okay let me start out by saying, this is a futon, not a couch, though it looks like a couch it sits like a futon. okay, the futon is shipped in a large square box, the only things need to be assembled are the legs underneath, side arm rests and front panel. its not hard to put together, it took us about an hour, might need help putting together if by yourself. I can understand the comments about sitting on a board, it did feel like that when first flipped it over. it has been up a few days now in my house and people have sat on it more and I do notice its not so board like sitting on it. the fabric is a dark grey and durable. it reclines easy to a laid back position or all the way down. all you do is push the chair backs forward a little and you can hear the clicks of it either catching or it dropping all the way down. super easy to do and they are not heavy. husband fell asleep on it last night in the bed position. he did not like the way it sat at first, but he is liking it more every day. I do want to say that I did add pillows to the sides and I found it tremendously helped it feel better to sit on.