A sectional sofa can be a great addition to your living room, providing ample seating and flexibility in arranging your furniture. But before running out and buying the trendiest sectional you see, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons to determine if it’s the best option for your home and lifestyle.
Today I’ll go over the top things to think about before investing in a sectional sofa. This will help you decide if a sectional is right for your space and needs or if you’re better off with another seating configuration. As with any major furniture purchase, there are many factors to consider from size to fabric to placement.
I’ll walk through what you need to know so you can make an informed decision when shopping for a sectional. With the right considerations before buying, you can end up with a stylish and functional sectional sofa that improves the flow and comfort of your living room.
Sectionals Can’t Adapt to New Spaces
One downside of sectionals is that they are quite difficult to modify or move to a new home. Sectional sofas are large, heavy, and shipped in multiple pieces. This makes them challenging to rearrange or repurpose if you change homes or want to refresh your living room’s layout.
Unlike modular sofas or stand-alone couches, sectionals are often custom-shaped to fit a particular footprint in your space. So if you’re expecting any big life changes soon like moving homes or expanding your family, a sectional may end up feeling limiting. You’ll either have to go through the hassle of selling your custom sectional to then purchase a new one, or be stuck with a piece that no longer fits your new space.
So if adaptability is important to you, a sectional sofa may not be the most flexible option. Going for lighter individual seating pieces can allow you to evolve your layout years down the road.
Sectionals Can Be Awkward for Non-Family Guests
While sectionals provide ample seating, they can also lead to awkward intimate scenarios when hosting guests. With a continuous L or U-shaped design, sectionals promote people sitting very close together with little personal space.
This can feel uncomfortable or intrusive for non-family guests who are forced into close proximity. Guests may feel uneasy sitting thigh-to-thigh with other visitors. And don’t count on people freely sitting toward the middle of a sectional either.
Without breaks between seats, sectionals lack the open invitation that separate sofas or chairs provide. So if you frequently host gatherings with friends, couples, colleagues, or other visitors, standard couches or individual chairs may allow people to mingle more casually.
The Dreaded Middle Seat
One nuisance that sectional owners deal with is lack of space for side tables and drink coasters. Because sectionals are designed as one continuous piece, there’s rarely room to slide a side table next to the middle seats. This leaves people in the inner sectional seats nowhere to conveniently place drinks or plates.
Getting up frequently to set down your glass can be disruptive during movie nights or games. And having nowhere to set your coffee cup means staining your sectional with splashes and rings.
While end seats can utilize end tables, inner sectional seats are usually out of luck. So if having space for snacks and drinks at every seat is important, a sectional sofa may not properly accommodate.
Sectionals Make the Room Feel Smaller
Although sectionals seat multiple people, they can also dominate smaller living rooms. A standard L-shaped sectional with a chaise is nearly the size of two couches put together. This takes up a vast footprint in your space, limiting other possible furniture arrangements.
A sectional oriented across the center of a room can break up an open layout. This both reduces visible floor space and makes the room feel chopped up. Sectional owners often have to forgo larger coffee tables, media units or dining setups to squeeze one in.
Unless you have a very spacious living area to work with, a sectional sofa can overwhelm the room. Sticking to lighter standalone seating can avoid a cramped interior.
Sectionals Are Bulky
With their large size and continuous shape, sectionals invariably become the focal point of any room. The expansive sectional will be the first thing guests see when entering your living space. This can distract from other décor you want to highlight unless your sectional is strategically placed.
Their bulky footprint also limits how you can arrange the rest of your furniture like chairs and tables. Everything gets oriented around the sectional.
If you prefer flexibility in design, then multiple standalone couches or chairs give you more options to create an intentional flow in your space. Sectionals also force your seating to face just one direction—usually the television.
So if you want a living room centered on conversation, the one-way orientation of a sectional could be limiting.
Sectionals Prevent Natural Flow and Movement
One thing to note about sectionals is they aren’t easily slid around or rearranged like individual seating pieces. Their custom shape, expansive size, and weight make sectionals extremely tricky to move.
This means you’re committing to a sectional fitting in one main spot. Any needed cleaning or re-arranging under and around a sectional becomes a hassle since it won’t budge.
Stepping over other people to get across the room also isn’t ideal in smaller spaces. And good luck easily switching your sectional placement from one side of the room to the other. Unless you install your sectional in its forever home from the start, flexibility can suffer.
Sectionals are Expensive
Given their large size, customized shapes, and trendy styles, sectional sofas don’t come cheap. Sectionals can cost $1,500 on the very low end, with luxury models running as high as $5,000 or more. That significant investment may give you pause about jumping on the latest sectional trend that may feel outdated in just a few years.
And like all upholstered furniture, sectionals do wear down over time. The cushions get compressed, the fabric pills or fades, and the structure gets wobbly. But it’s often too costly to reupholster or replace a whole sectional when this happens.
With a standard sofa or standalone seating, you can more affordably replace just one well-worn couch or chair. So you may get better long-term value from customizable, mix-and-match seating.
As you can see, there’s a lot to think about before buying a sectional! I hope you found these points informative.