Sectionals create intimate seating arrangements that require space consideration.

How to Place a Sectional in a Room

by D Ann Kross

Sectionals deliver intimate seating within a room, and often require planning to ensure optimal placement. Unlike traditional sofas, sectionals incorporate right angles and curves that can sometimes block access points. It helps to plan ahead to minimize clearance and size issues that can occur with sectional placement. Many sectionals also have individual components, such as a chaise lounge or an armless chair section, making them a smart choice for large spaces that support multiple seating options.

Basic Rule

Take door openings and all electrical outlets into consideration for the physical placement of a sectional in your room. Invest in a professional, rigid 25-foot tape measure for ease and accuracy when calculating the room's measurements. Transfer the measurements onto graph paper to scale, including fireplace, door openings, windows, electrical and cable outlets. Measure the sectional's overall width and length, as well as other furnishings to make to-scale models from paper that you can move around on your graph paper layout of the room. Position the sectional and other furniture on the sketch until you have a layout you prefer.

Define a Focal Point

Every room has at least one focal point. Rooms that support sectional configurations often have several focal points, such as a TV, a fireplace or an accent wall of art. If it is safe from the heat of the fireplace, place a flat-screen TV directly above or near your fireplace to establish a focal point for the sectional. Other directional furnishings influence the placement of a sectional in a room, such as a one-armed chaise. When placing a left- or right-armed chaise, ensure nearby tables have adequate clearance.

Elements to Consider

Work with your sectional measurements in the empty space to experiment with placement options prior to moving the actual furniture. Transfer your chosen layout from the graph paper design to the room by applying masking tape to the floor to get an idea of the physicality of the space. This method helps to verify access points, traffic flow, focal points, table clearance and electrical sources. It can also save you the time and effort of having to move the sectional around the room. An area rug helps to establish the perimeter of a sectional within the room. Opt for a rug that corresponds to the overall sectional measurement to solidify the space.

Sectional Options

Scale is everything when placing a sectional in a room. Ensure that the sectional you chose for your space will work well within the limits of the room. Errors, such as ordering a left-arm loveseat when you actually need a right-arm one can be costly, but avoided by becoming familiar with sectional terminology. For example, in the furniture industry, a left-arm loveseat is called that from the perspective of the person that faces the loveseat, not from the perspective of the person sitting upon it. Make use of available online resources your options or work with a customer representative from a local furniture store if you are unsure of terminology.

About the Author

As an allied ASID member, D'Ann Kross co-owned and managed an Interior design business serving the greater New Orleans area for 20 years, and has been the lead designer for a major home furnishings franchise. She has published several articles as a contributing editor for "Gulf Coast Woman Magazine."

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