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These modular sofas actually work for small living rooms

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Modular vs. reversible sofas for compact living rooms

The terms “modular” and “reversible” are often used interchangeably in the sofa industry, but there are key distinctions between the two. Truly modular sofas come in multiple pieces that can be oriented in various configurations; they’re highly customizable because you combine separate elements such as a sofa arm, chaise and ottoman to create your ideal space-conserving setup. 

Reversible sofas (typically sectionals) are semi-modular in that they contain multiple pieces, usually with an ottoman or chaise that can be oriented to the left or right. While they’re less versatile than modular sofas, reversible sectionals are typically much more affordable. We’ve included a selection of the best modular and semi-modular sofas at various price points, all perfect for saving space in a small living room

Shop this article: Etta Avenue Lian Upholstered Sectional, Burrow Range Open Sectional Lounger, AllModern Hailee Leather Sectional.

Narrow down your ideal fabric

Choosing the right upholstery or fabric for your sofa is important if you want it to perform well in the room. For homes with children and pets, durable fabrics like cotton, corduroy, microfiber (a type of polyester) and olefin will stand up to wear and tear. Microfiber is particularly popular among these options, as it resists fading, water damage and stains. Luxurious fabrics, including leather, wool, velvet and suede, are more delicate and pricier in comparison, requiring extra care and maintenance over time.

Consider different frame materials

The vast majority of sofas are built with a wood or metal frame. Wood sofa frames of the highest quality are made of solid, dense hardwoods such as maple, walnut, oak and ash that have been kiln-dried for enhanced durability. Cheaper, softer woods are more likely to warp or break eventually. Sofas with a steel or iron frame are among the longest-lasting options and can handle heavier seaters.

To accent or to blend? Choosing a sofa color

Ask yourself; would you rather have a sofa act as an accent piece in the room or blend in with other furniture and decor? Be aware that when a sofa is the same color as flooring or carpeting, it can look like it has disappeared into the floor. And, too much neutral-colored furniture in a room can make the space appear washed out and visually dull.

By pairing your sofa with flooring or a rug in a contrasting color, you solve both problems. Adding some tasteful throw pillows and a throw blanket can create a visual contrast, helping your sofa stand out more and liven up the color scheme in the room. Remember that dark fabrics are more vulnerable to fading in the sun. On the other hand, it’s easier to see stains and wear with a light-colored sofa, but the fabric is generally less likely to fade over time.

Factor in comfort and support 

Not all sofa manufacturers describe how plush or firm their pieces are or how much support they provide. Pay attention to the thickness of the armrests and how much padding they have. Some models recline and even have drink holders or trays built into the armrests. Note how deep the seating is, as well.

If you’re looking to buy a soft, plush sofa, watch for thick cushions made of down or feathers. Taller, more angled back pillows and foam or latex cushions typically offer the most support. These materials usually mean the cushions will feel medium-firm or firm.

Best budget modular sofas

Etta Avenue Lian Upholstered Sectional

With buttery soft velvet upholstery and gold metal legs, this reversible sectional looks luxurious, without the steep price tag. The plush pillow top arms contrast the firm and supportive foam seats. Supported by an engineered wood frame, the three-seater sofa comes in rich blue or green — bold, stylish choices — and in neutral beige or gray.

Sold by Wayfair

Honbay Convertible Sectional Sofa

This affordable sectional with a detachable ottoman has a boxy yet cozy look that’s very inviting. The modern three-seater sofa has a removable polyester cover and wood frame. It comes in beige and three shades of gray.

Sold by Amazon

Muzz Sectional Sofa with Movable Ottoman

This bargain sectional’s reversible ottoman lets you store pillows, blankets and other living room items. It features linen upholstery and a sustainable, solid eucalyptus frame. This three-seater sofa offers a minimalist and modern aesthetic in neutrals, including beige, dark gray and light gray. 

Sold by Walmart

Best midrange modular sofas

Rivet Revolve Reversible Sectional

This modern, streamlined sofa has a detachable ottoman for left- and right-facing orientations. It’s crafted with a hardwood frame and solid beech legs. This three-seater sectional has polyester cushions in denim blue, gray, forest green, off-white and dark gray.

Sold by Amazon

Red Barrel Studio Jasyra Sectional

You can cozy up on this compact, contemporary sectional with its reversible ottoman and two included throw pillows. The three-seater sofa is built with a solid wood frame and removable polyester cushions. It’s available in red, dark blue and black.

Sold by Wayfair

Burrow Range Open Sectional Lounger

This modern, space-saving sectional features plush cushions covered in a durable and stain-resistant olefin fabric. Supported by sturdy wooden legs, the three-seater sofa comes in gray, black, navy or green with the choice between three leg finishes.

Sold by Burrow

Best high-end modular sofas

AllModern Hailee Leather Sectional

This sleek sectional has a refined silhouette with tufted seats and side pillows. It’s built with a solid walnut frame and genuine leather. The three-person reversible sofa comes with black or caramel upholstery.

Sold by Wayfair and AllModern

Castlery Todd Armless Sofa

The Todd sofa is truly modular. You can customize the look by combining different pieces — with or without this armless section, the right or left chaise, corner, right arm, left arm and ottoman. The bulky, very low-to-the-ground pieces have an ultramodern aesthetic. The supportive foam cushions are wrapped in gray polyester or teal velvet covers on engineered wood and plywood frames. 

Sold by Castlery

Anthropologie Marija Kori Modular Armless Sofa

You can get creative with configurations with the vibrant Marija Kori sofa, whether you pair this armless sofa with the corner chair, armless chair, or ottoman. These pieces are all crafted by hand, with unique color, texture and pattern variations. They feature tropical hardwood frames and handwoven, recycled upholstery made from 100% cotton.

Sold by Anthropologie

Worth checking out


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Amy Evans writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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