Rookie Review: OUR COUCHES

Bridget & CaseyMarch 14, 2016 Comments

We get a lot of questions around here about each of our couches. Where did you get them? How do you live with such light-colored couches without staining them? Do you still like your couches? How do you wash them?! Would you buy them again?  <– Today, we are reviewing each of our couches without holding back aka delivering some serious REAL TALK! We will answer all of these questions while also chatting about what we would do differently next time.

Casey’s Couch

Casey-Couch-Family-Room-Pillows-BlanketProduct/Buying Details: We bought our couch as we moved from Wisconsin to St. Louis…way back in 2011. We had previously used a navy leather sectional back from my college days. It wasn’t the cutest piece of furniture in the world, and I was excited to upgrade. My new white couch was one of my first “adult” purchases, and I bought it as a gift for myself for landing a new job. Back then I wasn’t really all that into home decor, but I did want the “Pottery Barn” look for our new loft.  Here was my “wish list” at the time:

  • Sectional & potential chaise
  • Large enough for Finn & I (we’re both pretty tall)
  • Light color
  • “Pottery Barn” look

I have no idea how I landed on this sectional from JcPenney. I think it had the look I wanted, at the right price. I never sat on it, but it looked comfortable in pictures so I made the purchase (I can’t even imagine doing that today!) We went with the color “natural” and did 5 pieces with our chaise on the left side. 5 years ago, I was absolutely SMITTEN with my new couch. But I’ve learned a lot since then. Here’s how I’d grade it today.

Caseys-Living-Family-Room-PillowsPositives:

  • Washable: Every single piece of this couch is slipcovered, and that means every single piece of this couch is washable. Honestly, that’s one of my favorite parts about having a white couch…I can throw the pieces in the washing machine, wash them on hot, and bleach the heck out of them. It keeps the couch looking fresher longer, and also keeps those stains at bay. We did take a few slipcovers to the dry cleaners one time when we had an entire coke spilled all over it, and it came out perfectly.
  • Comfortable: This is one of those deep-sink-down-take-a-nap kinda couches. It’s seriously so dang comfortable. It’s the perfect movie watching couch, and the perfect wanna-laze- around-all-day-reading couch. We both love that it isn’t too stiff and we can curl up with a blanket and relax on it.
  • Lightens up our Space: A heavy dark couch can make a room feel kinda dark. Since this couch is white, it really lightens up the entire room. I also love that it’s light, because it matches with any color scheme. Any pillows work, any wall color, any rug…it’s a great neutral base to have when you want to change up other aspects of a room.coffee-table-family-room

Negatives:

  • Limited Layout: When living in our Chicago apartment, we took the chaise away and also took out 1 piece in the middle so it could fit in our teeny-tiny place. It kinda worked, but always felt a little awkward. When we bought our new condo, we were excited to get the gang all back together and use the chaise & extra piece again. However, because of the chaise, we only had 1 way in which we would place our sofa. So the back is to the door as well as to the kitchen. We’d love to open it up so the “L” could face the entire room (making it appear bigger), but we can’t do that since the chaise is not able to move from one side to the other. <— Does that make sense?
  • Too Big for New Space: Now I don’t want a petite sofa by any means, but I do think this one has become a bit bulky for my current style. The rolled arms and overstuffed cushions make it feel like it’s too large for our room. While I love sectionals, this one just feels too bulky for our home’s style.
  • Gets Wrinkly: Ughhhhh. This is seriously the worst. While it’s great that you can wash the slipcovers, it’s also a huge pain in the neck to iron them. The slipcovers on the bottom get so incredibly wrinkly, and the wrinkles are almost impossible to get out. I’ve ironed, I’ve steamed, I’ve done just about everything…and some stubborn ones just won’t go away.
  • Looks Dingy after 5 Years: Again even though it’s washable, whites can still get a little dingy…and that’s definitely the case for our couch. It’s just not as bright as it used to be. I think partly from use, partly from the sun, and just everyday wear and tear.wrinkled-couchpillows-couch-tulips-flowers

Overall Grade: B-

I think for 5 years, it has served us well. Especially considering that it has lived in 3 different homes of ours. But I will say that I’m definitely keeping my eyes peeled for a new sectional in our price point. I’d love to still have a sectional, but maybe look for something a bit more like Bridget’s gray couch. Any retailers in particular you guys think I should look at while I research? I’m all ears over here!

Bridget’s Couch

family_room_couch_pillows_flowers_Bridget-005

Product/Buying Details:  Our couch is three years old (almost to the day!). It was one of the first “real” pieces of furniture we bought for our new home and we bought it at Macy’s furniture. We didn’t do much research before we bought it (such rookies!) and decided on Macy’s because my older sister had just had some luck finding a cute (and affordable) couch there. Here’s what was on our “wish list” at the time:

  • affordable
  • light grey
  • an “L” couch
  • comfortable

After sitting in lots of couches on display at Macy’s with Matt, we decided on the Devon Sectional (currently unavailable for sale) and were able to choose the fabric from a collection of swatches. We ended up going with a light grey, which was called “Heavenly”. At that time, the sectional was on sale AND we were able to get a 7 year stain coverage package with the deal, which we (knock on wood) haven’t needed to use yet. Now that we’ve lived with the couch for 3 years… let’s have an honest chat about what we still LOVE about our couch and what we would have done differently knowing what we know now.

Family Room Christmas Home TourPositives:  

  • Color: I still love the color of our couch. I always knew I wanted a light-colored fabric and originally wanted something similar to Casey’s (like white-ish). However, I was nervous that if the covers weren’t removable/washable like Casey’s are, having a white couch would most likely lead to lots of stains/imperfections very quickly. And as much as I wanted it to look gorgeous, I also wanted to be able to live in it without being nervous to ruin it. Life happens, right?! So I went with my next best option which was a light grey. I still really love the color of our couch because it can take on pretty much any color I pair it with. A light, versatile color will definitely be on my wish list again whenever it’s time for a new couch.
  • Fabric: I really love the fabric of this couch as well. We use it literally every single day and there are no spots on the couch. I have seen where couches get “pill-y” and this fabric doesn’t do that at ALL and it’s comfortable — a win-win in our playbook!
  • Size: I still really like the size of our couch… it just “fits” us and our lifestyle perfectly. Originally we wanted a chaise on our couch but realized that wouldn’t work in our small family room so the “L” shaped that we ended up deciding on works perfectly.
  • Comfort: our couch is supercomfortable, which is definitely a positive in my book… and especially in Matt’s book. For comfort, we would give this sectional an A+!

Matt Fall Home Tour

Negatives: Some days I think that if I were to purchase a couch all over again, I would probably buy the same exact one while other days I wish I knew what I know now in order to make a better decision. The days that I wish I could do it all over again are probably the ones when these few negatives are totally getting on my nerves.

  • Slouchy back cushions: Ugh… my least favorite part of our couch. I love that the back cushions are fluffy and so comfortable, BUT I do not love that the fluff droops to the bottom of the back cushions and makes the whole couch look “slouchy” and worn out. Matt and I sit in almost the same spots each day, so each of our “spots” look more worn out and slouchy when compared to the areas that don’t get a lot of use. I hate the slouchy look because it looks sloppy to me and if I were to do it all over again, I would try to look for a comfy couch that wouldn’t get so slouchy looking <— if that’s even possible when you want a comfy couch!?! No Pillows Couch
  • Non-symmetrical pillows: Slouchy pillows are almost bound to happen with comfy couches, right? However, what makes my couch different (and a tad more annoying to me) is that the cushions are not symmetrical and therefore cannot be reorganized to even out the use. For example, I wish all of the cushions fit in all of the spaces so that when Matt’s seat was getting too “worn” looking, I could swap that cushion out so another cushion could get some use and the overused one could get a little break. … almost like a tire rotation. Unfortunately though, the cushions on my couch only fit in their specific place (because of shape) and can only be turned around (and some can’t even be turned around) and not swapped out for another one. My mom has a large sectional that she is able to swap out all of the cushions every month in order for it to get evenly worn. <– I had no clue about that when I went to buy my couch but if I were to do it all over again, I would opt for a couch that would allow me to do this. It’s not the end of the world but DEFINITELY something I would consider next time I go to buy a couch.

Fall Home Tour Family Room

  • The arms + leg style: I know this typically isn’t a “deal breaker” but if I’m being completely honest, I don’t think the couch “style” reflects my style now. If I were to do it again I would probably get a couch with arms and legs that reflect my style a little more. I’m thinking slimmer, more modern legs and arms that are a little less bulky/traditional. To my defense though, my style was just “starting out” at the time and has done some serious evolving since then. I don’t even know if I really looked at the arms and legs too closely at the time…. that would probably be a different story today.

family_room_couch_pillows_flowers_Bridget-004Overall Grade: B+

Tomorrow: The bad news is… neither of us have found THE perfect couch. And as we chatted about each of our couch’s faults, we both realized that a lot of you probably share in this feeling of living with an imperfect couch. Maybe you too have a couch that is slouchy, a style that is different from what you love, a color that isn’t your favorite, or a stain that totally ruins the couch’s vibes. Ugh… life happens, right?!

The good news is… we have found “creative” ways to dress up an imperfect couch and trick guests (and even ourselves) into believing it really is as close to that perfect couch as we can get! Tomorrow we will be sharing our tips and tricks on how we live with imperfect couches and learn to LOVE them by highlighting the best parts of them and hiding (literally hiding) the worst parts of them!

imperfect_couch_graphic

But before then, we would love to hear your thoughts!! What is one thing you wish you knew when buying your couch? Any advice you’d like to share to help us all avoid that mistake in the future?! We are taking notes…Bridget and Casey Signature

diy_dining_room_makeover_reveal-087

 

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  • Such great advice! I’m going to be buying a new couch in the next few months so I’ll work on creating a list of things that I want BEFORE I go! Thanks for the idea to do that!

    • YES!! If only we knew that way back when, we both think that maybe we would do a few things different. Good luck on your hunt, what an exciting purchase.

  • These were GREAT points! I especially liked hearing about the slouchy cushions! haha We’ve been looking at one of those couches where the whole back is just those big, squishy pillows. I’m betting over time, they will slouch but all of those are able to be rearranged, so perhaps it won’t be such a big deal.

    What fabric are your cushions made of? – The standard couch textured stuff (lol is that a thing?), microfiber, velvet? I was curious since both couches sound like they have held up fairly well over time.

    I originally wanted to go light for our couch, but when I went shopping I kept falling in love with charcoal grays. One time, I even fell in love with a black couch! I had to talk myself out of it – I have cats, one of which is black and I didn’t want to not see her and smush her. Poor kitty.

    • Thanks Kimi! You’ll have to keep us updated what you put on your “wish list” and what you end of deciding on! Good luck and happy shopping. =)

  • shawnna griffin

    hey girls! Love the couches! So pretty! I would love to have a slipcover (fitted) to go over our couch! We have an almost 5 yr old boxer! Right now we have a 3 slip covers on it but they are not fitted!

    • Thanks Shawnna! At least you can take them off and clean them, right?!

    • shawnna griffin

      yes that is right! Thanks girls!

  • Heather

    We upgraded our entry-level sectional that could not be repositioned to a sofa and loveseat. I really do love the look of ours and comfort level, but the back pillows slouch and they cannot be removed to wash….so of course they are so much dingier than the rest of the couch. With couches, I feel like it is always the “grass is always greener” situation. While we can’t take the cushions off the back, I would hate loose back cushions thrown all around.

    • Great point! We completely agree about the “grass is always greener” situation… there’s probably at least ONE thing we would all change about our couches, especially after living with them for a few years. Hopefully by focusing on the POSITIVE and learning to live with that imperfect couch, we can all love what we have just a bit more. =) Thanks for sharing!

  • Claudia

    Thank you for the thorough review – it really helps. I struggled with my old couch being too comfy for company. It was wonderful to watch t.v. or read but when they sat on it, it almost swallowed them up. I decided to let my daughter take it to her new apartment when she moved out and I bought a simple three-cushioned couch. Now my company can sit comfortable when they come but I don’t get to cozy up with my guy to watch t.v. Couches are a difficult purchase. Wish we could take them home for a week/month to try them out. I am ready to see if my daughter will switch with me but she loves that couch. I think its time to shop for a couch again…

    • haha that’s too funny! I’m sure your daughter appreciates it. And totally agree..wish you could try out a couch for a bit before making that big purchase!

  • These are excellent points! I’m (slightly) older than you girls and have yet to purchase a couch…right before we got married 10 years ago my husband’s brother offered us their gently used couch & love set for $100 and that’s still what we use today! Definitely wouldn’t be my first choices but they are still in pretty good shape. I’d LOVE a grey sectional of some sort some day…but will likely be mid-late 30s before that happens! Thanks for giving me some great things to consider!!

    • Hard to beat that price! We would have jumped at that price tag too 🙂

  • Kate LaCorte

    Attached cushions! Biggest regret! Our 50 lb dog loves to lay on the top of the couch (we’ve tried to change that, and lost). So our back cushions are all squished down, and since they are attached it’s really hard to fluff them up.

    Along with part of the bottom break in the move last spring… we were at crate and barrel last weekend ordering a new one (with detached cushions!).

  • Erin

    we bought our couch about 8 years ago via ethan allen. It is SUPER comfortable. and I love the look of it (I was insistent on high arms. I just love high arms, it’s what i grew up with) and it had to be clean lines. and well back then (8 years ago) there weren’t really too many options for us to find something. And trust me we spent a many weekends at various furniture stores. (now there’s west elm, CB2, etc!)

    But then i went to my cousin’s house, and they had a sectional, and I was sold — it was awesome seeing how many people could crash on the couch! I feel like when we have friends or family over, i almost always end up on the floor.

    So as much as I love our couch. it really has served us well… and we aren’t ever getting rid of it, it was so much money! if we get a house, that couch is going in his studio. hah! and i’m getting a sectional! I hate that we cannot rearrange our furniture in our condo! that’s something i was so used to being able to do!

    I’d love to get something like the henry sectional from west elm. i’d definitely stick with gray.

    as for your comments – i agree about the cushions! fortunately our couch, we can flip them when we need to. but the 1 1/2 chair that’s the same, the back cushion is terrible!! and i’d probably get a more not as elegant fabric? if that makes sense. I find it hard to match pillows to it!

    • Erin,
      Totally understand where you’re coming from! Hard to part with an item you paid a pretty penny for. Your Ethan Allen one sounds great.

      And loofa the Henry Sectional from West Elm. You’ve got great taste girl!

      xo,
      B & C

    • Erin

      I’m totally trying to convince my best girl to pull the trigger on getting that henry couch so i can live vicariously through her! hahahahahahah

    • Kara D

      I was THATCLOSE a few months ago, but nope. It doesn’t have a tufted back! I feel like the “flat” cushions show wear & tear easily on the tops! 😉

  • Katie

    Couches are SUCH a scary purchase! They are not cheap and meant to have for years. We bought ours when I didn’t have much of a “personal style” and while I don’t hate it, you def learn as you go along. They have wide/flat arms which are great for a laptop or a snack but not so comfy when you’re trying to lay down. We’re getting a bit of that pilling too which sucks but hopefully whenever a future house has a basement, down they’ll go and we can learn from mistakes when replacing. A must for me was 3 cushions…guys ALWAYS sit in the same spot (usually the middle) and two cushions are just asking for that weird dent.

    • Love the tip about the 3 cushions. That’s genius!

  • Marissa

    When I graduated from college and moved “out on my own” I bought two things: a bed and a couch. Said couch was heinously ugly and had cushions along the back. My 6’4″ boyfriend (now husband) would rest his elbows on the cushions and over the course of 5 years completely destroyed them. That’s when I vowed to never again buy another couch that had cushions for a back. In the past 7 years we’ve bought two couches from Room and Board and love them both. Both lean midcentury modern and are on the firmer side (which we prefer). Plus they’ve held up great despite my kids thinking they are trampolines. The price point is a little higher but I once read that you should spend your money on the furniture you sit on so I bought cheaper end tables!

    • This is hilarious, Marissa! “Heinously Ugly.” hahahaha

      We are both big Room & Board fans and happy to hear the splurge was well worth it. You’re so right…spending more on something you use so often is worth it!

  • Hi Girls! I’ve been a (silent) reader for awhile, but had to comment on this post! We just got a new sectional – after using my husband’s furniture (that he bought before we met) for the past 10 years or so! I had been looking for a new couch for years, and finally found my perfect match in the Jonathan Louis “Choices” set – It’s essentially mix and match pieces that all come together to form a semi-custom sectional. You select the structure/layout of the pieces, as well as the fabric (from tons of choices – at least 200+), then the leg style, arm style and cushion style (I did box cushions so I could move them around when they start getting the bum indentations!). And it’s affordable! We found ours at a furniture store in Milwaukee, but it looks like it’s a national brand and available all over at different retailers. Hope this helps for when you’re ready to make a change!

    • Alli, thank you so much for this info! I’m going to go check out the Jonathan Louis sets online right now. Love that you can mix and match everything….and affordable sounds pretty darn amazing too! Seriously, thanks for the info.

      And thank you for being a reader! We love the silent & vocal ones all equally 🙂

  • Ashley

    When my fiancé and I moved into our new house about 2 years ago out small apartment couch was definitely not cutting it any more! We started searching for a new, large sectional for our living room and really struggled to find something we both liked, was durable enough for our energetic dogs, wouldn’t collect all the fur from our dogs, and fit the space. After a couple months of constant searching we finally found the perfect fit! We ended up with a large customizable 2 piece leather sectional. We were able to get the pieces to fit our space, pick from 100+ different leathers, pick the legs and nail head trim, and get it delivered! While it was definitely a splurge ($5000+, eeek!) it is by far the best purchase we have made for our home! We condition the leather at least once per month, and after almost 2 years it shows no signs of wear and tear, even with our active, large dogs treating it as their playground. It is extremely comfortable (great for movie nights and lazy naps), but very stylish and beautiful. It could not recommend it highly enough! And we were able to do a completely interest free payment plan. It is the echo park sectional from furniture row if anyone with pets is looking for something very durable!