Sectional couches or sofas are a common type of seating found in living rooms and dens. Unlike a conventional sofa, sectionals are composed of multiple independent pieces that may be arranged in a number of different positions. This quality helps the sectional sofa to be a more versatile seating solution than the common three seater couch. The exact composition of a sectional couch will vary from one design to another. In some cases, sectional couches are essentially a two piece set of sofas that may be arranged to form a perfect ninety-degree angle. This was a very popular structure during the middle of the 20th century, and continues to be a favorite for use in casual settings such as dens, home offices, or family rooms. Many sectional couches if modular today are sets of four to seven pieces that may be arranged in a number of different ways. Typically, the majority of these pieces will include a seat cushion paired with a back cushion. One or two pieces will include an armrest on the left or right side. Because the pieces can be used to create everything from a single long seating area to the traditional L shaped conversation area, many people find sectional couches with multiple sections or pieces to be highly desirable. Along with the ability to create a number of seating arrangements with the use of a sectional couch or sofa, this type of furniture can also be very practical. Moving the individual pieces can be accomplished with ease, especially in comparison to a heavy single three or four seater sofa. People who choose to live in apartment buildings find that sectional couches often will fit through entry way doors with greater ease, and are certainly less trouble to transport when the apartment is on an upper floor. While the designs and fabric options for sectional couches used to be somewhat limited, it is possible today to enjoy colors and styles that will work well with just about every taste. There are sectional couches available in top grain leather, sturdy olefin fiber blends, and even natural fibers. Colors range from subdued solids to wild patterns. Styles range from utilitarian to elaborate. Sectional couches that are designed especially for high traffic rooms, as well as formal rooms that see limited usage are on the market today. There are even sectional couches that are equipped with cushion that can be wiped down with simple soap and water. These are particularly functional for enclosed porches or family rooms. From a cost perspective, sectional couches are generally available in the same price range as any good quality sofa. Many models today include such features as an end piece that includes a retractable foot rest, or storage pockets that are ideal for remote controls and magazines. For anyone who wants seating options that can be utilized in different configurations, has a high level of comfort, and is easy to transport, sectional couches are well worth consideration. .
Sectional Sofa History
The sectional sofa certainly rose to fame in the mid-20th century, but this innovative piece has a more complicated past—one that has been a point of contention between antique furniture experts and historians. Before built-in cup holders and powered recliners, sectional sofas solved other problems for homeowners in the early 1800s, dating back to before the Civil War in America. Only a few examples remain intact, concentrated in an area of Virginia fed by the Rappahannock River, and known to be an area of wealth, which allowed residents to hire craftsmen for more custom projects. An example dated 1820 exists in Fredericksburg, Va, and comprises three sections with metal latches underneath.
Experts believe that end pieces of sectionals have long been mistaken for corner chairs, but with only paintings as evidence, it's hard to say. The Civil War halted the progress of furniture-making in the South, with the loss of craftsmen, workshops, and a shortage of timber. Destruction by the Union army in Virginia led to the loss of most of these unique pieces. But as the country bounced back and the highly social times of the Victorian era swept through domestic America, the sectional popped back on the radar. Sectionals were entertaining must-haves.
Typically consisting of two sofas pushed together, these were tufted, carved and laminated, and less commonly featured corner pieces. In the era of Mid-Century Modern, the sectional sofa was the perfect showcase for the aesthetics of Charles & Ray Eames, George Nelson, and the sleek, industrial profile of contemporary-style furniture. It also ingeniously answered the question of standardization vs. customization in the face of high volume of consumer demand, thanks to department stores and catalogs. By breaking a sofa down into sectional pieces (modular design), it was all at once easier to manufacture and ship, as well as mass-produce standard, individual pieces that could then be customized once they were home in the living room.
Anatomy of a Sectional Sofa
Most sectional collections today provide two or more pieces that can be configured in different ways. The type and amount of pieces available varies from product to product, and brand to brand but many of them have the following basic building blocks:
Sofa – Sectional sofas typically have a "three over three" design, which is made up of three back cushions over three seat cushions. Sometimes they are "two over two" designs two larger seat cushions and 2 larger back cushions. They are generally available with two arms (like a standalone sofa), no arms, or one arm in a LAF (left arm facing) or RAF (right arm facing) configuration.
Loveseat – Sectional loveseats are designed with two seats. They may be standard loveseats or console loveseats, this means that they have two armrests per seat and can have a console with cupholders. Loveseats also come in two arm, LAF, RAF or even armless configurations.
Recliner – A reclining seat that can be placed next to a sofa or loveseat to make it longer. Recliners can have two arms, LAF, RAF or armless configurations.
Chair – A non-reclining single seat. It is usually available in the same configurations as the recliner.
Round Corner Wedge – This is a corner piece that allows a sectional sofa to fit in a corner. Most wedges create a 90 degree angle but some create wider angles. Corner wedges are usually armless.
Square Corner – This is a square corner piece that allows a sectional sofa to fit in a corner. This piece has a hard 90 degree angle to it and takes up less space in a room than a curved corner wedge. These pieces will be armless.
In addition to the above shapes, some recliners may also offer the following specialized pieces:
Console Armrest – This is a single armrest that fits between two seats other seats . It may have added features like a hidden storage space or cupholders and Led lighting.
Sofa Bed – Also called a sleeper sofa, this is a sofa with a fold out bed. The bed is typically queen or double sized. Sofa beds come in two, one or no arm configurations.
Chaise Lounge – Chaise lounges provide an extra long seat to help you stretch out and relax. These are usually one armed pieces (LAF or RAF) to fit on the end of a sectional sofa.
Wedge Console – This is a a piece that has an angle to it creatng a hometheater feel, usually located between other pieces to use as an arm rest and provide storage and cup holders.
Drop Down Table – Some sofa and loveseat pieces have a center back cushion that folds down into a table surface. This is usually on the middle cushion of a sofa.
Cocktail Ottoman – Many sectionals have large ottomans that are seat height, making them great for a makeshift chaise lounge. Some of these ottomans have storage space hidden under the cushion.
What to Consider in a Sectional Sofa
Choosing the right sectional sofa can be a very daunting task. Here are some questions to help you with your decision:
The first thing to consider is your room layout and size. Do you have room for a full size sectional with chaise lounge and sofa bed? Or does the size of your living space demand a smaller setup?
Once you have an idea of the size you have to work with, think of the style that you want. Do you want a traditionally styled sectional in rich brown leather? Or would you prefer a casual contemporary design with overstuffed cushions in a offwhite? You might even love retro modern design and want something in that style. Fortunately, sectional sofas are available in many different styles, colors and leathers to suit your tastes.
Another thing to consider is features. Do you want reclining or stationary seats? What about cupholders? Or other options like a sofa bed or console loveseat?
Answering these questions will help you narrow down your choices and find the ideal sectional sofa for your home.
Popular Sectional Sofas
LeatherShoppes.com carries a wide variety of quality sectional sofas from many of the leading manufacturers. Here are some of the most popular models:
Lassiter Leather Sectional – The Lassiter Leather Sectional by American Heritage Leather has a traditional style that is emphasized by rolled arms, bun feet. This collection is perfect for classic or traditional decor. It also comes with your choice of different types of leather upholstery in many different colors .
Palliser Barrett Sectional Sofa with pillows – Palliser Barrett sectional Sofa combines style with rich espresso leather to evoke a warm and inviting atmosphere for your living space. Available in a myraid of colors and textures to suit a color scheme. This sectional sofa can be built into any number of configurations with chaise, cocktail ottoman and more.
Palliser Dallin Reclining Sectional – The Palliser Dallin 41180 Recliner Motion Group has the look and the sit for a great family room sectional. Pillowy lumbar and head rest pillows and arms offer a great place to stretch out. A continuous padded chaise ottoman provides all day support for your legs when reclined. The Dallin collection includes 16 different pieces in left, right and armless configurations to help you build the perfect sectional.
American Heritage Leather Giselle Sectional – Giselle Collection... Take a look at this stunning transitional sectional. Track arm detail provides a cleaner look. Compare to RH Maxwell model, but this one is made in USA with higher quality specs.
Bradington-Young 221 Sectional Sofa – The 220 Series answers the requirements for a Custom Seating by Design, All pieces in the program are designed with the same engineered hardwood frame construction, featuring a bench made eight way hand tied spring system. The seating consists of a blend-down cushion that provides optimum seating. Each piece features loose back cushions that are firmly secured with velcro. This allows the backs to be removed and fluffed for continued comfort and appeal.
Urban Cowboy Leather Sectional with whip stitch – The Urban Cowboy Sectional Sofa by Presidential is a contemporary casual sofa collection that is designed for deep comfort. Shown in a custom hand applied color is a work of art. A deeper feather filled seat cushion work together with overstuffed back cushions to cradle you in comfort. This collection offers nine different pieces to help you create the ideal sofa sectional. A handwhip stitch detail comes in a variety of options to create a very one of a kind look.