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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
- Pair the chic Kate and Laurel Lipton Modern Hexagon Tray with your ottoman for a place to put drinks, decorative ornaments and more — it comes in black/gold, black/silver and white/silver.
- Stay warm and cozy on the couch wrapped up in the Chanasya Wolf Faux Fur Throw Blanket made of soft, fuzzy sherpa.
- Accent your sofa with the Ink and Ivy Chet Cotton Oblong Decorative Pillow, available in 11 patterns and two size options.
- This stylish Household Essentials Industrial Narrow End Table is both budget-friendly and perfect for compact spaces, available in six finishes.
- Protect your flooring and make moving your sofa easier with the Smart Surface Furniture Sliders.
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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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