The Small Series: Sectional Sofas for your (Small) Space
Psst … love our header image? Elsie of A Beautiful Mess decked out her small den with the Sven Sectional in Charme Tan leather.
Sectional Sofas in Your Small Space
The art of decorating a sprawling villa is a beautiful one, but also … aspirational. To say the least. While one day we might all live in a sprawling, open-plan feat of architecture, most of us are wrestling with a small square footage and the desire to sprawl/entertain/nap. And while the floor is an option, a couch is a better option. So without further ado, allow us to introduce a seemingly counterintuitive solution: sectional sofas in your small space.
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Our friends at Loom + Lantern love a spacious sofa as much as they love a vintage patina.
Yes, we know: this is hard to comprehend. Why would you stuff large, sectional sofas into your small space? In a word: proportion. If you’ve ever seen a celebrity in real life, you will know that they are almost across-the-board tiny. These people also know exactly how to dress themselves for maximum proportional impact. A tiny person can look amazing in a voluminous gown. They can wear an extreme wide-leg. Yes, teeny-tiny, you wear that poofy shoulder!
The same is true for your living space. With the right proportions, your living space can live out its volume dreams without looking swamped, or lost in a sea of large-scale furniture. As with styling, the trick is paring back on other elements, and paying attention to balance. When introducing a large piece, such as a sectional sofa, to your small space, ask yourself: what’s the minimum amount of furniture this room needs?
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Jessica Brigham’s sunny style makes integrating sectional sofas a matter of color, not size.
Function + Style
You can have both, and your sectional too. The biggest faux pas a small space can make is to introduce a lot of visual interruption. AKA, clutter. A sectional sofa is comfortable, seats lots of people, but reads as a single piece. Compared to stuffing your small space with a loveseat, a few chairs, and a coffee table, a single sectional sofa feels positively streamlined.
The style of sectional you choose will also impact how it appears in your space. Allow us to return to our styling metaphor. Just like oversized clothing looks chic and together with a little tailoring, so too will your sofa. Sharp, clean lines make an oversized sofa look sleek and svelte in a small space. A super-plush or relaxed sectional is akin to wearing distressed denim to a prim French luncheon. Physically, you’ll be very comfortable. Sartorially, you’ll be out of place.
Lastly: let’s talk about how multi-functional a sectional sofa is. It’s for lounge sessions. It’s for hosting large parties. It’s for game night. It’s for platonic hangs. It’s for non-platonic hangs. It’s for naps. It’s for group naps. It’s a defacto guest-bed. If you can have all this and a gorgeous sofa too … you’ve won the furniture lottery.
Light + Color
There’s a lot of conflicting opinions about how to integrate color in a small space. Some parties warn against going too neutral, as it can wash out an otherwise beautiful space. Color is feared because it can overwhelm a space with its loud personality. Before you waste time (and/or go nuts) trying to decide between these two less-than-ideal options, we beg you to ask yourself: what’s your light like?
Our VP of Creative, Maureen Welton, came to our rescue.
“A small space is tricky, but understanding what kind of light you get in your space can really help,” Maureen said.
She broke it down further: a sunny, brightly lit room can support bright and dark colors without overwhelming small spaces. The less natural light you have, the more neutral and light your tones should be. Maureen’s small apartment has a large hedge in front that blocks light. To keep her space feeling bright but calm, she opted for the Burrard Sectional in Seasalt Gray, and re-painted the dark green walls a soft white. Color comes in with seasonal accessories such as velvet pillows and fresh flowers. So, think about light colors, streamlined design, and an eye to proportion.
Consider Your Other Furniture
We’re not suggesting you develop a monastic approach to decorating. Just because you’re lured by the comfort and style of a sectional sofa doesn’t mean you have to forgo other furniture. Instead, think about multiple uses for the pieces you decide to keep. If you are really about the ottoman life, consider using one for alternative seating as well as a coffee table. Install smart lighting that doesn’t take up additional floor space, like a wall sconce, crescent lamp, or overhead fixture. Some sectional sofas (like our Soma sectional) have storage built into their chaise, which makes for an easy way to declutter your space. Even if your sectional doesn’t have built-in storage, invest in storage baskets or drawers that fit under your sofa.
Another hot tip from Maureen: sectional sofas in small spaces can help delineate spaces. The back of a sectional can also create a clear line between the functions of “rooms.” It can represent a wall between the dining and living room areas without bisecting an already small area. A similar color scheme, or a unifying rug helps to unify space while allowing function to dictate the separation of rooms.
When it comes to comfort and style, a sectional sofa in your small space communicates an easy elegance that doesn’t always feel easy with apartment square footage. Not only do you get to look easy and beautiful, you get to feel it. Recline and stretch out. All you’re missing is the bathrobe. A pretty easy fix.