How To Choose A Sectional

Sectionals are innovative pieces of living room furniture designed to provide ample seating for all your guests. Sectionals are also ideal for lounging. They add a touch of modern flair into your home and offer a comfortable place to relax after a long day.

There are many different types of sectionals. In this buying guide, we will help you pick out the best one for your needs.

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What Different Designs of Sectionals Are There?

As we have noted above, there are several different designs as far as sectionals go. Each design is designed to suit certain space needs. Understanding these designs and how they work will ultimately help you pick a sectional that will easily work for you.

Here’s a simple breakdown:

L-Shaped: The L-shaped sectional is the most popular choice due to its versatility. As the name suggests, the sectional is shaped like the letter L. It can easily fit into any standard square or rectangular room. The L-shaped sectionals are usually placed along the walls of the room in one single corner. But they can also be put at the center if you have enough space.

White Polyester Solid Manufactured Wood L Shaped Reversible Modular Large Sectional
Polyester Blend Solid Wood L Shaped Modular Large Sectional
Faux Leather Manufactured Wood Steel L Shaped Right Hand Facing Large Sectional
Manufactured Wood Foam Synthetic Fiber Polyester Blend Stationary L Shaped Large Sectional
Polyester Velvet Solid Manufactured Wood Right Hand Facing Sectional
Faux Leather Solid Wood Modular Reclining Reversible Sleeper Sectional

Curved: In case you want something that brings a lot of sculptural appeal into your space, choosing a curved sectional is highly recommended. Curved sectionals are artful and they bring an elegant silhouette that will blend into your contemporary décor. They are ideal in oddly shaped rooms but can also be placed at the center for maximum effect.

Warm Gray Chenille Solid Manufactured Wood Curved Symmetrical Large Sectional
White Faux Leather Solid Wood Stationary Curved Right Hand Facing Sectional
Faux Leather Polyester Blend Solid Wood Queen Curved Sleeper Sectional
Faux Leather Foam Solid Manufactured Wood Curved Manual Right Hand Facing Reclining Sectional
Linen Dark Gray Solid Manufactured Wood Curved Symmetrical Corner Sectional

Chaise: The chaise is a relatively smaller and less complicated version of the L-shaped sectional. Its main distinguishing factor is the fact that it comes with an additional ottoman for storage. Chaise sectionals come in a compact design and would be ideal for smaller rooms.

Faux Leather Microfiber Manufactured Wood Stationary L Shaped Sectional With Ottoman
Faux Leather Manufactured Wood Right Hand Facing Stationary L Shaped Sectional With Ottoman
Linen Blend Solid Manufactured Wood Sofa Chaise Reversible Modular Sectional With Ottoman
Faux Leather Solid Manufactured Wood Sofa Chaise Queen Sleeper Sectional With Ottoman
Polyester Metal Manufactured Wood Sofa Chaise Reversible Sectional
Velvet Solid Wood Sofa Chaise Left Hand Facing Sectional

Recliner: Sectionals that recline, with up to three individually reclining seats, can easily become your family's favorite spot to watch TV, read books or take a nap after a long day at school or work. As far as the reclining mechanism goes, you have the choice of power reclining and manual reclining:

  • Manual reclining relies on a lever that you pull when you want to kick your feet up. It's usually a cheaper option but might be less convenient for kids and people with mobility isues.

  • Power reclining is easy to operate for just about anyone and can be further divided into dual power or triple power. Dual-power allows you to adjust the headrest and footrest, while triple-power has the additional benefit of allowing you to adjust lumbar support at the touch of a single button.

Bonded Faux Leather Foam Solid Wood Right Hand Facing Reclining Large Sectional
Dark Brown Faux Leather Solid Wood Right Hand Facing Reclining Sectional
Leather Match Solid Wood Metal Steel Right Hand Facing Reclining Sectional
Brown Faux Leather Polyester Blend Left Hand Facing Reclining Large Sectional
Bonded Faux Leather Solid Manufactured Wood Right Hand Facing Manual Reclining Sectional
Polyester Blend Polypropylene Olefin Solid Manufactured Wood Square Arms Manual Reclining Corner Sectional

Other common designs that you can consider include U-shaped sectionals, which will be perfect for large spaces. You may also go for a modular design that features different independent pieces that can be arranged to meet your design tastes.

Finally, you may also consider a sleeper. This is a highly functional sectional that doubles up as an extra sleeping area.

Linen U Shaped Symmetrical Large Sectional
Linen Solid Wood U Shaped Symmetrical Large Sectional
Purple Silver Velvet Solid Wood Stationary Symmetrical Sectional
Congac Faux Leather Solid Manufactured Wood Corner Symmetrical Modular Sectional
Microfiber Microsuede U Shaped Large Sectional
Faux Leather Gel Solid Wood Symmetrical Sectional

In addition to different sectional shape designs, sectionals also vary according to the back style and armrests, which can completely change the look of your sofa and how it works with the style of your home. Some of the most popular styles of sofa include:

Cushion Back

A cushion or pillow back style sectional is among the most popular as it features plush removable cushions placed directly against the back frame offering maximum comfort and easy maintenance when cleaning the cushion covers. You can also easily rearrange the cushions to customize the sofa to suit your needs.

As this type of sectional is more casual, it is best suited to living areas and dens rather than a formal sitting room. However, you can give a pillow back sectional a more refined appearance by choosing tightly upholstered cushions with a firm touch.

Split Back

Split back sofas have a similar appearance to a cushion back. However, the cushions are typically less plush and often attached to the back of the sofa, making it a less flexible seating option.

Split backs are the perfect choice for a formal sitting room where you still want guests to enjoy a comfortable seat. However, they are also an excellent option for the living room if you prefer a firmer seat as the tightly upholstered cushions offer better support.

Tight Back

A tight back sofa has cushions directly attached to the back frame, which gives them clean, sleek lines that make them a great addition to a modern home. The firmness of the cushion varies according to the filling, but the streamlined back makes for a very comfortable seat. Suitable for any room in the house, you can style your tight back sofa with oversized cushions to create a cozy nest, or leave it bare for an urban minimal aesthetic.

Tufted Back

Tufted back sofa feature upholstery that is pulled and folded to create a geometric pattern that is secured to the cushion using buttons or stitching. The tufts give the sofa an elegant formal appeal ideal for traditionally styled homes. However, you can also find tufted back sofas in clean neutral tones which at texture and interest to Scandi, boho, and transitional living areas.

Camel Back

A camel back sofa is ideally suited to traditional homes or formal living areas in farmhouse, French country or shabby chic homes. The back is characterized by a humped back that has multiple curves along the edge. This style back is highly unusual for modular furniture, such as a sectional but could make a striking statement piece for your living room.

Linen Polyester Solid Manufactured Wood Right Hand Facing Modular Sectional With Ottoman
Polyester Blend Metal Manufactured Wood Sofa & Chaise Reversible Stationary Sectional
Feather Solid Wood Slipcovered Symmetrical Corner Sectional
White Bonded Faux Leather Solid Wood Right Hand Facing Large Sectional
Blue Faux Leather Fabric Metal Sofa & Chaise Convertible Symmetrical Sleeper Sectional
Velvet Quartz Solid Wood Metal Stainless Steel Tufted Back Reversible Sectional

What Size Sectional Should I Choose?

Different sectionals come in different sizes. However, a standard sectional will range between 94 and 156 inches in length. This is roughly between 8 to 13 feet long. The width, on the other hand, will typically range between 94 and 168 inches.

The width here refers to all the components along the back of the sofa. Length, on the other hand, refers to the entire size of the sectional, including the right arm and the corner chair as well.

Sectionals are stunning but they will only work if there’s enough space in the room for them. The last thing you want is to clutter your small living room with a five or seven-seater sectional.

So, how do you decide the right size?

There are two steps involved. First, you need to measure the size of the room. Take all the measurements carefully and after that, measure the size of the sectional you intend to buy. Ultimately, you want to place the sectional at least two feet away from the walls of the living room and still leave enough space for a coffee table or a rug.

However, if you want to place the sectional against the wall, take note of where interior doors are located. The sectional should be placed along two continuous walls. Make sure there’s enough space left between the sofa and the living room doors for ease of movement.

Also, for best visual effect, remember that the longest side of the sectional should never occupy the entire length of a wall. Ideally, you should leave at least 18” on either side. If you are getting a sectional with a chaise, the chaise part shouldn't protrude more than halfway across the room.

Which Fabric Should I Choose for a Sectional?

You want the fabric of your sectional to last as long as the frame. But you also want a good balance of durability and comfort.

  • Cotton and linen are great options for a breathable fabric that is comfortable for lounging on. However, depending on the knit and density of the fabric, both these natural fibers tend to wear out faster than other options. You also need to be aware of loose threads that can snag and bunch easily ruining the aesthetic appeal of the sofa.

  • Wool blends are also a comfortable natural option for sofa upholstery with exceptional insulating properties that keep it cool in summer and warm in winter. Wool won't fade or wrinkle, keeping your living area immaculately styled. However, it is more expensive than other fabric, which may make it cost-prohibitive for covering an entire sectional sofa.

  • A great alternative is a synthetic microfiber. Although many people tend to steer clear of synthetic fabrics, microfiber offers the perfect blend of comfort, stain-resistance, and hard-wearing durability. This fabric is ideal for sectional sofas in homes with kids and pets as they are low-maintenance and easy to clean.

  • Genuine leather is a highly durable material but requires moderate maintenance to keep the texture supple. It doesn't absorb liquids or smells, making it easy to clean, but it can be punctured or torn by pet claws, so it is more suitable for a pet-free home. Leather also has a luxurious textural look to the fabric, which elevates the style of any room in the house.

Walnut Leather Large Sectional With Chaise
Chenille Polyester Manufactured Wood Solid Wood Left Hand Facing Corner Sectional With Ottoman
Gray Faux Leather Metal Sofa & Chaise Right Hand Facing Sectional
Cotton Solid Manufactured Round Arms Wood Sectional
Grey Linen Blend Solid Manufactured Wood Square Arms Right Hand Facing Sectional
Blue Microfiber Microsuede Metal Pillow Back Left Hand Facing Sectional

How to Choose the Right Color Sectional for my Home?

To create a cohesive look in your living room, sitting area, or den, choose a color of sectional to match your current décor. The sofa is generally the largest piece of furniture in the room and draws a lot of attention, so the color of your sofa not only anchors the rest of the space, but it also makes a statement about your style.

Neutral Colors

Neutral colors such as gray, cream, beige, and brown, blend into any room and allow you to use accessories to change the look of the room instantly. They are ideally suited to minimal modern homes, and age well with time.

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are shades that naturally contrast and enhance each other. They will be opposite each other on a color wheel. For example, orange and blue, purple and yellow, red and green. These color pairs create a high impact, high contrast design that can make your sofa pop.

Choose a color opposite to the majority of the shade in the room. If you have a room primarily decorated in shades of blue, choose a sofa in a complementary shade of orange.

Analogous Colors

Analogous colors are those that are next to each other on the color wheel, which act harmoniously together. For example, blue, green, and light green. Use an analogous color scheme to choose and style your sectional for a living room that has high visual appeal. A navy sofa can be decorated with throw pillows in shades of green or make a pink sofa pop with a purple throw rug.

Red Linen Metal Steel Square Arms Reversible Sectional
Gray Polypropylene Olefin Solid Manufactured Wood Right Hand Facing Sectional With Ottoman
Green Velvet Solid Wood Convertible Reversible Sleeper Sectional
Navy Blue Velvet Polyester Solid Manufactured Wood Flared Arms Corner Sectional
Navy Velvet Foam Polyester Manufactured Wood Square Arms Futon Reversible Sleeper Sectional
Navy High End Velvet Birch Solid Wood Acrylic Symmetrical Sectional

How Will the Sectional Combine with Other Furniture?

Once the sectional is placed into the room, it will need to blend in with other pieces of furniture in there too. We are talking about coffee tables, rugs, consoles, and others. For instance, these sectionals should not be too big for the rug. Ideally, you want the rug to extend beyond the binderies of the sectional for the best visual appeal.

The coffee table, on the other hand, needs to sit within the sectional. In other words, it has to be small enough to be accommodated within the sectional’s boundaries.

It’s also important to be careful about choosing the accent pillows. For large sectionals, you will need larger accent pillows. Large sectionals don’t need a lot of pillows. In fact, just place one in every single corner.

Smaller sectionals, on the other hand, may benefit from many smaller accent pillows. If your sectional has a neutral finish, consider going for brighter and bolder accent pillows. This adds excellent texture to the room.

What Additional Features to Look For In a Sectional?

Even though sectionals may, at first glance, look the same, they may come with additional extra features as well. For example, some pieces may come with plush roll arms and deep seats that may feel relatively more comfortable.

Others may feature additional pockets for storage and even cupholders for a soda or coffee. Let alone USB ports. These extra features are designed to enhance the functionality of the sectional and can be invaluable additions to your living room.

Buying sectionals is never easy. There are many factors to consider. However, just take your time. There are many design options out there so you will be able to find a piece that works for your living room.