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Swyft Model 01 three-seater sofa review: A great-looking, easy-to-build sofa, but is there a catch?

Edward Munn
27 Oct 2020
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
995

Swyft’s slot-together system brings a whole new meaning to flat-pack furniture, but it’s not entirely without foibles

Pros 
Easy to move and build
Fast delivery
Can be easily dismantled for moving
Cons 
Arms and back don’t lock in place
Firm, upright design
Not cheap
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If you’ve ever moved house, you’ll know what a struggle it can be trying to get sofas, beds and other large furniture through doorways, up stairways, and to their final destination - especially if your flat or house is on the small side. Swyft aims to fix that with its “sofa-in-a-box”, which arrives in a few boxes and can be assembled in a matter of minutes with no tools at all.

In that sense, it delivers emphatically, bringing a whole new level of convenience to flat-pack furniture. But what are the drawbacks? Is it as comfortable as a regular sofa? And how robust is it? Read on to find out.

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Swyft Model 01 3-seater sofa review: What do you get for the money?

The Swyft Model 01 sofa starts at £895 for the two-seater model, while an additional £100 (£995) gets you the 3-seater version. That’s a good bit cheaper than the newer Model 02, which starts at £1,095 and comes with additional bolster cushions, thicker foam seat cushions and feather-filled back cushions. By comparison, the Model 01 I’m reviewing here, has seat and back cushions made from three different layers of foam.

Both models come in velvet or linen and a range of different colours. The Model 01 has the advantage over the Model 02 of removable, washable cushion covers, although you’ll need to have them cleaned professionally and not just pop them in your washing machine. Otherwise, the construction of both models is mostly the same and assembly takes no more than a few minutes, with no tools required at all.

Indeed, after screwing its feet onto the base, the sofa’s back and sides both slot effortlessly onto the main frame using the company’s “Swyft-lok” technology. That’s it. There’s no need to lock them in place with bolts or screws. You simply drop them into place and you can then add its seat and back cushions. It’s incredibly simple and has the additional benefit that, when it comes to moving house again, you can just as easily disassemble the sofa in a few minutes and pack it away in its constituent parts.

As well as offering quick assembly, Swyft promises its sofas will arrive within 48 hours of you ordering, which is great if you’ve just moved into a new place and need new furniture quickly. Both models come with a 100-day money-back guarantee, as you get with many bed-in-a-box mattresses, so you can return them for a full refund in that period if, for any reason, you’re not happy. The frame is also protected by a 15-year warranty, so you can be confident that should any of those slot-together fittings fail, Swyft will replace them.

Swyft Model 01 3-seater sofa review: What do we like?

The Swyft Model 01 is, for the most part, a highly practical sofa. Aside from the rather overwhelming amount of cardboard and the sheer size of the three boxes it arrives in, the process of assembling it was dumbfoundingly simple. What’s more, no single box is excessively heavy, so it’s possible to build it on your own.

Considering how quick and easy it is to build, once assembled it looks superb and feels surprisingly solid, too. There’s a very subtle amount of play in the back and sides when you apply outward force to them but, when you’re sitting on the sofa, it feels reassuringly sturdy. Part of this sturdiness is likely due to the quality of the foam used in its cushions, which can feel a little firm at first, but soon soften up.

I’m also a big fan of fabric used in the “Shadow” linen review sample I was sent. Made from a combination of linen and polyester, it looks smart and is relatively soft but it’s also hard-wearing enough that you can have it professionally cleaned. In fact, this is also true of the velvet Model 01.

Swyft Model 01 3-seater sofa review: How can it be improved?

If there’s any major gripe I have with the Swyft Model 01 it’s with those Swyft-lok fittings that make it so quick to build. Though they’re a real blessing in this regard, the unhelpful side-effect of them not clicking or locking into place (instead they rely on a combination of gravity and friction) is that it’s alarmingly easy to accidentally pull your sofa apart. Forget that the side isn’t bolted on when you try to move it, for instance, and there’s a good chance you’ll lift it clean off.

That’s not a major problem unless you regularly move your sofa - and even if you do, you can simply remove the cushions and slot the side back into place - but it’s an annoyance nonetheless and not a problem you’ll have with a conventional flat-pack sofa.

Although it lends itself to small spaces because of its “in-a-box” design, another possible downside from the need to keep its size down is that the Model 01 sofa has a rather upright sitting position. Whether or not you think that’s a bad thing will come entirely down to personal preference, and the same is true of the firmness of its cushions. If you’re looking for a sumptuous sofa that you sink into, this isn’t the one for you, but then you probably knew that just from looking at it.

Last but not least, the Model 01 comes packed in a considerable amount of cardboard. If you’ve got access to a car and a local dump, or your council will collect unlimited amounts of cardboard for free, that’s not necessarily a problem, either, but be mindful that the convenience of the Swyft arriving in multiple parts comes at a cost.

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Swyft Model 01 3-seater sofa review: Should I buy it?

Any parallels you might have drawn between Swyft’s sofa-in-a-box and the bed-in-a-box mattresses that likely inspired its business model are likely entirely fair. What you’re getting here is maximum convenience backed up with an impressive money-back guarantee and warranty.

If those things are important to you then I’d have no hesitation in recommending the Swyft Model 01. It looks great, it’s astonishingly easy to build and, if you don’t find it comfortable, then you can have a full refund. What’s not to like?

If you don’t crave such assurances, there are heaps of other great sofas in this price range vying for your money. Most will take longer to be delivered, though, and won’t have the practicality of the Swyft Model 01.

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