Modular vs. Sectional Sofas: What is the Difference?

Modular Sectional Sofa

Both sectional and modular sofas are sofas that have two or more connected pieces. They are pieces of furniture that have become very popular in family homes because of their size and ability to be rearranged. They have chic, modern looks that look great in living rooms while being able to fit the entire family for movie nights!

So, what is the difference between modular and sectional sofas? A modular refers to two or more chair-sized pieces that can be arranged to create an L or U shape. You can also space them out in multiple groups. A sectional sofa tends to be sections of a sofa or a love seat combined with a chaise. They are typically in an L shape and are designed to wrap around a corner.  

Although modular sofas are considered sectional sofas, not all sectional sofas are modular sofas. It is interesting to understand the differences between the two. Knowing the differences can also help you decide which type of sofa is best for your living space. Read on to find a guide that explains the differences between a modular sofa and a sectional. 

Difference Between Modular and Sectional Sofas

Modular sofas are considered sectional sofas but are also different from traditional sectional sofas. Even though some people don’t realize they are different, they have traits that set them apart. 

The main difference between the two is how they can be assembled. 

  • Modular sofas are designed to be rearranged and moved around as you see fit. They are designed in such a way that the backs and arms are all the same height. This allows the pieces to be switched around and perfectly fit together, no matter where they are placed. 
  • Sectional sofas are seen as large pieces of furniture that are the most suitable for large living rooms and spaces. They typically come “as is” and don’t have many options for changing up the style and layout. Meanwhile, modular sofas can be customized to have as many sections as you’d like and can be rearranged in multiple ways. 

Similarities Between Modular and Sectional Sofas

Modular sofas come in sections, just like sectional sofas. That is the main similarity between them, which is why people will often mistake a modular sofa for a sectional. 

Although they are different, you’ll see that they have many of the same benefits. They are both:

  • Versatile
  • Stylish
  • Easy to move
  • Good for large families
  • Good for entertaining

Both sectionals and modular sofas allow you to have a section that can include cupholders or storage spaces. You can add a chaise or a recliner. You can even find a modular with a pull-out attachment like many sectionals.  

Benefits of Modular Sofas

A modular sofa generally comes with four pieces – a corner, left and right arm sections, and an extension. These pieces can be rearranged whichever way you need to fit the space. There are many benefits to choosing a modular sofa for your space.   

1. Spacing

A great thing about modular sofas is that you can fit them almost anywhere. If your space is small or has obstacles like corners, doors, or windows, you can arrange the sofa in a way that it’ll work. The different sections can fit in areas where a regular couch wouldn’t. 

Modular sofas allow you to add extra pieces to it to fit a larger space. If you have limited space, you can take pieces away. You can have a couple of pieces up against one wall and have other pieces on the other side of the room. They allow you to utilize your space and add seating while not being difficult to maneuver around. 

2. Easy to Move

Modular sofas are easy to move and easy to set up. There is nothing worse than moving to a new location and not knowing how you will fit your sofa up a flight of stairs or around a corner. This issue often leads to people choosing to get a new couch or buildings ending up with scratches from people trying to jam their couch through. 

Because modular sofas come in sections, they are much easier to move. Each section will be lighter to carry than carrying a whole sofa. They’ll also be easier to fit through doors and around corners. 

When it comes to transporting your modular sofa, you can rearrange the pieces in the moving truck to optimize your space. This allows you to fit more, take fewer trips, and not have to worry about your large sofa not fitting. 

Related Article: Do Sectional Sofas Come Apart?

3. Replacements

If a piece of your modular sofa becomes damaged, you have a couple of options you can choose from. You can get rid of the ruined piece and just rearrange the sofa another way, or you can buy a replacement section. Only having to pay for a section of a couch is much cheaper than having to replace the whole thing. 

4. Versatile

Modular sofas give you more options when it comes to placing them in your home. They aren’t a specific size that’ll only fit in one area of your living room. You can have sections placed however you’d like.

A common thing people like to do is separate the pieces and place coffee tables in between them. This is great for larger families during movie nights who need a table to place popcorn and drinks, or just adding new places for decorations like pictures and plants.

5. Entertainment

Modular sofas are excellent for people who do lots of entertaining in their homes. Because they are easy to move around, you can simply move the sections around to fit your entertainment needs. 

For couple’s game nights, sofa sections can be placed facing each other, in a circle, or in a U shape. You can even place a table in the middle for people to place their drinks. It’s a comfier option than sitting at a dining room table. 

6. Customization

Modular sofas are great for customization. You can mix and match different colors, patterns, and upholstery fabrics. This allows you to spice up your space by adding some statement patterns. Modular sofas allow you to showcase your personality and styling tastes. 

Benefits of a Sectional Sofa

Sectional sofas have been standard pieces of furniture for decades and seem to never go out of style. Sectional sofas are multiple sections that can be arranged in different ways, usually having a corner piece that allows the sofa to wrap around a room at a 90-degree angle. Some of the benefits of a sectional sofa are listed below:

1. Versatile

Sectional sofas are more versatile than the classic three-seater sofa you’ve seen. The different pieces that they come with allow you to arrange them in a way that will fit your space. If you have a room with multiple corners, you can move around your sofa to accommodate those corners, rather than them being an obstacle. 

2. Creates Room Space

The sectional is designed to wrap around the room. Being able to utilize those corners creates extra space in your room. Because sectionals are designed to be able to separate, you can split up the pieces and arrange them in a way that’ll create more space. 

3. Additional Seating

The thing that people probably love most about sectional sofas is all the additional seating you get with having one. Depending on the one you choose, you’ll have a continuous cushion, a corner seat, and sometimes a love seat or recliner. You can also add sections with cupholders

They are especially beneficial if you have a large family or numerous guests. Sectional sofas allow you to have seating for everyone. 

Related Article: 14 Reasons Why People Get Sectional Sofas

4. Extra Bedding

Because sectional sofas are large, they can double as a place to sleep if you have guests over and not enough bed space. Some are even large enough to fit two people on to sleep. If you commonly need extra space for guests to sleep, it is beneficial to choose a sectional sofa that has a pull-out bed included. 

5. Easy to Move 

Just like modular sofas, sectional sofas are more comfortable moving than a regular couch. They are in small enough sections where fitting around a corner or through a door will not be a hassle. You also don’t need to deal with the stress of fitting a whole couch into a small truck. 

Sectional and modular sofas allow for stress-free moving. You can even take away a section to keep in storage if you are downsizing homes and don’t have space for a large sectional sofa. 

6. Aesthetics

Having a sectional sofa in your home is pleasing to the eye. They come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and fabrics. You can transform your interior when you choose the right color and size for your space. Many people associate a cozy look and feel to rooms that have a large sectional sofa. They feel very inviting. 

Difference Between Modular and Sectional Sofas and Sofas

A sofa is a sofa, right? Wrong. Sectionals are sectionals, and sofas are sofas. Sure, they are similar in the aspect of what goes into making one and what they are used for. However, modular and sectionals are different than your average sofa.

The main differences between sofas and modular and sectional sofas are their practicality, customization, and the number of people they can seat. 

  • Sofas are generally used in smaller homes. 
  • They are suitable for couples, single-person homes, and small families. 
  • Some people choose to use sofas in their offices or guest rooms. 

Modular sofas can be comprised of just a couple of sections and be the same size as a regular sofa, but they can also have additional pieces that make it much more extensive, like a sectional sofa. Modular and sectional sofas are standard in larger living areas and are popular with big families and people who love to entertain groups. 

Sectionals, especially modular sofas, have a wide variety of ways they can be customized, but a regular sofa does not have that luxury. An average sofa can fit about 2-3 people on it, while a sectional can fit up to 6 people, sometimes more.  

Choosing a Sectional or Modular Soda

Buying any type of sofa is an investment, so you want to make sure it is one that will provide you with many benefits. There are several things you will want to consider when making your purchase.

  1. How much space do you have? Before purchasing a large sectional, you’ll want to consider how much space you have for a sofa. Grabbing a small modular sofa is beneficial for limited space, and you can add on pieces if ever you move to a larger area. 
  2. What is your style? You will want to consider what style of sofa you prefer. Using Pinterest as a guide can help you get ideas about your style. If you want your space to look cozy and relaxed, a sectional can accomplish that look. A modular is a pleasing choice if you enjoy a minimalistic or formal feel.   
  3. How many seats do you need? If you don’t regularly have lots of guests or many people who would sit on your sofa, then a sectional isn’t necessary.  
  4. Do you like to mix things up? If you prefer to set something up and call it done, then a sectional is a terrific choice. But if you get bored quickly and like to switch things up often, then a modular is the perfect option. You can do many combinations with a modular, and you will never get bored. 
  5. Traffic flow – Take a look at the layout of your space and any other pieces of furniture in the room. You want to have a sofa that won’t cause an obstacle course to get around. You also want to be able to have the couch in a spot where it won’t be challenging to get to. If you have enough space, a sectional will work. If you find the traffic flow will be rough, a modular sofa will allow you to split it up in a way that’ll make the flow smoother. 


When sofa shopping, there are different types of designs you can pick from if you have a sectional or modular. With a modular, you can have a variety of different layouts when you want, but with a sectional, you choose a layout, and that is what you are stuck with. 

Some typical modular and sectional sofa layouts include the following:

  • L-shape – This layout will look like two sofas coming together at the corner, creating a 90-degree angle. This is great if you have a room with multiple corners because it allows you to move your couch around. 
  • Chaise – This sectional has an extended ottoman that is attached to one side, creating an L-shape. The chaise part is more of a section for lounging rather than having multiple people sit. 
  • U-shape – This is a good layout if you have ample space to fill. It wraps around and allows people to sit across and next to each other. You can get a U-shaped sectional or arrange a modular sofa into a U shape. 
  • Sleeper – The sleeper is a section of the modular or sectional that can pull out to a bed. Sectionals tend to have more extensive beds, while modular sections tend to have twin-size attachments. 
  • Curved – This is another layout that can work in a large space. These sofas have a curve to them, usually creating a half-circle. This layout is great for an entertainment room. 

Depending on your preferences, one sofa may be better than the other. When looking at sectionals, you’ll see many different shapes to them and also bonuses like cupholders or reclining seats. 

The modular sofa has more options to work with. Whatever layout you like, you can most likely create with a modular. The sky is the limit with these sofas. If you run into the problem of not having enough space for your modular, you can split up the pieces and have them in different parts of the room or a completely different room. 

When making the big decision, remember the things you want the most out of a sofa. It should be versatile, inviting, comfortable, and should fit your styling needs. 


Sectional sofas and modular sofas may look the same at first glance and hold many of the same benefits. However, their layout and how they are meant to be put together are different. Sectional sofas come in pieces but are typically put together a certain way with not many options for change. A modular sofa comes in as many pieces as you like and can be put together in a variety of ways. Either one is an excellent choice for your living room! 



Hi there! I’m Alex, the one behind this website. I ran and operated a Local Furniture Store in Southern California. The store opened in 2010, during the “Great Recession,” It is still thriving today; however, I have dedicated my time to helping our online customer base. My primary focus is to help you with all your furniture & mattress questions.

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