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Based on our experience, we know shopping for the perfect sofa can cause a rollercoaster of emotions. There are a lot of factors to consider, but it doesn’t get better than the comfort and roominess that a sectional provides. In fact, most sectional silhouettes come in two pieces, making them rather easy to squeeze through tight doors and staircases upon delivery.
To help decide what exact frames and styles you should be looking for, we turned to design expert Gil Walsh of GW Interiors, who knows a thing or two about sectionals. With over 30 years of design experience in both residential and commercial projects, Walsh understands the details to look for when searching for the right sofa for your home. With her impressive design background, we asked her to give us a few tips for sofa shopping, and you might be surprised by what’s in store.
What to Look For When Buying a Sectional Sofa
“The first thing we look at is the frame,” says Walsh. The frame is the structure of your sofa, and if it’s not well-made, the chances of your sectional breaking sooner than you’d like are high. Before the inevitable happens, Walsh recommends looking out for a hardwood frame, not to be confused with plywood. Next, comfortability lands on top. If you’re purchasing a sectional, you likely want a sofa that you can sprawl out on and lay on for long periods of time. In that case, Walsh suggests what she believes is “one of the best support systems,” an eight-way hand-tied springs system.
Additionally, down or down-blend cushions are what you’re most likely going to find comfortable. “Besides the cushion fill, the comfort is all in the weave of the fabric,” says Walsh. “Soft, plush, and textured fabrics are the coziest.” She also recommends a plush-performance fabric for families or those who have pets. Lastly, it’s important to consider the scale of your sofa, both in proportion to the room it’s going in and your body. Walsh recommends that taller people consider a sofa with greater seat depth, while shorter people search for a sectional with a lower back height. “Choosing the right sofa is all about scaling it to fit the room space as well as your physical dimensions,” she says.
Now that you know what to look for, the style and price are fully in your court. Do you want a designer piece that’ll stand out in your space, or are you more into affordable options from retailers like Wayfair and Amazon? You can also shop a range of styles, from midcentury modern designs to chic leather pieces. Here’s a detailed look at the best sectional sofas on the internet based on Walsh’s advice, our editor’s reviews, and our own market research.
— Additional reporting by Haley Lyndes, Anvita Reddy, and Kyley Warren