Buying Guide for Sectional Sofas
Why buy a sectional sofa?
Sectionals offer more versatility than conventional joined couches, as they can be rearranged into multiple different positions as needed. You can detach parts of the sectional and place them around the room as extra seats or make more efficient use of your space. Some models can be expanded or extended to serve as spare beds for overnight guests. In others, the built-in L-shaped footrest is removable and doubles as an extra chair or a storage ottoman to provide a bonus compact storage space. They’re great for filling corners or open spaces in your living room or den.
Besides being more versatile, sectional sofas are easier to store away or pack when moving between homes. The detachable parts are ideal for moving, so you only have to carry individual pieces of the sofa out the door instead of having to maneuver, finagle, pivot, and lug an entire couch.
What should you consider in a sectional sofa?
- Seats: Before you buy a sectional sofa, you’ll want to think about how many independent pieces it comes with and the number of seat cushions it will provide your living space. Like with more traditional couches, most sectional sofas come with three or four seat cushions. Most of these are made up of two or three separate pieces. But some larger models can seat 5 to 7 people, or even as many as 12 if you have an extra-large living room.
- Functionality: Sectional sofas can serve as more than just a place for you and your guests to sit and relax. As previously mentioned, many of the built-in footrests double as storage ottomans so that you can keep blankets, pillows, remotes, and other similar items inside of them to save space in your living room or den. Other models come with matching furniture pieces, like a chaise lounge or a coffee table bench for even more storage or seating space. Some can even pull out into a sleeper bed or futon so that you can use them as beds for overnight guests. Not all sectional sofas come with these functions, so be sure to keep an eye out for them if you want any of these extra benefits.
- Upholstery: The material, weave, and color of your new sectional’s upholstery are all factors worth considering before you buy. The more durable the upholstery, the better, as it will last you longer. If the sofa has fabric upholstery, look for a tighter weave since it’s not only stronger but easier to clean. Microfibers are a better choice over fabrics like cotton or linen if you have kids or pets because they’re resistant to tearing and don’t require much care. If you opt for a leather or faux leather sectional sofa, look for top-grain or corrected leather for a more uniform look and higher-quality material. Faux leathers might be preferable, as they tend to be less expensive, more durable, and easily wiped clean. Also, consider that fabric upholstery tends to offer a greater range of colors than leather or faux leather, which are usually only available in blacks or browns. Note that sectionals are rarely patterned or multicolored.
Are all sectional sofas L-shaped?
Nope! An L-shaped or sectional sofa with a chaise on one end is the most common type of sectional sofa, but it’s not the only option on the market. Some U-shaped and circular sectional sofas are available, and they’re great for large families or bigger living rooms, as they provide extra seats and more room to spread out. They also allow people to sit facing each other, which is a boon for parties and other social gatherings. The other most common option is a curved sectional sofa. These are also large and great for entertaining. Since these models can’t be pushed up against walls, they’re better for open-concept and extra-large living rooms. However, keep in mind that these models don’t always come with the built-in footrest, ottoman, or pullout bed options that L-shaped models tend to have.
Our Picks for the Best Sectional Sofas
HONBAY L-Shaped Sectional Couch
A firm three-seater sectional sofa that won't cost an arm and a leg.
Pros: This three-seater sectional sofa is much less expensive than most, making it an ideal starter sofa for a first apartment or condo. The thick seat cushions and fluffy, overstuffed back cushions are designed to be firm and supportive so that you won’t have to worry about sinking in when you sit. Each cushion has recyclable, strong, serpentine steel coils wrapped in a special foam shell that increase their firmness and make them more stable and springy than regular foam interiors. And you can move the ottoman to either end of the couch to create a chaise on either side to fit your home interior, available space, and the placement of your other furniture.
Cons: If you live in a home with more than three or four people, this sectional probably isn’t going to be big enough for your needs, at least as a main, central couch. Not only is it incapable of seating more than three people at once, but the cushions are also so thick that they offer a shallower seating space. The color options are limited to three neutral shades with no patterns or designs.
Bottom Line: Sofas are known for being expensive. This can make it tricky to upgrade your living room if you’re on a budget. Fortunately, this sectional sofa is much more affordable than many similar models, and you won’t have to sacrifice quality or support for cost efficiency. And as a three-seater with a weight capacity of 660 pounds, it’s a great choice for a smaller living space. It’s big enough to support several people but still compact enough to fit into lofts and smaller apartments. But if you have a lot of space to fill, a large family, or a lot of roommates, you’ll want to opt for a bigger sectional.
Pamapic Outdoor Wicker Patio Sectional Sofa
An extra-long sectional sofa designed specifically for outdoor use.
Pros: Since this sectional was designed for outdoor use, it’s more durable than most, so it can brave the elements. The rattan body is UV- and weather-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about it fading in the sun or falling apart after getting wet. The included coffee table has a tempered glass top to prevent common wear and tear. And as a bonus, the couch cushion covers are zippered on to take on and off with ease. This also allows you to wash them in the washing machine for convenient cleaning. Since this sectional comes in seven pieces, it’s very easy to change the configuration of the sofa in multiple ways depending on your needs or style preferences. And the corner chair backs recline.
Cons: While you can seat a good number of people on this sectional, the flip side of that benefit is that it will take up a lot of room. If you have a small balcony or backyard, this sectional sofa will probably be too big for you. And a larger sectional also means that it will take that much longer to assemble and put together. Also, keep in mind that this model is delivered in three different boxes due to the extra pieces, which might not arrive together. Therefore, there’s a chance that you’ll have to wait a while to receive all the parts and start assembling your sectional, so this model isn’t a great choice if you have a party coming up very soon or are otherwise on a tight schedule.
Bottom Line: As long as you have outdoor space to spare, you’ll love this sectional sofa. It’s perfect for just about any outdoor space, from poolside to patio, from balcony to backyard. You’ll get plenty of use out of it, from backyard parties to those days when you just want to recline in the sun. But if you have limited outdoor space, want a quick and easy sofa to set up, or seek an indoor sectional sofa, this isn’t the model for you.
HONBAY Modular Sectional Sofa U Shaped Couch
A large, seven-seat sectional sofa with a reversible storage chaise and sleeper configuration capability.
Pros: This sectional offers much more seating space and versatility than its two-, three-, and four-seater cousins. With this sofa, you can configure it however you want—and each seat can be moved and re-matched in any configuration that best fits your living space. Bonus storage areas under the seats mean you can put away your remotes, magazines, and other items without having them clutter your space. This sofa also converts into a sleeper, making it ideal for overnight guests or family gatherings. The mid-century fabric is breathable, soft, strong, and won’t pile or bunch, and it has a nailhead trim for a classic, stylish look.
Cons: Since this sectional is quite firm and supportive, those who prefer to sit or recline on softer, fluffier couch cushions probably won’t find it as appealing. And while the extra seating space can be nice, this sectional will be too large to stick in most lofts or smaller apartments and condos.
Bottom Line: Sometimes, a more standard two- or three-cushion couch just won’t cut it. This sectional sofa is the optimal choice if you want extra seating and sleeping space. And thanks to the additional storage space, you’ll get your money’s worth even when you’re not entertaining guests. But those with smaller living areas may need to look elsewhere for a sectional that better suits their space.
Lilola Home Linen Reversible Sleeper Sectional Sofa with Storage Chaise
This contemporary sectional sofa has ample storage space inside the chaise and converts to a supportive sleeper for your guests.
Pros: This sectional sofa from Lilola can be an attractive addition to your living space. The tufted seat and back cushion make it both comfortable and stylish, while the solid wood frame will help ensure long-lasting durability. The L-shaped sofa has an ideal modern contemporary style that works well as an accent piece and a functional seating area with a bonus storage bin under the chaise. Adding further to its functionality, the unit features versatile configuration options and a spacious sleeper to keep your overnight guests comfortable and supported.
Cons: Here’s another sectional that’s a bit on the firm side, which should be fine for those who prefer firm support. However, it may not be an ideal pick for people who enjoy softer cushioning to sink down into.
Bottom Line: This practical piece may be just right for you if you’d like a firm sectional that’s as stylish as it is functional. The under-chaise storage is perfect for stashing sheets and blankets, so they’ll be handy for use with the sleeper feature. The sofa is easy to assemble for most users, and the versatile configuration factor allows you to shake things up in your room decoration simply by rearranging the seats.
Best Choice Products Linen Sectional Sofa
This three-seat sectional sofa has a reversible ottoman and fits nicely in smaller spaces.
Pros: The Best Choice Products Linen Sectional Sofa is a stylish option that’s perfect for apartments, dorm rooms, offices, and other compact spaces. You can place the reversible ottoman on either side of the L-shaped sectional for versatility. It’s made from soft linen fabric and can be assembled in less than 15 minutes without using any tools. This sturdy yet space-saving design can accommodate three people and up to 680 pounds.
Cons: With this being a sectional that’s well-suited for compact spaces, taller people may not be as comfortable on it. Also, keep in mind that the cushions come vacuum-packed and may take some time to fluff up after opening. Some users felt that the cushions didn’t get plump enough for their liking, even after allowing considerable time to pass.
Bottom Line: This sectional sofa may be an optimal solution to add seating in smaller areas. The chaise lounge design allows you to place the ottoman on either side, making it easy to change up your room decor or create a more comfortable viewing angle for watching TV. And with easy, tool-free assembly, most buyers can feel confident about putting everything together themselves.
A sectional sofa can be a great addition to your home, either inside or outdoors. Whether you entertain a lot, want an easily adjustable couch, or simply desire a multifunctional piece of furniture, a sectional sofa can serve all of these purposes and more.