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Sectional vs. Regular Sofa: What Are the Key Differences?

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Comparison between a sectional and a sofa.

When it comes to a sectional vs. regular sofa, I prefer a sectional sofa. I like the size and lounging options. I think they look great too in the way they can frame a space so nicely. They’re also economical because you really don’t need a second sofa or even a loveseat. Another chair will do or in smaller spaces, it works on its own.

Choosing is not easy. Perhaps your partner wants one type and you the other. It’s difficult to reconcile. Perhaps we can help with this article as we’ve detailed the many pros and cons of each type of furniture below.


White sectional sofa in a minimalistic living room.

Sectionals, while they can come in a very large single piece, often come with many smaller pieces that make it up. They are very practical and easy to arrange in your home, depending on the size of your room as well as the style of sectional you buy. With so many kinds to choose from, ranging from sleeper sofas to ones with multiple pieces, it’s fairly easy to find a sectional that will work with the layout of your room.

They are ideal for larger families or for people who enjoy entertaining and want to make sure they have enough seating space for all of their guests. In addition, they are ideal if you have a particularly large sitting or living room and want to buy furniture that will easily fill up the space, as they are generally much larger than sofas. Because they will require so much space and need ample space around them for people to walk, only those with large rooms should consider sectionals.


  • Versatile: They are incredibly versatile and how you use the sectional will change the appearance of the room. Pushing it into a corner will create the illusion of more space in your home, while pulling it out and allowing it to “float” in the room ensures a cohesive look.
  • Many options: Sectional sofas come in a variety of styles and shapes, such as a U or L shaped, chaise, or pit sectional. This ensures that you can easily maximize the space in your home and allows everyone sitting on the sectional to be able to talk to each other easily without anyone feeling left out of the conversation.
  • Economical: You don’t have to buy multiple pieces of furniture as a great sectional will be able to take the place of a sofa, chairs, and even a love seat.
  • Modular: Because they come in multiple pieces, they are very easy to move around the room. This is ideal for the owner who likes a flexible room and wants to be able to move around furniture without too much hassle.
  • Can re-upholster: It’s fairly economical to have a sectional reupholstered if the fabric gets dirty and stained. Families who have pets and children will appreciate this feature as it means they don’t have to buy a whole new piece of furniture when accidents happen.
  • Vantage point: Everyone will be able to see the TV without any fights over who gets the best seat in the house.
  • Console options: Many sectionals come with built-in cup holders or storage so you can easily stash your remotes, magazines, or phones while watching a movie or spending time with friends. The cup holders ensure that you won’t accidentally spill a drink and also remove the need for end tables or coffee tables by your sectional.


  • Too big: A large sectional sofa can eclipse the entire space of the room, especially if you have a lot of other furniture in the space. This can appear awkward and make it difficult to navigate the space.
  • Informal: Formal living rooms are much better off with a sofa and pair of chairs, as sectionals appear much less formal due to their shape and appearance.
  • Lacks layout versatility: If your room is not very large, you may find it almost impossible to rearrange the furniture around the sectional, as it will take up so much space that it may only be able to fit in the room one way.
  • May not work in new house if you move: A sectional that you buy specifically for a home you have now may not work well if you move. This will cause you to have to buy different furniture. In addition, moving a sectional sofa can be very difficult. Not only are the extremely heavy, but their awkward shape makes them incredibly difficult to get through a doorway. It’s not uncommon for owners to accidentally damage the door frame when moving their sectionals to another room or home.
  • Is the focal point (even if you don’t want it to be): Even a sectional in neutral colors and upholstery will most likely become a focal point of the room simply because of its size.
  • Some not comfortable to sit upright in: While chaise sectionals are very comfortable to lounge on, they don’t provide a lot of seating space and support if you are going to sit up, and for this reason can feel like they take up too much space and don’t offer enough seating in return.
  • Corner seat not comfortable: Sitting in the corner of the sectional can be very uncomfortable and will make it difficult to get up without disturbing everyone sitting around you.
  • Can be heavy: While you can buy a sleeper sectional sofa, all of the additional hardware required to turn your sofa into a bed make the piece of furniture even heavier and almost impossible to move.


Standard sofa in gray with printed pillows.

A sofa, or couch, offers seating in a home and can be used in many different rooms due to its smaller size. It’s not uncommon to see sofas in living rooms, along the wall in a large dining room, or even in a bedroom if there is enough space. They come in a variety of styles and kinds and offer very comfortable seating. Depending on the size of sofa you buy, you can use it for reading, watching TV, spending time with friends or family members, or even napping. It’s important that the room where you place your sofa is long enough so that the piece doesn’t look out of place, but they can be up against a wall or pulled out into the middle of the room and still look natural and improve the space.

Sofas are ideal if you don’t have a large enough home or room to easily accommodate a sectional sofa and want to make sure you still have ample seating. They are great for people who move a lot as they are much lighter and easier to bring with you when you find a new home. Also, since they come with so many different upholstery options, they are great for people who are interested in interior design and want to be able to match or complement their paint, flooring, and art with their furniture.


  • Flexibility: You have a lot more flexibility when you buy a regular sofa, as they are significantly smaller and lighter than sectional sofas are. This allows you to rearrange the room when you want and ensures you can easily move the furniture without needing help from others.
  • Upholstery options: With so many different upholstery options to choose from, you can decide on a sofa that will meet the needs of your family. For easy clean-up, choose microfiber sofas. If you want something that appears more classic and formal, leather is a great choice.
  • Mix and match: Buying a sofa and separate chairs allows you to mix and match your room to create a unique space.
  • Room feels and looks larger: Because they are naturally smaller pieces of furniture, your room will feel larger. This is important for homes that have smaller living rooms, as placing dominating pieces of furniture in the space will immediately make the room feel much smaller.
  • More personal space: They offer more personal space than sectional sofas do, which is ideal for visitors who may not be comfortable with having other people sit directly next to them.
  • Easier to move around: Even heavy sleeper sofas are still much easier to move and rearrange in the room than sectional sofas are.
  • Cost less: In general, regular sofas cost less than sectional sofas do, making them much more affordable for people who are just setting up their first home or need to buy a piece of furniture in a hurry. That said, you can find great sectionals under $1,000.
  • Slipcovers are more available: It’s very easy to find furniture covers for sofas that can quickly hide stains and update the appearance of your furniture. If you are worried about being able to change the upholstery easily and for a low price, then choosing a sofa in a standard size that you can buy slipcovers for is a very smart move.


  • Fewer overall seats: There isn’t as much space for people to sit and visit as there is on a sectional sofa. In addition, very long sofas can make it incredibly difficult for the people on the ends to feel like they are included in the conversation.
  • Fewer TV viewing vantage points: Depending on the location of the TV, it can be hard for everyone to see the screen from where they are sitting.
  • Not as lounge-like: The sofa will not recline and you will have to have footstools or ottomans available if you want to be able to prop up your feet. Unfortunately, these will take up the space you will need for a coffee table.
  • Not as contemporary (or cool????): Sofas can feel a little outdated compared to sectionals. If you have a modern home, it’s important to consider the effect your new furniture will have on your space.
  • Layout may be more difficult: It can be very difficult to come up with a layout that works well for your sofa and doesn’t make your living room feel cluttered or random. It’s much more important to consider rugs, tables, chairs, and other furniture when decorating with a sofa than it is with a loveseat.