How To's

A Sectional Sofa Shopping Guide


First appearing in furniture stores in the 1950s, sectional (or modular) sofas only really became popular from the 1980s onwards. As people began looking for furniture which both suited their hectic lifestyles and offered a dramatic departure from the often very formal sofa styles of the past, sectional sofas gained in popularity. Sectional sofas are ideal for both large and small spaces, spaces with awkward corners or for clean, minimalist interiors in need of one focal point. Sectional sofas are available in a variety of styles and configurations and can be tailored to accommodate almost any space.


Here are a few things to know before buying a sectional: First, it helps to become comfortable with sectional terminology. Right-arm-facing” (RAF) means that when you are facing the piece or section, the arm is on your right. “Left-arm-facing” (LAF) means that the arm is on your left. Getting the proper-facing arm is critical, because you will be joining two or more pieces, and the placement of the arm will determine if your new sectional works in your room.

141021-full_29-001Style: Jenner

The sectional shown here is composed of a right-arm-facing condo sofa and a left-arm-facing chaise. This configuration is commonly referred to as a 2-piece sofa chaise.

A sectional is made up of two or more pieces. Generally speaking, the fewer pieces you use to create your sectional, the more reasonable the price will be.




Style: Sophia

The sectional shown here is made up of a left-arm-facing sofa return, an armless loveseat and a right-arm-facing chaise.


sectional 1

If you built the same sectional, but instead built it with 4 pieces instead of 3 (left-arm-facing loveseat, corner, an armless loveseat and a right-arm-facing chaise), this would be a bit more expensive.

The obvious advantage to building a sectional with fewer pieces is cost savings. A disadvantage is that depending on your home’s design and floor plan, a sectional with fewer but larger pieces may have some pieces now too large to fit through smaller passageways. Stairway, hallway, doorway and elevator measurements all need to be considered. More components will always mean that your sectional will be easier to move. Something to keep in mind!


sectional 2

Sectional planners with diagrams of each available components are ready to print off in store for many of our customizable styles. Once you understand the available options, you can start the fun part – space planning (on your own or with the help of one of our trained staff.)

sectional 3

My #1 tip: Move your current furniture aside and use painters tape to tape out the outlines of each sectional component on your floor at home to see how different configurations will work. Consider walking paths and how the configuration will affect the flow of your space.

Style: Jenner


When considering a sectional for your space, there is more to think about than just how it will fit in the room. A 1-arm sofa or love seat combined with a chaise is a very popular configuration for a room that will primarily be used for watching TV. But be prepared to fight over the chaise. Double chaises are a more family-friendly option and are available on select styles. The center armless piece can be up to 4 seats depending on your space and your needs.

If your TV fits into the corner of your room, an L-shaped sectional might maximize the number of people who can sit and watch the game on your new sectional.

This is a lot of information, I know. But trust me, Urban Barn staff will make this process very easy for you! We’ll help you along every step of the journey from choosing the most comfortable style to the optimal configuration for your space and life. We’ll show you how to measure and can help you select the perfect fabric to match your décor and lifestyle. Until Monday, all sectionals and sofas are 15% off!


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