A couple weeks ago, I rode my apartment building’s elevator as I balanced three bags and two boxes filled with the last few items from our unit. As the elevator opened, my phone rang, and I somehow fished it out of my pocket by the last ring. It was a courier service letting me know they arrived with my grass green Article Sven Sofa at my new building… 45 minutes away. They were right on time; my girlfriend Katie and I were not. Between my panicked gibberish, the very patient courier and our equally patient leasing manager let me know they’d leave it in our apartment for us. Relief washed over me and nearly knocked my tower of boxes out of my hands.
After speeding up I-95 from New York City’s East Midtown to Stamford, Connecticut, Katie and I raced up to the penthouse and into our new apartment we hadn’t even seen yet due to renovations. We opened the door, barely noticing the new stainless steel appliances, white quartz countertops, and sheer amount of space. Our eyes were glued to the enormous box in the middle of our living room, with ARTICLE in big letters spread across it. I’d never attacked a box so fast in my life.
Before my girlfriend and I moved in together three years ago, we bought an old but pretty Urban Outfitters velvet sofa for $250 secondhand. At first, we celebrated, more focused on scoring a good deal and less on the fact that it was painfully stiff and one arm was reupholstered in a totally different color. We’ll get used to it, we thought. And we did for a bit, until the frame dug into my butt and back so often, I subconsciously opted to sit elsewhere whenever I could. As much as neither of us wanted to admit it, that pretty-to-look-at couch had become a dumping ground more than anything.
After signing our new lease, Katie and I vowed that “pretty” was no longer our sole criteria for the perfect sofa — or anything else in our home for that matter. We wanted quality, functionality, and comfort. At the same time, we’d spent most of our 20s dodging investment items like you dodge your ex at a bar. We were skeptical, unsure if shelling out a bit more for furniture — and ordering it online — was smart or stupid or if we’d even notice a difference. The Article team knew better and sent us the brand’s three-seater Sven Sofa to see for ourselves.
Even if you’ve yet to learn the online, direct-to-consumer brand’s name, you’ve seen its furniture. The mid-century-, modern-, Scandinavian-style pieces, with its simplistic designs and clean lines, dot many an influencer’s Instagram Feed, sitting in the background of a young family’s happy portrait or a fashion creative’s postmodern coffee table. The brand itself has seen exponential growth since it launched in 2013 under the name Bryght before changing its name to Article in 2016. That growth continued during the COVID-19 pandemic, when stay-at-home orders meant more time to reassess your living space. Specifically, Article saw a 70% increase in revenue and 200,000 new U.S. and Canadian customers in 2020, says Nicole Hunt, Article product development manager.
The tufted Sven Sofa has seen unparalleled popularity compared to most of the brand’s inventory. “More than 120,000 Sven products have been ordered across the US and Canada,” Hunt tells TZR. “There are literally thousands of photos of Sven on Instagram, including over 2,000 featuring the #SvenSofa hashtag.”
Eager to learn how a sofa you exclusively order online could have garnered such a cult following? Was it really that good, or was everyone lying because they spent so much money? I unpacked, assembled, styled, and sat on this sofa religiously since it arrived. Now, I have some thoughts.
Communicating with support staff at any retail service is a perpetual gamble that usually involves confusion, frustration, sometimes yelling, and extreme guilt because of said yelling. At every touchpoint, though, the Article staff was pleasant and accommodating — yes, even when I was MIA while my sofa was being delivered. Prior to the sofa’s delivery, the Article team had been communicative and understanding, fully disclosing their COVID-19-related delivery policies, providing advance notice about delivery expectations, and even rescheduling my delivery when my move-in date changed.
Delivery, Packaging, & Assembly
Currently, the brand defaults to contactless delivery as part of its COVID-19 guidelines. Once your item is ready, the brand provides an anticipated delivery date and time via email, at which point you can troubleshoot any issues or special accommodations.
A few days before my delivery, an Article representative emailed me to confirm the courier’s anticipated arrival window. On delivery day, the brand texted me within 30 minutes of arrival. If it weren’t for traffic (definitely not me having no concept of time), the delivery would’ve gone off without a hitch, lasting only a few minutes. The brand’s contactless delivery policy states that the courier will bring your item to your front door — or as close to it as possible, barring building policies that prevent them from entering — and maintain a social distance as you bring the item inside. In my unique case, my item was left inside for me, because my leasing manager is my neighbor.
The three-seater Sven Sofa came packaged in a large cardboard box the same size as the sofa itself, minus the legs, so 88 inches in length. This was not an issue for my 1,000 square-foot apartment, but the resulting cardboard and packaging is something to keep in mind if you live in a smaller space. It’s also something to keep in mind if you live alone, because I imagine lifting this thing requires a dedication to Arm Day few people have. There was no real assembly necessary aside from placing the back cushions and cylindrical pillows and attaching the legs. Once Katie and I got it out of the box and right side up, moving it to the correct location was a breeze.
The sofa’s colorways and velvet fabric leans heavily into the mid-century modern aesthetic, which Hunt says is seeing a major renaissance and a “core” part of Article’s repertoire. Clearly, I’m already a sucker for velvet, but I did waffle on color. I wanted my sofa to be a statement piece, the alluring foundation for the rest of the room. At the same time, I worried the grass green shade might verge on too green, making it harder to style. This was not the case. While the green is vibrant, particularly in natural sunlight, I found it was muted and versatile enough to work with multiple other colors, finishes, and wood tones. It also played well with items of multiple design styles, like modern boho and rustic elements.
Your space’s lighting will affect how the color looks, appearing lighter and airier in brightly lit rooms and deeper and moodier in darker areas. The velvet appears smooth and clean, although the plush cushions and slightly curved edges boast a softness that makes a space feel more comfortable and less clinical.
Not once have I felt the frame of this sofa push into my butt or back. Rather, the long seat cushion is plush, but firm enough to get off of easily and to prevent any sort of visible dipping. The same is true with the two larger back cushions, which may dip a bit in the center if you’re in full-on veg mode for a while, but fluff back up easily. Finally, the three-seater has more than enough room for Katie (5’9”) and I (plus-size and 5’5”) to lounge without sitting on top of each other.
One small comfort hiccup is the occasional feather that pops up through the velvet. They’re easily removed, but I could feel them poke into my bare skin a few times. This, Hunt says, is to be expected at first. “With new sofas, it's quite normal for some feathers to escape, especially during the first few weeks of use as the fill is settling in and the cushions get more use. While feather creep may not be desirable, it’s … a trade-off for using natural materials like down in cushions,” she says. “One thing I would advise is to make sure that you're fluffing the cushions occasionally, because the more they get padded down and compressed, the easier it is for feathers to continue poking through. After a month, you should start to see fewer feathers creeping through the fabric.” Beyond that, I have let hours go by with me sitting on the Sven Sofa, barely moving an inch, with zero discomfort, achiness, or butt cramps — a win if I ever heard one.
At $1,399 before taxes, the cost of the Sven Sofa is not insignificant. Still, the price appears pretty standard from a quick Google search, falling in the middle of the spectrum for sofas of similar size and style. This, coupled with the sofa’s comfort and versatility, justifies the cost as a decent investment in my eyes, especially if you plan to keep it for a long time and you’re sure it’ll fit in any future spaces. The brand also offers Affirm payment plans if you prefer to pay in installments. That said, there are some comparable, cheaper options out there if, say, you’re a frequent mover or can’t justify the cost.
I’ve owned and sat on many other sofas, but few compare to Sven in terms of comfort, versatile style, and the ease of ordering. Although it hurts to look at, the price is one I’d justify for a couch this timeless and high-quality, because I know I’ll keep it — and love it — for a long time.
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