Sectional sofas are extremely versatile and offer seating for up to as many as nine people, depending on the configuration you choose. However, sometimes selecting these pieces can make you feel like you're speaking a different language. The terms that are used can be unfamiliar, and if you are not careful, you could end up with a bunch of matching pieces that all face different ways! Becoming familiar with the terminology used and the various configurations available will help you when selecting the perfect sectional for your living room!
Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Types of Sectional Parts
A sofa refers to a piece of the sectional that has three cushions.
When trying to figure out where to place a sofa within your sectional configuration, it will be important to know what other pieces you will also want to incorporate. A sofa section will act as the bulk of the seating area. You can add a chaise lounge or a chair at one or both ends of the sofa sectional configuration, or you could attach another connecting sectional piece, like a loveseat or a recliner.
Sofas can come as their own piece of furniture:
Or, they can come as part of a sectional:
A loveseat refers to a piece of a sectional that has two cushions.
When configuring your sectional, the use of a loveseat is a great option to add to one end of the sofa portion. This will create an L-shaped design that is optimal for hosting company, having plenty of space, and all the while being able to focus the room on a television focal point, but not taking away from the ability to carry on conversations without having to turn your neck too harshly.
A loveseat can come as its own piece of furniture:
Or, it can come as part of a sectional:
3. Chaise lounge
A chaise is a piece of a sectional that has a deeper cushion than the rest of the sectional. It is designed to allow you to stretch out your legs while you sit mostly upright.
Probably one of the most common types of sectional pieces is the chaise lounge. It can be used on either side of the sectional. These can be good for lounging to read or watch television. They can be added to the end of a standard sofa to create a nice sectional feel in a small space. You'll get the benefit of how cozy it looks as compared to a standard sofa, and also the benefit of being able to relax with your feet up.
Chaise lounges come as an individual piece of furniture:
Or, it can come combined with a sectional:
4. Corner wedge
A corner wedge is a piece that connects two larger pieces at the corner, making it feel like one large piece and providing the necessary angle to give the sectional its shape.
Corner pieces of sectionals are going to help when connecting to pieces that need an angle. This could be connecting a sofa to a love seat or a chair to the end of a loveseat or sofa when a turn in the design is desired. They really do not have much use on their own, as they don't have any armrests and are not very large.
A recliner is a chair that has a footrest that pops out, while the back of the chair slides back and down to create a comfortable position for reading or watching television.
Recliners can be used on their own:
Or, they can be added on to the ends of a sectional:
An armrest is a spot at the end of the sofa or between two seats on the sofa, where you can comfortably rest your arm while seated. You'll find armrests most frequently on the edges of the sofa, loveseat, or chair, but a chaise piece often does not have armrests, or it may only have one.
There are many different things you can do to make an armrest more functional for your lifestyle. Many designs will offer built-in storage. If there is no built-in storage, there are many different products that can be purchased to make the most use out of the armrest space.
7. Sofa bed
A sofa bed is a sofa that has a bed build into it. This bed can be folded up under the sofa's cushions, or it can be the way the sofa is built. In both designs, the bed itself will unfold. The difference is how it is stored.
A sofa bed with the bed folded under the cushions will be utilized by taking the cushions off the bed and pulling out a folded metal frame that has a thin sofa bed mattress atop.
A sofa bed that is built into the design and fold of the sofa itself will carefully unfold to make the cushions of the sofa transform into a bed that can be made and slept on comfortably.
These types of sofas can be used in a sectional configuration or used alone as just a sofa bed.
8. Side storage pockets
Some sofa pieces will come with pockets or pouches on the side. These can be used to store everyday things, such as remotes, reading glasses, pens, or other small items you may need to grab easily.
If your sofa doesn't have pockets built-in, you can purchase small additions to provide this convenient storage.
Footrests and ottomans are an extremely useful and versatile item to consider when picking the sectional pieces you may use.
A footrest is a piece of furniture that generally matches the seating piece that it sits next to. These are a great way to use a traditional sofa or a traditional chair and still be able to prop your feet up. Often, footrests can be used as stools or storage compartments as well. They can be used on their own, or they can be used in conjunction with your sectional or other seating furniture that you have.
Although commonly, footrests and ottomans are used interchangeably, an ottoman is a slightly larger piece of furniture that often comes with a set up of a sectional sofa. Ottomans such as this are used for many things such as resting your feet, used as a coffee table, and contain storage compartments.
There are three different kinds of tables used in a living space next to a sofa or sectional. These tables are referred to as either a coffee table, end table, or sofa table. While all three types of tables will serve similar purposes, they were each designed with a slightly different concept in mind.
A coffee table often will take the place of an ottoman. This type of table is generally the same height as an ottoman or very close. It will be approximately the same height as the height of your couch. This will allow you the most comfortable means to rest your feet while also providing you a space to set down a book or a drink. Coffee tables are also great places to hide some additional storage. You can find very versatile options that will be sure to fit whatever style and function that you're going for!
End tables are very similar to a table used as a nightstand next to a bed. Typically their height will be a bit higher than that of a coffee table, and they will often be smaller in the tabletop area to fit at the ends of a sofa. They are also there to allow for a place to set things and to offer additional storage.
A sofa table is a long, narrow, tall table designed to sit behind a sofa. This table can be used for decoration, a place for lamps to sit, or a useful table for those sitting on the sofa.
People find all kinds of unique ways to incorporate sofa tables into their living space. While they were originally designed to sit behind the couch, that is not where their use ends. You can also choose to use a table such as this in an entryway or as a long table against a wall in a narrow living space.
Occasionally, you'll find that some sectional pieces have cupholders build-in to the armrests. This is a nice element for convenience's sake. If the sectional you are interested in does not have this, you can purchase a cozy pillow cupholder to add.
The wonderful thing about sectional sofas is that they are highly customizable. A sectional sofa gives you control over the shape of the furniture based on the shape of your living space, as well as the number of seats available on the sofa, and what other luxurious benefits you may want to include, such as a chaise lounge or a nice recliner. Before you go, be sure to check out our article "How To Measure A Sectional Couch [Detailed Guide]!"