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Couch versus kids: Thoughts on a white sofa

It seems like every time I post a photo of our living room, I get several bewildered emails asking how we have white couches AND small kids – at the same time – and whether I’d recommend it to other families.
White sofas: why they're the best choice for small kids
My answer is always a haughty: “what do you mean? Do your kids make messes or something? Sounds like poor parenting to me.”

Juuuuust kidding. We use our couches like CRAZY and because our kids are wild mess-making machines with persistent peanut butter fingers, who throw the couch cushions on the floor and make forts out of them, it’s actually the only kind of sofa I’d have for this season of our lives.
Kids on white sofa

First, here’s the deal on our sofas. We started with a microfiber sectional (“the tannosaurus“):

We spilled all kinds of junk on that sofa. You’d be impressed at the quantity of things we found to spill. Because we paid a little extra for pre-treated fabric, it wiped clean pretty well, generally. But then we had our first kid and saw disaster looming for the furniture, and decided to sell it while it was still in good condition, and buy something we’d be okay ruining. (And something a lot less tan.)

So I went to two identical cheap, bleachable white slipcovered sofas.

These are Ikea Ektorp sofas, which cost $399 new but I bought from craigslist for about $125 each. We threw away the used slipcovers that came with them and bought new ones from Ikea for $50 each. So we spent about $175 each and got two sofas that looked brand new.

The Ikea Ektorp sofa is remarkably similar to the Pottery Barn Basic Sofa, which costs $1399.
Ikea ektorp sofa versus pottery barn basic sofa
I can’t speak to the difference in quality between the two, and I would assume (hope?) the Pottery Barn sofa would last longer, but here’s my thinking on that: You can buy THREE ikea sofas for the price of one PB version. So you can replace it (with something different! Yay, redecorating!) three times and still come out ahead of where you’d be if you bought a Pottery Barn sofa.

So having invested only $175 on each sofa, I don’t go crazy-mama-bear on my kids if they wipe their face on the sofa arm. Which actually happens.

Care & Maintenance

Here’s what I do: About once every month or two, I wash the slipcovers in hot water, sometimes with bleach. Then I let them dry in the sunshine, where the stains get bleached out naturally. (I do this all the time with our cloth diapers too.) It’s always kinda fun and magical to watch the stains disappear over the course of a few hours.

WHOA. I’m sorry for just saying that was fun. Accidentally let my suburban-mom-over-30 show through a little bit. Yikes. #BeginningOfTheEnd

Here’s an arm of one of my sofas before and after sunning:
How to use sunlight to bleach out stains, naturally!


It doesn’t always work and there are occasionally some spots that don’t come out, but if it gets out of hand, it’s a quick trip to Ikea and $50 for a new slipcover to get them looking bright and new again. (I haven’t actually had to replace any of my slipcovers yet, but I like knowing it’s an option.)

So this is my complete plan of attack when it comes to furniture stains with kids.
1. Buy inexpensive slipcovered sofas, just for this season. (See decorating rule #3.)
2. If the slipcovers get dirty, wash them and use the sun to bleach out stains.
3. If the slipcovers get hopelessly stained, just replace them. It’s only $50.
White sofas: the smartest option with small kids?

I don’t want to be the kind of mom who yells at her kids all the time for ruining stuff that’s just “stuff” in the end, when they’re just being kids, after all. And I think having cheapo washable white sofas keeps us all a little more sane around here.

I do dream of having a blue velvet sofa like this someday:
Navy velvet sofa

Source

And sometimes I go shop around online and pick one out, just for fun. But I’m okay with knowing I’m just in a Slipcovered-White-Couch-Season-of-Life, and the Blue-Velvet-Couch-Days can be tucked safely into my future plans, for someday… when I’ll probably wish for fingerprints on the couch and sofa cushion fort parties.

Besides, we all know it’s the husbands who cause the most sofa damage anyway, right?

Awww, he’s getting so big.

You guys, I’m like 10 for 10 on posts with embarrassing pictures of Andy lately. That’s how I know a post is ready to be published: if I found a way to post a weird pic of him.



Awesome tips on why a white sofa is the best choice for families with young kids, and how to stay sane about furniture stains!

Would you ever have a white sofa? What’s the most durable sofa fabric you’ve ever owned?



Let's connect

Comments

  1. Amy says:

    I own the ektorp too – it’s a great sofa. You’ve inspired me to go out and get a white slipcover for it!

    • Kelly says:

      I’m always tempted to stock up on their slipcovers in case they ever go out of stock. That’d be the end of the world, basically.

      • christine sicinski says:

        Yippee for the white Ektorp! I too had these until my youngest children hit over age four. Perfect, perfect. Got the same comments when people saw four children and one white sofa. Used the same techniques to clean. And…the sofa itself lasted for 8 YEARS. Three sets of slipcovers total. And seriously, if the decide to change the Ektorp, I think I could make a killing selling the slipcover pattern on Etsy….

      • Charissa says:

        Hi Kelly! Can you comment on how comfortable the couch is? I’m a bit nervous about it being foam cushions… I want to make sure it’s comfortable for company but durable for children (expecting our first in just 6 weeks!!)

        Thanks!!

      • Dette says:

        You could always use the old cover as a pattern and DIY a new one!

    • Melissa Donald says:

      I love Ektorp! They have seen me through the last 10 years of boys are still going strong:-) Any tips on how get the wrinkles out?? You would think that I’d have this figured out by now…

  2. m @ random musings says:

    Those pics of Andy are precious! (just woke the fiance by laughing – best alarm clock ever)

  3. That’s the same reason I love white clothing so much! I couldn’t agree more that white is the way to go!
    I buy leather sofas with non removable cushions though. I couldn’t take the chaos anymore with the cushions everywhere.
    I’m dreaming of the same blue velvet couch my friend 😉

    • Kelly says:

      I love leather sofas and think that’s another great option, but Andy HATES leather furniture, so it’s out for us!

  4. Alicia W. says:

    Currently we only have an ivory microfiber loveseat that we got REALLY cheap at a thrift store. The hubby cleans it every so often with oxyclean spray and it cleans up pretty well, but it is a pain to clean! My “daydream sofas” are actually the ones you have. But ikea is at least 2 hours away. Thank you so much for this post about the sofas! I am gonna show it to hubby so he can see how practical it is. Have tons of fun with sofa forts!

  5. cassie says:

    oh my gosh i am dying! i can’t wait to see andy at 30 and 3 weeks to see how much he has changed!
    and i wish i had done this when i had the ektorp white chairs, but i said a big resounding… no thanks to cleaning and sold them. :)

  6. FR says:

    We also have a white slipcovered Ikea sofa (the kivik). We bought white for the same reason, although at this age our dog is making more of a mess than our baby. Shamefully, we have only washed our slipcovers once even though they are in desperate need for another wash and bleach. How exactly do you dry yours? What do you do with your couch while they are drying?

    • Kelly says:

      In the winter, we just hang our slipcovers over the edge of our staircase to dry, then when they’re just damp, we put them back on. (Helps them not wrinkle as much to put them on while they’re damp, but I just discovered that, so that’s why my sofas are all wrinkled in the pi

  7. Hahahahaha.

    ANDY.

    Also, we just bought the same dang ikea couch, based on slipcovers. But instead of kids/ Andy, the dogs prefer to mess ours up.

    #twinsies

  8. Kim says:

    I’ve always liked the look of some of the Ikea furniture, but had never really thought about doing that. I like it! *mentally filing this information*

  9. savannah kay says:

    You are just too funny. Love the pics of Andy. I did LOL!!

  10. You have such great posts and I can’t believe your husband agrees to these pictures. So funny! We have always had leather furniture because of the pets but it is holding up well with our daughter too. I am in the middle of upholstering a navy plush velvet ottoman so we will see how it does. Supposedly it is pet/kid friendly material but we will see. Your Ikea couches look really nice and I wouldn’t splurge for the PB couch either.

  11. I forgot to add that sunning items is fun for me too! Watching the stains come out of cloth diapers was amazing.

  12. Christina says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I never would have even considered this, even though I love white sofas. I know what my next couch is going to be. It’s not even hard to sell me on Ikea. Love that place.

    Actually, I finally bought bedding for our “new” bed (it’s two years old). I waited forever to find the right set and gave up. I went out and found a white quilt, some fancy colored pillow cases, and a great throw all for under $100. The white makes everything look brighter and I can change the colors any time I want. Cool! Go white!

  13. We have two of the Ektorp sofas (one sage-coloured in the living room & one white in a guest room) along with it’s predecessor, the 3 seater Ekeskog, with a Raffia Textured Cotton cover (ie tweedy cream colour). I love my 3 seater because it’s a bit more comfy than the Ektorp but all are well used, in light colours!

  14. Shannon says:

    You mean 360 months and 2 weeks, right? LOL

  15. Kristin says:

    I also have white slipcovered furniture which I have really enjoyed, but I did want to mention a few of the cons. We live in a climate where there is a long stretch when the slipcovers can not be dried outdoors or sunned. We strategically place throw blankets over the stains during the winter. We have also found that guests are reluctant to sit on our white furniture. They are definitely not for everyone, but they sure can take a beating and still look beautiful.

    • Kelly says:

      That’s true, we can’t sun ours out in the winter either. I always think it’s funny when people are nervous to sit on the couches. They obviously have no idea how hard we use them!

  16. Holly says:

    This is an amazing topic actually! When we bought our sofa & chairs we bought them at LAZYBOY in a brown color thinking that would show less dirt. I never would have considered white although I LOVE IT. No kids yet but was thinking long-term I guess. I love your idea seriously. If the stains are really stubborn I wonder of Oxyclean would help? That’s my go to product for anything I can’t get out although I rarely have to go to it.

    The other thing I was thinking was just discipline. I don’t know how my grandma did it but she was super strict with her sofa which she called the “davenport.” She had the same one for like 40 years and the thing was immaculate. You just learned not to mess with grandma’s stuff or house rules!

    • Kelly says:

      Discipline is good when they’re a certain age. Right now my littlest, for example, might have food on her hands or dirt on her shoes but she’s too little to realize it, so the only way discipline could help at this age is to discipline them to just not touch the couch, ever. :) Also, when they’re babies, there are bodily fluids basically flying all over the place and it can’t be stopped.

    • Angie says:

      Also, she is your grandma. I am assuming you don’t live with her 24/7? A lot easier to keep a sofa clean when you hardly have kids around and tell them not go near your sofa when they are around. Since my kids live with me, I would go insane if I fuss at them all the time not to go near our sofa, especially it is our only sofa and in the middle of our heavy traffic flow.

  17. Tobey says:

    I too have the Ektorp couch and sofa in white. I am slowly changing my décor to all white and the sofa seemed like the perfect addition. Everyone thought I was nuts, with grandchildren and a dog to get a white couch. My dog thinks the couch is hers and has her nap every afternoon on it and sleeps on it at night. I love the fact that if it gets stained I just wash it, I have changed the plastic legs for wooden ones, but other than that I love my sofa. I have not had it in summer or spring yet, so I have been drying it inside. And I had not idea about sunlight and stains, I will have to test that one.
    Tobey

  18. Charlotte says:

    Did anyone else notice that the pottery barn couch looked all wrinkled and horrible?

    For only $1,000 extra, you can get a wrinkled couch!

  19. Lorie says:

    Ya know, I have always been incredibly TERRIFIED of white furniture. I think this post appealed to my pragmatic side and has actually cured my phobia. Thanks! Now you can add a stat for eliminating readers’ decor fears. Your posts are fun and more importantly: funny! Love it!

  20. Oh I need a white couch now… And I don’t even have little kids, but still plenty of mess makers in the house. I love the sun bleaching tip. :)

  21. Bridgot says:

    Looking for ideas for my den and am loving the matching white slipcovered couches. Way back when I used to have a slipcovered couch and the slipcover was always coming off, shifting, etc. Do the slipcovers stay in place, and are they hard to take off and put back on?

  22. Amy says:

    Hahahaha! now that’s hysterical! Love the couches!

  23. Oh, I have a tanosaurus just like that in my basement! The family and lard butt cats (that I no longer have) have destroyed it. It is NOT microfiber. It’s pilling, sagging, and I’m appalled at all the food under the cushions when I vacuum it every couple months. I paid $1500 for it 8 yrs ago and it’s dead to me now. I’m anxiously awaiting the Ikea opening in Kansas City this fall (3 hrs away). I’ve been drive by stalking it whenever I go there. I can’t wait to see that mammoth blue and yellow building rise from the earth. You get you that blue sofa some day. You’ll cherish it.

    • Kelly says:

      Yes! And NO ONE will be allowed to sit on it. If they ask my permission, they may be allowed to look upon it.

  24. Sarah says:

    I don’t think you are crazy at all…. I LOVE a white sofa and I think with kids it would be ideal- for just the reasons you talked about! I’m so glad someone said it! (Shelly at thehouseofsmoths.com also has one and I loooove it!) We recently got new couches, but white wasn’t an option, so I went with a light gray and I love it. You are so right… it can be cleaned and it’s all temporary. Great job!!

  25. Lisa Campbell says:

    I’ve had the same white Ektorp sofa for about six years and it still looks great. People ask all the time how I keep it clean. They’re usually surprised when I tell them it’s a slipcover and that it’s the easiest couch to keep clean ever! It’s amazing how practical white can be. So far, there haven’t been any stains a little (or a lot) of bleach can’t get out. So yeah, basically, we agree. Also, the 30 years one week pic kills me. Haha.

  26. Andy is such a cute little….adult :)

    I was terrified of white sofas until this post. Thank you dear friend!

  27. HAHAHAHAHA!!!! ok, those pics of Andy are priceless.

    And I have really been considering a new sofa (we have a microfiber tan one too and I HATE it). This completely makes sense and the cost makes more sense!!

  28. Angela says:

    I have a futon with a white cover in the kids’ playroom for the same reason. well, that and the other options were denim-looking, ewww! I don’t go to the trouble of sunning out the stains, though, because it’s in the playroom and who cares…

    awww, Andy, such a sweet boy! :)

    • Kelly says:

      We have a futon in my son’s room, which doubles as a play room, and it is the ugliest possible piece of furniture. I think you’re pretty much obligated to see how ugly you can make your playroom. It builds the kids’ character.

  29. Seems logical to me! You found such a great deal!

  30. mary says:

    I did some couch research before I bought our ektorp sofa and loveseat, and I always thought yours looked like ektorps. we don’t have kids or pets and the couches still get dirty, but the one time a 3 year old got two stains on one of the arms, the stains came right out after I sprayed them with shout. I also have covers in dark gray and light beige. The gray ones are supposedly not washable (I don’t know why) and were more expensive, but the beige ones are the same price as white and washable, so I can easily change the look of the room! I love them and wish I had bought the sofa with the chaise on one end.

  31. Sarah says:

    My first questions is how hard is it to get the slipcovers back on the couch after they are washed and dried. How long does it take? Does it take you and your husband both to get them on? Other question is how does the fabric feel; is it soft or “scratchy?”

    • Kelly says:

      It’s not scratchy, but it’s not really “soft” either. It’s kind of like a cotton, I think?

      You *CAN* put the cover on alone, but it’s a million times easier with someone else. With Andy and me together, it takes about 10 minutes to put the slipcovers back on the sofa and all the cushions.

  32. Sarah Elliott says:

    Yay! So glad you posted on this :-) Question: are the Ikea sofas comfortable?

    • Kelly says:

      I think they are very comfortable, but Andy thinks our old one was more comfortable. It’s definitely a smaller scale sofa – the seats are not super deep – but I find the cushions to be really comfortable and I love the way it sits. I don’t know if it’s because ours are used and the cushions have gotten really worn in and soft, or if they start that way. I wouldn’t call it the single most comfortable sofa I’ve ever sat on, but I’m really happy with it.

  33. We have an ikea slipcovered sofa too.. not Ektorp.. but another.. and I LOVE it. I don’t always use white.. right now It is blue, but I have a couple other super funky covers in the closet. I keep one fresh white one around if I want to have company over or something.

    No guilt about getting it dirty. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

    • Kelly says:

      Ooh love your idea to have a separate one for guests! That’d be great for the times when I forget to plan ahead and wash it before we have friends coming over.

  34. Amy says:

    We have the L-shaped ektorp couch and 2 slip covers – white and tan(gasp!). I would put the tan one on from Oct to March and the white one on April to Sept. Now I just leave the white one on all the time because it’s so much brighter! I need to sun mine – never thought of that. I do wish I had 2 regular couches like you do because the huge L-shaped cover is a PAIN to dry. We have to drape it over the dining room table/chairs. I only wash that part twice a year and keep dish towels (tacky, I know) on the arms to keep them clean. Anyway, the dogs definitely make it dirtier than the kids do! I love the couch though – no regrets! Great post!

  35. Marty Walden says:

    We had early married for furniture for so long…….like 25 years of our marriage! 5 kids, numerous dogs and cats later we just had ugly furniture. Now we have a red sectional in the den – love, love, love! And a bartered sofa in the living room which I’m good with. I can’t imagine trying white!

  36. Kelly Davis says:

    Thank you for this post! We have been considering white furniture with a kiddo, but have been very hesitant. I have had my eye on the Pottery Barn couch but those prices are outrageous! Thank you for finding a more budget friendly priced couch!

    http://growingpainsbykellydavis.blogspot.com/

  37. Is there any house that DOESN’T need a blue velvet sofa? Also? I’m really looking forward to seeing the rest of your 30years + photo series of Andy. You might want to switch to monthly, though….you don’t want to burn people out 😉

    • Kelly says:

      You don’t think people would like it if I do weekly blog posts with Andy’s growth progress?! But look how much grayer his hair gets week-to-week! That’s good reading!

  38. Allie Ziemann says:

    Love it! I’ve been obsessing over my sofas over the past three years. I have 4 kiddos and we’ve gone through a white sectional then a white couch and love seat combo which I just got rid of and now am moving on to the sectional which is a greige color and “scotchgaurded” for the kids. The reason I am moving on from my whites is I cant find one as the sectional that I like with the cuddler on the end AND while I dont mind the pillows on the floor I’ve realized I have to have the attached back cushions 😉

  39. Maria says:

    I bet your white ikea couch hides the snot better than my purple ikea couch. 😉 While I have loved our couch (scratch and dent for the win!), the back cushions are saaaagging. (Ooh… I’m trying SO hard not to make inappropriate remarks here!!) 8 years, 4 kids, it’s time to retire it. I’m scouring Craigslist for a “distressed” leather couch with firmly attached back cushions. I’m counting on it to be easier to wipe dirt off of. (I may have spilled a plate of peanut butter and apples on ours. Permanent grease stain. )

  40. Sarah says:

    So I almost totally agree. I have ektorps as well and they have stood up well over 6 & 8 years each. BUuuuut I can’t stand the thought of washing the sofa covers once a month. I hate laundry. Soooo I got the leather ones and wipe those babies up with clorox wipes. And I know I can always go get two slipcovers for $50 if I ever want a change! But my kids would have to be a lot cleaner for that to happen!

  41. Very interesting. I had no clue how that worked. Your ektorp’s appear to have help up well. I’ve seen a bunch look all floppy. I’d file this away but I know my kids won’t be messy. 😉

  42. I totally agree! We’re looking at the ektorp for our game room downstairs — I LOVE the idea of being able to wash the slipcovers to clean them up. shall we have a “sofa-off” to see who’s harder on them? Teenagers or Littles? ha!
    xo Heidi

  43. Liz Mallory says:

    I LOVE ikea sofas. My husband hates ikea. Why, you ask? Because…ikea makes it easy to put things together. And he’s a MAN, so he can build his own dang furniture (with all that time he doesn’t have). Which never happens, so we buy ikea. :)

    I’ve been trying to go white for years, but he won’t let me. Maybe I’ll wait a few years til we have kids and spring this argument on him 😉 Also, I’ve seen that blue couch before and fell in LOVE with it. Such a beautiful color!

    • Kelly says:

      You should just pull the whole damsel-in-distress I-can’t-figure-out-these-ikea-instructions and let him swoop in and save the day like your prince charming.

  44. Kelly, my friend — you have no idea how happy I am that you wrote this post! I have been locked in a debate with my husband for days about buying this exact sofa!!! I want it for our living room/office, he thinks I’m crazy for wanting white with kids (even though it wouldn’t be our main sofa anyway). I am forwarding your post to him STAT. Thanks, lady!

  45. Kelly, I totally agree with you! I purchased a white Ektorp loveseat for my girls’ nursery and everyone thought I was CRAZY. It got a ton of use. I nursed my twin girls for a whole year and I sat on that love seat for EVERY feeding at home (since I nursed them at the same time, I had a HUGE nursing pillow and sitting in a chair just wasn’t an option), plus as they got older, we sat on to read all the time. I am amazing at how well it has held up. We have washed the slipcover a couple of times, but have never even had to use bleach. But, just in case, we have a spare slipcover in our closet. It was like $10 for the loveseat one! If we do get any spots, I will try your sunning suggestion–I have never heard of that!

  46. Love the white couches! If only I could get my husband on board with the no shoe rule. He refuses and always has them on in the house and then decides to put them all over the furniture.

  47. You’re so smart :) And Andy is just precious! So big! I will definitely try the sun trick – stains are my life right now with two wild little girls!

  48. Okay, you have me convinced. I’ve always loved the look of white sofas but I was scurrred. One day, I will join the White Sofa Club!

    By the way, for getting stains out of white without resorting to bleach, run a first wash with lemon juice instead of laundry detergent. Works like a charm!

  49. Ha ha ha ha ha ha…that’s always how I leave one of your posts and that usually sums up my comment. I am glad to hear your take on the slip covers. I own the taupeasaurus right now and it still looks brand new even with chubby Cheetos hands grazing it daily, but that’s because it is the color of dirt. I’ve always wanted to slip cover it. I see it that moving a little nearer in the future now. XO :)

  50. Trish says:

    Hi Kelly,
    What a cool post. Oh, and don’t forget the grand kids. I have six and one practically live at my house. Thank God I can just take my covers off my sofa pillow and throw them in the laundry and thank goodness for scotch guard. Now…only if I could just throw the white area rug in the laundry…haha!! I just basically roll with the punches.

  51. QwkDrw says:

    Connected with your post about the Ikea sofas with washable slipcovers. Great idea for family (seasonal) furniture. Of course I real love the Ikea… cafeteria! Usually have the Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes and gravy.

    The chronicling photos of Andy at almost 372 months are great. Of course he probably won’t really appreciate them until he’s 600 months or more — looking back on his youth (…hair color and physique)

    ..

  52. Stacy says:

    Love the post and the pics! :-) Have had the Pottery Barn one with a blue set and a white set of covers. Nightmare to change. Decided not to move them and got the Ektorp- SOOO much easier to change the covers. If you want true sofa porn, go the the Bemz.com site- it makes slipcovers in custom fabrics for all sorts of Ikea furniture. We also have 3 of the Ektorp ottomans running along the playroom wall. Works great as a window seat, chaise, extra kids bed in a pinch and, BONUS, all the toys disappear into their innards. I pick up 3 covers whenever they discontinue patterns so we have a back up when needed. But I must admit I would do hard time for that gorgeous blue sofa!

  53. Victoria says:

    I have to say… I really love the Ikea white couches and chairs better than pottery barn. The fact that you save money and they feel and look the exact same is a win win.

    I plan on buying them for our living room once the ones we have wear out:)

    Beautiful room!

    Victoria @ http://www.thesoutherntrunk.com

  54. Cute and funny as always Kelly! I love having white washable furniture with kids. The moms at my kids school read my blog and always say, “I don’t know how you keep it clean with all that white in your house!?!” I should send them this post and say, “See other moms do it too!” 😉 xo Kristin

  55. Yep, people always tell me I’m crazy to have white stuff around kids! But bleach and the sun can work miracles! We have all white towels and bed sheets. I used to manage hotels (before I was a rockstar, of course) and I thought to myself, “Self, there must be a reason why hotels stick with white towels and sheets, right? I mean, their linens have seen things that would make sailors blush, amiright?” And that’s when it hit me. So we go white all the way. And we’re not even racists.

  56. Jennifer S says:

    This is actually really great “advice”. Thanks for making me feel a little better about things when we have kids. B/c I’ve seen/heard horror stories from friends w/kids that had me a tad afraid I’d be doomed to have cruddy furniture for years to come. :)

  57. hahahahaha. I die. 30 years 2 weeks…. bahahahaha

  58. ChiWei says:

    Wait, did you take a picture of the arm of my white sofa because those stains look awfully familiar…hold on, let me turn around and look…yup, I’ve got almost the exact same ones! Except I’ve been lazy and it’s been “your fingers will fall off in 5 minutes” cold here, so I haven’t washed and bleached my sofa in .. well, I won’t admit how long it’s been. But yes, I get the comments and yes, I still love my couch, and YES, I dream of a day when I will have a clean, dog-hair-free sofa, and yes, son wipes his snot by running his face across the arm of the couch — mmm, yum. I know you want to come over and visit now :)

  59. So clever. I’ve always found Ikea couches to be quite durable and stylish. And the price can’t be beat. Thank goodness for our Swedish friends!

  60. Maddie Davis says:

    Found your blog via pintrest, post how to DIY drawers. Love your blog. Our Sofa is losing the battle with kids, dogs, cats, grandkid, and hubby so I’m thinking this one maybe a good fit! Love the pics of your hubby, because all wives know, hubbies are our biggest kids. :)

  61. hahahaha. Such a big boy!
    This makes me want to sell my beautiful gray velvet sofa (which was just full of blueberry fingerprints…that I got out after my mini heart attack), and buy some IKEA sofas. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Kelly says:

      Ooh I’ll take your gray velvet sofa! It’ll be ruined in five minutes, but it’ll be a glorious 5 minutes while it lasts.

  62. angie l says:

    i heard you could not bleach nor wash the ektorp covers in hot water. It seems you have done both. Have you not noticed any shrinking or discoloration?

    • Kelly says:

      Hmm, interesting! I have definitely done both, lots and lots of times. No visible shrinking or discoloration. I hang-dry them instead of machine-drying them, so I wonder if that’s the difference?

  63. Rachael says:

    I can’t read your blogs without laughing. Thank you.

  64. Markus says:

    Nice post. Just got a new nest of tables for the lounge and am a
    little disappointed, inclined to do a little adjustment!

  65. Holly says:

    Girl, I laughed so hard I LITERALLY cried seeing the Andy pics and your comment underneath: “Awww, he’s getting so big.” 30 years, 2 weeks……..

    Seriously, first I chuckled, then laughed out loud. My husband, who’s sitting next to me, gave me that look…like, “Are you going to tell me what’s so funny?” I started to try and explain the post and white couches and kids and how to wash them and…Andy. I totally lost it.

    So then hubby is laughing at me as I’m laughing harder and harder. Then I can’t breathe. He asks if I’m okay and I seriously start laughing so hard that I’m crying…..for, like, 5 minutes straight.

    Thank you.

  66. shavonda says:

    Been wanting a white sofa for a while now. I love the white slipcovered sofa from Ikea, I just wish the design was a bit more contemporary. Honestly though, theres not much a little hot water/detergent/bleach cant fix:)

  67. Andy is such a good sport. Jesse would kill me for pictures like this. He let me take “Hey Girl” pictures, but then wouldn’t let me post them. Bummer. Haha.

  68. I LOVE your white sofas and have been eyeing those Ikea ones for a while ( we have tan LEATHER…they have served us well….but it is time they go!)
    I had never thought of washing and laying out for the sun to bleach!! Great tip for whenever we break down and get some. 😉

    Nancy

  69. Marjie says:

    Whoa! Waaay too many posts for me to read tonight–er, this morning. But I just have to toss in my 2 cents….Andy is such a good sport about funny pictures. And the pic of your kids is sweet….my youngest is 12, and the grandkids old enough to spend the night at Grandma’s live 1700 miles away, so I never get to see fuzzy jammies on my couch anymore. :(
    PS–sunlight as bleach is an o-l-d but so wonderful idea. I’ve used it for years, especially when working with tablecloths, etc. that belonged to a couple of generations before me, and I needed to treat them super gently.

  70. How did I miss this post?! We do exactly the same thing!!! I feel like the whole white slipcovers are $50 and any other color is like $300 is pretty much Ikea’s way of endorsing this whole plan! I need to drink a bottle of wine before getting up the motivation to actually CHANGE the slipcovers, but that’s another story. This system works with kids SO well!

  71. Cat says:

    Blue velvet sofa – I just thought I would let you know that ikea makes a blue velvet corduroy slip cover for this couch. It’s a little more expensive then the white, I want to say its 100.00. I actually own it and I love it. It is dry cleanable and seems to be holding up well to our baby and 200 lbs St. Bernard. I believe it also comes in a dark plumb and a gray. The reason I went with this couch is because we are military and we never know where we are going to end up next. I liked the idea of having a new sofa without having to buy a new sofa if it didn’t match the next house.

  72. Lindsay says:

    LOVE this post because I used to have a white slipcovered sofa and loved it!!! It was so awesome to toss it in the washer and bleach it! You can’t do that with tan! We decided to go with leather because the specific couch and slipcover we had was a nightmare to wash and put back on and Gracie laying on it just wasn’t working. She got it very dirty. Thankfully, she hates the cold of the leather sofa, so she doesn’t even try to get on it! But I would totally do white sofas again, especially ones like these where I think the slipcovers come on and off easier than what we had.

  73. Bridget says:

    Ha! You are so right about the husband being tougher on the furniture than the kids.

  74. Lai says:

    I actually like the tannosaurus look. That’s the look I’m going for in my new house. Lol!

  75. I love and dream, dream, dream of owning that sofa one day. We have two little Ikea side chairs in white and they have been really washable… so as soon as our old sofa bites the dust… Ektorp it is. Thanks for the sun tip! Since we have comparable weather to Forks I will have to seize the opportunity for my fun-sun-bleaching days on those three days per year that the sun magically appears from behind the clouds….

  76. Shanz says:

    I have a huge cream (nubby fabric) sectional that I could NOT keep clean. It’s almost the same shape as the Ikea sofas, so I purchased the $50 covers. It was the best decision EVER. We have kids and dogs and cats. Everything washes out! I throw my covers in the dryer on low heat, and take them out when still a little damp. I’ve been doing it for years with no problems. I spray a little hydrogen peroxide on the worst stains before I wash, and it always comes out beautifully clean. :)

  77. debra says:

    You are one smart mommy. Dark colors show dirt. White always looks clean.

  78. I just cry-laughed at those pics of your husband because it looks like something MY husband would do, trying to imitate baby photos. Then I clicked subscribe to RSS feed. Thanks for the much needed pick-me-up this evening!

  79. Mrs.Momof6 says:

    And I thought I was the ONLY PERSON with this same philosophy!! I can’t sell hubby on it though… he’s the sort who wouldn’t sit on a white sofa! I feel the same about white kitchens, and white sheets, and white duvets, and white towels.

    Though, after 4 years or so, the white towels weren’t so white anymore… However, I have since discovered BLUING… the trick to keeping whites WHITE not yellowish white. :)

    I love white. Glad to hear I am not the only one who see’s its value… and glad to hear I’m not the only one who’s husband treats the furniture harder than the kids do. LOL.

  80. Deb c says:

    We’ve had a white slip covered sofa for the last 20 years & our daughter is grown now. I’ve washed the slipcovers so many times, they wore out! We just purchased the same sofa again, because it goes with everything & because I now have a grandson. I don’t have to worry about stains or spills, because I can bleach them out! We also have area rugs made from Flor tiles, because they are also washable! Take the offending square to the sink or hose & wash it off! Makes for a more enjoyable life, not stressing about that stuff!

  81. Renee says:

    Wow. Thanks for this post! We don’t have kids yet but we are moving closer to that ‘season’. I love your logic and I’m really glad I found this post on Pinterest. Can’t wait to read more of your blog!

  82. Kathleen says:

    I have 4 Ektorp; 2 white sofas, 1 white loveseat; and a floral sofa, with an extra sofa and love seat cover. I used to dry mine on the line and still do occasionally, but I prefer to put them back on wet then hand flatten all the wrinkles out and the next morning they look like they have been ironed ( or fresh from the store) I put the covers on the cushions wet and set them on my kitchen chairs to dry overnight too, with a towel against any wood, just in case and they all look pressed in the morning, so much better than the wrinkled look. When I have put them on wet I spritz them with water to get the wrinkles to fall out, but putting them on wet works way better.

  83. Kathleen says:

    Yeah with my 3 white sofas, 2 kids, 1 husband, 2 dogs people always think I’m crazy but they are so much better than worrying about upholstered sofas that you can’t “wash”. I like when some one says “but it shows dirt” so I can say would you rather have something dirty and not know? I’ve had mine 10 years and still love them.

  84. Sarah says:

    I am a fellow member of the white ektorp fan club! We don’t have kids (yet) but do have a very large, incredibly hairy black dog and a little black cat who LIVES on the couch basically. I have to take a hand held vacuum to mine almost on a daily basis (depending on how neurotic I’m feeling, and if any one is going to see it…) but I honestly don’t mind. it makes me realize just how gross our old dark burgundy couch which hid stains/fur etc was, since I only vacuumed it maybe once a month. I also love that the covers can be washed / bleached and will definitely be trying out the sun bleaching tip if this Canadian winter ever ends 😉 but I find that tumble drying them on the lowest heat for about 20 min, then putting them back on slightly damp works well and gets a good chunk of the wrinkles out. Great post, and love your blog!! So many creative ideas :)

  85. Linda says:

    We have 3 little ones AND a white Ikea sofa! :)

    ….only difference here.. we have a white leather Ikea sofa. Everything (from chocolate to juice to crayons) just wipes off easily. The only ‘difficult’ staining that can be made on leather is ballpoint ink – but someone recently told me to use rubbing alcohol and it works like a charm!

  86. Judy says:

    Amazing how many people are interested in this post re: keeping white slipcovers white. I don’t have a white slipcovered sofa (but would love one) but have had much success soaking out (pet) spots and stains using a vessal of laundry detergent and BORAX. Soak the bad area overnight then wash in machine the next day. Works every time on bedspreads, white quilts, towels that fell on the floor and got nailed, etc. A tip from my BFF “Laundress Shelley” by way of her grandmother.

  87. abbie says:

    Ah!!! Thank you for writing this!! My sister in law gets asked the same question (she got lucky and an older friend of hers gave her two white slipcovered Pottery Barn couches…like I said-lucky,) BUT she loves them because she can just wash them whenever she needs to! Great post-love reading your blog, so down to earth! Happy Easter!!!!

  88. RT says:

    Hi Kelly,
    Read your thoughts about having white sofa and thought I was listening to myself again or that you were my twin. We have exactly same white sofa from Ikea along with another one in red color but same design and people have asked me the same question again and again, how do you manage to have white sofa with kids? Its most convenient to wash slipcovers because we have had permanent marker, food, pen etc all sorts of stains on them but with little help I have them back to the normal white after a wash. Totally agree with everything you said :-)
    RT

  89. Stephanie says:

    I have four dogs and a yard that’s 100% dirt (grass refuses to grow). “White” will never happen here lol

    • Amanda says:

      leather works great for us 😉 We have enough laundry to keep up with between cloth diapers and clothing for the six of us…so being able to just wipe off the couch in 5 minutes is awesome! and if you don’t want to sit on the leather (hot or cold) just lay a blanket down, then toss in the wash when you need to…

  90. Nichole says:

    Great idea! I’m thinking duh why didn’t I think of that? And ps your commentary on your husband is hilarious! I actually laughed out loud. With him not at him of course 😉

  91. Julieanne says:

    I have this sofa – in white as well – and a 2 1/2 year and 3 1/2 year old. People always walk into the house and think I am crazy for having a white sofa and tiny kids. But – hello – washable covers = greatest thing on earth! I have them in 3 colours to satisfy my inner decorating geek (because come on – a red cover at Christmas is AMAZING!). Love the hilarious husband pics by the way!

  92. Rachel says:

    Just ran across this post and had to LOL. I am currently in the market for a leather couch that I can slipcover in white for these exact reasons! The leather is so that leaking diapers and doggy accidents don’t soak into the stuffing. I plan on changing out the slipcover to denim or striped ticking whenever the mood hits me. The other reason for white: change the throws or pillows and you have an entirely different look. Turquoise/Blue for beachy, red and green for Christmas, Pastels/Yellow for Spring, etc. Thanks for the great post.

  93. alex says:

    totally agree! we bought the white kiviks and just washed them all yesterday with oxiclean white revive and they look fabulous! don’t take long to dry either. i was sad though as they recently discontinued the blekinge white covers at ikea and i had to buy a back up set from ebay.

  94. Lauren says:

    This is the BEST blog post I’ve read in a long time. You’re very funny and you have terrific tips. Thanks…so glad I found your site.

  95. Norma says:

    I loves this lol I just got a white couch today I’m throwing out my micro fiber couch because it is ruined, I wish I would have thought about the slip covers

  96. christine says:

    You are so lucky you have places that sell things like that. In Australia there is nowhere to buy anything remotely similar. We only have big furniture chains that are super expensive and nothing has slip covers. I’m so jealous. Btw your home looks gorgeous :)

  97. Miriam says:

    Australia has 4 or 5 IKEA stores.

  98. Linda says:

    Totally with you on the white sofa thing, been doing it for the past 25 years. Same with white carpet. I have mostly hardwood now, but when I had all carpet, and kids and dogs, it was the easiest thing to do to keep it clean. Bleaching a stain in a white carpet is so much faster and easier than trying to figure out how to get an unknown stain out of a dark brown (or whatever) one. But there will always be skeptics. My mom never got it. And her carpets always looked terrible.

  99. Karen says:

    Hi! Is the white slipcover a true bright white? Or is it an off-white? Thanks!!

  100. Anne says:

    LOVE my ektorp white sectional!!! Kids are grown and gone, but we have five cats that are getting older, crankier and vomiting more often LOL. I do keep the arms of the main slipcover base covered because they love to lay there. But, the rest is uncovered and beautiful. I love washing mine once a month. I use warm water and Oxy, and dry on low for 15-17 minutes. Most of the wrinkles are gone when I put them back on the cushions. Plus the whole house smells like fresh laundry!!!

  101. Katerina says:

    So I just got my first white slip covered couch from IKEA!! Yay!! I went with the Karlstad because I like a more modern line. Also you can get super cute feet online and dress it up or funk it out. But anyways… I know you bleach/sun bleach. Do you scotchgard too?? Does bleach interect with that in any way? I am debating on wether or not to scotchgard it…

    Also, the woman at the store told me they were discontinuing the Karlstad (insert horrified face here). And THEN she told me they won’t be keeping the one you have forever either. I seriously nearly fell over. This month IKEA family card members get 15% of so of course I snatched up another cover. But seriously… All ya’ll should run out and get extra covers now!! She scared me!

    But yeah… To Scotchgard or not to Scotchgard?

    • Kelly says:

      GASP! They can’t take the Ektorp from us! I will totally grab another one next time I’m there! I haven’t tried scotchgarding… it *seems* like it would be a good idea… ? :)

  102. Evelina says:

    This makes me feel great about my white Ektorps! I was nervous thinking about future kiddos throwing up and smearing random things on them. But you’re right, quick trip to the laundry room and all is good again :)

  103. Tam says:
  104. Joanna May says:

    Okay, I know this post is older, but I found on Pinterest and just want to say that I had the perfect blue velvet couch: vintage Ethan Allen tufted 8 foot chesterfield in absolutely mint condition for $300 on Craigslist. Picture here on instagram: http://instagram.com/p/K3vKE4jNQR/?modal=true

    And I sold it, even before having my twin boys (and now a third on the way) reason being, it wasn’t comfortable or practical! We had two dogs, and even though I trained them through fear to stay away from my couch, their hair still gravitated to that thing like a moth to a flame. Hair, fuzz balls, basically anything. That and it was fairly uncomfortable. People would sit on it gingerly, then relocated to another chair in the room. I was so freaked out about the couch, that it totally dominated any emotion of being able to enjoy it. Don’t want to destroy the dream, but just to give you my perspective 😉

    Now, with two boys and one on the way, I think I’ll go to way of the slipcovered two Ektorps as well, although I’ve also been a big fan of the leather we have in our den. That stuff is fairly indestructible.

  105. just me says:

    I can’t even get my white towels white. White sofa so would not work in my house. I’d be washing it every day because I hate stains.

    • Ria says:

      I have ikea white slip cover sofas too and although it says not to, I tumble dry my covers on low when they can’t be hung out – never had a shrinkage problem 😉

  106. Leslie says:

    We have an ikea slipcover end sofa too! We have the black cover on it now- and I bought a beige cover for it when the cover was on clearance. I will swap it when we move and the beige doesn’t exactly match the carpet…
    My daughter once projectile vomited all over the sofa. Any other couch and we would have had to kick it to the curb, it was that bad. A few loads of laundry and some airing out time… Nearly new. That in itself has me convinced that this kind of sofa is all I will ever need. 😉

  107. Amanda says:

    We have a leather ikea sofa and it has been great. We use blankets to sit on though, because leather is cold in the winter, and if your sweating in the summer, well we know what happens and no one likes getting stuck to the couch…BUT being able to just wipe it down, and throw blankets in the wash, is totally worth it!

  108. We have an ikea slipcover end sofa too! We have the black cover on it now- and I bought a beige cover for it when the cover was on clearance. I will swap it when we move and the beige doesn’t exactly match the carpet…
    Very helpful article to be honest.

  109. Tish says:

    Now I want white slip covered sofas for just ME!

  110. Hyedi says:

    I scrolled down to your husband with his toosh in the air, face planted in the couch and I was laughing hysterically!! You two are so fun.
    Thanks, I needed that!
    Hyedi

  111. Dayna says:

    you are hilarious! I have the Pottery Barn slipcovered sectional and I do love it! I looked at both and chose PB for the extra depth in the seat for snuggling. I love the sun bleach idea. Thanks for making us laugh (my husband and I)

  112. hahaha its too funny nice

  113. Andrea says:

    Love this post, hubby and I don’t have any little ones yet but we are planning on it! Question: is your sofa the blekigne white or the stenasa white?

  114. Gina says:

    We actually have the white slipcovered chairs that go to your sofas. We’ve had them for 13 yrs now. The past 3.5 with twin boys, a 18m old little girl and 3 cats. They are great!

  115. Lea Heath says:

    This is awesome!! I have always wanted white couches and you have given me courage!
    Not to make you jealous or anything though..but right now I do have a navy blue velvet sectional…and we LOVe it!! So if you ever decide to do it, let me tell you It is worth it! :)

  116. Mary says:

    Here is my trick for getting “permanent” stains out of washable fabrics: Get a bucket and fill it halfway with the hottest water out of your tap, and mix in dishwasher detergent (about the same amount that you would use for a load in the dishwasher) and about 1/2 cup of all-color bleach (like Clorox 2). Put your fabric in the bucket and leave it overnight. Next day take your fabric out of the bucket and throw it in the washer for a regular wash and dry. Voila!

    I learned this trick from another mother when my son was a baby. I would buy used clothes for him (which always had dribble stains down the front). This method has even totally removed permanent ink stains which none of the techniques I saw on the internet could accomplish.

  117. Christine says:

    I think it’s great what you’re doing but you could save a lot of trouble by just feeding the kids at the table and wiping their hands after they eat. No food on the furniture for the walls. That’s what I did with my kids and that’s what my mother did with us. It makes sense to me, and saves a lot of time.

  118. Terri says:

    Denim! We are on our second denim blue couches from RTG… Last year when we decided we needed to replace them, going to RTG seemed like the best idea…. everything is washable, pillow backs, cushions and the slipcover! They also have the same couch/love seat in white denim, but we bought the blue again…

  119. Samantha Shelton says:

    I’ve had my IKEA ektorp for 7 years in white and I still love it as much as the first day we got it home! We have three kids and three dogs and the white cover has been more than a life saver on more than one occasion! Plus it’s still as comfy as the first day! Moms with white furniture unite!!!!! 👍😁

  120. Tara says:

    I have the Ektorp chair and footstool in my son’s nursery and they are so comfortable! I just bought a used 3 seater and when I went to the IKEA website to check on an extra cover and a matching footstool I was very disappointed to see that the Blenkige white is now discontinued. I think this happened in the last few days so I’m going to take a drive tomorrow and hope to find a few spare covers in the As Is section.

    • Shelley says:

      Tara, we went to ikea yesterday and they had the $50 in beige only. The “new” white is $125. One of my slip covers ripped at the corner and needs replacement. I too am very disappointed they discontinued the belkige white.

      • Andrea says:

        My husband and I went on quite the wild goose chase before Christmas to find blekinge white covers. (Well, we had to find the sofas first, which was a hassle as well…..we ended up with the love seat with chaise and a regular love seat from two different Ikeas). When all was said and done we were able to get them both in the blekinge white and found a backup cover for each of them (one at an Ikea an hour from our home and the other on Ebay). I had wanted to replace my tired white sofa and arm chair for a long time with these from Ikea ones, but kept putting it off. Knowing they were discontinued, we were lucky to find the extra covers for the future. I’ve always been told I’m crazy for having white furniture but I knew the secret and it was so nice to see this blog backing me up! SO BUMMED Ikea decided to discontinue such a great product!!

  121. Sarah says:

    While I realize this post had been around for a while, I’ve not seen it until tonight – and I just have to chime in and say a hearty AMEN! We have two White EKTORP sofas in our home…and we have four crazy boys, ages 3-13. I super love my EKTORPS! Thank you for this great post!! I need to just start referring everyone who raises their eyebrows at me to your post – you’ve stated all the reasons I love my sofas! :) I *just today* washed my slipcovers and they are snowy white and look as good as new…again. 😉

  122. Sandy says:

    My goodness! I coule have written that myself! I bought a white ikea couch when I was pregnant with my son???hes almost 6?and my daughter is 2…and my couch is still white!! Tonight I was looking at ways to revamp it as I felt tired of always looking out for dirty hands. Inevitably the couch gets dirty and after a while I wash the covers…in fact now I feel it would not be much different if I had a darker couch as it would still get dirty, except it would probably look worn out from washing it by now…
    So thanks to your post I’ll close the couch discussion and let my kids be kids…and wash the couch…repeat…until it’s time for a new couch! I was looking for ideas on how to dye the covers but it all sounds way to risky as I have the biggest couch ikea made..and no covers to be bought as it is discontinued:(
    So thank you!!

  123. Linda riggs says:

    A friend told me that you can use a handheld clothes steamer to remove the wrinkles from the Rotor sofa!

  124. Heather says:

    Hello! I bought the IKEA couches with white slip covers based on this post and love them… bummer that the slipcovers are now more money 😏 . We have 3 small kiddos and 1 along the way, but just wash them when needed. Two questions for you. 1- how do you sun them?? I’m trying to figure out the best way or the best clothes line or something, but am coming up empty. And 2- the couch and cushion inserts seem to be slowly wearing bc of how often I take the covers on and off to wash them. Do you have any of that happening? Have they held up? Oh, one more! Did you ever end up trying the beige cover?? Thank you!!

Trackbacks

  1. […] today.) You know I can’t get rid of my white sofas til the kids are gone (here’s why you need a white sofa with kids!) — but I am hoping to figure out a replacement for the ottoman soon. It’s half-dead […]

  2. […] talked about new sofas and brown sofas and how I desire a nice light sofa. Kelly explains why her white slipcovered sofa is PERFECT for her small kids and at the price I’m pretty […]

  3. […] “كيلي” أحد المُدونات الأجنبيات تملك كنب ابيض ناصع ودائما كنبها نظيف مع أنها عندها أطفال فشاركتنا السر وهو انها تغسله باستمرار مع بليتش ليزيل كل البقع حتى أنها تقول أطفالها يرسمون أحيانا على الكنبة(معجبتهم السالفه) ولو مانظف الغلاف مجرد ٥٠ دولار يجيب غلاف جديد من ايكيا << كنبتها من ايكيا (تدوينتها هنا) […]

  4. […] considering buying a white couch…AND having more children. Sound like a contradiction? This lady helped me see the light. But I […]

  5. […] Depending on what type of pillows you have you’ll need to adjust the dryer settings appropriately-down pillows need to be dried on the air only cycle while synthetic pillows can be dried on low heat. (Do NOT dry foam pillows-hang them to dry!) Add a couple of clean tennis balls to the dryer to help fluff the pillows as they dry. If possible, lay your pillows out in the sun after running through the dryer. (I learned that from my friend Kelly over at View Along the Way in her article about how she keeps white slipcovers clean with kids!) […]

  6. […] cheapest fabric at JoAnns.  I could probably do the whole couch for just over $100.  Also, I read this blog post about how every mother of young children should have a white slipcover couch so that she can just wash and sun bleach the cushions every time they get dirty.  Just the day […]

  7. […] Kelly at A View Along the Way talks about here Ektorp sofa and how well it works for her and her young family.  She also talks […]

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