Finding the perfect family room sectional can feel daunting. Not only is it a large initial investment but if you get it wrong you are STUCK with a very physically large mistake, staring at you daily, mocking you for your poor decision. And it’s not easy to “switch out” a sectional. Today will help, especially those of you looking for specific configurations that are difficult to find readymade. My sectional philosophy is to lean hard into comfort while of course insisting on style and quality. For this project, my best friend’s basement (also seen here and here), we needed the perfect U-shaped configuration which in this case was particularly specific – but good news, we found it and it’s WONDERFUL.
THE “BEFORE” BASEMENT AND SECTIONAL
Here we have the before – a well-loved family room – for two grownups and two young tween boys. I feel like we all know this basement. It serves a lot of purposes for the family (movie room, game room, study room, escape room, etc) and it totally works. But while spending so much time down here in lockdown, and with some savings due to canceling vacations/life, they finally decided to make it a space they would LOVE to be in.
OUR SECTIONAL WANTS AND NEEDS
They loved how comfortable their sofa was and the fact they could really spread out on all three sides. But they wanted a newer version (they and their dogs loved that one for 18 years) so it was ready to give to another friend’s basement so they could upgrade theirs. Here were their new sectional needs:
- It needed to be U-shaped, but where one side is a sofa with back and arms, and the other side is a chaise so that you can see the TV over your feet.
- The fabric needed to be dark, cozy, and really family and pet-friendly.
- They still desperately wanted it to be comfortable, but less overstuffed than their previous one, more stylish, and streamlined.
Let’s get specific. The biggest challenge was finding a “U with a chaise” sectional as their TV was off to the left of the fireplace. They liked that on one side of the “U” there was a full back and arms (so people could sit and lean facing the chaise/tv) while the other side was a chaise, allowing you to see the TV without having to look over the sofa arm. I scoured the internet making sure there wasn’t one readymade for them and sure enough there wasn’t one that fit the bill that we liked – it was pretty specific and we still wanted it to look modern and fresh. So I immediately went to one of my favorite sources, Interior Define, and found not one but multiple sofas that could be customized into this configuration. We landed on “Winslow” and “Gaby“.
NARROWING IT DOWN TO TWO SECTIONALS:
From Top Left Clockwise: Gaby 3-Seat Left Chaise Sectional | Gaby Corner With Left Chaise Sectional | Gaby 4-Seat Sectional Sofa With Left Bumper | Gaby Leather 4-Seat Corner Sectional
Both sectionals could be configured to work in the space – both stylistically and size-wise.
From Top Left Clockwise: Winslow 3-Piece 4-Seat U-Sectional | Winslow 3-seat Right Bumper Sectional | Winslow Corner With Left Chaise Sectional | Winslow 4-Seat Leather Right Chaise Sectional
So Priscilla, lead designer, threw them in a mockup to see if that would help our decision – the blue against the wood looked SO GOOD (there are SO many fabric options).
They are both awesome and honestly, I didn’t have much of a preference. The Winslow is slightly more squared off and streamlined as opposed to the Gaby which is slightly more rounded. I used to have the Maxwell (another sofa from them) which was SO comfortable and durable (I gave it to a Pen and Napkin makeover and there have been many times where I’ve really missed it).
As you might have guessed, we were designing this basement mid-lockdown so there was no way to “test-sit” these sofas then, but I knew that I could attest to the comfort, quality, and durability of the fabric of the one I had. Basically, I trust them when they say a fabric is kid/pet-friendly.
With anything custom you want to live by the “measure twice, cut once” philosophy… or in our case “measure twice, put those measurements into a design program, and order once with total confidence”. So Priscilla plugged in two sizes of each sofa – the Winslow and the Gaby mostly to make sure that the clearances for walking as well as the fireplace.
THE WINNER: THE WINSLOW FROM INTERIOR DEFINE
We decided to go more modern/streamlined and choose the Winslow. Then we had to choose the fabric and they have a TON of options. They were leaning strongly towards dark because they wanted to lean into the coziness and be more dirt/stain friendly. While a lot of the fabrics are performance, I think we can all agree that we somehow “feel” like darker colors are more dirt-resistant or at least more “dirt forgiving.” Again, they have two tween boys and a pup so this room will get a LOT of use and this sofa fabric and room need to really work for them.
We narrowed it down in this order:
- Configuration: Corner Sectional with Right Arm Chaise
- Fabric: Heathered Weave in the color Azure (a cozy Heathered navy)
- Seat Configuration: Bench seat versus individual cushions (we chose a bench cushion on the long side)
- Leg options – We chose the wood midcentury but they have a lot of options (see above)
- Cushion Fill: Down Alternative (which is soft but you don’t have to fluff a lot and is good for allergies).
The sofa would retail at $4,595.00 and the lead time was 16-20 weeks – and y’all it came in time. ARE YOU READY??? We have the full reveal coming next week (SORRY) But look! A sneak peek!
The Finished Sectional and Room
This room turned out far more cozy, comfortable (and beautiful) than I think any of us imagined. I can’t wait to show you the full room reveal next week (and more of the sectional). Check out their site for all their style options – and yes they have chairs and smaller sofas, too.
And guess what?? Interior Define is having a 20% off Customization 101 Sale which starts 5/5. So if you are in need of a new sofa, start customizing it now and purchase starting Thursday for this deal.
*After Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp
We just ordered from Interior Define – I was hesitant about spending so much on an online sat-unseen piece, especially when I made the buy-a-sectional-that-wasn’t-so-comfortable-mistake. So I was super pumped when I found out they have a brick and mortar store in Charlotte, NC, where we were going to be for a concert. I am so glad we did that! We picked something I woudn’t have initially, and the design associate steered me toward a better fabric for our kids/dogs. It was an investment for sure, but I feel much more confident now. The women there told me ID was opening 37 more stores around the country, so they’re growing. In any case, at this point in my purchase I highly recommend them – hopefully I’ll still feel the same after it arrives!
We’re looking at an interior define sofa for our room upgrade, and we did the same thing – visited the Chicago store on a recent trip. So glad I did, totally switched the model I was looking at and was happy to test out all of the cushion options and see it in person. That’s exciting they are opening more stores!
They have been SO wonderful to connect with even though we haven’t even purchased yet. They were so kind in the shop and even sent a follow up email to check in. The customer service seems so great already. I know this may just feel like ‘marketing’ since we haven’t purchased yet but other companies do not do this! I wish we were ready to pull the trigger so I could take advantage of this discount. Definitely will be buying from them as soon as our floors are finished!
I HAVE the Winslow in Heathered Weave Azure. The (upgraded) cushions are soft and comfortable. HOWEVER, I’m extremely disappointed in the fabric. It’s been less than a year since my husband and I (no kids) have been using it (since late July 2021 to be exact), and the fabric is already massively worn from use 10 months later. For the amount of money this sofa cost, I’m upset. Would love it if your team could reach out to the manufacturer since I’m sure your clients (with kids) will have a similar issue in a few months. Thanks for your great content and for any enlightenment you can provide.
I didn’t want to mention in my comment, but our associate steered us away from that fabric. We’re getting the performance chenille in Harbour (SUPER soft) but they said the fabric won’t stretch like yours did. I’m so sorry!
So sorry to hear you are upset with the purchase, Lori. I had a similar issue with an ID Sloan Sectional a few years ago and I did an exchange. (This was something you could do for a year then). I donated the sofa to Restore and they refunded the $400 exchange credit. I am happier with the new fabric, although the down alternative cushions still require more fluffing and adjustments than I have time for as a working mom.
We have Interior Define’s Maxwell sofa in ecru monochromatic plush. We’ve had it for four years now, and it still looks great. We have four young children and two dogs, and so the sofa gets a ton of use. The fabric always wipes clean with a damp towel, and I love it.
Inherited a fairly new U-Shaped sofa from family in 2015 and having been stuck with it for the past seven years all I can say is WALK AWAY FROM THE U SHAPE. It is a horrible shape for a sofa. This is probably the only place it can be successful is in a very large basement for kid/teen use where you have lots of room around it in a big space and big room that is not your primary living space. We are working on a room upgrade and I am counting the days to say BYE BYE to the U Shape nightmare.
I’ll be so curious to see how this gets styled! If anyone can make it work it is this team. You’ll corner the market on the blog posts, there is not a lot out there on making the U shape look good (trust me I have hunted).
For any of you considering one, if you have any doubts, DON’T do it! Get a L shaped sofa and separate chair.
I guess I didn’t hear a good reason WHY not a U shape
I have an interior define U-shaped sectional and it’s been perfect for our family. We got extended chaises on ours and it’s good for our long legged family. Good for conversing and good for watching tv. Sometimes the visiting grandparents can’t get out of it easily.
I just walked by their new store in San Francisco. I recognized the name from this blog. I didn’t go in, but I’m excited to have it as an option when I’m ready to do some furniture shopping. Being able to shop in person for big ticket items is more comforting. I can’t wait to see the reveal!
Woah! Did they strip that painted wood paneling? Because DANG that is a lot of work. But it looks great!
That was my question, I mean I like the sofa talk but seriously the big story here is what happened to the paneling.
No, it’s new from Ross Alan Reclaimed https://rossalanreclaimed.com/
Wow, look at the wood paneling! Can’t wait to see the reveal! I’ve been to the Interior Define store and loved the design styles available, but couldn’t quite find the right fabric for me.
I ended up getting a 4 piece sectional – 2 corners, an armless, and an ottoman, that can be switched around as needed. Segmented sectionals are great for people like me who move a lot.
I love my Interior Define sectional and working with them was great. I’m so glad they have a store in Chicago, and I was able to try out a few sofas before making our final decision.
I looked at interior define but the prices and wait times were nuts. I got a similar L shaped sofa for under 2k from all modern and it was delivered in less than 2 weeks. Just fyi to those on an immediate hunt.
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