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What is a Sectional Sofa?

A sectional sofa is one that comes in "sections" that can be attached to create a complete sofa. Sectional sofas come in many different shapes, sizes, and upholstery options. The sectional pieces can be designed and put together in a way that best serves your living space whether it's a large room or a small space. 

Sectional sofas are great for living room lounging, typically coming with a chaise and variable seating to accommodate your floor plan, regardless of size.
Two Men and Dog on Whiskey Leather 3-Seat Sofa with Ottoman

Where did Sectional Sofas Come From?

There has been some debate about the true origin of the sectional sofa, many believe it's origins are in the
early 1800s, prior to the Civil War in America when hired craftsmen created a custom sofa comprised of three sections that latched together in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Most of the original pieces were destroyed during the war, but as the Victorian era approached, the sectional came back as a popular piece for those who liked to entertain in their homes.

The original sectionals consisted of two couches connected, tufted, laminated, and less commonly featured corner pieces. During the mid-century modern era, the sectional sofa was considered the sleek, industrial profile of contemporary furniture and quickly rose to popularity thanks, in large part, to department store catalogs. 

These early concepts introduced the theory of customization that we know today, where a sofa can be broken down into modular pieces with seats and seat cushions and can be tailored to the size of the room. They are also much easier to mass-produce and ship.
Woman Assembling Modular Teal Sofa

Modular vs. Sectional Sofas

At this point, you might be wondering what the difference is between sectional sofas and modular sofas. We'll explain. Sectional sofas and modular sofas are both designed in sections, but sectionals are typically designed for a standard layout, i.e. L-shape, U-shape, etc. 

Modular sectionals contain multiple pieces that can be put together to create an entire sofa. A modular sofa is more customizable for those with truly unique spaces or space constraints. 

Sectional sofas are meant to be put together once and maintained that way, modular sofas can be put together and rearranged as often as the owner pleases to redecorate and reframe their space.

Common Sectional Configurations & Arrangements

There are many configurations of sectional sofas available, and the options are nearly unlimited if you choose a modular sectional. However, there are common configurations that are seen with sectional sofas. Let's take a look at those. 

Sofa with Chaise

While not technically a “sectional,” these can fill the need in a streamlined way. Essentially, they are sofas (usually 3- or 4-seat) with an extended chaise on either side. These are a good option for people with smaller spaces looking for sectional-style seating. 
Top View of Man and Woman Lounging on Grey 3-Seat Sofa with Chaise

L-Shape Sectional Sofas

L-shaped sectional sofas are a common option for living spaces. If you have a slightly larger space, the L-shaped sectional can really help to fill out your living room and create a more inviting and comfortable space for families or those who like to entertain. They can be left arm facing or right arm facing, depending on your preference. 
Top View of Man and Woman Lounging on Whiskey Leather Sectional Sofa

U-Shape Sectional Sofas

Like the L-shaped sectionals, these get their name from the U-shape they create. Usually, they have two corner pieces with either a chaise extending out from either side or end pieces to cap off the “U”. 

They make for great conversational seating, but are not an easy fit in every space. If you’re thinking about getting one, it’s a good idea to look into custom sectionals.
Top View of Man and Woman Lying on 6-Seat Amber U-Sectional Sofa

Sectional Options Offered by Some Manufacturers

Sleeper Sofas

For folks who don't have a guest room and like to entertain guests and offer them a place to sleep can opt for a sleeper sofa. These sofas have a bed under the seating area that you can pull out and expand to provide a comfortable place for guests to sleep. However, it's important to remember to provide enough clearance for your sleeper sofa to expand. If you're in a tight space, be sure to measure the surrounding area and check the dimensions of the sleeper sofa, before purchasing, to make sure it will fit properly when open.


Some sectionals come equipped with the recliners as one or more of the pieces. This is a good alternative to the traditional reclining armchair if you have space restrictions in your living space. They can come with power reclining or manual reclining.


This is a feature of a lot of older-style sectionals - they include storage for remotes or other items. Some even include cupholders. These can often make for a clunky look, though they get the job done if you’re into utilitarian furniture.
Man Sitting on Dark Smoke Leather 3-Sofa with Chaise Eating Popcorn

Sectional Sofas Designed for Any Home

What if you want a custom sectional or you’re not exactly sure what configuration would work best for you? Allform offers customizable sectional sofas with a modern design that adapts to your changing life. Each of our options can be configured, both in size and shape, to fit any space, whether it's a small, multi-use space or a large family room. Whether you want an L-shape design or a u-shaped design with a corner seat, two arms, three seats or five, we've got what you need.

Allform sofas are spacious with additional loft and channeling in the cushions to provide a more comfortable experience. Additionally, our performance fabrics are stain, pill, and scratch-resistant and our frames come with an industry-leading forever warranty. Check out some of Allform’s most popular products or build your own configuration for your next sofa.