3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Sectional

published Feb 20, 2017
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The Cordelle Sofa (Image credit: American Signature, Inc.)

Sectionals are the MVPs of the furniture game: They’re a lazy lounge area or a stylish party spot depending on what you need at that minute. But because of their versatility and the sheer number of sizes and configurations available, finding the right one can be overwhelming. Three easy questions will help you narrow down the choices.

The Plush Sofa (Image credit: American Signature, Inc.)

1. How much sectional can your space handle?

Use painter’s tape on your floor to create an outline of the sectional you’re considering and play with table/ottoman arrangements around that. This will help you decide if it takes up the right amount of space and if all parts of the sectional are easily accessible. Take a day or two to observe how natural light will hit the piece as well. Depending on your space, you may realize you’ll want to add extra overhead lighting or a table lamp.

Also pay attention to shipping and delivery details to be sure all sections will fit in your building’s elevator or make it up narrow stairwells — or even through the door. The good news is that sectionals are usually shipped in sections (duh), and often with removable legs, making them a good choice for anyone dealing with those obstacles. If assembly is required, store spare parts or Allen wrenches in a Ziploc bag and tape it to the underside of the sectional so you can easily disassemble if/when you move.

The Venti 4-Piece Sectional (Image credit: American Signature, Inc.)

2. Left- or Right-Facing Chaise?

If you’re going with a chaise sectional (and why wouldn’t you, if you have the space?) you’ll need to decide whether you want the chaise to be left-facing or right-facing. In other words, when you’re facing the front of the sectional, which side should the chaise go on?

If one side of the sectional will be against a wall, it’s a no-brainer: The chaise will likely go on the open side to take advantage of its multiple access points. If your sectional is in the middle of the room, however, consider the natural traffic flow of the room as well as the focal points (e.g., should the chaise face the TV?) to make your decision.

If you have space for a three-sided (U-shaped) sectional…lucky you! But remember you’ll need to make sure all seats are accessible and traffic flows naturally around it. When in doubt, tape it out! Again, this will help you get an idea of how the sectional will work with your current setup and whether it enhances or impedes traffic flow in the room.

The Ventura Sofa (Image credit: American Signature, Inc.)

3. What’s the space’s primary function?

OK, time to be honest: Is your sectional more likely to host lots of elegant cocktail parties or frequent Netflix binges? This should help you decide between a leather or fabric sectional and also help you decide on the total number of seats you’ll want.

This is also a great time to think about versatility — lots of sectionals can be reconfigured to suit the occasion. For instance, if you’ve got an L-shaped sectional and large ottoman, they can provide lots of extra seating for small gatherings, or push them together to create a makeshift sofa bed for an extra overnight guest.

(Image credit: American Signature, Inc.)

This post is sponsored by American Signature Furniture and was created by the Apartment Therapy Creative Studio.
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