This review is not sponsored and contains the author’s personal experience with a product they purchased.

Key Takeaways: (Read our full review below!) 

  • Sabai (founded in 2019 and a WOC-owned business) makes all of its furniture in High Point, NC, with 90 percent of the material sourced within 100 miles of the family-owned factory. Everything is made to order. 

  • Everything is nontoxic and made with recycled and upcycled fabrics. Sabai uses FSC-certified wood, Certipur-US-certified foam, and plastic-free shipping. 

  • The brand also has a buyback program—Sabai Revive—so you can trade your old Sabai in or buy a couch secondhand. 

  • We rate Sabai 10/10 for comfort and longevity. After owning The Essential Sofa for two years, the cushions are still plush (no sagging), even after using the couch as a guest bed for out-of-town guests. 

  • This is a perfect couch for people with kids and pets! The recycled velvet is incredibly forgiving and stain-resistant. Spills, pet hair, pup claws—none of it is a match for the material.  

  • While an investment, Sabai offers expansion kits so your couch can grow with you (or shrink down!) over time. 

Love At First Sit

I don’t remember where I first learned about Sabai, but it was about the time my husband and I were in the market for a new couch. Nine months into the pandemic, our secondhand World Market sofa was quite literally sagging beneath the weight of the world (and our bums). Even before then, the cushions were lumpy and lived in, thanks to however many owners had loved the sofa before we snagged it off Marketplace (I’ve learned it’s better not to ask). At the end of 2020, after carrying and comforting us through too many Zoom calls and anxious news coverage, it was time to accept the inevitable: we were tired, and our couch was tired too. 

If you know me in real life, you know that I rarely buy something new. I have an issue with price tags. (“I’m sorry, a new bedframe costs how much?”) I also prefer furniture that tells a story; vintage and secondhand pieces feel so much warmer and cozier to me—like I’m living in an old library. I like filling my home with items that are unique and not readily available in a box store. 

But 10 years of rotating through Craigslist and curbside couches can be exhausting‚ which is how I found myself drooling over the Sabai website in hopes of purchasing something new.

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Photo by Sabai

Founded in late 2019 by Phantila Phataraprasit and Caitlin Ellen, Sabai offers high-quality furniture pieces for your home—including sofas, chairs, loveseats and coffee tables. More than this though, the brand has and continues to set a new standard for earth-friendly and domestically manufactured furniture. For example, everything is made to order in High Point, NC, with 90 percent of the material sourced within 100 miles of the family-owned factory. 

“The company also cares about how the couches are made and what they are made from.”

The company also cares about how the couches are made and what they are made from. When they say no greenwashing, no chemicals, and no sacrificing values, they mean it. Sabai furniture is both nontoxic and made with recycled and upcycled fabrics. They also use FSC-certified wood, Certipur-US-certified foam, and plastic-free shipping. They’ve even launched a buyback program—Sabai Revive—and they teach customers how to repair, not replace their furniture. 

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Sabai color swatches

So far, so good exceptional—but is the Sabai couch comfy? Expensive? Durable? Good for kids and pets and friends who need a crash pad? Sustainability and ethics aside, I was about to find out. 

I went with The Essential Sectional in Moss Recycled Velvet with the natural legs. True story: I’ve only ever owned grey couches in various shades (is this a millennial thing?), so I figured if I was going to drain my bank account, I might as well go with a fun color. Plus, my mom had a green couch in the ‘90s, so the purchase felt like an homage to her and a way to make the purchase feel a bit more meaningful. What goes around comes around, or something like that?

I paid $1395 (😅), which is about six times more than any secondhand couch I’ve ever bought, and I used a welcome coupon for an additional $30 off. This price included taxes and shipping. It was not an easy hit to my bank account, especially during the pandemic, and I wavered for about six weeks before making the purchase (with a grand mouse-click gesture followed by a gasp). 

One note—because the market and economy have changed drastically since 2020, this same couch is now $1845 on the website. Knowing what I know now, I would still pay the new price tag. Here’s why:

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The update email from Sabai’s team

From the moment I clicked purchase, everything with Sabai was, no exaggeration, a perfect experience. As these couches are made-to-order, I was told they were actually building and upholstering my sofa (so cool!) and to expect shipping confirmation in about four weeks from my order date. I received regular updates along the way from a kind service rep named Ben, who let me know when and why my order was delayed by about two weeks (supply chain, pandemic, etc.) I also ordered our Sabai a week before Christmas, so bonus points to the team for the frequent updates during the holidays.

Communication rating: 10/10.

“From the moment I clicked purchase, everything with Sabai was, no exaggeration, a perfect experience. ”

Two months post-purchase, our new couch arrived in Los Angeles in the promised plastic-free packaging. This is your warning to open the boxes slowly and gently so that you don’t puncture the fabric! It took the strength of two people to get the boxed couch (I believe it came in three boxes) up the stairs to our studio apartment. It was awkward, and I sweated and cursed a lot, but we made it. It is worth noting that you may want to enlist friends or find someone on Taskrabbit to help bring it inside. 

Setup was a breeze. It took my husband and me less than an hour. I wish I had more to tell you here, but I don’t. It was simple. And better than putting together Ikea furniture (curse those little hex keys). I also loved loved loved that Sabai sent us an electronic assembly manual to save on paper. 

The real test, though? And what we likely all care about most? 

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The Sabai Essential Sofa during its first week in our home

The Sabai sofa was comfortable. And by comfortable, I mean capital C comfortable. Like $1400, made-to-order out of recycled velvet comfortable, like my bum had been sitting on broken springs and was now sinking into a cloud. Even my husband, who swore he’d never see the reason to invest that much money in a couch, withdrew his skepticism. It was love at first sit. And we’re still smitten almost two years later. 

Since purchasing our Sabai sofa in 2020, our lives, the world, and the company have changed a lot! We’ve moved to a new place, and the couch, of course, has come with us. It receives less daytime usage now, but it still gets lots of love every evening, and I can honestly say the cushions are as supportive and cozy as ever. 

“Sabai’s recycled velvet is incredibly forgiving and so easy to spot clean. ”

And we’re not easy on the sofa. Think Friday night sushi, lots of dog cuddles, and the occasional spilled red (!!) wine. Sabai’s recycled velvet is incredibly forgiving and so easy to spot clean. Our pup’s paws don’t puncture the cushions, and her hair wipes right off. 

Our couch has also been a bed for numerous guests since we don’t have a second bedroom. My mom has slept on it for an entire week, friends have regularly crashed overnight, and my husband—who used it to quarantine when he got COVID—even boasts it’s more comfortable than our bed. You’d think the cushions would start to sag with all the sleeping, but I swear, they hold their shape and keep getting better! 

As for changes to the company, they’ve expanded quite a bit and have many different couch sizes and colors now, including a sectional couch and a coffee table. I love that the updated sofa design also allows for expansion, so if you opt for a smaller sofa size now, you can always add to it if your family grows. In addition to velvet, the brand has upcycled poly and an expanding color range (including neutrals and brighter colors).

Overall, Sabai is one of the few brands I will continue to rave about to anyone who will listen. They are doing something incredible with their work, on the design front and for the planet. It’s comfort and ingenuity at its finest—and for me, that is worth the price tag.

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Our Sabai sofa almost two years later

Kayti Christian (she/her) is a Senior Editor at The Good Trade. She has a Master’s in Nonfiction Writing from the University of London and is the creator of Feelings Not Aside, a newsletter for sensitive people.