Meet the Leather Sofa That's Changing Our Minds About Buying Furniture Online: A Review of Article Furniture
Direct-to-consumer online furniture brands are changing the way furniture shopping is done. Gone are the days of spending hours driving around, physically entering every furniture store and bargaining with a salesperson to try to get the best price on a chaise lounge.
Now, you can outfit your entire home or apartment with just a few clicks. And since these online furniture brands are cutting out the dreaded middleman — the retail store — you can get it all for less than you'd typically spend in-person.
But is this online furniture comparable to the store-bought furniture you know and love? That's what we wanted to find out.
Our Article sofa
This sofa has everything: A sturdy corner blocked wooden frame, a full-aniline Italian-tanned leather upholstery, and high-density foam with Polyester filling. In layman's terms: it's a nice ass couch.
The Sven Charme is rated a 4.8 out of 5 on the Article website — and there are over 1,000 reviews. So, needless to say, we were excited to test the sofa out ourselves in our Santa Monica office.
Article sofa pre-delivery
Ladies, if he:
- Texts you about when he'll see you next
- Continuously updates you on his whereabouts
- Is a real, live person on the other end of the phone
He's definitely not your man. He's the Article Furniture delivery customer service team.
Once you purchase your Article sofa, the delivery process is actually very hands-on. Just one day after placing my order, I got a text to the phone number I provided asking me to confirm my delivery address and assigned delivery date & time. Immediately following this, I received a call from an unknown number.
Now, I usually don't answer calls from wrong numbers, seeing as the last time I did I was alerted by a robot lady's voice that I had 4 warrants out for my arrest, in multiple states. But for this one, I picked up.
What happened next was truly unbelievable — a real, live person was on the other end of the phone. And she asked me how my day was going! Your move, customer service bots.
Anyway, this lovely lady told me my scheduled delivery date, and confirmed the delivery address with me. The delivery date didn't work for us (everyone was enduring their family's political debates at home for the holidays), but I was able to change the delivery date without an issue. Another plus for live-human customer service!
A day before our delivery was scheduled, we received another friendly text letting us know the delivery timeframe, and allowing us to call them with any changes or instructions.
So before we've even received the sofa, Article has already made it their business to make sure we are tended to like a budding little parsley plant in an herb garden — and I'm here for it.
As far as the nitty gritty shipping details, Article offers a flat shipping fee of $49 (or $19 for small shipments) for most orders, no matter how large. You can also choose from affordable upgrade options for in-room delivery and assembly at checkout. Personally, I think the in-room delivery is downright lifesaving in the right circumstances. However, I might skip the assembly option (more on this below).
The new world record for “Largest Cardboard Box” — Our Article sofa delivery
When it finally came time for our sofa to be delivered, two gentlemen in a large truck showed up outside our office. Using just a furniture dolly and their sheer muscle mass, these two men unloaded what I can honestly say was the biggest cardboard box I've ever seen in my life.
Like, I'm not sure if you're understanding how large this box was. Imagine your couch. Now imagine the size box you would need to fit that couch. If someone showed me this box as a kid, I would have fainted on the spot. And then I would have dusted myself off and started crafting the most amazing cardboard telephone booth/time travel machine there ever was.
For scale, here's one of our employees, Andie. She's 5'9” for reference.
The large box was great, because we could easily estimate where the sofa should go in our office based on its size. Then, it was finally time to unbox our sofa.
Unboxing & assembling our Article sofa
Solely based on the fantastically large delivery box, the Knoji team could safely assume there wasn't going to be any sort of Ikea-level assembly needed for this sofa. And we were right.
All we had to do was screw on the sofa's 5 little legs and adjust the cushions and “bolsters,” which is a word I had never heard before either, but which seems to mean “tootsie roll-shaped side cushions.”
Here's a quick video of how we did it. (Note: we did not hire a professional videographer for this, and therefore much of the action takes place behind the couch. We apologize to The Academy. However, I'm sharing so you're able to grasp how fast we were able to put this baby together.)
We threw one of our throws over the back (yes, it DOES get cold in Los Angeles because the A/C is ALWAYS ON thank you very much), and our couch was ready to be sat on.
So yes, as mentioned above, if you're getting the Sven Charme sofa, I would skip the additional assembly add-on at checkout. If you have 5 minutes and even just one working hand, you should be able to assemble this sofa with no hiccups.
The Charm of the Charme — Sven's Patina
Ok, so we've already mentioned that the Sven is a leather sofa. Full-aniline Italian-tanned leather, that is. But what does that mean?
Aniline leather, typically known as a higher-quality leather, is a leather that has been dyed using dyes that preserve the natural hide of the leather. Should I say leather again?
Aniline leather (there it is) is one of the best types of leather for sofas, because the dye allows the leather to remain soft to the touch. However, since different parts of the material will absorb different amounts of the dye, it results in a wide variation of colors, patterns, and markings on the leather. So, there's a good chance that if we were to order another Sven Charme Tan Sofa, we'd get one with a completely different look than the one we have now. Talk about unique!
Plus, as the couch gets more use, it will even start to change color and pattern over time — something leather nerds call a patina. The Sven Charme will develop a vintage slouchy look with regular use, and the color will only continue to become more interesting over time. Isn't that special? Plus, you've now just expanded your leather vocabulary by two words. You're welcome.
Article fabric swatches
If you're unsure about which leather or fabric sofa would be the best fit for you, Article does allow you to order swatches of material to look at first before committing to a full couch (I'm sure they come in a much smaller box). Although keep in mind, the markings for leather couches can vary slightly.
To request a swatch, head to Article's contact page and let them know which fabrics or leathers you would like swatches of, and where they should send them. If you're buying a table or another piece of furniture from Article, however, you may be out of luck when it comes to sampling the material — there are no swatches available for wood or rugs.
Caring for Article sofa/fabric
Now, just between us girlfriends, we did have a little whoopsie with our Article sofa in the form of a coffee spill. In a way, it was somewhat positive, because it allowed us to review the care and cleaning process for the sofa.
According to Article, to care for your Sven Charme you'll need to wipe it with a clean soft cloth and fluff cushions regularly to help maintain the sofa's shape. They advise professional cleaning for heavy soiling, however our experience was a little different. By the time we got back to the couch with paper towels (we didn't have a soft cloth on-hand at the office) the spill was... gone. It seemed as if the coffee seeped through the cushion, but then never came out the other side. Maybe this couch just needed a little caffeine pick-me-up.
Article's site also states that “New, unwashed denim jeans may transfer dye onto lighter colored leathers, leaving permanent stains.” However, we didn't have this problem on our couch! As always, your results may vary, so. Just wash your pants, OK?
Article sofa comfort
At my parent's house (shout out to Bob & Mo!), we have a leather sofa and loveseat in our family room. And while they're fine to lounge on for watching TV, I always found myself gravitating to the fabric couches in our living room if I wanted to sit, lay, or nap more comfortably. So I will say I came into this experience with a little bias against leather, and was nervous that I wouldn't think this Article sofa was as comfortable as our fabric Burrow sofa (which we reviewed here).
But for a leather couch, this sofa is incredibly comfortable. I actually find myself sitting on this sofa more often than the Burrow one, simply because the Article is more comfortable for me.
One thing that sets the Sven apart is how deep the cushion is from the back of the couch to the front. One of our employees, Rachel, audibly squealed when she realized she could sit criss-cross-applesauce on the couch and still be actually, well, on the couch. As a chronic fetal position sitter, I feel her — I always appreciate when a couch is deep enough for me to comfortably curl up on.
Another reason I think the couch is so comfy is because it almost feels like you're sitting on a cloud. Or, if you don't have an imagination, on a firm down pillow. The bolsters are also very soft and squishy, which make them perfect armrests or pillows to nap on.
Article's 30-day satisfaction guarantee
Not loving your Article couch? No worries. We won't judge you. We'll just assume you hate comfy things.
You know from earlier in this article that I am living for Article's customer service team. Well, following this trend, their company offers some nice options for customers who aren't as thrilled with their Article purchase.
Article offers a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, so you can try out your new furniture in your home and make sure you really love it. If you’re not completely happy, Article will exchange it with another piece of furniture for free. Or if you choose to return the furniture, they'll refund you the product purchase price, less a $49 return shipping fee.
So really, there's no reason not to try. Especially with these...
Article promo codes and offers
The Sven Charme Tan Sofa goes for $1799 on the Article site (compared to $3500 at a similar retailer — read more about Article's direct-to-consumer business model). Be sure to also check our Article promo codes to find any current deals or offers we may have available, and check out Article's website for other sofas, chairs, tables, and other household furniture.