When the term "sectional sofa" comes up, most people immediately picture a huge L-shaped couch that takes up most of the living room. While this vision may pertain to some sectionals, it does not do this versatile piece of furniture justice. The sectional sofa is one of the most practical pieces of upholstered furniture for large and small living rooms alike. This is thanks to the many different pieces that can make up a typical sectional collection. These range from armrest and single chair pieces all the way up to sleeper sofa units. With so many choices, you can choose the right number of pieces to create a piece of furniture that fits your room size and layout.
Sectional Sofa History
The sectional sofa as we know it did not show up in homes until the Victorian era. This type of sectional was made from the same woods and upholsteries as other seating furniture. It was usually made up of two or more sofas that could be pushed together to make a longer couch. Innovations like corner pieces were not commonly used.
In the 1950's, the sectional sofa got a huge makeover with mid century modern design. This sleek, low-profile design was pioneered by famous furniture designers such as Charles and Ray Eames. This new trend in furniture design emphasized minimalist styles with bold geometric shapes. This way of thinking saw the sectional sofa as a large continuous line of seating that negates the use of chairs, loveseats and separate pieces of furniture. Other innovative features were introduced at this time such as the built-in sofa bed.
The sectional sofa continued to be updated and refined through the latter half of the 20th century. New and more advanced conveniences have been added such as built-in cupholders and storage, power reclining seats, built-in refrigeration drawers and other innovations. Sectionals are also available in a huge selection of fabric and leather upholsteries in the perfect color and texture to match your home.
Anatomy of a Sectional Sofa
Most sectional collections provide two or more pieces that can be configured in different ways. The type and amount of pieces available varies from product to product, but many of them have the following basic building blocks:
Sofa – Sectional sofas typically have a "three over three" design, which is made up of three back cushions over three seat cushions. They are generally available with two arms (like a standalone sofa), no arms, or one arm in a LAF (left arm facing) or RAF (right arm facing) configuration.
Loveseat – Sectional loveseats are designed with two seats. They may be standard loveseats or console loveseats, this means that they have two armrests per seat and usually include cupholders. Loveseats also come in two arm, LAF, RAF or even armless configurations.
Recliner – A reclining seat that can be placed next to a sofa or loveseat to make it longer. Recliners can have two arms, LAF, RAF or armless configurations.
Chair – A non-reclining single seat. It is usually available in the same configurations as the recliner.
Corner Wedge – This is a corner piece that allows a sectional sofa to fit in a corner. Most wedges create a 90 degree angle but some create wider angles. Corner wedges are usually armless.
In addition to the above shapes, some recliners may also offer the following specialized pieces:
Armrest – This is a single armrest that fits between two seats or on an end. It may have added features like a hidden storage space or cupholders.
Sofa Bed – Also called a sleeper sofa, this is a sofa with a fold out bed. The bed is typically queen or double sized. Sofa beds come in two, one or no arm configurations.
Chaise Lounge – Chaise lounges provide an extra long seat to help you stretch out and relax. These are usually one armed pieces (LAF or RAF) to fit on the end of a sectional sofa.
Cooling Drawer – This is a slide-out storage space that can be added to a sofa or loveseat piece, usually located in the base of a sofa or inside an armrest. It is insulated to keep drinks cold, and it is usually cooled with an icepack or electric refrigeration.
Drop Down Table – Some sofa and loveseat pieces have a center back cushion that folds down into a table surface. This is usually on the middle cushion of a sofa.
Cocktail Ottoman – Many sectionals have large ottomans that are seat height, making them great for a makeshift chaise lounge. Some of these ottomans have storage space hidden under the cushion.
What to Consider in a Sectional Sofa
Choosing the right sectional sofa can be a very daunting task. Here are some questions to help you with your decision:
The first thing to consider is your room layout and size. Do you have room for a full size sectional with chaise lounge and sofa bed? Or does the size of your living space demand a smaller setup?
Once you have an idea of the size you have to work with, think of the style that you want. Do you want a traditionally styled sectional in rich brown leather? Or would you prefer a casual contemporary design with overstuffed cushions and easy to clean fabric? You might even love retro modern design and want something in that style. Fortunately, sectional sofas are available in many different styles, colors and upholsteries to suit your tastes.
Another thing to consider is features. Do you want reclining or stationary seats? What about cupholders? Or other options like a sofa bed or console loveseat?
Answering these questions will help you narrow down your choices and find the ideal sectional sofa for your home.
Popular Sectional Sofas
SofasAndSectionals.com carries a wide variety of quality sectional sofas from many of the leading manufacturers. Here are some of the most popular models:
Broyhill Laramie Sectional – The Laramie Sectional by Broyhill has a traditional style that is emphasized by rolled arms, bun feet and nailhead trim. This collection is perfect for classic or western d̩cor. It also comes with your choice of fabric upholstery in many different colors with matching toss pillows.
Jackson Everest Sectional Sofa – The Everest Sectional Sofa combines contemporary style with rich microfiber upholstery to evoke a warm and inviting atmosphere. The chocolate colored upholstery goes well with many different room color schemes. This sectional is huge and comes with many unique pieces including chaise loungers and a cocktail ottoman.
Broyhill Veronica Sectional – The Veronica Sectional Sofa blends the elegance of traditional style with the comfort of contemporary furniture, which results in a sectional sofa collection that looks as sophisticated as it feels. The Veronica collection includes 16 different pieces in left, right and armless configurations to help you build the perfect sectional.
Catnapper Cortez Sofa Sectional – The luxury of leather can be yours at an affordable price with the beautiful Cortez Sectional Sofa by Catnapper. This modern style collection features bonded leather upholstery in a rich brown color. Many of the seats also recline with a chaise style footrest to give you exceptional lower back support.
Klaussner Drew Sectional Sofa – The simple elegance of the Drew Sectional Sofa by Klaussner can be seen in its open flared arms, tightly tailored cushions and thick wood feet. This collection comes with a sofa and chaise lounge that fit together to create a beautiful and comfortable sectional sofa group. The Drew is available in 9 different colors to complement your living room d̩cor.
Lane Stallion Sectional – The Stallion Sectional Sofa by Lane is a contemporary casual sofa collection that is designed for deep comfort. Double padded seat cushions work together with overstuffed back cushions to cradle you in comfort. This collection offers ten different pieces to help you create the ideal sofa sectional. It also comes in rich bonded leather in a variety of colors.