Thank you for all of the posts you provide for free every week. I appreciate learning about what pieces of furniture you think are classic. And, you’re always mindful of our pocketbooks.
But, here’s my problem. iI’s my husband. Oh, I wish I could be original. I wish I had a husband who would keep his mouth shut about the furniture, even though he earns all of the money lol. For some reason, he believes that he’s entitled to a say in the matter.
Isn’t that ridiculous? ;]
He insists that he HAS to have a sectional sofa in our living room.
And, he would prefer leather. Actually, he really wants one of those hideous shiny leather albatrosses with the stadium seats. In a moment of desperation, I ran out of the kitchen sobbing and refused to come out of my room. Oh, I know; very juvenile.
However, my MANipulating tactics worked. I guess he wanted his supper. So, in a moment of vulnerability, he backed down on the stadium seats, and leather. As I’m a proponent of positive reinforcement, I did make him your amazing chocolate cake which made him happy.
But, there’s more.
In addition, our living room has to double as a family room as there is no family room. It is a smallish Bungalow built in the early ’30s; yes, loaded with charm. And, yes, the living room is right there when you open the front door.
He showed me the kind of sectional that appeals to him.
This is the one that nearly caused me to have a nervous breakdown.
Yes, Laurel, this is what he wants. And no, divorce is not an option. Other than his fugly taste in sectional sofas, he’s a keeper. But, like I said, I got him to see the light.
And, here is his “option B.”
Fortunately, this one won’t work because it is larger than our room. I’m serious! Phew! Dodged that bullet.
“I work hard and when I come home, I want to be able to relax and I want to be comfortable. Is that too much to ask?”
He didn’t say it in an angry way. So, no, it isn’t too much to ask. And, yes, he does work hard and I do want him to be happy. But isn’t there some other way for him to be comfortable and for me to retain my beautiful living room?
Thank you, so much Sophie. I hear you. Just curious; is your husband, per chance, the one who calls me “that Laurel” ? ;]
Before I go on, Sophie is a fictitious character out of my imagination. But, she is based on real people and situations I have encountered.
I will be addressing broader concerns. But the number one issue when it comes to a sectional sofa, and actually, all lounge-type upholstered pieces is:
And, a common problem is a sectional that doesn’t fit in the room. Oh, I have seen it more than once. They get it home and it does not fit! Guess they didn’t have a plan!
You know, if it was 200 years ago, for comfort, below is the best we could hope for after a hard day of work.
Or maybe this one, below.
Hmmm… This is reminding me of the Margot sofa! Use: promocode OKLJOY15 for 15% off!
I’m just saying that comfort is obviously a relative thing. By the way, the Margot sofa is super comfy and comes in four hunky colorways.
However, it’s not a sectional sofa.
But, never fear, dear Sophie. It is 2021 and these days there are gobs of handsome, super-comfortable and stylish sectional sofas.
The very earliest sectional sofas are a little unclear, but below, we can see the beginnings of our modern sectional sofa.
A 19th C. Gustavian Swedish piece.
No, it doesn’t come apart, even though it is in sections. Interesting, how the ends face away. I think that was to accommodate the women’s big hoops in their dresses. Something like that.
When did the first real sectional sofas come into being?
I’m not quite sure about that either, although I think the Flintstones had one. ;] I can’t find much before the mid-20th century modern movement.
Well, we have this 19th century boudoir sofa from France found on 1st Dibs, but no longer available. But, it too is attached. Interesting piece! That’s new upholstery, but they left the legs as is. I rather like that.
Okay, I found one. One 19th century, Victorian-style piece from France. But, that is all I found that is genuinely 19th century.
And, I found this French provincial-style piece. It’s actually 20th century circa 1960.
However, the hey-day of the sectional sofa was in the 1940s-50s. The one above is not what we think of as mid-century, but they are saying that it is on Chairish.
The sectional sofas began to proliferate in the middle of the 20th century.
This Danish Modern mid-century sectional sofa is more what I think of when I think of a mid-century sectional. Aside from the dirty upholstery, I think that this piece is a work of art.
In Evansville, Indiana where I spent my formative years, we had neighbors who had a sofa very much like this one in their family room. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Everything in their home was mid-century modern. It was always fun to go over as I felt like I was living in alternative reality while there.
So, how did we get from this sinuous masterpiece to the man-eating monster covered in polyurethaned cow-hide?
Good question, I think. :]
Here’s the missing link– or part of it.
Oh well… What’s done is done. But, gosh, they still make these monstrosities. If you have one and love it, of course, I will accept that. However, please tell me. What happens when the queen comes to visit? Are you going to make her crawl on all fours to take her seat? lol
As for the comfort, years ago I came up with a congenial script to explain that they will love the upholstered furniture I sell. Everyone does. And that was the truth! Although, it took about 15 years to get to the point where I could say it with confidence!
However, in the case of Sophie’s husband, it appears that he’s equating size with comfort.
BIG, BLOATED BLOB = comfortable
sleek, chic, stylish = UNCOMFORTABLE
Please take a look at Does Your Living Room Furniture Need to Go on a Diet?
Actually, I think that he has it backward. It’s far more likely that the behemoth is going to be the one that’s uncomfortable.
A sofa doesn’t have to be a distended beast in order to be comfortable. As any woman who’s had a baby knows. It’s not what’s on the outside that counts. It’s what’s on the inside. ;]
And it’s the same with a sofa, whether it’s in sections or not. Comfort is achieved with interior depth, cushion fill and pitch of the back.
In addition, there’s no reason that a sectional sofa has to be different style-wise from its single unit brothers and sisters.
The sectional sofa with amputated legs.
I never got this look. I mean, we already have a huuuuge hunk of upholstery. Why make it even HEAVIER with this exaggerated rail? (the part under the seat cushion.)
I mean, imagine amputating the gorgeous legs off of the beautiful Chippendale style sofa above and instead, extending the length of the rail.
So, so bad.
What about skirts, Laurel? Does this mean that we can’t have a skirt? I’ll be so disappointed because I love skirts.
Of course you can have a skirt. A skirt is a different thing. Although, generally equated with traditional furniture styles, a skirt is actually modern, since they did not appear until well into the 20th century. Interestingly, there are legs underneath the skirt. They might be short block legs. But, I’ve never seen an upholstered sofa with a skirt that didn’t have them.
I love skirts too; especially a beautiful dress-maker or waterfall style skirt like on the beautiful Jamieson sofa from Serena and Lily. In fact, I’ve featured this sofa in at least three of the Laurel Home Paint, Palette and Home Furnishings Collection boards.
By the way, S & L has all of their upholstery on sale, but only through 11:59 pm (PT) on 7/27/21. Use code: JUSTFORYOU
Another thing to watch out for with all upholstered pieces, not just sectional sofas are weird shapes.
Below is a good example of what I’m talking about
It’s things like this strange arm that I would recommend avoiding.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. ;]
Therefore, please look out for strange arms and shapes. For some reason, they seem even more commonplace on sectionals than on regular sofas.
As for the shiny leather things with the chaises and cup-holders, aside from their inherent fugly. In a living room situation, it makes the living room all about watching TV and that is not really living, IMO. It makes it a media room. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that; however, if it’s the only room for living, conversing, and watching TV, I believe that it needs to function well for all purposes.
Now, does the husband NEED a sectional sofa in order to be comfortable?
Probably not. He could be just as comfortable, I think with a plush deep sofa and ottoman.
What about the sectionals that come with a chaise?
I love this piece and have featured it many times in my hot sales. In fact, you can get 15% off this piece by using code: OKLJOY15. But, it’s not going to work for everyone, and here’s why.
The problem with this piece for TV viewing is that one person gets to put their feet up and the other people watching TV, don’t. That is, unless they get an ottoman What makes more sense to me, is to have a piece like this have a back on the right side of the sectional (or left, if a left facing piece.) That way, someone can sit perpendicular. OR that section can still be used as a chaise.
And then, I would put an ottoman in front where everyone can put their feet up.
As per usual, I looked at numerous sofas to come up with my list of the best sectionals.
Here’s what I’m looking for:
- The first thing I look for is scale and proportion.
- My preference is for a back, not higher than 34″ for a standard arm sofa. The reason is that it is already a big piece of furniture. If, a Tuxedo style (arms the same height as the back, then 31″-33″
- My ideal back cushions are box-shaped because they are sleeker. However, not all of these have that style of cushion, but they are still lovely pieces, so they made the cut.
Do you know why there are almost always back cushions on a sectional sofa?
The reason is that it is not easy to make the pieces of a sectional fit perfectly flush together and the back cushions will hide any small gaps. This doesn’t mean that a tight-back sectional will have these gaps, but the cushions will hide them, if there are.
What else am I looking for in a sectional sofa?
I look for legs of some kind and they can be straight, tapered, turned or those straight, thin, metallic legs for modern styles.
However, if your sectional has a slipcover, it will most likely have a skirt and that is fine.
The other details are the same as for any other sofa or upholstered piece.
And also, here is a lot of good information about what to look for in a quality upholstered chair or sofa.
The following are 15 of my favorite sectional sofas.
This is probably my number one favorite sectional that I have featured numerous times on this blog. It is a wonderful sectional, because it is roomy but still only 35″ deep. It has a lovely pitch and there are dozens of fabrics, choice of leg finishes and nailheads or not.
Some of you may remember a some posts from a few years ago where I took a real living and/or family room and created some room layouts. In all of them, I used the Spruce Street sectional
Below are the posts that feature this lovely sectional sofa.
Above is Jonathan Adler’s Lampert sofa in their sectional version.
It comes in numerous fabrics, as well lengths, three depths, and two finish options for the legs.
The Andes is also currently on sale!
This is a performance velvet with beautiful styling on this Andes sectional sofa.
Similar to the Andes from West Elm is this budget-friendly beauty from CB2. It also comes in numerous fabric options.
Another stunning sectional sofa is this lovely from CB2
Beautiful curved Onslo-sectional sofa – One Kings Lane.
Love this piece which makes for an easy conversational sectional sofa, or for watching TV. It comes in several performance fabrics. You can see them all here.
You might recall me sitting in this beautiful piece during my visit to their new store in Manhattan a while back. And, it is supremely comfortable. If you are interested in any of these, you can get 15% off with code: OKLJOY15.
This is the Serena and Lily Miramar sectional is based on their classic Miramar sofa and chair.
Below is a widget of some of my favorite sectionals. Many of them, you just saw above. Please click on any image to learn more.
And below is a graphic of these sectional sofas
please pin this graphic to your pinterest boards for reference
The upshot here is that sectionals have come a long way since the horrid 70s. Although, it is very important to measure before purchasing. I’ve seen many a home where the sectional barely fit in the room.
And, finally, after weeks of nearly solid rain!
The weather has been glorious in Boston the last couple of days. I hope that you’re having a beautiful weekend, too!
And, you can see my new clothing widget with some of my favorites from the Anniversary Sale.