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Designer FAQs: Leather Sectionals Sofas

Let’s get basic for a minute. What is a sectional?

One day, someone looked at two sofas and thought, “What would happen if we took the arm off of one of these and connected them at a 90° angle?” At that moment, an amazing seating solution was born. A sectional can

  • Squeeze a lot of seating into a small space
  • Define a living room space within an expansive open floor plan

Sectionals can be arranged in many ways. Here are some of the blocks you’ll have to play with:

  • At least one single-armed sofa part with two to three seats.
  • A chaise for stretching out and lounging, which you can either connect to the first sofa part or skip altogether if you’d rather just connect two sofa parts.
  • Corners that can be square for a 90° angle or rounded for a more open look (and some bonus legroom); these connect the different sofa and/or chaise parts together.
  • Extra seats that we call “armless chairs” that add one more seat to a sofa part—sometimes, bigger is better!

Should my leather sectional be right-facing or left-facing? Does it matter?

Sectionals either come in an L-shape or in a U-shape. If you’re having trouble picturing this, check out our sectional brochure.

  • A U-shaped sectional has two long sides joined by a short third side. It works well in narrow, long rooms, where it’s hard to place extra chairs across from a sofa and still leave room for people to walk by.
  • An L-shaped sectional is the one you see most often; some people even refer to leather sectionals as leather L-couches. An L-shaped sectional has two arms joined by either a square or rounded corner.

“Left facing” and “right facing” refer to the sofa parts you include in your leather sectional and where the arm goes. Here’s how it works:

  • Stand in the room where you want your sectional to go.
  • A right-facing sofa part will extend out to your right, with the sofa arm on your right.
  • A left-facing sofa part will extend out to your left, with the sofa arm on your left.

We try to make things easier by showing our most popular sectional configurations online, so you don’t have to put the parts together in your mind. You can also create your own configuration using the sectional configurator in our EA inHome® app.

How can I be sure the leather sectional I order will fit in my space?

If you’re the analog sort who loves to get out your tape measure and contemplate, check out our living room seating buying guide for tips on measuring.

If you’d rather picture it in your space (and leave the tape measure in the drawer), try these tools:

  • Our EA inHome® app uses your phone or tablet to help you see the sectional in your existing space, at ballpark size and scale, AND lets you play with the sectional configurator to come up with the perfect design.
  • Our 3D Room Planner: Just measure your room, input the measurements into the planner, and drag and drop the sectional of your choice into the room plan to check for fit.

Is leather a good choice for a sectional? Is it durable enough?

Yes—as long as you start with a high-quality leather and give it the proper TLC. What does that mean? It depends on how you will be using your leather sectional sofa. If you place it in a formal living room that’s not going to get a lot of traffic, you won’t have to worry as much about wear. If you’re putting it in the family room, where kids can spill chocolate milk on it and the dog will be sleeping on it, you’ll need to take wear into account.

We make every leather sectional from entire hides, which we cut by hand and color-blend by hand. We skip the castoffs or bicasts and the bonded pieces, and we don’t vinyl match—we never cut corners on quality.

What is the highest grade leather for a sectional sofa?

We think about leather less in terms of grading and more in terms of what you prefer in a leather. First, ask yourself what you want your leather sectional to look like on the day it arrives.

  • If you’re an aficionado of the “close to nature” look—color variations, natural markings, all the characteristics of the hide clearly showing—look for full-grain leather and terms like “prominent color variations” and “prominent natural markings.”
  • If you want your leather looking even from edge to edge, like the interior of your car, look for terms like “protected leather,” “minimal color variations,” and “minimal natural markings.”

To see our leather options for yourself, visit our leather library to order a swatch. Availability can vary, so if you don’t see what you want online, stop by a Design Center.

Second, ask yourself how you want your leather sectional sofa to look in 10 years:

  • Are you okay with it looking lovingly worn, with scratches here and there, like a favorite bomber jacket?
  • Natural schmatural: Do you want it looking as close to showroom new as possible?

A leather sectional is a big investment, so talk to a designer about your preferences before committing to a leather. Their advice is always free, and you can chat with them in a Design Center or via online Designer Chat.

Do you have more questions? Click the Designer Chat icon, or contact your local Design Center—we’re happy to help!