A 1970s-style, modular sofa is the most relaxed and social couch you can invest in to suit your lounge area needs
Love it or loathe it, the sectional sofa is here to stay. What do I mean by ‘sectional’? It’s a sofa that comes in several pieces that you can configure in various different ways to suit your seating needs.
I love an individual sofa — in particular an elegant tuxedo couch — but I also love getting comfy on a big corner couch. A sectional immediately adds a relaxed, understated vibe to a room because it’s all about sharing, and there always seems to be room for one more person to squeeze on. Since the sections can be moved around, you can easily rearrange them into different permutations for different occasions.
One of my favourite interior features in any house is the sunken conversation pit. There is a great example of this by the architect Sam Stephenson at Number 31, now a guesthouse on Leeson Close in Dublin. It has a famous sunken lounge with built-in leather couches on three sides of the room, the fourth taken up by a giant fireplace. It’s designed for parties, chats and conviviality.
But you don’t need to have a giant living room or a sunken floor to get a similar effect with a sectional couch. If you have an L-shaped sectional with a moveable pouffe, you can use that to turn your sectional into a U-shaped couch, which then becomes a cosy conversation pit. One of the big mistakes people make when it comes to sectionals is to think that they are only for large rooms or loft-style living. Often, a perfectly measured and fitted sectional is much more space-effective in a small room than a couch and separate seats. And because a sectional will give you maximum seating space, you won’t need to clutter up your floor space with separate occasional chairs.
If you are putting a sectional in a smaller room, get one with narrow or tubular steel legs that lift it off the floor, which will neutralise the chunky, bulky feel and claw back some light and space in your room.
A sofa is a huge purchase and even the affordable ones don’t come cheap so I would always advise trying it out where you can. Make sure that the cushions are thick enough to give you enough comfort to lounge. Many of the mid-century-design sectionals look fantastic and elegant but have very thin seat cushions, which defeats the purpose of having a large relaxing couch. Make sure the couch is stuffed enough to give you comfort. A good test is if you can feel the wooden fittings underneath.