Rookie Review: OUR COUCHES
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.
Product/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 a sectional from JcPenney (no longer available). 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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:
- light grey
- an “L” couch
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.
- 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+!
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!?!
- 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.
- 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.
Overall 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!
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…
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.