Whether you’re furnishing a spacious basement den or a small apartment living room, a sectional sofa is the perfect way to maximize both space and comfort. Easy to place against corners and with a smaller footprint than separate pieces of furniture, sectional sofas offer plenty of space to stretch out and relax.
If you’re looking to upgrade to a sectional, start with these handy buying tips. From upholstery options to configurations and features, we’re arming you with all the knowledge you need to make your next purchase with confidence.
What’s Your Sofa Style?
The first thing to consider when shopping for sectional couches is the layout. Are you searching for a simple L-shaped design, or something with a few more curves? How about a U-shaped sectional with lounge-able chaises on either end? How many people do you want the sectional to seat? We’ll walk you through your options.
Built to fit neatly against adjoining walls, L-shaped sectionals can be configured several ways: by joining right- and left-facing pieces with a corner seat, or by extending one end of a traditional sofa with a chaise.
Choosing a Left, Right, or Corner Sectional
Since sectionals are composed of two or more pieces, you’ll need to make sure yours includes both a left-facing arm and a right-facing arm. To be right- or left-facing means that the arm is on that particular side when you’re facing the sofa – not sitting on it.
To achieve the signature sectional look, you’ll join the right- and left-facing components with a square or curved corner piece. Some sectionals are designed with the corner built into the right- or left-facing component, but others will require a separate piece. U-shaped sectionals may not require a corner piece if each end includes a chaise.
Sectional Sofa Features
If you take your living room lazing seriously, you may be interested in a sectional with special features to enhance the lounging experience. Let’s explore a few popular options:
Like the name suggests, these sectionals feature reclining seats that allow you to kick your feet up and relax. You can even choose from manual or power recliners to suit your needs.
For those who love hosting visitors but don’t have a designated guest room, a sleeper sectional can help guests go from “crashing on the couch” to feeling right at home on your sofa bed. A convertible sectional is a similar choice, with a sofa back that reclines to form a lay-flat bed surface.
For those who’d like a little more versatility, a reversible sectional allows you to reconfigure the shape by simply moving around the components, often with the use of a detachable ottoman and chaise cushion.
Perfect for small spaces, a sectional sofa with storage lets you keep throw blankets and lounging essentials close by. Some designs offer a compartment to store remote controls, tablets, and more. Families will also like the storage feature for tidying up kids’ toys at the end of the day.
Sofa Upholstery Options
Sectional sofas are available in a variety of materials, from leather and velvet to budget-friendly microfiber and cruelty-free faux leather. Higher-end materials such as leather and linen will be more expensive, but there are plenty of alternatives that look just as fresh and won’t break the bank.
When selecting an upholstery type, consider the use your furniture gets on a daily basis and the care and maintenance the fabric will require (check out our How to Clean a Sofa article for tips). You’ll also want to decide whether the sofa you choose will have removable loose pillows or an attached tight back. From modular and classic to tufted and upholstered, there are so many great sofas from which to choose.
Here are a few of our top-rated customer favorites to consider when choosing a sectional for your living space:
Sectional Sofa Measuring Tips
Ready to buy a sofa? Before you take the plunge on your brand new sectional, you’ll need to make sure it fits within your space. If you have your eye on a particular sofa, determine the dimensions of each component (length, width, and height) and tape off the measurements on your floor to ensure it’s a perfect fit. If you’re not yet decided on a sofa shape, measure the length of each wall and sketch out a floor plan to determine the size – to scale – that will both look great and best fit your space.
Keep in mind the sofa’s orientation in your room and plan space for features such as reclining seats and a chaise. Consider the other pieces of furniture that will be in the room, and account for table space as well as room to walk around your furniture. If your sectional comes with an ottoman, be sure to account for this piece when planning the space.
As you shop, you may also want to check out designer Taniya Nayak’s Tips for Buying Furniture Online. With so many style options and all the features your family wants, you’re sure to find the perfect sectional sofa for your living space.
Find More Sofa Shopping Tips & Inspiration…
- Get your finger on the design pulse with the Must-See Sofa Trends of 2019.
- Still on the fence? Check out The Smart Shopper’s Guide to Buying the Perfect Sofa.
- Confused by terms like chesterfield and camelback? Read our Guide to Sofa Designs.
- Learn how to give a basic sofa extra style. Read 5 Ways to Take a Neutral Sofa from Blah to Beautiful.