Sectional Buying Guide
Choosing a sectional as a centerpiece for your living room is an important decision to make. Memories will be made on it, and it will serve you, your family, and guests every single day. The popularity of sectionals is on the rise as a family-friendly alternative to the conventional sofa and loveseat combo. So, what goes into making this choice? Here is our detailed guide on buying a sectional – from things to consider and questions to ask yourself when considering or choosing a sectional sofa, to sectional sizes, types, and how to choose the best sectional sofa for you.
Step 1: Why a Sectional?
A sectional should serve you and your needs. If you’re considering a new sectional, this is your opportunity to solve a problem and fill a need that your current setup doesn’t. Maybe you’re so used to the way things are, you haven’t taken a moment to think about how your setup could better serve you and your lifestyle. Take a moment to think – “What do I need?” Below, we discuss how a sectional can solve some problems that you may not even realize you have!
Never enough room when family comes to visit or guests come over?
The deciding factor for many people that opt for a sectional comes down to this – sectionals offer ample seating. Sectionals usually fit 4-6 people and are great for families that enjoy the closeness that comes with sectional seating. Or, for hosts that enjoy entertaining in their homes. If you’re unsure of whether or not a sectional will offer the seating you need, check out our blog Living Room Layout: Sofa or Sectional?
Do you have spills or messes often?
Maybe some very hairy four-legged friends? You need an easy-to-clean sectional. A leather or faux leather sectional will save you tons of time in cleanup. You can wipe off a leather sectional in a second!
Do you need more sleep space for guests?
Always be ready for overnight guests with a sleeper sectional. The sleeper sectional puts a modern twist on traditional pull-out couches. As with all things sectional, you have options – choose from a pull-out model or one that turns into a bed by re-configuring the pieces.
Want the latest technology?
Check out our power sectionals with lumbar support, cup holders, and triple power. Some even come equipped with built-in USB chargers.
Do you have an open floor plan?
Sectionals easily break up the space, strategically separating areas however you please. While open floor plans are airy and light, they can be a bit more difficult to arrange. The large size and prominent structure of a sectional can create distinct areas within a larger area – separating your sitting room or living room from your dining room, for example.
Do you have a small space?
Some people may think that sectionals require a spacious floor plan to work, but that simply isn’t true! Sectionals can go anywhere, be it large rooms or small rooms. In smaller rooms with limited space, a sectional can maximize the seating potential of a room, especially when placed in the corner.
Need storage for pillows and throws?
Get a sectional with storage in the chaise or storage consoles. Most of those storage consoles also include an area for cupholders - so handy and sure to minimize accidental spills.
Do you prefer to recline while you relax vs. sitting?
If so, a sectional is a sure choice for you. Many sectionals come with a chaise piece, which is the perfect place to put your feet up after a long day. They are also ideal for snuggles during movie time – your pets, kids, or partner will thank you!
Step 2: What Shape Do You Want?
Often times the room where your sectional will be placed plays a big factor in the sectional shape you need. Consider the room’s shape, doorways, and walkways when choosing your sectional’s shape. Let’s take a look at the most common sectional shapes, so that you can pick the layout that’s just right for you, your needs, and your space.
Just as it sounds, an L-shaped layout features 2 pieces merged together at their corners in a 90-degree angle to form an L shape. It’s commonly composed of 3 cushions on one side and 2 cushions on the other. Larger options are available with 3 cushions on one side paired with 4 cushions on the other. This is arguably the most popular because of its versatility, as it works well nestled in a corner as well as floated in the middle of a room – making it a great choice for both large and small spaces.
Imagine a classic sofa, but with a chaise extension on one side and you have a chaise sectional. This includes large chaise sectional or a sofa chaise. If you had to describe this layout in one word, it would have to be “lounge.” The extended seat of a chaise piece makes it easy to lounge in comfort with your feet kicked up.
U-shaped sectionals come with a center sofa piece flanked by an extension on each side to create a U shape. You’ll get more face time with this setup for a more intimate seating setup that encourages socializing and conversation. If you’re working with a larger footprint, have a spacious open floor plan, or want the most seating possible (on average, you can seat 6 to 8 people with this layout), the U-shaped sectional could be the one for you. However, it’s definitely too bulky for smaller spaces.
As the name suggests, modular sectionals are made up of individual pieces or parts, making them a great choice if you have narrow stairways or doorways. They’re growing in popularity these days because while most sectionals come in one designated shape or offer one alternative layout, modular sectionals offer a flexible layout (commonly with 5 pieces that can be configured together in multiple ways or as standalone pieces). This opens the door to a world of different possibilities – rearrange the pieces however you want, whenever you want. So, if you like variety, switching things up, or feel like your seating needs are constantly changing with each passing day, this is definitely the layout you want to go with. The pieces shown are from our Savvy modular collection.
Step 4: Measure, Measure, Measure
Not measuring is the most common mistake people make when buying a sectional. Save yourself the headache of disrupting traffic flow with a piece that is too big or blocks doorways, and do your homework on how a sectional will work in your space. Remember, on large store showrooms like ours, the item looks a lot smaller than it will in your home. Take into account the size of your space, as we carry a range of sizes, from smaller sectionals to very large-scale ones. Here are our best tips:
Visualize it in your home.
As with any new piece of furniture, it’s best to visualize a sectional’s dimensions and shape in your home first before you buy. Use a tape measure and put masking tape on the floor outlining the sectional shape to fully visualize how it will work in your space. Do you have enough room to maneuver around it? Make sure you measure floor space, doorways, and staircases before you buy to ensure you can get your sectional to the room of your choice. We have a handy Measuring Guide for you to use to make it easy.
Bigger isn’t always better.
The largest possible sectional may offer the most seats, but it shouldn’t be the only factor. Opting for a larger sectional than you need can dwarf smaller spaces and underutilize valuable space.
Final Considerations Before Buying
The customization of sectional sofas doesn't stop with shape – you can choose the orientation as well. Do you need a left arm facing chaise or right? Some are reversible! Think about traffic flow – a chaise on the wrong side will be a pain to walk around. You are sure to come across the following terms while sectional shopping:
Right arm facing (RAF)
A right arm facing sectional or sectional chaise is one that the arm is on the right when facing the sofa.
Left arm facing (LAF)
A left arm facing sectional or sectional chaise is one that the arm is on the left when facing the sofa.
Do you love soft-to-the-touch fabrics? Do you need an easy-to-clean option? Here are some quick notes on fabric selection:
Affordable, incredibly soft, and very durable. Offers stain-resistant, fade-resistant, and allergen-resistant properties.
It is a family-friendly option because it can stay looking great for years and is super comfy.
It offers a luxurious look and feel, and typically a more modern look.
It is easy to clean, affordable, and chic looking, not as durable as real leather.
Is more expensive, but its durability makes it a worthwhile investment. It ages beautifully, getting softer and developing character over time. On top of that, it's easy to clean.
The sky’s the limit with sectionals. A sectional can be the crowning jewel of your living room. Taking the time to pick the one that is right for you will make all the difference! Choose wisely and you’re sure to fall in love.
If you’re not comfortable shopping and buying a sectional online, come shop and see for yourself in-store this weekend. Our no pressure, helpful sales associates are ready to assist you!