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What Is A Sectional Sofa? [The Hottest Trend In Home Decor]

By: Susie
Updated On: May 27, 2023

Are you looking to revamp your living space or just want a fresh new feel to your room? Picking the perfect piece of furniture that is both stylish and comfortable can be quite a challenge. One versatile option that has certainly made its way into my home, and perhaps yours too, is the sectional sofa.

What Is a Sectional Sofa exactly? I used to ask myself the same question before I discovered the beauty of these adaptable and functional furnishings. It has quickly become the center of attention in my living room, providing ample seating and adding a touch of modern design.

Join me as I explore everything there is to know about sectional sofas – from their unique configurations and materials to how they can maximize your space while providing unmatched comfort. Allow my personal experiences and insights on owning a sectional sofa guide you in choosing the best piece for your home.


The Basics: What Is A Sectional Sofa?

A sectional sofa is a type of sofa that is made up of separate pieces or sections, designed to be arranged and rearranged in various configurations. Unlike traditional sofas, which typically consist of a single, linear piece with two or three cushions, sectionals are tailor-made for those who want flexibility and added functionality in their living spaces.

Let’s dive deeper into the defining features, pros and cons, and the different components that make up the versatile sectional sofa.

Defining Features

When it comes to sectional sofas, there are a few key features that set them apart from traditional sofas:

  • Modularity: As their name suggests, sectionals are composed of individual sections or modules that can be combined or separated as needed. This allows you to create a custom arrangement for your space.
  • Versatility: Sectional sofas offer numerous configurations to fit various living room layouts and preferences. A well-chosen sectional can help maximize seating capacity while ensuring comfort for everyone.
  • Customization: With options in upholstery materials, colors, and additional features like built-in storage or reclining sections, sectional sofas provide an excellent opportunity for personal expression in your home decor.
  • Space efficiency: While they may appear larger than traditional sofas at first glance due to their multiple components, sectionals can actually help make the most of your living space by fitting into corners or providing necessary seating without consuming excessive floor space.

Pros and Cons

As with any piece of furniture, there will always be advantages and disadvantages. Here’s what I have found when it comes to sectional sofas:


  • Flexibility in design: Easily rearrange the pieces to suit your changing needs or preferences.
  • Accommodating for larger families or groups: Since you can essentially create a custom seating arrangement, it’s perfect for entertaining guests.
  • Seamless integration into various living spaces: Whether you have a large open-concept room or a cozy corner in a small apartment, sectionals come in various sizes and configurations to suit your needs.


  • May become challenging to rearrange: Depending on the size and weight of individual sections, rearranging your furniture can be slightly difficult or time-consuming.
  • Limited options when moving into a new space: If you decide to move into a new home, you may find that your current sectional configuration no longer works with the new layout. In such cases, replacing or adding extra pieces might be necessary.

Different Pieces

While there is a wide range of possibilities when designing your perfect sectional setup, here are some common components:

  • Sofa section: Constitutes the base for most configurations; typically features two or three cushions with armrests on one or both ends.
  • Loveseat section: A smaller version of the sofa section with two cushions, commonly used in compact L-shaped arrangements.
  • Chaise section: A long piece designed for lounging, often included as part of larger U-shaped setups or as a standalone element for resting your feet.
  • Corner section: Designed to act as the junction between different sections when creating L-shaped or U-shaped configurations, allowing seating around corners without wasting precious space.
  • Ottoman: Not technically part of the sectional sofa but often complimentary; serves as an extra seat or doubles as a footrest.
  • Armless chair: Functions like an extension of the sofa by providing additional seating without taking up much space; can be added to either end for increased flexibility

Now that we have covered most basics about sectional sofas let’s explore some popular configurations!

Popular Configurations to Suit Your Needs

When it comes to sectional sofas, one of the most attractive aspects is the variety of configurations available. This allows you to cater your sofa arrangement to your specific needs and preferences, as well as adapt it to your living space.

Let’s take a look at some common sectional configurations that I considered and how they can best suit different needs.

L-Shaped Sectionals

Arguably the most common type of sectional configuration, the L-shaped option consists of a sofa section combined with either a chaise section or a loveseat section, creating a 90-degree angle.

Often named “left-facing” or “right-facing,” they can seamlessly fit into corners or divide open-concept living spaces effectively.


  • Space-efficient: L-shaped sectionals can be easily tucked into corners, making good use of otherwise underutilized areas.
  • Simple yet functional: With no complex configuration required, this option provides a comfortable seating area without being overwhelming.
  • Suitable for smaller spaces: Due to their relatively compact nature compared to other setups, L-shaped sectionals are perfect for smaller apartments or homes with limited square footage.

U-Shaped Sectionals

The U-shaped configuration is typically larger and more encompassing than its L-shaped counterpart. This setup usually features a central sofa section flanked by chaise sections on both ends, though other variants may include combinations of loveseats and armless chairs.


  • Enhanced seating capacity: Offering ample space for family gatherings or social events, U-shaped sectionals are excellent for accommodating larger crowds.
  • Encourages conversation: The U-shape naturally fosters face-to-face interaction, leading to a more engaging atmosphere.
  • Greater lounging options: With chaise sections on both ends or additional armless chairs added into the mix, there’s no shortage of spots to stretch out and relax.

Chaise Sectionals

Chaise Sectionals

The chaise sectional is similar to the L-shaped configuration, but instead of combining a sofa with a loveseat, it uses a chaise section that extends from one end of the sofa.

It provides more lounging space and can be particularly beneficial for those who enjoy kicking their feet up while relaxing or watching TV.


  • Additional lounging area: The extra chaise section offers increased footrest space and more casual seating.
  • Can fit in various spaces: Due to the simplicity of attaching a chaise section to a sofa, this type of sectional can be customized to suit both large and small spaces.
  • Aesthetically pleasing: The elongated profile of this configuration can make your living area appear more elegant.

Picking the Right Configuration: My Journey

For my own living room, I decided on an L-shaped sectional. My decision was based on the fact that I have a limited seating area in my apartment, which made an L-shaped configuration the best choice for space optimization.

Additionally, I particularly love hosting small gatherings with friends and family, and an L-shaped sectional works wonderfully in offering enough seating without overwhelming my living space.

When choosing your perfect sectional sofa configuration, consider factors like room size and shape, number of occupants in your household, frequency of entertaining guests, and your preferred style or look for your living area.

Regardless of which option you ultimately choose, there’s no doubt that you’ll enjoy the flexibility and comfort that sectional sofas bring to any home.

Material Choices to Complement Your Style

Selecting the right material for your sectional sofa is equally as important as choosing the perfect configuration. A sofa’s upholstery influences not only its appearance but also its durability, comfort, and maintenance.

In my experience, understanding the different types of materials available is essential for making an informed decision that best matches both your style and practical needs.

Leather Sectionals

Elegant and timeless, leather is a popular choice for upholstery due to its luxurious look and feel. Here are some of the reasons why I considered leather when choosing my sectional:

  • Durability: Leather sofas have a reputation for lasting longer than their fabric counterparts thanks to their natural resistance to wear and tear.
  • Easy maintenance: Spills on a leather sofa can typically be wiped clean with a damp cloth, making it easy to maintain even in busy households.
  • Aging gracefully: Over time, genuine leather acquires a unique patina that adds character and charm.


  • Cost: High-quality genuine leather can be quite expensive compared to other options.
  • Sensitive to temperature: Leather may feel cold in chilly months or sticky on hot, humid days.

Fabric Sectionals

Fabric Sectionals

There is something about a cozy fabric-covered sofa that instantly warms up a space. An upholstered fabric sectional can provide endless customization options with countless colors, patterns, and textures available.


  • Versatility in design: Fabric choices are virtually limitless giving you total control over the look of your sofa.
  • Comfort: Many find fabric seating more comfortable than leather due to its warmth and softness.
  • Budget-friendly: Fabric sofas generally come at a lower cost compared to high-end leather options.


  • Susceptible to stains: Fabric sofas may be more likely candidates for dirt or liquid spills. However, stain-resistant upholstery treatments or removable covers can minimize this risk.
  • Potentially short-lived: Depending on the quality of the fabric used, general wear and tear might become more apparent over time.

Performance Fabrics

Searching for a material that is both stylish and durable led me to explore performance fabrics. These high-quality textiles are designed specifically to withstand daily use while maintaining their appearance.

  • Resistance to spills: Performance fabrics resist liquid absorption, reducing the potential for stains.
  • Fade-resistant: Specially designed to maintain color, these materials don’t lose vibrancy even under exposure to sunlight.
  • Long-lasting: Engineered to withstand wear and tear from daily activities, performance fabric sofas remain visually appealing for years.

My Personal Choice: A Mixed Approach

I discovered that combining different materials was the ultimate solution for my sectional sofa. For added comfort, I opted for a textured fabric upholstery on cushions while choosing an easy-to-care-for leather exterior. This method provides the best of both worlds – creating a visually appealing and low-maintenance design that is perfect for my needs.

Choosing the right material requires balancing personal taste with practical considerations like durability, ease of maintenance, and cost. By doing so, you can successfully find a sectional sofa that complements your style while serving as an elegant centerpiece in your living space.

Size Matters: Picking the Perfect Sectional for Your Space

When I began my search for the ideal sectional sofa, I quickly realized that size matters just as much as configuration and material. Choosing a sectional that fits snugly into your available space without overwhelming it is vital. As a result, I’ve outlined some essential steps to help navigate this critical aspect of the decision-making process.

Assess Your Room Size and Layout

Before diving headfirst into purchasing a sectional sofa, carefully assess the size and layout of your living space.

  • Measure: Use a tape measure to determine the dimensions of your room and ensure you know its exact length, width, and any unusual angles or protrusions.
  • Determine traffic patterns: Keep in mind spaces that require clear walkways – easy movement through the room is essential.
  • Consider other furniture: If you have existing pieces that you intend to keep in your living area, account for their size when planning available space for your new sofa.

Visualize the Space

After gathering all necessary measurements, create a visual representation of your living area to determine which sofa size will work best:

  • Draw a floor plan: Sketching a floor plan can help you visualize different seating arrangements and make room for any additional furniture.
  • Use design tools: Online software or mobile applications can help create accurate renderings of various layouts using your specific room dimensions.
  • Try out cardboard cutouts: If digital tools don’t appeal to you, make life-sized cutouts from cardboard or newspaper to represent each section of your potential sofa – place them in your designated area to ensure a perfect fit.

Choose an Appropriate Sectional Size

Now that you have visualized how different setups could look in your living space let’s explore some general guidelines on sizing:

  • Width: As per my research, most sectional sofas range between 84 to 107 inches (213 to 272 cm) in width. Opt for a smaller version if you have limited space or a larger one for an expansive room.
  • Depth: A sofa’s depth is essential for comfort – sectionals typically range from 32 to 40 inches (81 to 102 cm) in depth, so consider your personal preference and available space before making a decision.
  • Height: Although the height of your sofa might not significantly affect room flow, it is essential from a comfort and design standpoint. Sectionals can vary from low-profile options (around 30 inches / 76 cm) to taller selections (approximately 36 inches / 91 cm).

My Experience with Choosing the Perfect Fit

I began my journey by measuring my living room, considering the various traffic patterns, and accounting for the coffee table I wanted to keep. While doing so, I quickly realized that an L-shaped sectional would provide ample seating without monopolizing my entire room.

Using these measurements, I sketched out several potential layouts and settled on an arrangement where the long side of the L-shape hugged one wall while leaving the other open for access to different areas of my home.

Determining how much space you have available is crucial in finding a sectional sofa that fits seamlessly into your living area without overwhelming it. Achieving this balance allows you to optimize both comfort and aesthetics in your living environment.

Incorporating Additional Features for Extra Functionality

Upon exploring the vast realm of sectional sofas, I stumbled upon various models with built-in features designed to boost not only comfort but also functionality.

As a result, incorporating these extra elements could elevate your sectional experience and maximize its potential for meeting your unique needs. Below are some of my favorite additions to enhance a sofa’s usability:

Built-In Consoles or Cupholders

For those who take lounging seriously and enjoy sipping on their favorite beverages while relaxing on the couch, integrated consoles or cupholders may be a game-changer.

These convenient additions keep drinks close at hand while minimizing the risk of spills and provide additional storage space for remote controls or other small items.

Sleeper Sections for Guests Staying Over

If you frequently host friends or relatives overnight, a sleeper sectional can be an appealing option. By featuring a pull-out bed concealed beneath the cushions, this type of versatile sectional transforms into makeshift sleeping quarters when needed.

This convertible function ensures that you’re always prepared to accommodate guests in comfort while maintaining your living area’s aesthetic appeal during regular use.

Reclining Sections for Added Comfort

For an extra level of relaxation, consider incorporating manual or electric reclining sections into your desired configuration. A reclining feature allows you to adjust positions effortlessly – perfect for movie nights or simply unwinding after a long day at work.

Storage Compartments

Sectionals with built-in storage compartments might be particularly enticing if you have limited space in your living area or regularly struggle with clutter. From hidden drawers underneath seats to storage spaces within ottomans, these clever designs help keep everyday essentials organized and easily accessible.

USB Ports and Power Outlets

In today’s digital age, staying connected is crucial – even when lounging on the sofa. Having USB ports and power outlets integrated into your sectional design can conveniently charge your devices and keep them within reach, ensuring you never miss a notification, message, or selfie opportunity.

Customizing Your Sectional with My Personal Touch

With extra functionality in mind, I decided to customize my sectional based on my individual needs. As someone who loves movie nights and binge-watching sessions, I opted for a built-in reclining section to provide maximum comfort during these prime leisure moments.

Additionally, as someone who frequently misplaces remote controls or chargers, I found incorporating an integrated console with storage to be incredibly practical.

Considering additional features when selecting a sectional sofa is an excellent way to tailor the unit to your lifestyle and preferences. From boosting comfort levels with recliners to accommodating overnight guests with sleeper sections, these innovations enable you to make the most of every inch of your living space.

Tips to Maintain and Care for Your Sectional Sofa

After investing time and money into selecting the perfect sectional sofa, it’s essential to maintain and care for it properly to preserve its beauty and longevity. Based on my personal experiences, I have compiled some essential tips for keeping your sectional in top-notch condition.

Cleaning Tips for Different Types of Upholstery

Depending on the material of your sectional sofa, specific care methods should be employed. Here are some general cleaning guidelines based on popular upholstery types:


  • Dust regularly: Use a soft, dry cloth to remove dust and debris from your leather sectional.
  • Use a mild soap solution: Mix a few drops of a mild liquid detergent with water. Dampen a cloth with this solution, wring it out well until just damp, then gently clean the surface of your sofa.
  • Condition: Conditioning your leather sofa with appropriate products can help maintain its softness while preventing cracks and drying out.


  • Vacuum frequently: Using a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment can help prevent dirt, dust, and food debris from settling deep into the fabric.
  • Spot-clean stains: As soon as spills or stains occur, address them immediately by dabbing with a clean cloth or paper towel – avoid rubbing the stain further into the fabric.
  • Use appropriate cleaners: Apply an appropriate fabric cleaner according to the manufacturer’s instructions and always test on an inconspicuous area before using it on visible surfaces.

Proper Cushion Flipping & Rotation

To promote even wear and prevent sagging or indentations in your cushions:

  • Rotate cushions: Make sure to regularly rotate seat cushions wherever possible (swapping left-to-right or front-to-back positions).
  • Flip cushions: If your sectional has removable back cushions that are reversible (same fabric on both sides), flip them occasionally to ensure uniform wear.

Actively Prevent Damage to Your Sofa

Sometimes, a bit of prevention can go a long way in maintaining the quality of your sectional sofa:

  • Avoid direct sunlight: Exposure to direct sunlight can cause fabrics and leathers to fade over time. Position your sofa out of direct light or use shades and curtains to protect it from UV rays.
  • Be careful with sharp objects: Keep scissors, knives, or other sharp objects away from your sofa to prevent accidental damage.
  • No jumping: Avoid children or pets using the sofa as a trampoline – excessive pressure could weaken the structure and cause damage.

Repairing or Replacing Damaged Pieces

Over time, normal wear and tear may result in worn-out cushions or damaged sections. Check for available replacement parts from the manufacturer or consult with a professional upholstery service:

  • Replace worn-out cushions: Source replacement cushion inserts from the manufacturer’s offerings or find suitable alternatives based on measurements.
  • Replace damaged sections: Some sectional pieces might be individually replaceable if it is no longer feasible to repair them.

Taking care of your sectional sofa requires a combination of regular cleaning, timely maintenance procedures, and proactive preventive measures.

By following these tips, you can keep your sectional looking fresh and enticing for years while providing a comfortable and functional centerpiece in your living space.

Where to Buy: Finding the Best Deals on Sectional Sofas

With so many options available for purchasing sectional sofas, it can be challenging to determine the best place to find quality, style, and value. Based on my own shopping experiences, here are a few recommendations for sourcing the ideal sectional sofa that suits both your needs and budget.

Online Retailers

In today’s digital era, shopping online has become increasingly popular, providing access to a wide variety of sectional sofas right at your fingertips:

  • Large e-commerce platforms: Websites like Amazon, Wayfair, or offer a massive assortment of sectionals across various price ranges while often providing user reviews and ratings.
  • Manufacturer’s website: Purchasing directly from the brand website allows you to browse through their entire product catalog and potentially access exclusive deals or customizations unavailable elsewhere.

Keep in mind that when buying online, it helps to read customer reviews carefully and make note of return policies before committing to a purchase.

Brick-and-Mortar Stores

Although sometimes more time-consuming and limited in inventory compared to online alternatives, visiting physical stores offers unique benefits:

  • Seeing products in person: Visiting furniture showrooms enables you to see your desired sofa up close – assessing details like material quality, comfort levels, color accuracy, etc.
  • Negotiation opportunities: Engaging with sales associates may present opportunities for negotiation on prices or obtaining additional discounts during promotional periods.

Types of Physical Stores

  • Big-box retailers: Large chain stores like IKEA or Ashley Furniture HomeStore can provide affordable options among their vast range of home furnishings.
  • Specialty furniture stores: These retailers typically offer higher-end products with knowledgeable staff able to provide expert advice regarding specific brands or styles.
  • Local or boutique shops: Smaller independent shops could feature unique pieces not found in larger retail establishments – these locations also contribute to supporting local businesses.

Creating a Budget-Friendly Plan

To maximize your budget and avoid overspending, take the following steps:

  • Set a price range: Establishing a budgetary limit helps you remain focused on options you can reasonably afford.
  • Monitor sales or discounts: Keep an eye on seasonal sales, promotional events, or clearance sections for potential deals.
  • Consider financing options: Some retailers offer attractive financing plans that make purchasing your desired sofa more manageable through monthly installments.

Finding the best deals on sectional sofas requires diligent research and patience in exploring both online and physical retailers. By comparing all available options, monitoring discounts and promotions, and establishing a budget for your purchase, you can secure the perfect new centerpiece for your living space at an attractive price point.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I rearrange my sectional sofa into different configurations?

Yes, the modularity of sectional sofas allows you to rearrange the individual pieces into various configurations to suit your needs and preferences.

Is leather or fabric upholstery better for a sectional sofa?

Both leather and fabric materials have their pros and cons; choosing the right one depends on factors such as personal taste, budget, durability requirements, and maintenance considerations.

How do I measure my living space for a sectional sofa?

Use a tape measure to determine the length, width, and any irregularities in your room’s layout. Additionally, consider traffic patterns and existing furniture when planning your sofa’s placement.

Are L-shaped sectionals suitable for small rooms?

Yes, L-shaped sectionals are ideal for smaller spaces since they can be tucked into corners while providing ample seating without consuming excessive floor area.

What is a sleeper sectional sofa?

A sleeper sectional has a hidden pull-out bed under its cushions—conveniently transforming your living area into temporary sleeping quarters for overnight guests.

How do I clean my fabric upholstered sectional sofa?

Vacuum it regularly with an upholstery attachment and spot-clean stains using appropriate fabric cleaners according to their specific instructions.

How can I protect my leather upholstered sectional from damage?

To maintain the look of your leather upholstery, dust it regularly with a soft cloth, gently clean it with a mild soap solution as needed, and apply conditioning products periodically to prevent cracks or drying out.

Should I buy a sectional sofa online or in-store?

Both options have their merits—shopping online offers convenience and variety while purchasing in-store enables you to see products in person. It depends on individual preferences and circumstances.

Are there affordable, high-quality sectional sofas available?

Yes, by comparing different retailers—online and in-store—and remaining vigilant about sales or promotions, you can find good deals on high-quality sectionals without breaking the bank.

How do I maintain the comfort and support of my sofa cushions over time?

To prevent sagging or uneven cushion wear, regularly rotate and flip your cushions (where possible), ensuring even usage and maintaining their shape longer.


Embarking on the journey to find the perfect sectional sofa for my home has taught me valuable lessons about selecting the right style, configuration, and materials. As an essential and versatile piece of furniture, it serves as a comfortable and functional focal point in any living space.

From understanding the basics of what is a sectional sofa to choosing the most suitable size, remembering to consider additional functionality, and finding great deals, making an informed decision is key.

By following the insights and tips I shared throughout this guide, you can confidently select a sectional sofa that not only enhances your living area’s aesthetic appeal but also caters to your distinct needs and preferences.

After all, creating a cozy and welcoming home starts with the right furniture – and there’s no doubt that a well-chosen sectional sofa is an investment worth making.

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