How to keep a sofa nice? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-03-2011, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Going to finally buy our first sofa - well, loveseat - with our tax return.

 

We have a history of not being good to some things, so I want to figure out how we can treat this loveseat lovingly. I was thinking:

 

  • Put a sheet over it most of the time, remove for company
  • No eating anything ever on it
  • Remind family that sheet is not solid protection, just minimal. If juice is spilled, it will still stain it, the sheet is just a small layer of defense.

 

I'm thinking about drinks, now. I plan to park a coffee table in front of the sofa. DH is constantly nursing a cup of tea. I could ask that nobody drink anything ever on the sofa but the point of the sofa is to have a place to relax. It would be nice if he could sip tea. I think that should be safe, as long as I ask him to put the cup back in the kitchen as soon as he's done (so later nobody will accidentally knock the ostensibly empty cup onto the sofa, and have the teabag fly out and stain it). Maybe water is ok to drink there too, for me and DD.

 

We have cats. Hopefully the sheet will be fine in terms of protecting from cat hair. Ugh, one of the cats is going to pick at the sofa!!! I just realized this. (The other is declawed). So I can either get stressed about it, not get the sofa, or just chill. My mom, who kept a reasonably nice house, just chilled about the cats. Our living room furniture was clean, lovely, and shredded at the legs.

 

What else to think of... no arts and crafts there? Or would you think that drawing with crayons would be ok, especially with a sheet over it?

 

No jumping on it? Probably not a problem, DD is not the hyper type, she is permitted to jump on the bed and it's better anyway. And we have a little trampoline in the same room to boot.

 

I'm just trying to cover all the bases and imagine all the possible routes to demise this sofa could have.

 

If you've ever had a sofa stained, shredded, damaged, whatever - how did it happen, and what would you do to prevent it in the future? Help me learn from your experience!


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Old 02-03-2011, 10:55 AM
 
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Hummmm I never had that type of problem with furniture.  We always ate/drank on the sofa and everyone was careful not to spill, if something did spill it was cleaned up immediately.  Coloring ect was done at the coffee table.  If you are getting a fabric couch make sure its sprayed with stain guard before they deliver it.  This costs about $50 and is well worth it.  Makes stain removal much easier and prevents stains too.  I wouldnt cover it with a sheet, then you cant see your pretty new couch!

Ive also had a leather couch and actually liked that better-no stains- and much easier to clean up.  Either way the couch was part of my weekly cleaning routine for vaccuming, removal of the cushions etc.


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Old 02-03-2011, 11:08 AM
 
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My leather sofas have been awesome with kids. Almost everything wipes off them with a damp cloth... and the cat scratches add "character".

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Old 02-03-2011, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I will have to consider leather, I guess. Our budget is $500. We'd picked out a loveseat at the local furniture store, but it's not gorgeous or anything. Just a fabric one. Comfortable to us. A sleeper, as well. I can see how leather could be advantageous. Might make the vegetarian in me cringe, though. Have to think about it.

 

I actually don't know anyone with a leather coach... or, rather, the only person I can think of was the mom of a friend when I was a kid. But the mom had a rule that kids were not allowed in the living room at all (there was a den with a comfy sofa, but her living room was formal). So I got the idea that leather was not good to have kids around. But now that it's been pointed out to me, yes, I can see that if spaghetti was spilled on it (not that I'd want that to happen either way!) the leather would be a wiping job, but the fabric would be a stain and a mom-wig-out scenario.

 

We have bought only one other piece of furniture and we pretty well ruined that, so that's why I'm thinking about it. It's the dining room table. First, we made a lousy choice. I guess it's "oak finish" or something. I once had a plant on a table runner on there, and didn't realize the bowl under the plant had a hole in it. By the time I moved it all for a total table cleaning, it had destroyed the finish underneath. There's this awful black circle. The chairs require constant retightening, and DH stained several of them (upholstered in white... ugh). Pen stains, garbage stains (yeah, he set a garbage bag on the chair.. more than once). We got fabric and "reupholstered" them but it wasn't a professional job, and the new fabric is already frayed and stained in some places (not from DH anymore, but DD). I would love a solid wood table with no padding so I can just wipe it off. But the point of all that was to say that I don't want this purchase ($500 is a lot for us, and I'm still not sure we should spend it anyway) to go the same way as the table.

 

I'm actually very laid back, and I'm not at all the type of woman who has pristine stuff. It's kind of the opposite, but I am tired of not treating our things well. I feel like it's irresponsible to buy something like that and not treat it decently. We've only had our table for 5 years and it's awful. Paid $1000 for the stupid thing, and I'd be lucky to get $100 if I put it on Craigslist.

 

Maybe I should keep looking. We went to the warehouse and found this one loveseat that I thought was decent. I didn't hate it. But it's not like, oh! It's gorgeous! Hence, I didn't think twice about covering it with a sheet. It's practical. I like that it has one cushion instead of two. The color matches the theme I'm planning for the downstairs. That's pretty much it. It's actually kind of ugly in a way.


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Old 02-03-2011, 11:38 AM
 
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Pets can damage leather with their claws, big time.  I guess I would aim for the combo of a good sturdy fabric plus scotchguard plus a slipcover.  Be sure to get spills right away.  Keep the slipcover laundered (your mileage may vary, with a dog for us it's weekly) and vaccuum the couch when you take the slipcover off to wash.  

 

That, and just accept that couches get trashed!  They get used hard, buy the best you can afford construction-wise.  I can't tell you how many rooms to go type sofas I have seen with broken frames from regular use.

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Old 02-03-2011, 12:06 PM
 
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Do you live anywhere near an Ikea? They have plenty of couches in that price range and many of them have removable, washable slipcovers. If I was going to go with fabric, I would want that.  Leather is my top choice for kids and pets. It cleans up well.  We don't allow any eating or drinking on our couches by kids. We're big about keeping all food in the kitchen/dining area. But when the kids go to bed, we feel free to eat out there and relax :) We do have a fabric sofa in our living room (where we don't spend much time) but it's made out of microfiber, which is the best of the upholstered fabrics, imo. It cleans up much better than other kinds of fabric, and since it's not removable, I need to be able to wipe up spots.


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Old 02-03-2011, 12:21 PM
 
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Check out http://www.homereserve.com/

Ypou can totally customize your sofa, if your cover gets wrecked you can order a new one without replacing the whole thing, and they have storage under the seat. I live in Canada but I think the extra cost of shipping would so be worth it.

Oh they have special pet fabric.

 

Quote:
All our fabrics are tough and durable, and many of them are machine washable, but the big news is that we have a specific pattern for pet owners called Altima Pet Care. It comes with built-in stain resistance, so when you spill coffee or…uh…other things on it, these liquids just run right off. Fluids won’t penetrate. Everything can be wiped up or machine washed. Quite amazing (watch the video). We’ve been getting rave reviews about this fabric from animal lovers across the country.

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Old 02-03-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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Another leather fan, though we only have pets and no kids at this point.  But I love how nothing sticks to it, spills don't absorb, and anything sticky can be wiped off with a wet cloth.  But since that is not an option I would suggest something with well-fitting slipcovers.  IKEA is a good choice as a PP suggested.  Then your sheet would be sort of a second line of defense.  You could also get a second set of slipcovers (if that's available) right off the bat and just store them in case you need them.  It will be easier than trying to find something that fits later on when you really need it.

 

Here's one of the blogs I follow, they recently got a slipcovered sectional from IKEA, looks like a pretty durable fabric too (though I personally would have to match the colour to the pet hair in our housewinky.gif)

http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/01/surprise/

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Old 02-03-2011, 01:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ola_ View Post

 

 

Here's one of the blogs I follow, they recently got a slipcovered sectional from IKEA, looks like a pretty durable fabric too (though I personally would have to match the colour to the pet hair in our housewinky.gif)

http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/01/surprise/


I stalk love that blog!


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Old 02-03-2011, 01:25 PM
 
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Our current sofa is in really poor shape, but it is over 10 years old by now. The 'bones' of the thing are still just fine, but the fabric is trashed. Our big issue has been little boys who jump on it and climb over the back and take the cushions off to make forts. DH and I actually settled on a new couch a couple months ago, then came into the room to find the boys jumping on the couch, and opted to wait a few years. ROTFLMAO.gif

 

My suggestion (beyond not letting the kids jump on it, which you've said shouldn't be an issue) -

 

If you can afford to, go to a decent furniture store and be absolutely, 100% honest with the salesperson about how the sofa will be used. Let them know about kids and pets and eating and drinking on the furniture, if that is allowed in your house, and then ask them for recommendations. They'll be able to steer you away from fabrics that will be a pain to clean, or that will show wear quickly.

 

We picked our couch out to go with our dog, believe it or not. The fabric is a mix of black and tan, and matches her coat perfectly. That worked out brilliantly for us - I've never noticed a dog hair on the thing, even though I'm sure there has been some there. Unfortunately, we chose the fabric before we had kids, and in retrospect, it probably wasn't the best weave for children.

 

Also, in retrospect, I'm not sure that I'd pay extra for a super well-made sofa. We did, and the frame is certainly very well made. Our sofa could easily just be recovered and give us many more years of use, but we've found that reupholstering the thing would cost far more than just buying a new sofa. If it were about the same price, I'd go ahead with it, but since it'd be at least several hundred more than a decent quality new sofa? I can't justify it.

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Old 02-03-2011, 01:31 PM
 
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My couch is 15 years old.  I bought it when I was 21 and single, half price from a going oiut of business sale.  It's the only new furniture I've ever bought.  It was $650, pricey for me at the time.  But, it's been worth it.  This thing has worn like steel.  Right now, it's slipcovered (my mom happened to find a cover thrifting that has separate pieces for all the cushions, so it's not bunchy, and it fits it well. 

 

My dh bought a cheap rooms to go couch before me that lasted him about 4 years.  He was single at the time, so not a lot of hard use (though he and his buddies are big guys). 

 

All that to say, if my budget was $500, I'd be scouring Craigslist.  I think that a better made, used couch (and there are some good ones out there that don't smell/are well taken care of) is often a better deal in the long term than a cheaply made couch (like IKEA), certainly so if the people in your family are large, and/or you have pets and/or rambunctious children (all of which we have, and that pricey couch STILL sits well...amazing).

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Old 02-03-2011, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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All of the responses are really helpful, thanks. I don't seem to have an IKEA near me, I've heard of them but never been in one. We're small people and DD is not rambunctious. Sounds like 10 years might be the average lifespan of a sofa? If so, then I guess I won't worry about it so much. I guess I was trying to figure out how to get maybe 25 years out of one.

 

I've thought about buying used but buying a used sofa (or bed) grosses me out for some reason. If you have any reason to convince me otherwise, though, I'm all ears. I don't feel that way about a used table or anything, just fabric.


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Old 02-03-2011, 02:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

All of the responses are really helpful, thanks. I don't seem to have an IKEA near me, I've heard of them but never been in one. We're small people and DD is not rambunctious. Sounds like 10 years might be the average lifespan of a sofa? If so, then I guess I won't worry about it so much. I guess I was trying to figure out how to get maybe 25 years out of one.

 

I've thought about buying used but buying a used sofa (or bed) grosses me out for some reason. If you have any reason to convince me otherwise, though, I'm all ears. I don't feel that way about a used table or anything, just fabric.


Would a used leather sofa be less yucky?  It's wipeable, not like fabric.


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Old 02-03-2011, 02:33 PM
 
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You'll be so sick of your sofa after 25 years!  Think of the fab stuff some of our parents/grandparents still have hanging around under plastic slipcovers.

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Old 02-03-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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Will you consider leather?  My kids have spilled things (as have I...heck, DH has spilled beer on it), and they wipe up like new.  Things can't soak into leather, so there's no real chance of it getting yucky, or at least staying yucky. 


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Old 02-03-2011, 06:38 PM
 
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We have never bought a couch in the 10 years DH and I have been together..lol.  We've gotten them handed down for free every time, mostly from family.  We're on our 5th couch set now!!  The first one was really junky and didn't last long (had to be slip covered because it was gross looking).  Not really sure where that one came from, DH got it before I moved in with him.  The 2nd couch was MIL's sectional that she couldn't take with her when she lost her apartment... It wasn't in great shape either, I'm assuming she got it used. I can't remember why we didn't take it with us when we moved from our apartment to our first house, it was probably too big for our living room so we gave it away.  When we bought our first house there was a couch left behind.  We used that for a while.  It was an old lady who lived in the house and moved to a nursing home so the couch wasn't too bad.  It was kinda stiff, probably had been in the house 20+ years since the style of it was probably late 70's early 80's.  That had to go when our dog peed on it and it couldn't get the stink out.  Then we got a recliner couch/ chair from DH's aunt.  That was a nice set... It was a lazy boy brand and would have lasted a long long time if the cat didn't destroy all the fabric on the bottom half of the couch/chair.  Then we got a different dog and the dog kept peeing on the chair :(  Our current set we got from my step-grandmother, she passed away and her belongings were given to family.  This is an awesome set!  It's a lazyboy leather set.  It's really soft leather, the cushions are awesome!  It's fairly easy to keep clean, but because it's a light color you can see the dirt/wear on it.  The cat hair can't stick to it, and the leather has held up pretty well to the cat scratching.  It's noticeable, but the leather isn't shredded or have huge holes in it like the fabric did.  I like that in the summer time it's nice and cool to sit on at first, and in the winter time after it warms up it holds your body heat and keeps you warm. I'm sure it's really good quality leather since I know she paid a good amount for it and it's held up with a lot of abuse in my house.  We do everything on the couch, all 3 kids jump on it, 3 cats sleep on it, everyone eats on it at some point...lol

 

I wouldn't have bought leather for myself I would have preferred fabric, but I wasn't going to turn down an almost new couch since our other one was ready to go.. but after having this set I will definitely go with leather again.  I think I'd go for a chocolate brown color next time though instead of a light tan.  I'm going to wait till after our scratching cat (only 1 out of 3) is dead though before we invest in a new couch.  I feel bad that this set hasn't lasted as long as it should have because of the cat.

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Old 02-03-2011, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I guess I'm not above a used leather sofa, as long as it wasn't from a smoking home. Will have to keep an eye out for that. Dunno the chances of finding a decent condition used leather loveseat out in the middle of nowhere, but ya never know. (It has to be a loveseat since we just don't have room for a full sofa - because, um, we have a weight bench and stuff in the living room, and nowhere else to put it. Yeah, we're classy people).


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Old 02-03-2011, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, family castoffs would be perfect for us - unfortunately we have no family in the area.

 

Yeah, I'd want a chocolate brown one if I got that. My house is a 1905 colonial with a wood stove, so a sleek modern black sofa would just not fit with the style at all (not to mention looking lousy if beat up). And tan... I dunno. But chocolate brown sounds cozy and forgiving and beat-up-able.


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Old 02-03-2011, 07:11 PM
 
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This one looks nice (but may be a bit more than your budget):

 

51kXR1qww6L._SL500_AA300_.jpg

 

http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Tri-Tone-Leather-Loveseat/dp/B0010Z9WRQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1296785140&sr=8-1

 

or this one (it's cheaper):

 

310e0D0UiIL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

http://www.amazon.com/Simmons-2051U-L-Umber-Leather-Loveseat/dp/B003XC94IG/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1296785141&sr=8-4

 

I bet you could find a love seat, in leather even, for less than $500 if you look around (I just happened to be on Amazon, but there are tons of online furniture stores plus all the local ones).  It's sectionals and regular size couches that are more expensive.


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Old 02-04-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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Leather is great with kids.

 

We have a loveseat in the tv room that turns into a bed (think foldable futon but not exactly that). We got a mattress pad and put that under the slip cover. Nothing will ever leak to the actual mattress part and both the mattress pad and slip cover are machine washable. 

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