan.
I usually love to hunt down an eclectic mix of vintage and secondhand furniture, but like anywhere else, you can find gems in a bigger super-stock store if you keep your eyes open. With this in mind, I did some preliminary research on their site before heading to the showroom in Elizabeth, New Jersey (conveniently located next to an IKEA, a win-win!). We sat on lots of different couches, but in the end settled on the one I had spotted online: the Wilkinson sofa.
I have plenty of praise for this couch, but what sold us above all else was the incredible depth and plushness of the seats. After months of feeling like we were perched on a piece of cardboard in front of the TV, sinking into the showroom model had us immediately “ooh-ing” and “ahh-ing” in anticipation of afternoon naps, cozy WFH days, and movie nights. Aside from how perfectly cushy it is, the piece has a very classic silhouette. That said, it’s not definitively traditional or too modern either, so it plays perfectly with the random mix of styles in the rest of the apartment. We were then shocked to find out that it came with free white glove delivery just three days later, if we wanted it.
After all the shipping delays and extremely long lead times of 2020 and 2021, we were giddy with excitement over how quickly we’d be set up with our brand new couch. Bonus: It also came with five couch pillows I’ve since recovered in pillowcases more my style, but they’re great for adjusting the depth of the couch (to sit farther back or closer to the edge) to your liking. Oh, and the whole purchase came in well under $2,000 (you can often find the Wilkinson on sale, as it as right now).
Now, almost six months later, we’re still on couch — I mean cloud — nine (sorry). The sofa remains plush and stain-free, and it’s been through the wringer already (think: dog accidents, coffee spills, and, yes, a melted chocolate bar debacle). Thankfully, it’s upholstered in heavy-duty performance fabric, and all the cushion covers zip off for actually-easy laundering. I put them in the wash on a cold, gentle cycle then lay them out to dry, and they’re usually ready to go back on in less than 24 hours. In terms of other maintenance, I’ve removed some pills here and there with a very handy fabric shaver, and we flip and rotate the cushions every few weeks so that they wear evenly. The Wilkinson fits two humans and a sprawling French bulldog with room to spare, so we each have plenty of space to watch TV, eat, and nap. We didn’t think we’d be able to find a couch we truly loved within our budget, but sometimes you’ve just gotta go back to the basics to find the perfect piece.
Buy: Raymour and Flanigan Wilkinson Sofa, $1,859.95 (originally $1,999.95)