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The Ultimate Buying Guide for Sectional Sofas

Written by Andrew | Last Updated 2019-12-03

About Andrew

Not only a home designer, Andrew is also the founder of BFA. He always have full enthusiasm for the industry and his job, and he enjoys to share some new ideas to others. His professional advice can help you choose furniture better and home style which fits you.
The Ultimate Buying Guide for Sectional Sofas

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Everyone knows what a sofa is, but do you know some of its history? The English word ‘sofa’ comes from Arabic. In Arabic, the word ‘suffah’ is used for a platform that is used for sitting. Early sofas date as far back as the 1600s in Europe. Nowadays, sectional sofas are fast becoming a trendy alternative to traditional sofas. They are a family-friendly solution that easily replaces conventional two and three-seat sofa sets. They are a much larger substitute to the standard sofa, and sectionals are definitely worth your consideration if you have a big family or you regularly entertain large crowds and lots of guests. You can even consider buying a sectional sofa if you want to style your living or family room in such a way that people can lounge around as opposed to sitting perched on the sofa in a fixed position.

Sofa sectionals can go anywhere. Many people think that sectionals only work in larger rooms, but that is not true. Sofa sectionals can help you maximize your seating options even in smaller spaces, especially if you place them in a corner. Furthermore, a good sofa sectional can be used to break up an open floor plan. Open floor plans area great, but arranging your furniture in such spaces and getting the most out of it can be a little tricky.

This is where sectionals are perfect. With their broad size and structural shape, they can be used to create distinct spaces within larger areas. In the past, sofa sectional options were bulky and unwieldy. However, today’s sofa sectionals are much more sophisticated. They range from streamlined versions that are upholstered in velvet to styles that come slipcovered in linen. Furthermore, sectionals are often much more versatile than they appear; they work well in smaller spaces, such as the study or home office, and they are perfectly at home in large living rooms as well. Read on below to learn everything that you need to know about sectionals: why they are the highest form of functional seating, how to buy one, and notes on various sectional configurations.

Why Buy a Sectional?

A sectional is a terrific piece of furniture that gives you a lot more seating than traditional sofas do. Sectionals work very well in large spaces. They also work well in smaller spaces where you need to get the most in terms of seating within a confined space. This is especially true if you are able to push your sectional into a corner.

With a sofa sectional, you can lounge around or place your feet up. This makes them a great choice for family rooms as well as basements. One of the best things about purchasing a sectional sofa is this: you can use it to split up open floor plans into distinct areas. A sectional will help you separate your sitting room from your dining room or your basement game area from the workout area and so on.

Measure Your Available Space

You need to know how much space you have to play around with. This is very important when you plan to buy any piece of furniture, especially a sofa sectional. You must make sure that your sofa sectional will not extend past any given wall or will not leave ample room in front or behind it for easy traffic around the room. This does not mean that sectionals are only for larger spaces; if you have a small room, all you have to do is be a little extra careful with the configuration of the sectional you choose so that it does not crowd out your space.

Check Different Sectional Dimensions

Sizes can be deceiving, both online as well as in furniture showrooms. You need to measure the length of your sectional as well as its depth. Sectionals usually have a lot of seat depth so make sure to measure and compare its depth with that of your existing sofa or chairs to gauge whether or not it will make for a good fit or will be too much. Some sectional sofas come with a chaise as well. Make sure that you measure the length of that piece too before finalizing a purchase. If you are unusually tall, your feet might end up hanging off the edge of your chaise, depending on the model.

Choose a Configuration

Sectional sofas are very flexible and versatile. There are many different types and setups that you need to consider. Certain shapes work better for some spaces than others. Make sure to take some time to think about what will work best given your room or living space.

L-Shaped Sectionals

L-shaped sectionals, as the name suggests, look like two sofas that are merged together to form an L with a 90-degree angle in the middle. L-shaped sections usually come with three cushions on one side and two cushions on the other side. However, other options are also available. This style works really well in a corner or set as a floating seating area in the middle of an open space.

U-Shaped Sectionals

U-shaped sectionals are perfect for big families. They provide you with plenty of seating and lots of room to spread around in. U-shaped sectionals are ideal for large spaces. They are also a good choice if you do not want to purchase armchairs and other seating items and want everything combined into one large sectional. The shape of U-shaped sectionals also has the benefit of allowing two people to sit opposite to each other and facing each other if they sit at the ends of the U.

Chaise Sectionals

A chaise sectional looks a lot like a traditional sofa but it has a chaise on one side, either the left or the right of the sofa. You can place this kind of sectional almost anywhere that you would place a regular sofa. The advantage of this kind of sectional is that it gives you a great spot in which to lay down with your feet propped up. Chaise sectionals can also be used to seat an extra individual at the edge of the chaise.

Curved Sectionals

Curved sectionals are an appealing alternative to regular sofas. They are easy on the eyes and they help promote conversation between your family or guests. It is a great choice for those who enjoy entertaining guests and having people over. You cannot push this sectional against a wall, however, so it is best suited for open floor plans or large rooms.

Modular Sectionals

Modular sectionals are fast becoming a popular option because they give you numerous different options depending on the mood. Most sectionals come in pieces that are meant to connect together and stay that way once you have completed your installation of the piece. Modular sectionals, in contrast, can be arranged and rearranged as frequently as you want in various layouts and setups. You can pull out parts to provide extra ottomans or push pieces together to create a chaise. Modular sectionals usually come in five pieces that can be set up and configured in numerous ways. This type of sectional is a great choice if you like a little variety and want to be flexible with the way you set up and use your sectional.

Sleeper Sectionals

The sleeper sectional is the sofa equivalent of a pull-out couch. They usually support sizes equal to that of a Queen-size bed and are perfect for overnight guests or the in-laws. Some models have a bed that actually pulls out; others can be turned into a bed by simply reconfiguring the pieces.

Consider Room Traffic

How will the room in which you have your sectional be used? If you have a chaise on the wrong side of the room, it will be a real nuisance to have to walk around it all the time. Choose a sectional that has a chaise on the side of the sectional that has the least amount of traffic. Also, you need to make sure to order the correct chaise in terms of right-facing or left-facing because some rooms will support one configuration but not the other.

Materials Used in Sectional Sofas

You can buy a sectional sofa in a wide variety of fabrics. These include leather, microfiber, polyester, and high-performance fabrics. If you have young children or pets, choose a fabric that is stain-resistant or machine-washable. If you have cats, avoid leather since it can be easily scratched to shreds. Many retailers offer protective sealants that prevent stains (such as Scotchgard) and they can sometimes even cover rips and tears.

Get It Right

There are more things to consider before buying a sectional. This is true for any purchase. Here is what you need to consider before purchasing a sectional.

Left vs. right. This an important choice to make if you are purchasing an L-shaped sectional or a chaise sectional. Do you want it to face left or face right? The difference between the two is a small one but an important one nonetheless. Before making a purchase, imagine yourself standing in front of your new sectional sofa. If you want your sectional to extend out towards the right side, you should choose a right-facing sofa. If you want it to extend out towards the left side, you should choose a left-facing sofa.

Do your homework. If you are unsure how your sofa will look and fit in your home, try this: using tape, trace out its exact shape and dimensions onto your floor. This will help you determine whether or not you will have enough room to move around your sectional and that it will not disrupt the flow of traffic around it. It is never a bad idea to draw up a floor plan in this way regardless of the type of furniture you are thinking of buying.

Consider corner seats. With L and U-shaped sectionals, the seat that is in the corner will be boxed in from both sides. This leaves very little space in that part of the sofa for lounging your legs if the rest of the sofa has people on it. If this is something that you completely want to avoid, think of a different configuration for your home.

Float it in the room. A common placement for regular sofas is against a wall. However, this rule does not have to be followed when it comes to sofa sectionals. If you have room to space, try to float the extended arm or even the entire sectional in the middle of a large room mix things up.

Final Thoughts

Here are a few final thoughts that you should consider before finalizing your purchase of a sofa sectional.

If you buy a square coffee that table fits within the boundaries of your sectional, you can make a versatile setup that looks nice as well.

Make sure your setup works well with the other furnishings you have in your home.

When picking a rug to match with a large piece of furniture such as a sofa sectional, bigger is usually better. We recommend that you buy a rug that extends beyond the boundaries of your sectional. This will help to make your room feel larger. If you have a smaller rug that you would like to use in your space, try using it under a smaller coffee table so that it can be seen without distracting from the rest of the room’s aesthetic.

Related to the point above, when it comes to choosing a coffee table, if a rug extends beyond your sectional, then your coffee table should stay within its boundaries. You need to make sure that it is large enough so that everyone who might be sitting on the sofa sectional can reach it.


A sectional sofa can be a great investment if you want to get the most out of your seating, want more comfort and space than a regular sofa can offer, and want versatile and flexible furniture. With a sectional, there is room for more people, they are perfect for lounging around and propping your feet up, and depending on the size you choose, a sectional can give you better looks in the living or formal areas of your home.

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