Whether you have a small space or a large one, one question that may cross your mind while decorating is — “Should I get a sectional or two sofas?” This is a vexing question, as a sofa is the comfort staple of the living room as it’s the largest piece of furniture in the room, and it’s going to be offering a place to sit for a variety of people. So which one is right? How do you decide?
How do you decide between a sectional or two sofas? There are many things to take into consideration when choosing between a sectional and two sofas. The biggest two considerations are the amount of space and your style. Sectionals tend to take up a lot more room and do not offer as much styling or foot traffic, but they are undeniably more comfortable.
You have come to the right place if you are struggling to decide between a sectional or purchasing two separate sofas. We are going to take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of each, as well as providing some top selections for every type of space. Keep reading, and you will put an end to your seemingly endless wonder of which seating style is right for you.
Table of Contents
What is a Sofa?
A sofa is best described as an upholstered bench that typically comes with two or three cushions as well as two arms. They offer a decent amount of seating space and are usually found in living rooms, entry rooms, and bedrooms. There are five common styles of sofas to choose between, including:
- Traditional. The traditional sofa is the most popular type of sofa on the market and can be seen in homes across the country. Sofas are available in various colors and fabrics to suit your needs and offer seating for up to 3 people thanks to the 3-cushion design. These sofas can have high or low backs as well as removable or nonremovable cushions.
- Loveseat. A loveseat is much like a traditional 3-cushion sofa, but they are a bit smaller with only 2 cushions. These are likely a part of a set, although they can stand alone in smaller living spaces. These sofas tend to be a bit more fashionable as they have a variety of designs from classic to modern and everything in between.
- Sleeper. A sleeper sofa is a two-in-one dream come true that many consumers enjoy. This is because they offer a comfortable space to sit back and relax in during the daytime, but you can take off the cushions and pull out a bed at night. This is the perfect choice for those who don’t have a guest room.
- Chaise. Less popular but still on the list is the chaise sofa. This type of sofa looks exceptionally more modern than other styles with a single cushion that sits at a contemporary angle. This couch is mainly used as decoration, but it can also be a very comfy spot to lay back and relax.
- Sectional. A sectional sofa, which we will dig deeper into in just a few moments, is a larger sofa with its own distinct styles to choose from. The most popular is the L-shaped sectional, though, that comes with several cushions and a chaise on one end, in most cases. Sectionals are divided into two sections.
Is a Sofa the Same Thing as a Couch?
One thing that might not occur to you — but should — is whether there is a difference between a sofa and couch. This is important when you are shopping for furniture because, although sofa and couch are used interchangeably, they are different in the realm of furniture creation and distribution.
So what are some of the major differences between a sofa and a couch? Well, couches are specifically designed for people to lay down on — hence the word couch, which is derived from the Old French verb “couche” which translates to “the act of lying down.”
Couches are typically designed without the arms. This makes it far easier for people to lie down on them comfortably without the pesky armrest in the way. They are also a bit smaller than sofas and have a loungy appearance. Therefore, couches can typically be identified as the less formal, more relaxed of the two.
Don’t worry, though. Currently, most people use sofa and couch interchangeably — and we will be doing so also.
What is a Sectional?
When someone hears the word “sectional sofa,” they are likely thinking of a larger-than-life couch that takes up the entirety of a living room — and they aren’t entirely wrong, as there are many of these on the market. Many consumers love them for the mass amount of seating space they provide.
But there is so much more to a sectional sofa than being a large, sturdy, and bulky piece of furniture. In fact, some of them are not so large and work beautifully in small apartment spaces. You can see several sectional sofa styles in smaller living rooms in this great post from Housely.
To be honest, sectional sofas come in a variety of designs, styles, sizes, and even shapes — it’s not a one-size-fits-all option like so many consumers believe. So many options are practical for all sizes of living spaces. In fact, Home Stratosphere lists a whopping 38 types of sectional styles.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the top sectional sofa styles:
- Chaise. A chaise sectional can be quite on the small size and mimics a typical sofa. You might not even notice at first until your eyes reach the end of the sofa — which is where you will find the chaise. Yes, a chaise sectional has a chaise cushion that can be placed on the right or left side.
- L-Shaped. An L-shaped sectional is, without a doubt, the most popular sectional sofa option on the market. These sectionals tend to be on the larger size, although they can be compact for small spaces, too. Either way, these sectionals come with five cushions arranged into an L shape by placing two cushions on one side and three on the other.
- U-Shaped. Kicking it up a notch in terms of seating is the U-shaped sectional. And, you guessed it, it is designed to look just like a U. This is done by having a center sofa connected to two other sofas of the same length on both ends. It’s quite a sight in any room, but it provides an ample amount of seating, even for larger crowds.
- Pit. Another interesting sectional choice is the pit sectional, which tends to look and feel more like a giant bed than a sofa. This is because the sections can come together in a complete square with a cozy ottoman in the middle.
- Modular. Modular sectionals provide plenty of customization as all the pieces are typically not connected and are lightweight enough to be moved around with ease. They typically have a contemporary look and feel, which is a popular way to decorate a home today.
And it doesn’t stop there. There are so many extras you can tack on to a sectional, such as a pullout bed or reclining chairs and ottomans. There is also a wide variety of designs to choose from, such as stationary, which has an old-fashioned approach or cocktail styles that are sleek, classy, and cool.
Should I Get a Sectional or Two Sofas?
Knowing the actual differences between a sectional and a sofa is only half the battle, though. You are still likely unsure about which one is right for your situation and home. To answer the question of which one you should get, that will take a bit more thinking. Let’s look at some of the reasons to consider when deciding between the two.
Consider Your Personal Style
Sectionals and traditional sofas have quite different looks to them. The first thing you should consider is which one you find more appealing. Some may find a sofa too small, while others think it is the perfect size for any space. Others find the luxuriousness of a sectional more appealing to the eye.
You need to think about what you like and how you plan to decorate your space. If you are a big fan of a sectional, you will want to check into styles and sizes that work for your preferences. Decide if you like the appearance of a sectional or a sofa better.
Casual or Formal?
Now, don’t get me wrong — sofas and sectionals can both present a casual or formal style, depending on the type you end up with. But it’s a common belief that sectionals tend to be more on the less formal and comfier side of the spectrum than a sofa. This is simply due to their larger size, which means relaxing and getting cozy is far easier.
Sofas tend to appear a bit more formal and sophisticated. They look a bit smaller and more structured, which is why you would likely find a sofa in a place of business as well as a home rather than a sectional. In fact, some people use sofas solely as decorative units in some circumstances, such as in a front room that is never used.
“A sectional is a less formal, but more inviting alternative to a sofa and immediately creates a laid-back vibe.”, says designer CeCe Barfield Thompson.
Open or Cluttered?
One of the biggest issues with a sectional is that it may make your room appear a bit more cluttered. After all, sectionals are a larger unit that don’t have any breaks in the furniture unit. This means that more of your living room is going to be occupied by the living room, and there is virtually nothing you can do about it as it’s all a single unit.
However, the lack of breaks in the furniture unit does not have to be a bad thing. Some people might find the appearance to be far cozier and inviting than a 2-sofa structure.
Sofas, on the other hand, can allow an area to look more open. Many find an open space to be modern, breathable, and cleaner, which is one of the main reasons why someone would opt for two sofas rather than indulging in a sectional. As a bonus, a room with two sofas rather than a sectional may make the room appear bigger overall, a huge benefit for smaller spaces.
How Many Seats Do You Actually Need?
A couple who has just moved into their new apartment and don’t have any kids or pets yet might think that a small loveseat will do fine. And that’s true, for the most part, until their friends and family members come over, and they are all searching for a place to sit back, relax, and chat.
You shouldn’t just think about the seats that you need. If you do that, you are likely to end up with far too few seats and make the wrong choice. Instead, think about who will be sitting in the sofas or sectionals. Lots of friends with small children? Perhaps the sectional is a more realistic option. Just having mom and dad over sometimes? Then two sofas will do the trick.
The other thing you need to think about is the comfort of your guests. Sectionals offer a whole lot of space for seating, but a lot of those seats are sans armrests. This means that people will have to sit directly next to each other with no ‘common area’ to give them some personal space from the person sitting next to them.
If you have a larger family with a lot of kids, this is not an issue. If you are strictly an adult household for now, and all your guests are adults, too, then it might not be so comfortable or ideal. In that situation, the couple should consider opting for two traditional sofas or a single sofa paired with a loveseat or two chairs. This will provide a comfortable, personal seating arrangement.
“A sectional can actually be too cozy, in the sense that people usually have to sit very close to each other,” says designer Melanie Morris. “A sofa allows for more space to position chairs, stools, or benches in a way that sparks conversation, and is not overly intimate.”
Do You Rearrange Your Space Often, or Not?
Another major issue (or not issue) to keep in mind when it comes to sectionals is that they are awfully hard to rearrange. Not only do sectionals tend to be on the heavier and bulkier side, but they are also made into a structure that is not as versatile. For the most part, when you find a place where your sectional sits and looks visually appealing, you won’t find another one.
This means that anyone who rearranges their furniture often may not want to indulge in a sectional because it’s not as easily rearranged as a sofa. With a sofa or two, you have potentially unlimited options as they can be maneuvered to all different areas of the room without looking odd. This is even truer if you go with a couch and chair combination.
Now, this isn’t a problem if you are a ‘set it and forget it’ type of decorator. The room looks good, and you would not want to change a thing. If that is your goal, then a sectional might fit the bill. The problem here is when someone gets bored with the same old, same old. Plenty of people change their furniture a few times a year, so no longer having that option leaves you in a designing conundrum.
Are You Planning to Move?
Something else you have to consider is whether you are going to move. Now, sometimes a sudden move isn’t planned — which is out of your control. But if you are not planning on moving anytime soon, then a sectional might be a great choice. Again, this is a “set it and forget it” piece of furniture that, if you don’t need to move it anytime soon, is a great bonus.
On the other hand, someone who moves relatively often might not want to invest in a sectional. That’s because:
- They are heavy and bulky. Since it’s a single furniture unit, it’s far heavier and bulkier than a traditional sofa. This makes the sectional a bit more challenging to move. Not only is it heavy, but the layout of the section — let’s say an L shape — is difficult to maneuver in and out of a home.
- They might not look great in your new home. Let’s face it — just because the sectional looked amazing in your current home, does not mean it’s going to rock the next layout. Someone moving regularly should not buy a sectional as you might end up with a quirky, unsightly finish in the new home.
Consider Your Space
The most important thing to consider when choosing between a sectional and two sofas is your space. Every room is going to require something different to make sure that the room is visually appealing but functional.
When you are starting your furniture-shopping journey, take a good look at the room you are trying to occupy and measure the space accurately. After all, even if a sectional looks like the best way to fill in your space, it might not be the right size. Luckily, there is a tremendous amount of options when it comes to sectionals and sofas, so finding the right size is simple.
Take into consideration any objects that may get in the way. Things like fireplaces, windows, and doors can all pose a challenge when you are trying to decide between a sectional and two sofas. Some rooms do not have ideal layouts, which can make everything that much more of a challenge.
Lastly, consider the purpose of the sectional or two sofas. If the point is for everyone to watch television in the living room, then you want to make sure that your piece of furniture is doing its job. For instance — if your tv is hanging on one side of the room, and the sectional in question only suits the opposite direction, then it’s clear that the sectional is not right for you.
What Price is Right for You?
The last thing you should think about is your price range. Here is another area where things can get a tad bit tricky, though. A sectional is far more expensive than sofas. This is great news for those who are only thinking about buying a single sectional for their living room. Even sectionals can have such a huge range of pricing depending on the overall size and style, which is great for consumers.
However, buying two sofas can end up being more expensive than a single sectional. Again, this can change on the sofas and sectionals, and you might still end up with a smaller price tag when opting for two sofas, but it’s more likely to be around the same price or more expensive.
Price is going to be the make it or break it when it comes to getting a sectional or two sofas, so pay close attention while you are shopping to make sure you have the right amount. If opting for two sofas, know that you could end up spending more, and leave a little extra wiggle room in your furniture budget.
Yes, small spaces such as apartment homes can include a sectional — and a genuinely nice one, and this luxurious small-scale sectional from Walsunny proves it. This sleek, comfortable, and ultimately inviting sectional is exactly what your small space needs.
You will love that the cushions are firm yet provide ample comfort while sitting back and relaxing. You don’t have to worry about sinking into your seat — rather, you will have a nice, firm area that is supportive yet still comfy. With a reversible chaise lounge, you can design to your heart’s content with ease.
The dimensions on this small-scale sectional 76.77’’(L) X 49.4’’(W) X 34.25’’(H), so you can get this furniture in a small area. Not only can it fit almost anywhere with ease, but you will love that the couch is extremely easy to put together with easy-to-follow instructions. It takes less than 10 minutes!
This is an amazing bed-like sectional that is perfect for bigger families or anyone who wants to be snug as a bug when they are relaxing on their couch. This larger-than-life sectional truly has it all, it’s a sectional you can feel confident in.
This sectional sofa certainly is not your typical sectional with all the fixings, though. It has a very sleek and modern design, which isn’t something you see in a lot of sectionals — especially ones built like this! You will love the look as well as the ease of cleaning when it comes to this sectional — no mess is a match.
You will find that this sectional truly has it all. It’s a futon, bed, and lounger in an all-in-one super cool and sleek piece of furniture. A longer chaise only adds to the overall comfort level of this sectional, making it a top-notch pick if you are willing to spend a few extra dollars on it.
As far as sofas are concerned, we would have to say this is a top pick. This is a great selection for a sofa because it’s stylish without being overly flashy or modern. It still has a comfortable appeal that invites you to take a seat, sit back, and get cozy in the polyester.
This sofa is not only a beautiful, inviting piece of furniture in any room it is placed, but customers love that it is also durable — even though you might not notice it after sinking into the high-density seating and back foam.
Assembly is quick and simple — with a few clicks here and a few clicks there, your couch is snapped together and ready for action. Did we mention it’s an excellent seating solution and it looks great with two together.
Choosing between a sofa and a sectional can be challenging. The main thing to keep in mind is the space you are trying to fill as well as the look and feel you want the room to have. Remember — sectionals provide a cozier and more casual spot with lots of room, while sofas are more open and sophisticated, albeit still very cozy.