You Ask, I Answer - Part Four - About White Furniture

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yes I borrowed those yellow cushions from the sunroom for this photo and yes they look weird because they are too big. ;)

How do you keep everything so white?!?! I admire your couch, but I'm too nervous about spills and such.

I love my white couches.
I love white couches in general.
I'm pretty sure that every single living room picture that I have ever pinned on Pinterest has white slipcovered couches and/or chairs in it.

Images - Pinterest: Living Rooms

So for me personally, the time and effort that it takes to maintain white slipcovered furniture is completely worth it.
Other people are nervous about white, but I am the opposite - petrified to get anything but white slipcovers since I know that no matter how dirty they get, I can always wash them, stain remover them, bleach them, etc. Since I have the Ikea Extorp sofa series, if the slipcovers ever do get permanently stained or damaged, I can always pick up another set for just over a hundred dollars. What do you get with a set of new slipcovers? A brand new couch.  
What I love about my white set is that I know I won't get sick of a particular pattern or colour, I don't have to worry about colour matching it to anything else, and I can always change the look with some inexpensive throw pillows.
We are currently on our second set of white slipcovers for these couches and are probably ready to purchase our third set. We've had these couches for over six years, so a set of slipcovers are lasting an average of two years for our family.
The reason that they are lasting us about two years is because I wash them all the time. We LIVE in our house and on our furniture so yes, they get dirty. With two dogs, a baby, and two adults who are always back and forth from renovating, working outside, painting, cooking / baking they get really dirty. To be completely honest, after a few weeks they are kind of gross dirty. But I DON'T MIND. Because I think to myself, if my couches are filthy after 3 or 4 weeks and I'm about to throw them in the washing machine, how completely filthy are other people's non-slipcovered furniture that they are never able to wash!?!?! Now that grosses me out.
So, how do I maintain them? Every few days I give them a once over with a lint brush, as dust and dog fluff will inevitably settle all over them. If there are light marks I scrub them with a baby wipe or some dish soap and a rag and the light marks will come off. After a few weeks I strip all of the covers off and wash them in the washing machine. It becomes part of the regular cleaning routine just like stripping your bed, washing all of your linens, and remaking the bed.
At the beginning I was ultra paranoid about keeping them spotless but over time I've let that idea of perfection go. Over the last few months we've had Roary shake his head after his ear surgery splattering blood all over the chair, a friend's newborn projectile puke on the couch, another friend's little guy dribble hot chocolate all over the love seat, and of course my little Cooper had to have a master blaster that leaked through his diaper, a onesie, baby joggers, AND a blanket onto one of the cushions. 
I'm sure white slipcovered furniture isn't for everyone. But it's been six years and counting and I still love mine.
P.S. I'll be sharing a post on how exactly I clean them so that they're spotless after every wash.
Another 'white furniture' question - do you regret buying a white chair for your nursery? I am debating buying the same one for ours, but am worried about spit-ups, diaper disasters, and generally keeping it clean.

See above for the answer to the keeping-it-clean part!

Sadly, I don't use the chair in the nursery nearly as often as I thought I would. In the early weeks, I would use the chair for some late night feedings, however I found that I would get too sleepy just sitting there (he used to take forever to eat) so I would go downstairs, turn all the lights on, and catch up on some girly movies. Now that Cooper is older, I just bring him in bed with me and feed him there. I keep my iPhone handy and surf Pinterest with the brightness on low so that I don't fall asleep OR wake Alex up. (Hence my ten thousand pins in the middle of the night.)

Everyone, and I mean everyone, told me to get a rocking chair for the nursery but I was adamant that I wouldn't be rocking the baby to sleep every night because I didn't want to have to unbreak that habit later. Plus, I never really liked the rocking motion.

As it turns out, little Coopster FIGHTS SLEEP TO THE DEATH and I end up walking around and rocking him in my arms all.the.time. anyway. As much as I hate to admit that I was wrong, a rocking chair would have been handy.

However, when Cooper gets a bit older, I'm sure we will use the chair often for story time, etc.

All that being said, I wouldn't recommend an upholstered white glider because when you have white, you NEED to be able to throw it in the wash. So the white slipcovered Ikea chair again works great.


Phew. Those were some long-winded answers! If you missed my other Q & A posts, they can be found here:


  1. Thank you for sharing all things inspiring in whites.
    Beautiful site.

  2. I love white furniture as well. I'm definitely considering white couches for our future home.

  3. I love white and love your home...xo

  4. I own the same sofa and I love it too even with 3 kids I dont regret our purchase:)

  5. I feel the exact same way about white. Everyone else is always petrified by my decision to have mostly white furniture or all white accessories but for me, it's a the peace of mind. White is white, no ifs, ands, or buts about it if I'm ordering online. It goes with everything. And best of all, no matter what happens, I can always bleach it.

    1. Who knew that bleach could be a girl's bestfriend???


  6. i just went AGAIN today to look at fabric for the new couch - my head says compromise and let mike get the khaki couch my heart says dammit i want a white couch!! Ikea isn't close to us but i'm tempted to drive a truck up there and load it up!! I know I'd come home with the chairs too!!

    1. What did you decided?!? Khaki or white?!?!?

      Ikea used to have an $80 flat shipping rate so that's how we got our first set of sofas for the basement!

  7. I feel the EXACT same way about our white couches... if you think MINE are dirty... just think what yours look like & you can't even wash them! That gives me the willies.

  8. I wouldn't have any other type of furniture/slipcovers in my house, Erin. I love my white ones! And you're so right about NOT being able to take them off and wash them. It's like having a brand new sofa every couple weeks - plus they smell great after a washing. (I love my Gain!) I have considered getting a brown leather sofa at some point in the future....just to add a little rustic-ness to the room. :) But I will always have white slips on the other pieces!

    xoxo laurie

  9. Good for you! I love the look and feel of white. So true about the slipcovers:)

  10. i have the exact same couches with the white slip cover and they are THE BEST!!! i cant tell you how many times i wash them (i mean swap sides of the cushions to prolong the washing... hee hee). i have 2 kids and a bigger kid, who happens to pose as my husband, so that happens a lot in our house...

    i have to ask though, isnt putting them on such a pain in the tush?!?!??!?! my arms and hands get so beat up after putting them on, especially the one that goes over the whole couch!!

    despite all that, i still love them... LONG LIVE WHITE COUCHES!! :)

  11. Me and Josh LOL'd re: master blaster. Honestly best post ever. The white stuff was great too ;)

  12. Love white slipcovered furniture in the living room too - I don't have that currently but either a future living room or sunroom will!!

  13. Just found your blog and love it. I'll be back for sure. I would love to have white couches and have a 4 year old and a 2 year old- after reading this, maybe we should go for it!

  14. When I redo my living room, I would like to slipcover my two sitting chairs. We'll see!

  15. We have white couches too and 2 kids under 4 so we get the same questions all the time! We love our furniture (although I wish we went the slip cover route you smartie pants!) but with occasioncal spot treating and getting them cleaned once a year they still look great. Great post! Kelly

  16. Great post -- I have been thinking about buying a slipcovered loveseat for our living room. And I agree about non-slipcovered sofas -- I vaccum mine, but I wonder how clean it really is!

  17. I absolutely agree on choosing white sofas. We have two IKEA Extorp sofas also, and I love them. If you want color or pattern in your home, use pillows, artwork, whatever, but white is so classic and fresh looking.


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