Tips for Choosing a Sectional Sofa

After struggling for a few years to keep my white sectional sofa white, I finally caved in and chose a new one that will be easier to live with. It arrives in a couple weeks but I thought I’d share tips for choosing a sectional in case you’re in the market for a new one.

Sectional Sofa in Farmhouse Living RoomPhoto by Bejnar’s Fine Furniture


You’ll find a variety of styles and colors, but a few things are consistent when considering a sectional sofa to purchase. First and foremost, measure your space and know what dimensions you’re working with. This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s critical. Measure the doors that you’ll need to bring the furniture through to make sure it will fit.

Gray Living Room with Neutral Sectional SofaPhoto by Marc Williams Furniture


Consider fabric choice when looking at any furniture choice. I spied a beautiful creamy sectional by Magnolia Home in the store but quickly remembered the struggle to keep the white sectional clean. I immediately crossed that one off the list. 

Transitional Living Room in Neutral TonesPhoto by Coats Homes


Know the difference between right-facing and left-facing sectionals. One side is longer than the other and it makes a difference which direction the sectional is facing. And if one side has a chaise lounge included, you need to make sure that wall is long enough to accomodate it.

Rustic Living Room with Wood Paneling in Neutral TonesPhoto by Ard Bia Interiors


Consider the depth and height of seat. I sometimes like to sleep on the sectional sofa in our family room – especially during the summer. That means the seat needs to be wide enough for snoozing. Plus I like seating that you kind of sink into and although I’m short, I like a deeper seat so I can curl my legs up and off the floor.

Sectional Sofa in Boho Chic Style Living RoomPhoto by Ali Ross Design


Choose a couple of colors you can live with. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a piece of furniture only to find it’s not available in your favorite color. I like to have a couple of colors in mind so this never happens.

Colorful Family Room with Blue Velvet SectionalPhoto by Mend


Arms or no arms?  I’m an arms person when it comes to chairs, sofas, and sectionals. Although I like the clean lines of a sofa without arms, I feel like something’s missing. You can find sectionals where one end has an arm and the other doesn’t – for those who are undecided. 

Burnt Orange Sectional Sofa in Contemporary Living RoomPhoto by Giulietti Schouten Architects


Decide the shape of sectional you desire. You’ll find sectional sofas with ottomans, chaises, recliners, curved sectionals, or ones that have an angled end, also knows as a theater sectional. Most likely, your space constraints will determine the shape and style of your furniture.

Theater Style Sectional SofaPhoto by Bejnar’s Fine Furniture


Finally, keep in mind the size and shape of your coffee table. You’re most likely going to snuggle your coffee table within the parameter of your sectional, so make sure you choose furniture that accommodates this. I would’ve loved to have a sofa with a chaise lounge attached but our coffee table is too big and I didn’t want to buy a new one.

Contemporary Sectional Sofa in Neutral Living RoomPhoto by Tom Stringer Design Partners

I purchased a traditional style sectional from Art Van furniture in a neutral tone that would go with my newly painted family room. I’m anxiously awaiting its arrival!

Have you purchased furniture recently and what tips did you find helpful?

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  1. Great tips Jennifer.
    Thank you for sharing your experience with the white sofa. I had the same problem with a white slip covered model and yet others swear by them. Every little mark bothered me and it was no easy feat to remove the slip cover, wash it and struggle to get that thing back on. Ironing it was NOT an option.
    Can’t wait to see the one you chose!
    Vancouver BC

  2. Dear Jennifer
    Thank you for the posts about sectional sofas. They’re all beautiful. Despite the fact that large sectional sofas are the best alternatives to traditional sofas for families, they still create a rift in room designing.

  3. My husband and I love watching movies together in the evenings, but lately we have been noticing that our living room couch is not very comfortable to lounge on. We are thinking about getting a new sectional couch, and I like the furniture tips you give in this article! It makes sense that you say to choose a couch that is deep and wide enough to take a nap on.