Buying a new couch is never easy. Between matters of style (Leather or fabric? What color works best with the rug? To chaise or not to chaise?), size (Should it fit exactly where the old one did, or do we want to rearrange the whole damn living room?) and getting it home (Do we really want all those movers stomping around and spreading germs in our house? Well, would you rather wrangle this leviathan in ourselves? How are we supposed to get this damn thing in through the door, anyway?)
Of course, if all goes well, all that work is worth it in the end. If a mattress is the underrated place where you spend a third of your life, the couch is probably where you spend the second-most amount of time in your home. It’s the centerpiece of the central room, a place not just for sitting, but for lounging, sleeping, eating, and, in this day and age, all too often working. It’s the sort of item that’s worth investing wisely in.
We’ve long recommended the Burrow Nomad as the top choice in our best sofas and couches guide, but there’s no substitute for testing the old-fashioned way: by putting butts in seats. So I’ve spent the last couple months doing just that.
What’s Good About the Burrow Nomad Sofa
Very easy to ship and assemble
If you, like me, happen to be one of those personal space-guarding folks who doesn’t like having strangers in your house, the prospect of having movers tromp through your domicile to deliver a couch probably seems a little off-putting. Opt for a Burrow sofa, however, and that issue vanishes. The Nomad arrives at your door in five FedEx boxes, each of which can be lugged around by almost any adult.
Assembly — also often a pain point for furniture — is a breeze, as well. The Nomad snaps together with a series of clasps and locking joints; all you need is a screwdriver to tighten a couple pieces. It’s easier than Ikea by a mile.
Doesn’t take up much space
As someone living (and working) with another person in a small New York apartment, every square foot of space counts. The Nomad’s frame is rather svelte for a couch — it’s just 35 inches deep — yet it doesn’t feel undersized in any way once you’re on there. Even at six-foot-four, I found myself able to completely lay out on it in comfort; it’s also proven perfectly roomy for one tall person in a relationship to stretch out horizontally while another sits at the other end, so long as they don’t mind cuddling up a little.
Very comfortable — more than you might expect
At first sit, the Nomad feels a bit firm by couch standards. Its cushions are relatively thin, as are the armrests, and the upright angle of the backrest feels designed to remind you to sit up straight now, mister.
By the end of the first evening with it, however, my partner and I had settled comfortably into it. Those cushions are supportive, in spite of their limited depth, and the cloth upholstery is delightfully soft to the touch.
It’s stylishly unassuming, or unassumingly stylish
One of the Nomad’s greatest strengths is its simple mid-century design. It enables the couch to fit in — or at least not clash — with almost any room’s decor. Being able to choose between a quintet of colors, a sextet of leg styles (three wood, three metal), a trio of armrest styles and a pair of back cushion designs makes fine-tuning one for your particular situation easy. (Also, fiddling around with the different options on Burrow’s website feels like the sofa equivalent of the Porsche car configurator: surprisingly addictive.)
What’s Not Ideal About the Burrow Nomad Sofa
It’s more thinly padded than some may like
As previously mentioned, the Nomad is certainly comfy — but anyone who’s looking for an overstuffed plush beast of a couch is liable to be disappointed. You very much sit on the Nomad, rather than sink into it. Plan on plopping some throw pillows down (which you were probably gonna do anyway) if you want to have something plush to lean into when you lounge.
Requires two people and a bit of brute strength to assemble
Due to a combination of (over)confidence, a Y chromosome and an elementary school grasp of basic assembly, I generally tend to be one of those folks who ignores unboxing or assembly instructions that claim two people are required to move or put together a product. Most of the time, it’s worked out okay.
With the Nomad, though, “two-person assembly” really means “two-person assembly.” It took both me and my partner working together to squeeze and finesse the pieces together during the assembly process; one person to push the chunks of couch together (and I mean push, hard), the other to snap shut the latches that serve as the anchors for the sofa. Snapping those latches alone took serious grip strength, too. Putting together the Nomad is simple, sure, but it also takes some elbow grease.
The integrated power supply just seems like unnecessary complexity
Among the marquee features of many of Burrow’s sofas is the ever-so-handy ability to charge your phone or other small electronic device more easily via a USB cable attachment within the couch. Sounds great, in theory — after all, I’d imagine somewhere between 99 and 100 percent of us charge our devices on the couch from time to time.
In practice, though, it’s not nearly as helpful as it seems. On the top end where you sit, there’s just a regular USB port to plug into, so newer USB-C cords find no home here. Powering that USB port, meanwhile, requires plugging it into a separate inverter attachment that connects the couch to the nearest wall outlet. Why not just leave the cord hole empty, so owners could run their own cables through it? A five-pack of 10-foot knit Lightning cables runs you $11 on Amazon, and those are sturdier and simpler than this three-piece (including your phone cable) setup.
The Burrow Nomad Sofa: The Verdict
Choosing a sofa is in many ways like choosing a car; it’s about balancing the features you need with the design that you want, to find something that fits best into your life and represents who you are. And while buying a sofa still much cheaper than buying a new ride, it’s not exactly full-stop cheap; you’re talking about investing, most likely, four figures on a new couch if it’s worth a damn.
The Nomad, to that end, reminds me of a Honda Accord: a well-built product that balances comfort, convenience and design at a reasonable price. Having spent many years driving cars and writing about cars, I often recommend the Accord to folks who ask. Now, I’ll be doing the same for the Nomad.