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Sectional vs Modular Sofas: What's the Difference?

Castlery   |   Nov 14, 2021

When looking for a new sofa, you’ll come across a number of specialist terms and phrases. Two words you’re likely to hear a lot are ‘modular’ and ‘sectional’. Understanding what these terms mean, and the differences between them, can help to ensure that you find the piece of furniture that’s perfect for your home and your lifestyle.

Dog taking a nap on a boxy grey sofa Pictured: Jonathan Chaise Sectional. @yellowbrickhome sure knows how to create a space that’s irresistibly cosy.

What is the difference between a sectional and a modular sofa?

Essentially, modular and sectional sofas are exactly the same. The two words are interchangeable when it comes to sofa design, with modular pieces of furniture made in exactly the same way as sectional sofas. In fact, the only difference between modular and sectional sofas is their name.

What is a modular sofa?

A modular, or sectional, sofa is a sofa that’s made up of a number of different ‘modules’ or sections. These modules can be purchased together or separately and arranged to make a sofa that fits your space perfectly and according to whatever you need.

Modular sofas are ideal for people who want a bespoke look in their living room or who need to furnish a large space. Frequent hosts will also find the modular sofa a delight as they offer maximum flexibility and the option to create unique combinations according to their needs.

A couple cosying up on a modular sofa Looking for sophisticated simplicity and contemporary charm? The Pebble L-Shape Sectional Sofa offers both, with its gently curved frame and metal brass-capped legs. Image credit: @raising.tiny.disciples

When buying a modular sofa, you can either purchase a pre-designed set of modules or invest in separate pieces and put them together yourself. This allows you to create a sofa that’s the perfect size and shape for your needs.

What are the benefits of a modular sofa?

Modular, or sectional, sofas offer a number of benefits over standard 2 and 3 seater designs. If you live in an apartment, or find it difficult to manoeuvre furniture into your living space, a sectional sofa makes it incredibly easy to get your new furnishing into place, no matter the size.

This is because unlike standard sofas, sectional sofas come apart. To move your new couch, simply separate it into its different modules and carry them to their new location one at a time.

If you want to furnish a large living space, or just create a sofa that’s big enough for all the family, a sectional corner sofa is ideal. Simply add as many sections as you need in order to provide generous seating space for all your nearest and dearest. If you really want to go all out, create a ‘U’ shape layout that will turn your living room into the ultimate spot for family movie nights.

Can you have a sectional sofa in a small living room?

While a lot of people choose to place sectional sofas in large living spaces, they work just as well in smaller homes.

Space constraint is no longer an issue with the sectional chaise sofa. More compact than corner sectional sofas, chaise sofa generally have an elongated section on one side and a standard arm on the other. This small modular sofa design gives you plenty of room to stretch out while maximising the available space.

Children having fun around the sectional sofa The sofa is often where the action is at, as demonstrated by @frishmuthfamily.

Another option is to go for an oversized sectional sofa. Filling your room with a large, generous seating area can make your living room feel more welcoming and ensure there’s plenty of room for visitors to stretch out and relax. After all, some say the living room is the heartbeat of the home! If this is your preferred choice, it’s a good idea to minimise the other furnishings in the space to prevent a crowded and cramped space.

Getting to know the various types of sofas available is the first step in finding the furnishing that’s right for you. Learn more about sectional sofas, and find the piece that’s perfect for your home, by exploring our collection.

Woman sipping on a beverage on a tufted sectional sofa Left or right chaise? If you can’t decide, opt for the reversible sectional sofa and you’ll be all smiles, just like @predupre here.

What are the advantages of modular furniture?

There are a number of advantages of modular sofas. For a start, as these furnishings come in sections, they’re a lot easier to lift and transport. If you want a large, heavy sofa but live in an apartment, or if your living room is down a narrow hall, a modular design can help you get the sofa you want.

Secondly, modular sofas are very versatile. If you need to add more seating space, simply buy another section for your sofa. Alternatively, if you want to free up some floor space, all you need to do is remove a section and your sofa will shrink to fit your needs.

How do you keep a modular couch together?

Though they come in separate sections, modular sofas are designed to stay together. Our modular pieces come with clips that attach the sections easily and securely. If you’re unsure how your chosen modular sofa works, get in touch with our friendly customer service, or ask the manufacturer of your sofa for more information.

How do you make a sectional sofa work in a small space?

Sectional sofas can work really well in small spaces. The key to making your modular sofa look good in your small living room is to choose a design that works with the floor space available. For example, instead of a large L or U shaped sofa, opt for a small, stylish chaise design.