Buying a Sectional Sofa - The Ultimate Guide for 2019 - Sofamania



The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Sectional Sofa

May 15, 2019

The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Sectional Sofa

Let’s face it: buying a sectional sofa can be an overwhelming task. It’s also a great way to maximize the seating in your home while adding a stylish yet functional piece of furniture to your home decor.

If you feel overwhelmed by the seemingly limitless sectional options on the market today, we’ve got you covered. (Even if you don’t know the difference between a right-arm-facing or left-arm-facing sectional just yet!)


Is a Sectional Sofa Right for You?

Are you looking to “fill” a large living area with the perfect furniture? Does your living room fail to accommodate the number of guests you entertain regularly? Are you hoping to create a cozy space for post-bunch naps on the weekend? If you answered yes to any of these questions or others like them, a larger sofa might be the best option for your home.

Another consideration is the shape of your space. If you’re not sure whether a sectional will work in your space or not, map out your floor pattern and identify key walkways. If the couch would limit or obstruct these high-traffic areas, consider a smaller sofa or a couch / loveseat combination that would allow greater freedom of movement.

Finally, consider all of your options. There are many types of sectionals. Often, first-time buyers assume sectional sofas only come in L-shapes and right angles. While this is one of the most common types of sectional, it’s not the only one.

You can find curved or U-shaped couches to fit your budget and style preferences as well, like this U-shaped modern velvet sectional.

purple u-shaped sectional sofa in velvet


Styles and Shapes of Sectional Couches

Speaking of sectional sofa designs, there are three primary categories available to buy: L-shaped, curved, and U-shaped. As the names suggest, each type is defined by its angles and configuration.

  • L-shaped sections look much like a standard sofa but with an additional seat or chaise attached at a right angle.
  • U-shaped sofas have another piece (chaise or seat), creating additional seating on the opposite side of the sofa.
  • Curved sectionals can be either L- or U-shaped, but do not meet at a right angle. Instead, the corners of the couch are softer and (you guessed it!) curved.

Right-arm-facing and Left-arm-facing Sectionals: What’s the Difference?

Imagine unboxing your new couch only to find the chaise lounge extending in the wrong direction. While this is a critical mistake, it’s easily avoided with a splash of careful planning.

An easy way to see if you need a right- or left-facing sectional:

  • Sketch the floorplan of your living space, including the sectional you want to buy. You can also map out where you want the sectional to be using painter’s tape on your living room floor!
  • If you were standing in front of the sectional facing it, on which side would the chaise or extended seat be?
  • If the chaise / extra seat is on your right side, you need a right-arm-facing (RAF) sectional.
  • If the chaise / extra seat is on your left side, you need a left-arm-facing (LAF) sectional.

right-arm-facing leather sectional sofa

Chaises, Corner Chairs, and Loveseats - oh my!

Once you have a general idea of what shape you need your couch to be, it’s time to start narrowing down your sectional sofa search. The best way to do this is to determine what components you want it to include. A few of the most common options are:

Chaise Lounges

To chaise or not to chaise: that is the question. A chaise lounge is an extension, usually without arms on at least one side, that creates additional leg-room on the couch. Take this modern leather sofa with a right-facing chaise, for example. In a way, a chaise functions much like a footrest and is a great option for casual, family-friendly rooms.

Corner Seats

Corner seats are another common (and often necessary) component to sectional couches. If you want to maximize seating with your new sectional, consider a sofa with a curved corner chair. Right-angled corner seats, while stylish, aren’t always the most practical because they limit leg room. A curved corner chair, like the one found on this classic six-seater reclining sectional, provides more legroom than their right-angled counterparts.


Loveseats, on the other hand, are smaller sectional pieces designed to comfortably seat two people. You can find them in RAF or LAF configurations, as well as armless varieties - depending on where the love seat is situated within the larger layout of the sofa.

Buying the Perfect Sectional Sofa for Your Space

Finding the perfect fit for your unique home doesn’t have to be complicated, but you should make sure it will fit in the space you have - physically and aesthetically.

Narrow down your choices by determining which color, fabric, and configuration you love. Then, measure your space and further narrow your list by eliminating the ones that are either too large or small.

The most important step is measuring your living space completely and accurately. To get an accurate idea of how the sectional will fit, mark the length, width, and depth of the couch in painter’s tape on the floor. (The kind that’s just sticky enough to adhere but releases easily!)

left-arm-facing sectional sofa

Home Decor Ideas: The Right Styling for Your New Furniture

Styling your room around your new sofa is the final - and arguably most fun - step in the buying process. Before you sit back, kick your feet up and relax, consider additional pieces of decor you may want to use to accessorize your newly furnished living space.

  • Throw Pillows - If you want to include decorative pillows, make sure you have at least two at each corner of the couch. Try to use a mix of light, medium, and dark colors. If your couch is a medium tone, for example, consider purchasing light and dark pillows to create balance.
  • Ottomans - Ottomans can serve the purpose of a coffee table and a chaise lounge, depending on where you place them. Often, ottomans come with sectionals so you may not have to bother matching the ottoman to your couch. However, if you do get a sectional with an ottoman, you can probably forgo a coffee table.
  • Rugs - A larger sofa requires a larger rug. Find something that is slightly wider than the sofa itself to give the appearance of an even more spacious seating area.
  • Coffee tables - Unlike rugs, coffee tables should not extend past the length of the couch to maintain balance. When in doubt, remember the rule of thirds. In other words, a coffee table that is one-third the length of your sofa will appear naturally balanced and pleasing to the eye.

      As seen on:

      HGTV Magazine


      Yahoo! Finance


      Today Show