Sectional vs sofa. Which do you prefer? I admit I used to be “team sectional”. That is until I owned two, bought a third, returned it, and bought two couches. I am so happy with my choice. Here are 5 reasons why a sectional wasn’t right for us.

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Sectional vs Sofa- The conundrum

Choosing between two couches vs a sectional can be a challenge. At least it was for me. Our nest officially “emptied” at the end of 2020. Talk about a crazy year. Pandemic, earthquake, and two weddings, one of the receptions had to be held in our backyard!

The good thing about an empty nest is …you guessed it… grandkids!. We wanted a setup that would sit more people, mainly our 4 kids, their spouses, and 4 grandchildren. Or at least most of them 🙂

After much deliberation followed by the purchase (and return) of a bulky sectional, I finally selected two sofas in an L shape for our gathering space. I could not be happier with the look and function of the room. Read on to see why I did NOT choose a sectional.

5 reasons I did NOT choose a sectional for my living space

  1. THE CORNER PIECE
    I admit, the classy look of a sectional is hard to beat. But I’ve found the number of actual usable seats is deceiving. After owning two traditional sectionals I’ve noticed that no one wants to sit in the corner. The corner seat is big joke, really. Your legs have to stay tucked in (good only for a child or a pet!) , or for people who don’t mind rubbing against their visitors’ legs. Eww. So, when considering the number of seats in a sectional vs a sofa, be sure to exclude the corner seat. Consider it a bonus. Traditional couches, in my humble opinion, have much more functional seating.

2. THE CHAISE

If your goal is to maximize the number of seats for your guests, the chaise, similar to the corner piece, is simply leg-space. Yes, people could sit there, but does anyone??? The chaise looks good, no doubt, it’s the function I question. Chaises remind me of the 4-inch heels in my closet that I never wear.

I will say though if you’re looking for a sectional for 2-3 people, and you don’t have space for a recliner, a sectional with a chaise may work for you. But, if you’re wanting more seating options, using an ottoman with your sofa serves a similar purpose as a chaise and creates another seat that you can move around when needed.

3. BLOCK TRAFFIC FLOW

Sectionals have the potential to block the flow of traffic, especially when they sit in the middle of a room as opposed to against a wall. Having one or both side entries blocked, as you see with U-shape sectionals forces guests to walk around the entire sectional to find a seat.

The block of traffic flow was a huge downside for us when we had a sectional in our family room. Unfortunately, our space doesn’t allow for furniture to be placed against a wall. Plus, we have stairs, a hallway, and a path to the kitchen near the seating areas. So, instead of a sectional, we opted for two identical sofas arranged in an L shape. This provided room to “cut through the corner” when walking in from the kitchen into the family room. Below is a view of our space.

Our family room is 12 x 11 and seats about 12 people, not counting the kitchen/dining space

4. LACK OF “ELBOW ROOM”

When choosing between a sectional sofa vs two sofas, we also considered how close we wanted to sit to potential visitors. Given that this room is an all-purpose room for our family and the only seating area we use, choosing two couches versus a sectional sofa made better sense. Having 2 couches, whether in an L shape or facing each other, allows a little distance between you and your not-so-close-to-you visitors.


Other projects in this space


5. ONLY ONE LAYOUT OPTION

Interior designers advise arranging your furniture facing a focal point in the room, such as a fireplace. Depending on the size of your space, this may leave few options for arranging your furniture.

In our case, we have a corner fireplace and a mounted TV, side by side. Tome, (a regular person who is not a designer), it was unclear whether the sectional should face the fireplace wall or the TV wall. Because let’s be honest here, we spend more time watching TV (hello…we’re empty nesters!) than we do admiring our fireplace. Using 2 sofas vs sectional solved this problem and allowed us to have each sofa face a focal point, bringing the room together nicely.

The L-shape placement of the couches also left the corner open to allow for walking into the space without having to walk around the couch. The corner piece of our old sectional blocked this area. I can even fit a small end table and there’s still room to walk through. Best of all, we can now sit 6 people comfortably (up to 8, really) using only the sofas. All of this seating in a 12′ x 11′ space. In addition to the two couches, the leather recliner and the jute ottomans add another 3-4 seats, perfect for kids or smaller adults.

FINAL DECISION

Clearly, we are “team 2- sofas” over here. The versatility and added seating made this the perfect choice for our “growing” family. I honestly don’t see myself ever buying a sectional, unless it’s for a second family room, theater room, or game room.

Choosing between two sofas vs sectional was a little stressful, especially when I had to return the bulky sectional I initially bought for this space. But hey, sometimes you have to see what doesn’t work to appreciate what does!

What about YOU? Are you team sectional or sofa?

I would love to know what your preference is, or what your space calls for! Or maybe you completely disagree and want to defend your love of sectionals!

Leave me a comment, or tag me on Instagram I would love to see your space!

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Janice| Sawdust Sisters

Novice woodworker and serial Popcorn eater, Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials that motivate others to "dare to try". Originally from Puerto Rico, Janice is fluent in Spanish and dreams of owning a beach house on the island someday! Janice currently lives in Utah with her husband and children, where she works as a university professor.

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