When it comes to hot interior trends, nothing is bigger right now then those contemporary sofa pieces that are built piece by piece and can be readily reassembled into any configuration or composition that you desire. Sometimes you’ll see interior designers label these unique products as sectional sofas but go online to another retailer and you will see a similar product labelled the modular sofa. So just what are the differences between modular and sectional sofas or are they simply two different names for the exact same product?
In a nutshell, they are the exact same thing. The important aspect is that both names are referring to the unique selling point of the design, its characteristic feature, the independent sofa pieces known as ‘modules’ or ‘sections’ that are put together to assemble the final piece of furniture. The basic principle is that sectionals allow the user to rearrange their furniture layout more frequently in line with their specific mood, interior design trends or for specific events and occasions. In effect, it’s fair to say that modular sofas can be either classic loveseats or modern corner units at the push of a button, it merely depends on the style that the user feels works best for them on that day.
With each different module constructed as if it were its own mini-sofa, with an independent frame, upholstery and top cover, there’s a great deal of complexity to the manufacture of a modular/sectional sofa. This is particularly true when it comes to the construction of specialised segments such as chaise longue modules which are atypical in shape and form and thus need to be carefully planned out from a design and mass manufacture perspective. The end result is that this can often lead to a considerable increase in the associated costs of production making sectionals far more expensive to produce conventionally designed sofas, which is then passed onto the end user through the conduit of the recommended retail price.
Perhaps the only other difference between the terms sectional sofa and modular sofas is actually one of emphasis. Arguably, the term sectional refers purely descriptively to a functional aspect of a sofa whereas modular conveys something more intangible about the product related to lifestyle and ergonomics. For this reason, you’ll tend to see higher end manufacturers referring to their product as a modular sofa while value retailers use the term sectional to describe the same product. There is also a noticeable rise in interior designers referring to the expression modular living to convey a sense that many discerning consumers are demanding more flexibility and versatility from their home living spaces.
Finally, you may come across a linguistic division between suppliers from Europe who primarily opt for the description modular while suppliers from North America use the term sectional far more frequently. In part, this relates to our earlier point as most of the world’s leading luxury manufactures are located within the European Union, reflecting the heritage of the traditional sofa as a product initially developed during the renaissance period of European history. However, that’s not to say that you won’t find a great modular sofa from an American manufacturer, far from it, it will simply be referred to by a different name!