How to Place a Sectional in a Small Living Room

Last Updated on March 7, 2024 by Kimberly Crawford

Many apartment tenants and small space owners avoid sectionals because they take up space. But the right arrangement can make your home more open and bigger!

Follow these tips on how to place a sectional in a small living room. These layouts will help you maximize seating without making your space feel small.

History of Sectionals

The mid-century popularity of the sectional sofa is undeniable. Although antique furniture specialists and historians have debated this piece’s history, it has a fascinating backstory. Sectional sofas, which date back to before the American Civil War, handled other difficulties for homes before they were equipped with built-in cup holders and motorized recliners.

The Rappahannock River feeds a region of Virginia noted for its riches, which enabled homeowners to pay artisans for more specialized work. Just a handful of these instances remain intact. It has three pieces with metal locks beneath and is dated 1820 in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Industry experts believe sectional end pieces have long been mistaken for corner chairs. However, it is difficult to tell with just paintings as proof. Furniture-making in the South was interrupted by the Civil War, which resulted in the loss of artisans, workshops, and a lack of lumber.

Most of these artifacts result from the Union army’s devastation of Virginia. Sectionals made a comeback in domestic America once the nation recovered and the Victorian era’s highly social times spread. Sectionals were an absolute must for any party.

Tufted, carved, laminated, and, less often, corner pieces distinguish this style, which typically consists of two sofas pressed together. The sectional sofa was the ideal display for the Mid-Century Modern aesthetics of Charles & Ray Eames, George Nelson, and contemporary-style furniture’s sleek, industrial design.

As a result of the massive amount of customer demand made possible by department stores and catalogs, it creatively addressed the issue of uniformity vs. customization.

Using modular design, it was possible to mass-produce sectional sofas assembled in the customer’s living room after they were delivered and then personalized.

What to Consider in a Sectional?

Sectional sofa shopping can be a daunting experience. Here are some ideas to consider.

The first thing to think about is the layout and size of your space. A full-sized sectional with a chaise lounge and sofa bed may be an option if space permits. Or is a more compact set-up necessary due to the size of your home?

Decide on your preferred design after you have a sense of the available space. Do you desire a brown leather sectional with a classic look? Alternatively, would you like a more casual modern style with overstuffed cushions and machine-washable fabric? 

The retro-modern design could perhaps be to your taste, and you would want to buy anything in such a manner. Fortunately, sectional sofas come in a wide range of designs, colors, and materials so that you may choose one that matches your preferences. You can go through insightful sites like Style Shared for some great sectional choices on a budget and recommendations.

Features are yet another factor to take into account. Do you prefer chairs that can be reclined or those that remain stationary? The cup holders are an essential consideration, too. What about a sofa bed or a loveseat with a console? The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your options and locate the perfect sectional sofa for your house.

What is the Best Kind of Sectional for Small Spaces?

The modular sectional sofa is the perfect match for small spaces because of its versatility and comfort. It consists of individual pieces which you can piece together like a puzzle or separate.  

It adapts to all types of living rooms. If you want to redecorate, re-arrange the pieces, and your room aesthetic will change a lot. You don’t need anyone’s help to carry them because they are weightless and not too bulky.

Try positioning one piece to a corner and place the rest against your short walls. Or you can arrange only a few pieces in your living room and place the ottoman part in your bedroom.

Measure Your Room

If you haven’t purchased a sectional yet, measure the door you’ll be using to bring the couch to your room. Calculate the height and width of the door frames. Take the measurements of the entrance and the pathway that leads to your small living room.

The next step is to measure the length and width of your room. Doing so will help you limit your sofa choices according to size. You can also take window measurements if you want a perfect couch to window ratio.

Decide on the Type of Sectional Sofa

There are different sectional sofas, from L-shaped and U-shaped to modular sectionals. Here are some of them.

Sofa Chaise

The sofa chaise is a compact sofa with an L shape that’s ideal for small family rooms and apartments. It has a better scale than the typical sectional sofa. And you can swap the chaise to be on the left or right.  

The only downside to using a sofa chaise is you can’t lay on it or stretch your legs out while sitting. It also accommodates only three to four people.

L-Shaped Sectional Sofa

The L-shaped sectional is the most popular among sectional sofas, with one side being longer. It makes your room look well-aligned and polished, but it’s only great for spacious living rooms. If you have a small space, you’ll have difficulty bringing the couch in.

Modular Sectional Sofa

A modular sectional sofa is perfect for small spaces because it has individual pieces. You can move them around, combine, or separate to fit your small living room. It’s excellent for apartments with awkward shapes because you can tuck them into corners.

U-Shape Sectional Sofa

This sectional sofa has two end chaises or three sides to create a letter U form. Place it in a medium-sized living room so people can have more space to walk around. It also feels cozier when watching TV since it accommodates many people.

Choose a Focal Point

Having a focal point in the living room will help you choose where to position the sectional. It could be the main window, television, fireplace mantel, or your coffee table. Whatever it is, arrange your couch around it.

Don’t Position the Couch too Close to the Wall

It’s okay to set your couch up against the wall so you can save space and have more walking room. But leaving two or three inches will give it more space for breathing. It will also prevent your walls and the back of your sectional from getting marks.

You can arrange a slightly bigger living room several feet away from the walls if you have a somewhat bigger living room. It will make your space feel wider and create a more optimal conversation area.

Examine the Traffic Flow

The traffic flow is essential to consider when you’re arranging your sectional. Especially in small living rooms. Make sure families and friends don’t trip over your pieces or each other when passing by your couch. Keep the coffee table a few feet away from the sofa for a clear path.

Pick a Layout

The last step is to decide on a layout for arranging your sectional sofa. Here are some ideas for your small room.

In the Corner

Nestle your sectional a few inches against the wall to open up your room. It will give you extra space for an accent chair, vase, or any piece that will balance out the other side. If you don’t feel like adding anything else, soften the space with a larger coffee table or a rug in the middle.  

Let your couch face the TV or the fireplace. The sofa will accommodate its ideal number of people without blocking the flow.

Conversations and Meetings

Perhaps you want your small living room to be a spot for chatting and holding meetings. You can do this by separating the pieces and making them face each other while revolving on the coffee table. The only disadvantage is the inconvenience it brings when watching TV.

Divide the Room

Dividing the room with your L-shaped sectional is a fantastic idea for studio apartments. It might not make your home feel open, but it provides privacy and security. The L shape can serve as a divider between your living area and your kitchen or bedroom.

Entertaining People

Try a four-seater sectional in your small living room against an accent wall if your space has an open concept design. Pair it with a rectangular coffee table so that guests can conveniently place their wine glasses on it.

Everyone sits beside each other to have a vast space in front of them. This arrangement looks neat, organized, and space-saving!

Anatomy and Types of Sectionals

Sectional collections often have two or more pieces arranged in various ways. Depending on the product, there can be many components available. These fundamental building pieces, however, are standard in many of them.


Between two seats or the extremities of a sofa, this is a single armrest. It can include additional features such as cup holders or secret storage space.


A chair is a single seat that does not recline. As with the recliner, it is generally offered in the same combinations.

Chaise Lounge

Extra-long chaise loungers allow you to stretch out and unwind. Sectional sofas often include one-armed pieces (LAF or RAF) that can fit on the end of the couch.

Cocktail Ottoman

Sectionals with broad, seat-height ottomans are ideal for a temporary chaise lounge. Under the cushion of several of these ottomans is secret storage space.

Cooling Drawer

An armrest or sofa base can be used as a slide-out storage area, added to a sofa or loveseat component. Drinks can be kept chilly by using an ice pack or electric refrigeration in an insulated container.

Drop Down Table

Back cushions of particular sofas and loveseats can be folded into a table for more workspace when not in use. Typically, this is on the sofa’s center cushion.


Typically, sectional loveseats have two seats. With two armrests on each seat and sometimes a pair of cupholders, these love chairs can be conventional or console in design. Armless loveseats are also available, as well as two-arm and LAF variants.


This sectional sofa has several sections that may be mixed and matched to create various looks. Let’s say you are challenged with decorating an unusually shaped space. In this scenario, modular sectionals are ideal since they do not need the formation of a single piece of furniture. Instead, may use separate portions independently. While entertaining, you may change the sectional sections for more adaptability.


It is possible to extend the length of a sofa or loveseat by adding these reclining chairs next to it. A recliner’s arm options include two-arm, LAF, RAF, and even armless.

Recliners can come in various forms and sizes and the following optional extras.


Three back cushions are placed on top of three seat cushions on most sectional sofas. These are the most common configurations with two arms, no arms, or one arm in a LAF (left arm facing) or RAF (right arm facing) arrangement.


This sofa with a fold-out bed is also known as a sleeping sofa. In most cases, you will find a queen- or double-sized bed. Sofa beds can have two, one, or no arms, depending on your preference.


You can have a sectional sofa’s seating possibilities with the added benefit of sleeping on a sleeper section in your living room or guest room. There are many sleeper sectionals to choose from, making them a good alternative for those who wish to take advantage of a sofa and a bed.


As with L-shaped sectionals, symmetrical sectionals feature two segments that meet in the middle to create an angle. Symmetrical sectionals, in contrast to L-shaped sectionals, are the same length, both up and down. Sectionals of this form are more spacious than standard L-shaped ones. Yet, they retain the same multifunctionality that makes them so tempting.

The Corner Wedge

The sectional sofa can be tucked into a tight spot with the help of this corner piece. Generally speaking, wedges have a 90-degree angle; however, there are exceptions. Armless corner wedges are very common.

In Conclusion

Placing a sectional in a small area seems like a challenging task, but your choices are countless! Consider the type of activities you like doing in your living space and the mood you want to give off.  

Need more sofa arrangement advice? Comment below and we’ll get back to you! And feel free to share your tips!