How to Buy a Sectional Sofa

What’s so nice about a sectional couch?

“It’s the Swiss Army knife of seating,” stated Chris Weir, a companion at Studio Collins Weir, an inside design agency in Sausalito, Calif. “You can program a space for multiple uses with one piece of furniture. You can have a cocktail party with perched seating, but then also have space to flake out and watch TV. There’s something really lovely and open-ended about them.”

Furniture producers supply sectionals with dozens of modules that permit for personalisation effectively past a easy couch with an hooked up chaise. So consumers can create customized configurations that tackle particular areas and actions — whether or not which means defining a gathering space in an open loft, maximizing seating in a small media room or catering to the lounging preferences of quite a few members of the family.

With so many couch programs out there from producers, and all these elements, how do you select a sectional that can give you the results you want? We requested Mr. Weir and different designers for recommendation.

Shopping for a sectional couch isn’t like searching for a easy chair, when an eyeball test within the furnishings showroom could be sufficient to know whether or not it can slot in your front room. “With the sectional, it’s such a big thing that if it’s not sized right, it can feel like it’s taking up the whole room,” Mr. Weir stated.

To guard towards surprises on supply day, he advised measuring the room the place the sectional will go and drawing a primary scaled flooring plan with the scale of the area, so you understand what you’re working with. Also, measure and file the positions of doorways, home windows and another obstructions, like fireplaces, that you just want to work round.

When you discover a sectional you want, draw it into the plan to make sure that it can match gracefully and never overwhelm the area or trigger circulation issues.

There are two primary methods to place a sectional in a room: pushed up towards a number of partitions, or floating as a stand-alone piece.

In smaller rooms, the one means to make a couch match is likely to be to push it towards the partitions. “It maximizes the furniture footprint of the room, and can feel architectural and almost built-in,” stated Jamie Bush, an interior designer in Los Angeles. “It’s meant to be cozy and enveloping.”

In an open loft in Greenwich Village, for instance, Ms. Golub installed a sectional by Christophe Delcourt with pieces that connect at 45-degree angles, which allowed the sofa to gently curl around a television-viewing area.

For a house in Houston, Mr. Bush designed a curvy sectional that snakes around one corner of a media room while leaving space for windows and a floor lamp behind it.

“By making it a curved element and pulling it off the wall, it’s more of a sculptural element, floating in space,” he said.

Sectionals have dramatically different seating heights, from a low-slung, lounge-y 12 inches to an elevated 18 inches or higher.

In general, Ms. Golub said, the higher the seat, the more formal the sectional will feel. A sectional with a high seat might be good in a traditional living room, but for more relaxed spaces, like a media room, lower is often preferable.

“If it’s really for lounging and lying around, the lower to the ground it is, and the deeper it is, the better,” she said. “The more you raise a sofa off the ground, the shallower it needs to be for comfortable sitting.”

Deep sofas, with a depth of more than 40 inches, generally suit those who want to curl up like they’re on a bed, while shallower sofas, with a depth of about 36 inches, are ideal for those who prefer a more upright, chair-like position.

The good news for couples who have different preferences is that many sectionals come in a choice of seat depths, with components that can be combined. “You can do one side deeper and one side shallower, to get two different kinds of seating,” Ms. Collins said.

Some sectionals have components that are easier to move around than others. For a media room in a Los Angeles home, Mr. Bush chose a Tufty-Time sectional from B&B Italia with three ottomans that can be pushed into the sofa to create a giant improvised mattress. “I wanted it to be a place where people could crash in this modular mosh pit,” he said. “You can just push those up, and five people could sleep there.”

And in a house he designed for a young family near Lake Tahoe, he installed a Togo sectional from Ligne Roset, because the components can function as stand-alone seating — as separate lounge chairs and a small sofa, for instance — or be pushed together to form a single sectional for movie night.

“You can even make forts of out it, or flip the pieces upside down to crawl through them like a tunnel,” he said, which makes it popular with the children.

Sectionals like these are also easy to reconfigure if you move to a new home, whereas others don’t offer this level of flexibility. Once they are ordered and installed, they can be difficult, or even impossible, to reconfigure. So if there is a chance you might move to a new home in the near future, plan accordingly.

With sectional modules available in so many shapes, sizes and styles — with and without arms and backs — the options for piecing one together are virtually unlimited. But there are a few rules of thumb that can be helpful in planning the configuration.

Because it’s so big, a sectional upholstered in boldly patterned fabric can overwhelm a room. In most cases, choosing a fabric with a solid color is a safer bet.

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