Design Dilemma: Can I Use a Sectional When Furnishing A Small Space?

small space sectional in blue and white living room
SHOP THIS LOOK: small space sectional | cocktail table

When furnishing small spaces, overwhelming the room with furniture that’s too large can be a concern.  But sometimes we’re so focused on going too big that we go the opposite direction – filling a room with small furniture when fewer, larger, pieces may actually be just the ticket!

Can you really use a sectional when furnishing a small space, though?

It can absolutely be an option, depending on the small space. But here are some things to consider, and tips that will help you decide…


No one wants to experience that sinking feeling that comes with having furniture delivered and realizing there’s no way it will fit in your room!

Whether you’re shopping for sectionals, or some other furniture option, ALWAYS  measure your room and test the furniture layout before making a final decision.

Small space living room with a gray sectional

{related post: 9 Tips for Arranging Furniture in a Living Room or Family Room}

Depending on the room, it’s possible you may have to scale the sectional down or go with a different configuration.

Consider use and versatility.

How will the room be used?

When the main purpose of a space is relaxing, reading, or watching TV – and there is not a need for much, if any, other seating – a sectional that somewhat dominates the room can actually work out well, if done right.

using a sectional when furnishing a small space - 2014 HGTV Smart Home

If there is only way the sectional will fit in your space, though, and you’re the kind of person who continually likes to switch things up by rearranging the furniture, you may want to consider other options.

How do you want the space to feel?

If the sectional you’re considering is large, dark, and overstuffed and you’re looking for an open and airy feeling in your room, those two may not equate. Consider a more tightly upholstered sectional, or something in a lighter fabric and/or a smaller scale instead.

Blend it in.

Once you’ve determined that a sectional will physically fit in your living or family room, you may still have doubts as to whether it might visually appear too large.

And it’s always possible that it might, and that you should reconsider your options. But there’s a little designer trick for small spaces that may help you too:

Blend furniture in by minimizing the contrast between walls and furniture. Dark furniture gets dark walls, light furniture, light.


It’s a very effective tool to have in your bag of tricks, and works equally well in both light and dark rooms.

Explore your options.

Many sectionals come with a variety of custom options and configurations, so don’t take what you see on the showroom floor at face value.

A sectional that you hadn’t previously thought could be an option due to size, fabric, configuration, or style may quickly become the perfect small space sectional with the right custom option selections.

neutral space with leather small space sectional with recliner and chaise
SHOP: small space leather sectional with custom order options

Summing it up.

So the good news is, there really isn’t a design rule that says sectionals won’t work in small rooms. In fact, the opposite is true! Like any other furniture, which sectional is best for you (or whether a sectional is the best choice) really depends on your space constraints and functional needs.

Follow the tips in today’s post to easily figure out what works for your space, so you can skip stressing and start shopping! :-)


updated and republished

Comments are closed.


Sign up for our blog newsletter to see the latest design tips, decorating ideas, room inspiration, and more!

We promise not to share your information.