Cozy Home

Better Homes and Gardens Furniture Cushions

A few weeks ago I shared our home tour in a holiday fashion, and you all noticed something different in our living room, which I have yet to post about. After the post went up, I received quite a few inquiries via comments and emails about our living room sofa. So here is the story!
I should win the award for worst blogger ever. The couch is no longer new. New-ish maybe. We actually purchased it in February of 2012. Ouch! Stop throwing things at the computer screen! Many long time readers probably even noticed it way back in my Better Homes & Gardens Storage Magazine feature, or when Jackie from Teal & Lime came to check out our abode.
So, shortly after the questions came in, I snapped some photos of the couch so I could finally share the story.

Long, long ago we purchased our initial living room sofa. It reminded me of the ones we would see in Pottery Barn catalogs and it had me at hello. And you know what? We found it at a steeply discounted furniture store known for moving furniture at the lowest possible prices within only a few days. Being young and excited, we thought we were superstars for snagging a sofa for $300! We wanted to start a secret smart shoppers club for finding such great deals!

But. ultimately, we got what we paid for. This.
Although the bouncy kids were an added cuteness factor, the couch was a hot mess. A total of 17 extra large safety pins were trying to prevent the cushion covers from sagging {and apparently not working well}, and all of the seams holding the skirt were shredding and ripping. Don’t even get me started on those back cushions, which were basically half filled with batting and spent more time on the floor…
Every day I would straighten, stuff and arrange the couch to make it look fresh and new, and after one person would sit on it, it was back to the state of sloppy.

The couch was comfortable. We really loved piling on it, but as the boys grew, we ran out of room to all fit comfortably as a family of five. And we are big movie watchers during the winter months here in this cold Wisconsin weather.

We were barely able to give the couch away for free on Craigslist; however, one family’s trash is a college student’s treasure, and we were happy it went to a place where it would live on.

Oh the lessons we learn.

I was determined not to make the same mistake twice. So this next sofa purchase was a big deal. A “real” piece of furniture that we would purchase for our home, as the majority of the items are IKEA, Craigslist or thrifted. Considering a couch is something we use daily, and is located within the first room of our home where our guests relax, we really wanted to do it right this time. Here are a few of the things we did differently the second time around:

  • We made a couch wishlist. We knew everything we didn’t want given our past experience with couches, and how our family has grown. A few of those wishlist items included:
  • Zero pillow back. After dealing with the need to fluff the couch cushions daily, and worrying about attached options eventually looking frumpy with no ability to fluff, we opted for a streamlined, worry free option of not having any pillow back to deal with.
  • No skirt around the base. The boys just used it as a step to get onto the couch, and eventually the piping and seams where the skirt attached to the couch, came loose.
  • Easy to clean. We have three boys who are going to continue to grow, smell and be dirty. We have two dogs, which have the freedom to enjoy our home. I am the messiest of us all, with zero ability of actually getting food into my mouth before it falls out of my hands or off of a fork. We would need something that could withstand our messy habits for years to come. It came down to two options, which were slipcovers or a stain resistant upholstery. I wasn’t 100% against slipcovers, however, majority of them require pillow back sofas and also require me to add to my laundry list, so ultimately, the stain resistant upholstery won out.
  • Big enough for all of us. Our time together is precious, and snuggle time is important to me. Although I am sure five years from now my boys will think it is odd, right now they are all for it. I wanted to find a sofa that would hold all of us at once. But also didn’t want something that would swallow our small space.
  • We planned and measured. Completely seems like common sense, but I admit this is not something we have always done in the past, and always live to regret it. We measured the width and length of our room, measured walking space, measured distance to the TV. Measured like crazy. And then we started looking for options online we found that typical apartment sized sectionals would fit us best given our long and narrow living room. So, we taped a few sizes out on the floor. Literally moved our old couch into the dining room, and used painter’s tape to mark out couch dimensions. Then, like the goofballs we are, lived with the tape on the floor for a day or two, while we walked around it, and even sat on it.
  • We looked at inspiration photos. I looked at sofas that were purchased by other bloggers and read what they had to say. I looked at magazines, catalogs and even took note of sofas seen in some of my favorite rooms on television. My hubby and I made sure we were on the same page, and interested in the same features. We didn’t always agree, but were finally able to narrow our list own and come to a compromising vision.
  • We took our time. We visited about 28 furniture stores around the Twin Cities area. Discount stores. Consignment furniture stores. Way too expensive stores. Pottery Barn, West Elm and Crate and Barrel stores. You name the store, my tush probably tried out every last couch there. It really helped us figure out what we loved and what we didn’t. Fabrics we liked, curves, etc…
  • We talked to sales associates to find out when the biggest sales were. Many mentioned to keep an eye out for sales run in conjunction with a holiday. So once we found “the couch”, we waited for the right sale.

We ultimately selected a Rowe sectional from Becker Furniture. It came with the ability to remove the chaise to fit our space perfectly. We purchased it during their President’s day sale for “50%” off. I am always skeptical of those sales as I am guessing that means the couches are typically marked up just to mark them down, but in the end, we feel like given the qualities and options for the couch, we still snagged a pretty good deal. It was more expensive than a couch I considered at IKEA, but less expensive than anything I loved at Crate & Barrel.
We had over 500 fabrics to select from, which at the time was overwhelming and challenging and completely nerve racking. After over an hour of touches and pulling on multiple swatches, we selected a dyelot microfiber {which is not the type that you can basically draw on with your finger, it is a softer, more velvety finish} in a putty color which comes across as both gray and brown.
It is a heavy wear upholstery and has held up wonderfully for the past year and a half that we have been using it. Although we don’t typically allow for meals to be eaten in the living room, I always give in to beverages and popcorn. And even through dirty fingers and occasional spills, everything has cleaned up extremely easily and well.
As much as we were head over heals in love with our decision, there is one thing I am still not completely smitten with and that is the way the room now feels more “closed” off. Although we measured and taped, we couldn’t account for the height of the couch. On one hand, it keeps the living area quite cozy and intimate, on the other, it did make the room feel smaller. I think I just keep waiting for the day we pull that big wall down between the kitchen and living room, and then I know all will be right again.

That said, we love the clean lines and the fact that it should remain timeless as we evolve our home. It allows me to add pillows in any color story and can handle the crazy life that three boys throw at it. And speaking of boys, they are the reason this couch is our most used piece of furniture.

And kids will be kids… They sit on the arms, climb over the back, and jump on the cushions on almost a daily basis.
So that is how we came to purchase and fall in love with our living room sofa. Hopefully that answered most of your questions, but if not, feel free to leave a comment below.