We Tested (and Rated!) Every Sofa at West Elm — Here Are the Best for Every Type of Need

updated Aug 3, 2023
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Living room decorated with neutral tones, oatmeal colored West Elm Eddy reversible sectional sofa, round wood coffee table, cream rug, large windows. Seal in upper right says "apartment Therapy Personal Shopper West Elm Sofas 2023"
Credit: West Elm

How any of us have successfully purchased a comfortable sofa or sectional online that we actually love, looks good, and fits all of our needs is truly a mystery. All the sifting through the best sofa brands, researching upholstery materials, reading reviews, shopping in-person…who’s got the time? It’s a lot, but it’s also what we at Apartment Therapy are here for. After all, testing products and finding the best of the best is very much our thing, so we’re delighted to continue our quest to test it all with our Personal Shopper series.

As your Personal Shopper, we visit the showrooms of your favorite home brands to put all the hard-to-online-shop-for items to the test, starting with sofas. If it’s on the store’s floor, it’s on our list. We went, saw, and sat on every sofa (multiple times!) at two different West Elm locations in NYC and determined which sofa is best for every type of customer. Without further ado, read on to find the best, most comfortable West Elm sectional or sofa for you.


Why West Elm?

West Elm is an editor- and reader-favorite for all things home and kitchen, including, of course, sofas. Their vast selection not only looks good, but products can also be delivered directly to your living room with white-glove delivery. West Elm also offers free furniture customization and design guidance, if needed, as well as complimentary swatches from a plethora of upholstery options to help you find your ideal materials and colors. Below are the exact sofa models we tested, but you can also find most of them in a variety of styles, including sectionals, loveseats, and accompanied by an ottoman.

The Sofas

The range of sofas and sectionals carried by West Elm is not limited to this list. Visit the website for more options.

The Criteria

We judged every West Elm sofa and sectional in-store based on the following six criteria, giving each category a rating between 1 and 5. These scores helped us determine who the sofa suits best, from nap-lovers to movie-night hosts.

Credit: Apartment Therapy Media

Overall sit: What posture does the sofa best support? How deep or shallow are the seats? Are the cushions soft or firm on the back and arms?

Seat firmness: How soft or firm are the seat cushions? How do they contribute to overall posture and comfort?

Customizability: Are sizing, configuration, upholstery, or color options, or any other customizable details? How granular can a shopper get when customizing?

Nappability: Can you nap on it? Would you want to? Would guests be comfortable sleeping on it?

Multifunctionality: Does it have storage capacity? Is it a sleeper sofa? What else can the sofa do or help with?

Appearance: What style does it best suit? Does it lean more traditional (i.e., deep hues, busy details, flanged edges) or more contemporary (i.e., clean lines, low profiles, mid-century modern design elements)?


Every Editor-Tested Sofa and Sectional at West Elm

What Impressed Us: The overall sit and seat firmness.

With its supportive, upright posture and firm cushions, the Axel is our choice for those who work from their living room sofas, be it out of preference or out of a lack of desk and chair space. And thanks to the Axel’s impressive leg height, you can add some significant under-sofa storage space — another bonus for those who work from the living rooms of their smaller apartments. Its smooth leather is soft and comfortable while also giving the sofa a polished look. The firm seats and upright back offer support but enough comfort to lounge on after your laptop is closed.

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What Impressed Us: The nappability and appearance.

The Harmony’s platform-supported, extra-plush cushions make it reminiscent of the step-down sunken living rooms of the ’60s while also being one of the most contemporary sofa styles West Elm has at the moment (ah, trends). It’s truly cloud-like to lay on, and the many pillows that adorn the sectional have varied amounts of fill, producing back support where it’s needed and head, arm, and neck support on the sides. It’s practically made to nap on, but its retro, stylish appearance is enough all on its own. And lest we forget to mention, you can purchase the sectional in either a left- or right-arm configuration.

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What Impressed Us: The multi-functionality and nappability.

The Urban Sleeper sectional, with its spacious storage chaise lounger, gives apartment dwellers the opportunity to have it all. Its traditional aesthetic, high-pile plush seating, and customizable upholstery make the Urban versatile enough to suit a range of decor schemes, but its Queen-sized pull-out and nearly person-sized storage compartment make it an overachiever among small-space sectionals. Everything moves easily, and the lid of the chaise closes softly with or without the easy-pull tab — no finger-crushing here.

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Best Sleeper for Overnight Guests: Shelter Queen Sleeper Sofa

What Impressed Us: The multi-functionality and seat firmness.

The Shelter Queen Sleeper’s simplicity makes it easy to add to any room. Wherever it goes, be it your home office or living room, it can transform the space into a convenient and comfortable guest quarters. Its long back pillows, arm pillows, and bench-style seat cushion give the Shelter a polished daybed look, but the (Queen-sized!) pull-out bed is undeniably the sofa’s star feature. When not in use, however, it conveniently lies concealed under the cushy seat.

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Best for Watching Movies: Haven 2-Piece Bumper Chaise Sectional

What Impressed Us: The nappability and customizability.

The Haven is one of West Elm’s plushest sectionals. Its movable back and arm pillows, long bumper chaise, and wide, deep bench-style seat cushions make it ideal for those who love to stretch out, lie down, sit up, or get creative with their lounge positions. True to its name, the Haven makes you comfortable no matter where you end up on it, especially when you customize the modules and sizes to allow it to fit your space perfectly, so everyone can enjoy movie night (without the fidgeting).

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Best for Kids, Pets, and Families: Harris 2-Piece Bumper Chaise Sectional

What Impressed Us: The overall sit and customizability.

Although it mimics the Haven in its shape and appearance, the Harris sectional’s higher platform and shorter cushions give it more support and buoyancy, meaning more resiliency over time if you have pets who sleep on the sofa or kids who love to bounce. All edges of the sofa are upholstered, and there’s no exposed hardware, making the Harris a safer option for families with kids. The Harris’s 35″ seat depth also makes it easy to get on and off of, no matter your height. Add your choice of performance upholstery, of which there are many to choose from, and no amount of spilling or cat scratching will get in the way of you having a beautiful, comfortable, long-lasting sofa.

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Best Statement Maker: Parker 2-Piece Chaise Sectional

What Impressed Us: The appearance and nappability.

It’s all in the details with the Parker, from the curves of its walnut platform and legs to its wide, inviting seats. Aesthetic-minded shoppers (like me, admittedly) will love this sofa’s authentically mid-century modern style. It’s a piece worth talking about when you see it, making it perfect for those who host guests or prefer highly curated interior design. It’s got medium-firm seats and a posture that leans more upright, but its wide seats and chaise make it highly nappable. The Parker can work as its own statement piece in a room with minimal decor but also pairs beautifully with eclectic, maximalist style, all while looking just as striking.

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Best for Classic Style: Hamilton Leather Sofa

What Impressed Us: The overall sit and appearance.

Nodding both to traditional and contemporary sofa styles with sloped arms, leather upholstery, and tapered wooden legs, the Hamilton sofa can be left as is or adorned with pillows and throws to suit the design of your space. Covered with soft leather, it’s one of West Elm’s few sofas that is both handmade and contract-grade, meaning it’s durable enough for commercial use in offices and hotels. For a classic look and simple, reliable utility, the Hamilton is our pick.

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Best Luxury for Less: Dalton 2-Piece Chaise Sectional

What Impressed Us: The appearance and customizability.

The Dalton sectional does the most to make us feel like we’re sitting on something very expensive. Its low-profile, minimalist design and tall, bench-style seat cushions make an immediate visual impression. The Dalton’s movable, reclining, and super-plush back pillows are paired with buoyant seats, making it a perfect marriage between the contemporary, angular aesthetic and serious comfort. For a sectional that looks and feels thousands of dollars more luxurious than it really is, the Dalton is our pick.

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Best Personalized Design: Andes 3-Piece Ottoman Sectional

What Impressed Us: The customizability.

The Andes sectional has a mid-century modern design, room for storage underneath, a chaise headrest with a slight recline for cozy napping, and bench-style seating for easy cleaning and seamless comfort. But you can take it steps further and fully customize your Andes with over 100 upholstery options. This sectional is our choice for those who know exactly what they want and refuse to sacrifice comfort for a sharp appearance.

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  • Available as a Build Your Own, including chaise extension and double-width modules
  • 101″ long, 68″ wide, 31″ high
  • Up to 128 upholstery options, depending on configuration

Best Modular Style: Newport Modular Sofa 

What impressed us: The velvet upholstery and deep seat.

Almost all of the sofas and sectionals in West Elm’s stores were displayed in shades of white, gray, and other neutrals, so you can understand why we were immediately drawn to the Newport modular sofa’s opulent green velvet upholstery. Of course, it’s also available in plenty of other fabric and color options, but we wouldn’t blame you for sticking with this bewitching evergreen hue. Upon sitting down, we found its cushions to be plush but of a medium firmness level. (In other words, supportive but not too stiff to prevent you from comfortably napping on them.) And because this model is modular, you can instantly turn it into a sofa chaise by adding an ottoman from the same collection onto one side. Beyond that, the Newport isn’t the most customizable sofa West Elm has to offer, but it can certainly be small-space-friendly.

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Best Budget-Friendly: Oliver Sofa 

What impressed us: The low price point and compact size.

The Oliver sofa has long been an AT reader favorite, so we were excited to finally view it in person. Easily one of West Elm’s more apartment-friendly options, it’s available in either a 72” or 82” size and sports a sturdy, handcrafted wooden frame. In the store, the Oliver model looked comparable to a loveseat in size, so you should have no problem squeezing it into your space even if you’re dealing with the tiniest of studios. Notably, the Oliver’s back and seat cushions are very firm thanks to high-resilience foam cores, so it wouldn’t make a prime lounging spot, but its low price tag and chic mid-century design more than make up for that. This low-maintenance, no-frills couch is also a solid option for first-time renters.

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Best Reversible: Eddy Reversible Sectional

What impressed us: The low profile and reversible chaise.

Whether you have all the living room space in the world or you’re navigating tight confines, the Eddy is a stylish and viable sectional choice. In true mid-century fashion, it sports a low profile and striking trestle-style legs. The sofa’s seats are deep but not wide, and we were happy to find that they’re also supportive, whereas the back cushions are much softer. Most importantly, the Eddy’s reversible chaise makes it a terrific pick for frequent movers or those who like to experiment with their living room layout. We viewed the sectional in-store in a gray twill fabric that you’d find easy to style and slightly less conventional than the popular whites and beiges.

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Specifications:

  • Also available as a sofa and in leather styles
  • 90″ long, 62″ wide, 33″ high
  • Up to 83 upholstery options, depending on configuration

What impressed us: The oversized silhouette and power-reclining capabilities.

It’s hard to come by a power sectional that’s as modern-looking as it is functional, but the Leo model proves it’s more than possible. We were immediately taken with its larger-than-life frame, which is not only wide, but boxy and voluminous, too. Indeed, the sectional is very modular in design but avoids looking severe thanks to rounded edges, the lack of a distinctive base, and almost bubble-like seat and back pieces. You can choose to include either one or two power recliner modules in your sectional, plus it comes with a reversible chaise. With the push of a button, you can adjust both the leg and head rests and achieve optimal comfort. What’s more, the Leo sectional’s firm but plush feel will help you get cozy in no time, while its high arms provide end-sitters with a stable wall to lean on while dozing.

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