Sofas vs. Sectionals at La-Z-Boy: Which One is Right for Your Living Room?
August 29, 2022
Est. Reading Time: 10 Mins
Sofas and sectionals are similar but can vary drastically in several ways, including size, shape, style, and functionality.
Mary Lee Smyth, an interior designer at La-Z-Boy Kingston, says, “Sofas are a more traditional and formal piece, while sectionals have only come up in recent years as a living room staple, making it more of a contemporary piece.”
But which furniture frame is right for your space? Can one work better in your room than the other?
At La-Z-Boy, we sell a wide variety of furniture, and we know a thing or two about furnishing a stylish and comfortable living room. Many of our clients come to us asking about the differences between a sofa and a sectional, wondering which choice is best for them.
This article will answer these important questions and will hopefully be able to tell you which furniture frame is better for you.
In This Article …
- What is a Sofa vs. a Sectional?
- Key Differences Between a Sofa vs. a Sectional
- Sofa vs. Sectional: Pros and Cons Breakdown
- Examples of Sofa & Sectionals at La-Z-Boy
What is a Sofa vs. a Sectional?
First and foremost, it is important to understand the true difference between a sofa and a sectional.
A sofa, as everyone knows, is along upholstered furniture piece with two to three cushions side-by-side. A sofa typically seats about three people comfortably, depending on how big or small it is.
Sectionals, on the other hand, are also meant to keep you comfortable for any given time, except that this particular furniture frame comes in different configurations and can seat more than three people.
Not only can you seat more than three, but you can also sometimes fit more than ten people if big enough! Sectionals have much more customizability in terms of shape and size.
With this, it can be as big or as small as you wish and can come in any shape that makes sense for your living room. You can also opt for different modular pieces like sofa beds, reclining chairs, corner cuddler seats, chaise seats, and more.
Key Similarities Between a Sectional vs. a Sofa
Even though there are different variations of sofas and sectionals, they all share a common purpose, which is to help you stay comfortable when sitting down for either a short or long period of time.
Each of these furniture frames offers a family-friendly experience that is perfect for personal enjoyment or social events.
The only big difference between these two pieces of furniture is their complexity; one piece of furniture piece is more simplistic and to the point, while the other has different shapes and sizes to choose from.
Key Differences Between a Sectional vs. a Sofa
Now that you know what exactly a sectional and a sofa are and their key similarities, let’s take a look at what the main differences are.
As you might’ve already guessed, there are many differences, but we have broken everything down into four sections so you can easily access everything you need to know!
1. Shape & Size
As mentioned before, one of the biggest differences between a sofa and a sectional is their shape and size.
The shape of a sofa is always a straight line of cushions side-by-side. While sofa cushions can vary in length and width, this shape basic remains the same.
In contrast, a sectional comes in various shapes, which are referred to as “configurations.” When shopping for a sectional, it will either have a set shape that cannot be changed, or you can choose from a range of sectional pieces to design your own shape.
At La-Z-Boy, you can choose from the following modular pieces to design a sectional configuration:
- Left/Right Arm Sitting Recliners/Chairs
- Left/Right Arm Sitting Stationary/Reclining Loveseats
- Left/Right Arm Sitting Stationary Sofas
- Left/Right Arm Sitting Stationary/Reclining Chaise
- Left/Right Arm Sitting Cuddler
- Armless Chairs/Recliners
- Armless Full Sleepers
- Rounded/90-Degree Corner Units
- Storage Consoles
Some modular pieces are better than others when determining your sectional configuration. To see which sectional piece is better for you, take a look at our comparison article on Cuddler vs. Chaise Seats.
*Keep in mind that the available modular pieces vary depending on the furniture frame you choose.
The most popular configurations for a sectional are L-Shaped, U-Shaped, a Sectional with a Chaise, or a Sectional with a Curved Cuddle Corner.
The shape and configuration of a sectional will determine its size. Mary Lee says, “sectionals can either be wall to wall and cover the whole room, or they can be smaller and only cover a little bit, like sofas.”
Whether it is a three-piece configuration or a ten-piece configuration, sectionals can be as big or as small as you wish.
When designing a sectional, you have to take into account the shape of your room, as well as measure your space to see if your configuration can fit in your living area.
“You can do an L-shape, a U-shape, or any other kind of shape for your sectional. So long as you have the room for it, it should create a welcoming environment,” Mary Lee says.
2. Functionality & Versatility
Further, sofas and sectionals vary in terms of their functionality and versatility. This refers to how they can be used and their available options & upgrades.
Generally speaking, the main difference in functionality is the fact that sofas can typically seat fewer people than sectionals. Further, sofas tend to encourage an upright seating position, while sectionals often allow for laying down.
With a sofa, there’s only so much room to get comfortable with multiple people. “Sometimes if your three people, you might feel like you’re a pack of sardines with only one possible seating position, which is upright,” Mary Lee says.
With a sectional, however, Mary Lee says you can lay down comfortably on one side of the sectional while the other is occupied by one or more people. “This is also depending on how wide your sectional is,” she says.
The functionality and versatility can also be differentiated in terms of options & upgrades. At La-Z-Boy, sofas and sectionals vary in their customizability:
Options & Upgrades at La-Z-Boy
*Some options & upgrades may not be available depending on the selected furniture family & frame.
Consider Your Living Situation
To help decide between the functionality and versatility of a sofa vs a sectional, you might want to consider your living situation.
Who will be using your sofa or sectional? How many people will be using your sofa or sectional? How do you plan on using your sofa or sectional? Is this a forever piece of furniture or temporary?
These questions, along with everything else in this article, are things that you should be asking yourself when considering a new furniture item in your house.
If you live alone or with one other person, a sofa might be all you need. In contrast, if you have a large family or enjoy hosting guests, you might prefer the size of a sectional.
Moreover, “if some individuals are too energetic and love to jump across the back of the furniture frame to reach the cushions faster, maybe a sectional isn’t right for you because it’ll wear out faster,” says Mary Lee.
According to Mary Lee, people are more likely to treat a sectional with more carelessness since it is a bigger furniture piece and because it’s more casual than a sofa.
“With a sofa, however, people are more forced to treat it as a fragile item and not climb on it because it might flip over.”
Perhaps your home could benefit from the functionality and versatility of BOTH!
“You could even get both a sofa and a sectional if you have the room for it,” Mary Lee says. Whatever the choice it may be, it will be the right one!
With any furniture piece comes a stylish choice. But is it possible that one furniture frame is more stylish than the other?
According to Mary Lee, sofas have a more traditional and formal style, whereas a sectional is more contemporary and casual in terms of design.
That said, sofas have been around much longer than sectionals, which means their style has evolved over the years. At La-Z-Boy, for example, sofas come in many furniture styles, such as contemporary, modern, transitional, and traditional.
In contrast, most sectional frames are more contemporary and casual, although some are shown to have traditional elements to them, like the Kennedy Furniture Family.
That said, just because sectionals appear more contemporary doesn’t mean they can’t look traditional either. This casual seating arrangement can be dressed up with certain customizations, according to Mary Lee.
“I once had a family come in and ask me for advice for adding a sectional to their Victorian-era living room. It was a bit of a challenge but I made them a sectional that looked traditional enough. I added red leather to the cover and gave it just the right shading to make it look like it was styled in that era. They thought it was an absolute work of art,” she said.
If you’re looking for a comparison of furniture styles, take a look at our article Traditional vs. Contemporary.
Lastly, when figuring out which furniture frame is right for you, one must always consider the cost. So, what is the difference between the cost of a sofa and a sectional?
When comparing the cost of a sofa or a sectional, one is definitely more expensive than the other.
The cost can depend on multiple factors — at La-Z-Boy, for example, our furniture is made with high-quality materials and craftsmanship, meaning our furniture is more expensive than other furniture stores on the market.
Because the construction of materials matters so much in the furniture cost, this means that sectionals are significantly more expensive than sofas, depending on the size and number of modular pieces included.
Mary Lee says, “even the smallest sectional configuration at La-Z-Boy can be well over $2000 more than the price of a sofa.” Sectionals can even be as expensive as $20,000, depending on the options and upgrades included.
With that being said, purchasing higher-quality furniture is an investment. Better quality furniture can be worth the higher bill if you plan to have your furniture for a long time.
Sofas vs. Sectionals: Breakdown of Pros and Cons
Now that you know the similarities and differences between a sofa and a sectional here is a recap of everything explained in this article in our very own pros and cons list:
Examples of Furniture Families at La-Z-Boy with a Sofa & a Sectional
At La-Z-Boy, we have many different furniture families that include sofas and sectionals. Here are 3 furniture families that Mary Lee recommends that include both a sofa and a sectional.
1. The Paxton Sofa & Sectional
The Paxton is the casual and relaxed furniture item that invites you to kick back and get cozy. Its clean lines and crisp welt trim give it a neat and structured silhouette. It is also one of our most popular furniture families at La-Z-Boy.
Paxton features deep, T-shaped seat cushions, low-profile wood legs, and chamber-filled back cushions that maintain their shape and support over time. Patented ComfortCore® cushions provide just the right amount of support for a long or short sit.
The Paxton Sectional includes several modular pieces like cuddlers and chaise seats.
The Paxton is also available as a Chair & a Half, a Loveseat, and a matching ottoman.
2. The Meyer Sofa & Sectional
Next on our list is the Meyer Sofa & Sectional, which Mary Lee says is quite comfortable due to its attached back cushions.
With deep seat cushions and an extra wide stance, Meyer is comfortable enough for a crowd with a style that makes an impression. Welt detailing enhances the crisp but casual look of Meyer’s box border seats and backs, as well as its updated track arms. Decorative wood legs add to its appeal.
The Meyer Sectional includes modular pieces like cuddlers, chaise seats, and loveseats.
The Meyer is also available as a Chair, a Loveseat, and a matching Ottoman. You can also learn more about the Meyer furniture family by checking out its comparison article Meyer vs. Collins.
3. The Trouper Sofa & Sectional
Lastly, the only reclining furniture family with a sofa and a sectional on this list is the Trouper.
Turn casual evenings at home into cozy family nights with our Trouper reclining sofa or sectional. Sink into one of the sculpted bucket seats as the split back cushion provides soft support of your head, neck and lumbar.
This reclining furniture family is interesting because it features a faux leather selection that stands out from other furniture families at La-Z-Boy. Plus, the sectional comes with a storage console that holds drinks, which can be perfect for movie nights with friends and family.
You now have a clearer idea of the differences between a sofa and a sectional. We hope that this article will guide you in making the right choice for you!
As you begin shopping, take a look at some of our best sellers:
- Top 5 Sofas at La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston
- Top 5 Sectionals at La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston
- Top 5 Reclining Sofas at La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston
- Top 5 Reclining Sectionals at La-Z-Boy Ottawa & Kingston
Our design consultants are always eager to lend a helping hand. Take advantage of our interior design services to see how our furniture could fit in your home design.
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