It’s not humanly possible to get cozy on a loveseat and you know it. So what’s a person with a tiny living room to do? Try the exact opposite, actually. The best sofas for small rooms turn out to be the biggest: sectionals! We realize this is a counterintuitive suggestion—won’t my itsy-bitsy room look totally cramped with a massive sectional in it?—but the best ideas so often are.
“Sometimes using several small pieces can make a room feel cluttered,” says Ashley Darryl, speaking about the sofa-chair-table cluster that’s almost instinctive in a small living room. Yours truly is remembering a hallway-like common area that she and two roommates shared in New York City, in which an armchair lived practically on top of the couch with arms overlapped, the corner between them occupied by a side table that could fit a lamp and nothing else. But a sectional—of the right size—could have added one more seat to that corner, relaxing the cramped nature of the room we’d so poorly devised.
Designers agree for both practical and stylistic reasons: “Typically, sectionals can double your seating,” says Victoria Hagan, whose new book Dream Spaces debuts this October from Rizzoli. And maxing out the seating options in a small living room is of course paramount, whether your goal is to fit the whole family for movie night or just successfully stretch out (we repeat: stretching out is not possible on a loveseat).
Designer Alicia Murphy used a sectional in the living room of a teensy trailer she converted into a plush family getaway in Montauk, New York, for this very reason: “If you were to use a sofa and a chair, you would have about 36″ of dead space in the corner—but by using a sectional you give that corner life. You most likely will add seating for two or three more people if you use a corner sectional rather than a sofa and chair.”
So why does it feel like a risky move? “I think it’s the same reason we often paint small spaces dark—which can feel counterintuitive but actually work so, so well in small rooms (den, powder room, etc.),” says designer Caroline Burke of Anna Burke Interiors. “A sectional can give you that maxed-out seating and help the room feel like a cozy nook, not a cramped back office.” She recommends choosing a piece with a low back and arms to “help a small room not feel engulfed by a piece of furniture,” and using either standing lamps behind it or sconces above it to light the room without a table lamp.
To help you on your journey, we pulled together 11 of our top sectionals for small spaces to boost your interior design situation—from bouclé beauties to modern silhouettes—because no one should have to choose between seating and a coffee table. Just add throw pillows and a chic reversible blanket.
Find a modular sectional with a chaise longue for the most versatility—when you move, you’ll be able to grow your sectional or split it up, depending on your space. This modular leather sectional has major comfy vibes, with big armrests to hug whoever is sitting on it.
Instead of opting for a giant L-shaped sectional that’s going to take up the entire room, go for something with a smaller footprint. Available in performance fabric and three leg finishes, this sectional couch is more loveseat than sleeper sofa, but it’s perfect for a tiny living space and an upgrade from the loveseat thanks to the chaise.
If you plan on switching up your decor relatively often, buy something that can act as an anchor for your space. For instance, a slipcover can completely transform a room. This modern sectional pick with modular seating is the perfect size for a bedroom, living room, or anywhere you need a bit of seating.
The peek of wood frame is our favorite touch, but this modular sofa also looks seriously comfortable. With tons of fabric options, the two-seater design is perfect for a smaller space. Plus, the high-quality upholstery is hand finished, meaning it’ll look great wherever you put it.
Okay, yes, six pieces seems like a lot for a small sectional sofa. But keep in mind that you can mix and match your modular sectionals, turning parts into cozy reading chairs and connecting others for larger lounge spaces. We love the taller back cushions on this option.
When you can’t go big on footprint, consider finding a sectional sofa that has a deeper seat design—this makes it feel like there’s more couch than there really is.
The Quilton is one of our favorites because of the artfully tufted silhouette. Tufts can sometimes feel a bit dated, but the puffy personality of this sectional (with a chaise lounge!) has completely taken over our hearts. The plethora of color options makes this sectional feel customizable without the custom price tag.
If you’re working with a super-small room or a strangely shaped space (we’ve all been there), consider going all in on a single sectional module. The cut-out on this storage chaise may seem odd, but think of the opportunities: a small stool for your favorite book or a narrow shelf for morning coffee. It’s the ultimate piece for turning a confusing corner into a cozy nook. And, again: There’s storage space, which is always a blessing in a small space.
The armless design is great for small spaces, as it helps keep the airiness of a space alive and well. We’re partial to the fluffy seat cushions, which are removable for easy cleaning.
If you love the look of leather but don’t want to pay the price, there are plenty of faux-leather sectionals for small spaces options out there. This design gives a touch of Togo and a touch of dorm-room chic, perfect for a casual space where you can just hang out.
If you’re looking for a sleeper sectional, this traditional chaise sectional will get the job done. A trundle opens up to a full bed, while the chaise is designed with secret storage for blankets and linens. Plus, a loop for the storage chaise boosts the design’s accessibility, making it easy to get in and out of.