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What is a Sectional Sofa?

Whenever you mention the idea of a sectional sofa to someone, they immediately have a picture of a huge L-shaped or U-shaped couch that takes up nearly all of a living room.

But that’s not really how they have to be!

It’s just how some people, particularly in the early days of these offerings have opted to have them.

In fact, a sectional sofa is really easy to fit into your home and deliver the exact sofa space you need – here’s what you need to know.

What Are The Components Of Sectional Sofas?

Many sectional couches offer a series of sectional orientations and components and you are not guaranteed to find all of the following options in you start your sectional sofa choosing.

However, these are the kinds of choices that you will find you can make if you shop around and most brands will carry some common components such as chaise sectionals because of their popularity with furniture buyers.

Basic Components

There are six standard components of a sectional sofa system:

The sofa itself – this can often be used as a standalone sofa or it can be combined with other parts of most sectional collections using the following basic building blocks and advanced components depending on your needs or the demands of the room layout.

The loveseat – a sectional loveseat is no different to a console loveseat though many section couches will use sectional loveseats with different armrest configurations from a standard loveseat to complement the sectional pieces around the loveseat.

The recliner -a recliner is used with the sectional sofa and loveseat pieces to make them longer, it’s not quite a sofa bed but it’s easy to stretch out this piece of a sectional sofa.

The chair(s) – sectional sofas typically come with some modular sectional chairs that are used to complement the main sofa or to add capacity to deliver three seat cushions or even the equivalent of two sofas as a unique seating arrangement that meets someone’s perfect sectional layout requirement. They tend to be available in similar configurations to the recliner and there may also be armless chair models.

Rounded corner wedges – these corner pieces are there to ensure that a section sofa fits neatly into the corner of a room and they make for a casual contemporary design which is very popular in sectional couches.

Square corner wedges – no contemporary casual sofa collection is complete without a hard 90 degree corner wedge that allows the section sofa to fit squarely into a corner, this is typically an armless piece and it takes up less space than a rounded corner design.

Advanced Components

A sectional sofa may also add some additional pieces that are considered to be more advanced or specialized pieces.

The sleeper sofa – this part of a sectional sofa acts as a bed and can be pulled out from under the main part of the sofa as required. This is often better than a traditional sofa as it offers additional guest capacity in a home without requiring any more bedrooms.

Chaise lounge – the chaise lounge is an extra-long seat and while reclining sectionals can act as a makeshift chaise lounge at a push, the truth is that chaise lounges are longer and your best modular sectionals options if you really want to stretch out. One of our boys is super tall and the chaises sectional piece of our sectional sofa is essential for his comfort.

What Do I Need To Consider When Buying A Sectional Sofa?

If you’re going to buy a sectional sofa, it’s a good idea to have some answers to some simple questions before you go shopping .

These include:

What size room do you have to work with?
Sure, your ideal sectional sofa might involve stationary seats, curved sectionals, a reclining seat, sofa beds, etc. but if you don’t have the space for that – you will want to think carefully about the important parts of your ideal sofa sectional and focus on those.

Why kind of styling do you want?
The right sectional sofa for you might be any one of a range of popular sectional sofas or it might be a classic piece of upholstered furniture in leather or need to match your cocktail ottoman. This is going to be a very individual need but it’s very important to know what will work for you, a sofa is an expensive purchase to come home and find you regret your choice.

Then you want to look at features,
Do you want a vibrating center back cushion, cup holders, leather upholstery, a non-reclining single seat, a left or right side design, storage space hidden underneath, etc? The more precise that you can be about your needs, the easier it’s going to be to meet them. And it will let you eliminate the brands that don’t meet your requirements early, allowing you to focus on those that do.

Why Choose A Sectional Sofa?

There are three main reasons that people opt for a sectional sofa rather than a standard one.

Extra Seating Options
Items like chaise lounges provide so much additional flexibility in how many people can enjoy comfort at the same time. When you have friends and family over for the holidays, for example, a sectional sofa can often easily adapt to seat a few more people in comfort than a standard design can.

You can get a sectional sofa to fit in any room in your house. Sure, we tend to think of these sectional couches as being used to fill large living rooms but there’s nothing wrong with using them to maximize space in a study or a bedroom.

Call it what you will but there’s something awesome about the look of a sectional sofa. When you see one, you just want to leap on it and try it out and they allow you to be truly unique and present your own personality in your sofa choices.

What Styles Of Sectional Sofa Are There?

The main styles of a sectional sofa are the left-facing and right-facing styles.

These are simple designs that match the orientation of the room. If the main sofa arm is one the left of the couch it’s a left-facing sofa and if it’s on the right, it’s the right-facing one. Easy, right?

Some of these sofas have no arms at all, however, and you might think of them as unidirectionally facing (though that’s a term we just made up).

Common Questions About Sectional Sofas

What Is The Point Of A Sectional Couch?

A sectional couch allows you to build a sofa that exactly fits your family’s needs and makes the most of the space in your living room.

U shaped sectionals, for example, can make a living room a place for family conversations and enjoyable nights in together and when the kids go to bed, the adults can stretch out and watch TV in style.

L-shaped sectionals, on the other hand, can allow you to space your sectional sofa around the perimeter walls of your living room and free up plenty of floor space for other activities.

Quality sectional sofas come with a large amount of choice in how you style your living space and create a warm and inviting atmosphere in a room. You can even use them to provide hidden storage space or a fold-out bed to increase the utility compared to a regular sofa.

What Is The Difference Between A Sofa And Couch?

Nothing really. The two words are used interchangeably in the industry and are unaffected by choices like having armless configurations, or a table surface built on the sofa, or the use of console loveseats, etc.

So, you can choose whether to call your sectional a sofa or a couch in the secure knowledge that you cannot be wrong about this.

Why Are Sectionals So Popular?

A sectional sofa is the ultimate in convenience living, there’s no other option in sofas that lets you add a sofa bed or a chaise sectional at a whim after your purchase or lets you turn a standard sofa into L-shaped sectionals years after you buy.

There’s also really no such thing as a traditionally styled sectional sofa and that means you can customize it as you like without the fear of being “out of fashion”.

Final Thoughts On Sectional Sofas and Sectional Couches

We think everyone should have a sectional sofa, at least, in their living room – if not in their other rooms too.

They offer so much flexibility and customization that you know that spending time on one is going to be an exercise in home comfort and enjoyment.

There’s nothing that beats sectional couches for their ability to express your individuality either, once you’ve tried them, you’ll never buy a standard sofa again.

If you’ve enjoyed this piece you may also enjoy our history of couch design and our lists of the best sofa brands and our favorite mid-century couch brands too.