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What is a Reversible Sectional Sofa?

A bright and airy living room with a large L-shaped sectional sofa.

The unique feature that distinguishes reversible sectional sofas from other orientations is their versatility which is great for anyone who might want to switch around their furniture and sometimes needs the arm on the left and other times needs it on the right. But before you hop on a shopping spree for this sofa, here are factors to consider when buying one.

Sectional sofas can be a wonderful addition to your home or office, but they are not for everyone. I have realized that people either love them or hate them, there are not really many people in between.

Personally, I think they are fantastic! If you love them too and are considering an upgrade to a sectional sofa, there is no shortage of options. There are all different shapes, colors, sizes, materials used, and additional features to consider.

There are even options to customize your own from quality manufacturers. Sectional sofas are very functional and have the ability to fit a whole family, as opposed to having a couch, loveseat, and some chairs.

Reversible sectional sofas are especially versatile to help meet the needs of your living space and to create a space in your home that provides the look and feel you desire.

When making a large purchase for your home or other space, you want to be sure it is a decision you will stand by for many years to come so you can enjoy your new sofa and be confident that your purchase was money well spent.

That being said, let talk about some of the main factors in decision making that you should consider before purchasing your new sectional so you don’t make some of the same mistakes so many others have made and to put your mind at ease before your big purchase.

For reference, you also might want to check out our Sectional Sofa Buying Guide which provides different sectional sofa style options so you can choose the style that best fits your preference and the style of the space you are creating.

Sectional Shapes

Although the biggest and most eye-catching sectional sofas might spark an immediate attraction, the biggest might not always be what is best for your sofa.

You need to find something that accommodates the space it will go in and your needs on a sofa. Consider how it will be used, how many people it needs to sit and the shape of the space it will be filling.

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There are 3 most common shapes when it comes to sectional sofas; L-Shaped, U-Shaped, and Curved. Let’s talk about each option:

This is a side view of a light gray sectional sofa by the large window.

1. L-Shaped

These sectionals are some of the smallest and most popular options when it comes to choosing a shape for your sectional sofa, but they could also come in very large styles as well.

Basically, the sofa is shaped like an L, which means there is one large sofa piece that seats 2-3 people and an adjacent loveseat or ottoman that seats an additional

1-2 people. They are perfect for fitting in a corner and following the shape of the wall and save a lot of space that would be taken up if you had a couch and loveseat separately.

This is a bright living room complemented by the white sectional sofa.

2. U-Shaped

This is a bit of a bigger style sectional and usually comprises the same aspects of the L-shaped but has an additional loveseat or ottoman on both ends instead of just on one end.

They are best suited for areas that are focused on a central space and are more of a conversational piece. They are most functional paired with a coffee table or used as outdoor seating on your patio where friends can gather together. They generally seat 5-8 people.

3. Curved

This last shape is probably the most uncommon but depending on the space you have and its intended use, it may be the right option for you.

They are much more of a statement piece looking best in the center of a room around a coffee table and provide more of an upscale look.

You can find curved sectional sofas that seat anywhere from 4-10 people, so they could be perfect for very large or very small spaces.

Reversible Sectionals Vs. Other Sectional Orientations

The unique feature that distinguishes reversible sectional sofas from other orientations is their versatility.

Left and right facing sectionals are very similar, but the difference is in the arm placement. Left-facing sectional sofas have the arm of the couch on the left side, whereas right-facing sectional sofas have the arm of the couch on the right side.

They look almost identical to reversible sectional sofas, except that with reversible sectionals you have the ability to move the arm to whichever side you want, essentially making it either left or right facing sectional.

This is a very useful feature for anyone who might want to switch around their furniture and sometimes needs the arm on the left and other times needs it on the right. With reversible sectionals, you get the best of both worlds and can switch it around with ease.

There are also symmetrical and modular sectional sofas as well. Symmetrical has arms of equal length on both sides, giving it the u-shape as described above and might best fit the shape and design of your room. It also provides slightly more seating.

With modular sectionals, you can customize the shape of your sofa into whatever size and shape you, please. They come in pre-assembled modular components that allow you to mix and match different pieces to create the perfect layout.

If you have a fairly large room, this may be a great option for you. It also allows you to get the most use out of one piece of furniture. Just make sure you choose each piece wisely, so you don’t mistakenly have a left or right-facing piece when you need the opposite. You want it to create a cohesive layout.

Factors to Consider Before Buying

There are other features of sectional sofas that you should consider before making a final decision. Some sectional sofas have a reclining feature where one or more of the seats have the ability to recline, creating a more relaxing and comfortable seat.

If you would rather have a conversational sofa certain times and a relaxation sofa other times, this may be an option you want to consider. There are also sectional sofas that have the ability to convert into a sleeper.

Some sectionals transform by simply pushing the back part down, flattening the sofa into a sleeping surface and others have a pull-out bed option where the formation of the couch stays the same, but you pull the bed frame out from the foundation of the sofa.

If you need additional sleeping space for guests or have children who frequently have sleepovers, this could be a really useful option for your family.

Another thing you probably want to consider is the material of the couch. Upholstery could be very important when choosing your sofa, especially if you have pets or children who tend to put their dirty paws or sticky hands-on every surface they could touch, without consideration for all the money you put into your brand-new sofa.

Fabric sectionals are the most inexpensive and probably the most comfortable. It proves a comfortable place to snuggle up with your family and also comes in a wide array of colors. Faux leather and leather-blend sectionals provide an environmentally friendly alternative to genuine leather.

One of the good things about it is that they are low maintenance and easy to keep clean. They also provide a more upscale and sophisticated look to your room without breaking the bank with real leather. However, if you prefer genuine leather or bonded leather, that is always an option as well.

There is nothing quite like the look, feel, and smell of genuine leather. It provides a much more durable and longer-lasting option that will consistently look it’s best and prove to be well worth the investment.

This is a close look at the black leather sectional sofa.

One of the most important things to consider is how you are going to get your sofa to the space that you need it in and how is it going to fit? You should always measure out the space to consider the size that works best.

You might want to even tape out the shape and size of the sectional onto the floor to see exactly what it will look like and how much space it is going to take up. This will make it much easier for planning out the structure of the room and what size and shape work best.

The last thing you want to do is purchase your sectional and then have no space in the room for anything else. You should also be mindful of the arm or arms of the sectional.

If you are purchasing a u-shaped sectional, one arm can be flush against the wall, but the opposite side is going to protrude out into the room. You want to make sure it is not going to obstruct an entryway, walking path, or other furniture.

Entryways are also a factor that needs to be considered because even if the sectional is being delivered in smaller pieces to be assembled inside your home, the door frame needs to be wide enough to fit the pieces in.

I have had the experience myself with a dresser I bought. The ceiling above the stairs comes down very low and the bottom of the stairs has two sharp turns to the left and right with just a wall in front of the stairs leading to the second floor.

The dresser was too wide to fit without damaging the wall, ceiling, or furniture, so I ended up having to return it and buy a different piece.

Believe me, save yourself this frustration! Taking a quick measurement of the spaces the sofa will need to pass through won’t take long and then you could just keep those dimensions with you for when you go to purchase your sofa. The preparation will be well worth it!

Where to Buy Your Sofa

There are many places you can buy sectional sofas, and if you still aren’t sure and want to check out style options to see what they look like, you might want to check out our Sectional Sofa Buying Guide.

It provides an insanely comprehensive list of sofa brands (101 to be exact!) but will definitely be extremely useful in deciding where to look first for the sofa you have in mind.

As stated previously, another great option is finding quality manufacturers that will make custom sectional sofa options that will literally create a sectional sofa that is exactly what you are looking for.

There are also countless online retailers that you can search to find a sectional that has everything you are looking for and it will be shipped right to your home.

If you aren’t sure where to start, here’s a comprehensive list of online furniture stores to check out. and they will ship the one you choose the right to your home. Your local furniture department store could also be a good place to look.

Both online and in-store purchases should have professional installation options as well as delivery, making it less work and stress for you. After all, you’re already doing all the work trying to purchase the perfect sectional sofa, let the professionals do the rest!

Hopefully, by this point, you have at least learned everything you needed to know about sectional sofas and were able to determine if a reversible sectional is a right selection for you or an alternate option. Either way, we hope you enjoy your new sofa!

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