Sectionals’ ability to adapt to space, changing needs makes them ‘fit’

Oh, those amazing modulars. Remember the “pit groups” introduced in the ’60s and still going strong in the ’70s? They were big, bulky and brazen looking.

At the time these modular groups were meant for the family room. The intention was to help create a casual atmosphere and to support rugged use. The look was “let’s play” — for adults as well as children. Back then your home wasn’t up to date unless you owned a pit group.

Consumers found these modulars to be very flexible, but wanted more. So furniture manufacturers responded to that need. Modulars were then renamed “sectionals” and became the right look for every style. And virtually every room.

Though contemporary was the first style that evolved, sectionals today fit into most motifs. The frames and upholstery applied to these pieces run the gamut from contemporary to traditional to early American to middle-of-the-road, better known in decorating circles as transitional.

One reason for the popularity of sectionals is their versatility. They’re called sectionals because they come in sections, offering consumers the opportunity to buy just enough pieces to fit the room. They are great problem-solvers because they are changeable, allowing for periodic rearrangement.

And, if the mood so strikes you, or your requirements change, you often can add pieces to the arrangement.

The various sizes and shapes allow the fitting together of countless configurations to accommodate individual needs and space. The modules come in straight pieces, in curved pieces and in lounge chair pieces. They have recliners in some sets as well. The idea is sort of like going to a furniture cafeteria, picking this piece and then that one and ending up with exactly what you want.

Still another advantage is when moving from one home to another, the sectional will have a better chance of fitting into the new location due to its flexibility and versatility. If you move into a smaller home, just get rid of pieces in the sectional that don’t fit. If moving into a larger home, just add occasional chairs to fill out the space.

The sectional has prospered because it has adapted to pass the test of time. Though sectionals have been around now for almost five decades, their popularity still runs strong.

Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of “Mystery of Color.”

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