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What's Better- Sofa or Sectional?

by Nick, Digital Specialist | January 23, 2021

One of the most common questions our customers ask is whether they should choose a sofa or a sectional for their living room. Check inside for some great tips on how to choose!


One of our favorite questions to ask when a customer comes through our doors is this: “what room are you working on today?”. Whenever the answer is any kind of living room (family room, den, even a basement), customers are often faced with a dilemma: sofa and loveseat, or a sectional? It can sometimes be difficult to determine which will be best for your space. Let’s break down what you’re getting yourself into with each option:

Sofa/loveseat: really, this applies to any combination of free-standing pieces (sofa/loveseat, sofa/chair, etc). A setup like this will tend to look smaller in scale, which is great for smaller spaces. Also, if your room has a lot of obstacles (doors, entryways, stairs), then free-standing pieces would allow you to configure your room in a way that makes sense.

One other benefit to free-standing pieces is the flexibility to move them around depending on the situation. You could have one configuration for everyday use, and then move some pieces around if you’re having a gathering.

Sectional: the biggest reason most people choose a sectional is to maximize the seating space a room has to offer. Think of it this way: if you imagine a free-standing sofa and loveseat that are perpendicular to one another (making an L-shape, in other words), then there is an empty corner between the two, where most people put an end table. A sectional would have an additional seat in that corner, allowing for one more person (or the dog, in many cases!) to sit. If you have a big family, or you frequently have people over, a sectional may be the way to go.

A word of caution: as mentioned above, if your room has a lot of obstacles such as doors and entryways, or the space where you’d put a sectional is small (less than 90” x 90” at a minimum), then a sectional may not make sense. You may want to consult with someone at your local furniture store, or try to draw it to scale on your own. Be aware of how the “traffic” will flow around the room, too!

Another thing to consider is the big-picture style of the pieces you’re looking at. Generally speaking, free-standing pieces tend to look a bit more formal, while sectionals tend to be more cozy and casual, so think about what kind of “feel” you’re going for when making your choice. In addition, freestanding pieces may have the effect of making your space look bigger and more open, while a sectional will act as an anchor to your room- it may look less open, but also more cozy.

A few other things to consider:

- How you use the space. Is it a formal living room for greeting guests? Then you should definitely go with free-standing pieces. If the room is for kicking back your feet and relaxing, you could get away with either option.

- Do you like to rearrange? If you’re the kind of person who gets sick of a room’s layout and likes to change things up, definitely go with free-standing pieces. This will give you the flexibility to move things around, whereas you don’t have that freedom with sectional pieces. If you’re more of the set-it-and-forget-it type, either choice would be fine!

One final tip: if you’re not sure, ask! Take some pictures and measurements of your space and bring it to a designer, a consultant at a store, or a trusted friend for input. The final decision is yours, of course, but maybe they will think of something that you have not considered.
Happy shopping!