Friday, December 7, 2012

Conversectionals and other ruminations on seating options

Limitless configurations, more seating capacity and comfortable conversations are just some of the reasons why sectionals are so popular.

Home styling is so much more eclectic these days, and most of us no longer feel that our furnishings have to “match.” Creative designers now want to create coordinated rooms where all the elements work together, where the colors, shapes and proportions are complimentary but not necessarily identical.

Certainly, we in the furniture industry have seen an overwhelming trend toward item buying and away from what we used to call suites (pronounced like suits) of furniture, with each piece in the same finish and the same style. The old days of building a room around a sofa-loveseat-chair combination are long gone.

Each of these key items – sofa, loveseat, chair and even matching ottoman – still play an important role in furnishing beautiful and comfortable rooms. But we’ve seen a powerful move toward sectionals, especially as decorating “rules” relax and more emphasis is placed on casual lifestyles.

Obviously, a sectional can be designed to provide more seating, often in less space than standalone pieces. Because most of our collections include armless pieces, we can build sectionals to go around the wall and down the hall. We can even pave a room with an endless sectional if that’s what somebody really wants.

But sectionals can also be quite small. For instance, in a cramped space, a sectional could be set up with a one-armed loveseat at one end and a one-armed chair with a corner piece in the center. This would give more seating capacity in less space than a loveseat-chair combination, but the overall footprint of the configuration is quite small.

This small Malibu sectional provides more seating in less space than two free-standing pieces.

Sectionals are social. People tend to sit a little closer and are in a more relaxed posture. That’s one reason we’ve always loved what we call our wedge sectionals: two pieces that each have 22.5-degree angle. This is a great configuration for watching television – everybody’s seat is oriented toward the screen – but it’s also an intimate set-up for sitting and talking.

A “wedge” sectional is an excellent choice for both conversation and TV watching.

And sectionals can quite dramatic, too. At the High Point furniture market, we regularly show an armless sofa bracketed by chaises. Matched with an ottoman, this creates something akin to a pit group, even if you don't have to dive into it. But there's plenty of room for lounging, sprawling or whatever word you want to use for leaning back and relaxing.

We've always loved this configuration, with a chaise on either end of an armless sofa. This is the Grant, but you can do this with just about any of our sofa collections.

Here are a couple more of our favorites:

If space isn't an issue, this 10-piece Menlo Park layout ought to make a dramatic statement.

A one-armed sofa with a return, a simple sectional, from our Astoria Park collection.

More drama: The Corbin's unusual arm placement creates a sofa with two sides for sitting.
Have fun! Create the sectional that has the style, shape and seating capacity that's perfect for your room.