The single most daunting piece of furniture in the house is, if you ask us, the sofa. First you have to find The One and commit to it. Then there’s the challenge of coming up with the cash, the often months-long wait, and, finally, fitting the hulking thing through your door.
Not surprisingly, a number of companies are attempting to make sofa buying easier by offering flat-pack designs. Not only do these sofas ship easily in luggable boxes—no movers necessary—but also they assemble in minutes without tools (no Ikea-style inscrutable instructions). And all can be easily deconstructed for taking with you if you move. Looking to get comfy? Here are five companies vying for your attention.
Burrow claims to have “identified and solved the biggest pain points” in the furniture industry. These include having to leave your house to try out sofas—and having to leave your sofa to charge your phone and laptop (the Burrow has a hidden power cradle). Founded by a duo with backgrounds in finance and retail analytics (who took their concept to Silicon Valley’s prestigious start-up incubator Y Combinator), the brand makes its sofas in Mexico City. The hitch: It’s still in beta mode; preorders are being accepted, but shipping is not yet under way.
Above: The Burrow sofa straddles the line between midcentury modern and contemporary, and comes as a modular two- or three-seater (which can be expanded or shortened as needed). It has a pine frame, high-density foam cushions, and cotton-poly upholstery. The 86-inch-long three seater is priced at $895. And to sweeten the deal, Burrow offers a Casper-like, no-questions-asked 100-day free return policy.
Launched by an Apple engineer who worked on the design of the iPhone—and left Harvard business school to upend the furniture industry—Campaign takes its name and approach from the collapsible furnishings that British colonials carried with them into the field: “When your life changes, Campaign moves with you.” Campaign has moved past its trial period and is now in full production mode. Campaign also offers a lifetime warranty, free shipping within seven days, and a 14-day free return policy.
Above: The Campaign sofa arrives in two boxes and says that the couch “assembles with no tools.” It has a steel frame, hardwood legs, and comes in seven colors; the 87-inch-log three-seater is $1195; the loveseat is $895; and a chair is $595.
Singled out in Forbes’s recent 30 Under 30, Providence, Rhode Island–based Greycork was dreamed up by three socially-conscious RISD grads and a product designer. Aiming to make locally produced, “human-centered” furniture that’s lightweight and low-profile, the group has come up with a flatpack living room set—a minimalist sofa, chaise, bookshelf, side table, and coffee table—for $1,785. And its Concept Studio crowd-funds new designs.
Above: The Greycork Sofa starts at $725. It has a Baltic birch plywood and American ash frame (available in five finishes) and memory foam cushions (in polyester slipcovers); armrests are optional and cost $80 each. It’s 76 inches long without armrests and 82 inches long with. Shipping takes two to three weeks for basic models such as this one.
Having put its playfully inventive stamp on everything from toothbrushes to tray tables, Danish design firm recruited France’s “it” design team, brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, to come up with a “self-assembly sofa.” The resulting Can Sofa has a tubular steel framework that supports canvas side and back panels and cushions of foam and feathers outlined in dark piping. “The intention is to reinvigorate the whole idea of the sofa, from something inherently complicated to something simple, relaxed, and for everyone,” says Hay.
Above: For style-conscious nomads, the 97.25-inch-long Can Three-Seater is $2,798 from the Danish Design Store. It comes in a variety of color combinations (and a two-seater and one-seater are also available). Go to the Bouroullec Brothers Flatpack Sofa to see more.
Norm Copenhagen, another of our favorite Danish studios, has also come up with a group of upholstered furniture that ingeniously folds for easy shipping. The Ace Lounge Collection is the work of Hans Hornemann, a 2014 industrial design graduate of the University of Aalborg. His challenge was to create “a box with a handle that you simply grab and take home from the shop and within minutes transform into furniture.”
Above: The 57.1-inch-long Ace Sofa, $1,185, and Ace Lounge Chair, $592.50, are composed of upholstered bent plywood shells. The seat and base screw together and the stained beech legs slot into place. They’re shown here in flecked wool; velour and leather are also available and Norm Copenhagen offers worldwide shipping.
For more next-generation interiors companies, see:
- Ikea Disruptors: 6 New Upstart Furniture Companies
- Mattress Disrupters: 7 Upstart Companies
- Bedding Disrupters: Luxury Linens for Less
And did you know that the Bouroullec brothers designed a TV Collection for Samsung?