How to Choose a Sectional Sofa

Shopping for a new piece of furniture, especially a sofa, is a big home furnishing decision. A couch is an essential piece of furniture in the home, as it is functional and effortlessly defines the color scheme and design of the living room. It will be in your home for many years, and it has to be a good fit. A sectional sofa is also the perfect furniture to get if you want to cuddle up family-style.

Sectional sofas are invented when a furniture designer has decided to attach an ottoman to a couch and make it one piece. They have increased in popularity in the 2000s, as more and more family time is being spent inside the living room, watching movies and television at home. Its design allows you also to recline and relax in a horizontal position completely.

Buying a sectional sofa is a big decision, but here are some tips to help you out:

1. Take measurements of the space where you plan to put the sectional sofa

You may be interested in a particular style of a sectional sofa, but the space you have to use may not work with the size of your living room. Before buying a sectional sofa, take some measurements of the area wherein you want to place the sectional sofa. Consider the length of the overall couch, and the length of any reclining features and the accompanying ottomans.

You need to consider the proportions of the couch in the living room. Big and bulky-looking sectionals are great only for larger spaces, while sleek sofas work well for smaller areas. Also, don’t assume that you need to have a large room for a sectional couch. A small room can also work great for a sectional because it helps keep the room from looking crowded if there isn’t enough space for a couch and loveseat.

Also, make sure that the pieces of the sectional sofa can fit in the pathway of delivery. Will they fit in doorways or through the hallways? Can they be brought up if through the stairs, especially if there’s a landing with a 90-degree turn? The great thing about sectional couches is that they can be made of two or more pieces, which allows easier transporting, but sometimes the bigger pieces still won’t fit.

2. Make sure a sectional sofa is what you need

When considering to buy a sectional, there is always more to think about than just the space it needs in your house. Comfort and practicality are of primary importance.

Imagine if the room pictured above has been furnished with a couch, a chair, and a corner table; or a sofa and a chaise lounge. It would have looked crowded and cluttered. Because of the layout and size of the living room, putting a sectional makes perfect sense.

If the sectional is placed mainly for watching TV, consider the placement because most likely, no one will want to sit on the portion perpendicular to the TV. A rounded corner sectional may be most efficient for this, as everybody can comfortably view the screen. But if the TV sits in the corner of the room, a sectional can be just right.

3. Be familiar with sectional terminology

A sectional sofa is truly a family-friendly alternative to the traditional couch and love seat, but sometimes, options can be confusing and mind-boggling. Here are the terms you need to know about sectionals to take some of the mystery out of them:

  • Right-arm facing (RAF) – this type of sofa is one that the arm is on the right when you are facing the sofa.
  • Left-arm facing (LAF) – this type of sofa is one where the arm is on the left when you are facing the sofa. By the way, both RAF and LAF are terms used when describing a sectional sofa with a chaise lounge.
  • L-shaped sofa – This type of sectional sofa comes in the shape of an “L,” with 3-5 pieces including a corner piece.
  • U-shaped sofa – This is a type of sectional sofa wrapped around in a U-shape. It’s great for conversation but takes up more space.
  • Curved sofa – It’s a sectional sofa shaped in a “C.”
  • Modular sectionals – It’s a versatile type of sectional sofa that has parts that can be arranged in a variety of ways, including pieces that can stand alone.

4. Choose if you want arms or no arms

Ask yourself, are you comfortable with having arms for the sofa, or do you prefer the clean lines of a couch without arms? This boils down to personal preference. Some want their sofas with no arms so they can squeeze in more people or so people also recline and lie down comfortably even when they are longer than the couch. Some want arms because they feel like something is missing with armless chairs.

5. Consider the traffic pattern of the room

A sectional sofa with a chaise sounds great, but if it’s on the wrong side, it can be a source of annoyance rather than relaxation because you always find yourself wanting to walk around it. A good rule of thumb is to keep the chaise part on the side of the room with the least amount of traffic.  

6. Consider your lifestyle when choosing a material for your sectional sofa

When determining the choice of material and fabric, your lifestyle will be your major consideration. Most people often jump to a leather sectional because of its great reputation but take a moment to think first before choosing this as a couch. If you have young kids, babies or pets, you may not want to use this because it’s not forgiving with pen and ink stains, and other kinds of stains. You may instead opt for a material that is easier to clean and soft. Leather is a stylish choice that can give your room a sophisticated look, while fabric sofas can offer a wider range of colors, styles, and designs to choose from.

7. Consider a fitting design and color, considering your interior design

This is where you consider aesthetics. You want your sectional sofa to match the existing interior design in your room. Be sure that the fabric color of choice works well with the overall décor in the living room. For instance, if you’re living room is done in whites and browns, you can choose a shade like cream or taupe. But if you want to add some pizzazz, you can add an accent color, like a bright orange couch to add some zest. Keep in mind that the sectional sofa would most likely be the centerpiece of your living room, so make it blend, or use it to establish a new color scheme in the room.

8. Consider the height and depth of the seat

If you want to be able to take a nap on the couch or let a guest sleepover, then the seat of the sectional needs to be wide enough for snoozing. When it comes to the height of the seat, it boils down to your personal preference. Do you want to feel cozy enough and be closer to the floor? Then find a sectional with lower seating. Do you want a seat that can maintain proper posture and be friendly to your tall friends and family? Then, choose otherwise.

9. Keep in mind the size and shape of your existing coffee table

If you already have a fine coffee table, you’re most likely going to snuggle it within the parameter of your sectional sofa. Make sure you choose furniture that can accommodate this. They have to allow for comfortable space so people can get in and get out of the couch quickly when the coffee table is in front of the sofa.

10. Consider the price

When it comes to the price, expect to pay more for sectional sofas than you would typically pay for standard sofas. It’s just reasonable because sectional couches offer more seating and give more flexibility when it comes to the placement of the furniture in your room. It’s crucial to purchase a sectional that you can afford, but don’t skimp just to save some pennies. A good-quality sofa can be the focus of your living room for many years to come.