August 11, 2011

Good Budget Upholstery and Family Friendly Fabrics

After Monday’s post – with me saying what I think doesn’t work- I received a bunch of questions about what I think does work concerning upholstery on a budget and concerning kid (and pet!) -friendly fabrics & options.  I dissed microfiber (even tough I have some in my own home) and bulky silhouettes.  If your sofa is in a an often-used room, then I’d say that it’s worth spending on if it’s in the budget.  But if a high-quality sofa isn’t in the budget, I have a few  favorites.

I’m going to start at Ikea.  I’ve personally used a couple of Ikea pieces and some are more comfortable than others but most have held up pretty well for me.  (And we really beat up things in our house!)

I’m sure you’ve heard of Ikea’s Ektorp sofa:


{Shown here in beige for $599. But it starts at $399 for a washable white slipcover and comes in multiple fabrics.  Joni from Cote de Texas hass mentioned this baby before and it really can be the perfect backdrop sofa.  If they slimmed out those roll arms just a little, it would be much betta!!}
Here’s the Ektorp storage ottoman in a gray slipcover:
{I have this at home.. I think it cost me around $130 and sometimes in a tight budget I’ll have my workroom do a slipcover in a custom fabric…  The slipcovers they come with start a little short & then get shorter as you wash them even if dried on low heat.  If You ditch the handles and do a waterfall skirt, this piece gets prettier. }

I think this Ektorp chaise is super cute and love it:


I haven’t seen this Kivik footstool in person but it looks pretty good to me:
And this Kivik sofa looks “almost” there to me, although if it were a single cushion and there were a skirt across the bottom I’d like it a lot better.  It’s $597.


I also like the Tullsta chair and have two myself.  ($129) The seat cushion is very hard for long sits and I feel a little numb in the behind when I get up.  I’ve considered having new seat cushions made.  The slipcovers are also too short as you can see in this picture and they’re worse in person:


{But, for $129, I’m cool with that.}
Going a little bit up in the budget, there are some options I like from Pottery Barn.  I haven’t checked them out in person but they look great.  My favorite is the Carlisle Sofa, their English arm sofa.  This apartment sofa (only 78″) is pretty:
{Starts at $1299}
Here it is slipcovered:
{$1300- $1800}
Here’s the upholstered version with loose back cushions and a 90.5″ width:
{$1349- $1649…  I wish they did the tight back version in this size. I wonder if the back cushions were removed and if you did throw pillows?  It might work for tall ppl…}
Their Charleston ottoman is really pretty:
{$499- $599}
Their “PB Square” slipcovered sofa is almost there (If they slimmed out the arms a little I’d like it a lot better)
but looks okay:
( Approx $1200- $2000)
Ballard Designs’ Slipcovered Hollis Sofa starts at $988:
Their Baldwin Slipcovered sofa from $1328:
And I like their Davenport Slipcovered sofa from $1279:
{I like how the rolled arms are tucked further into the sofa vs. flaring out as much as some of the others.  The two cushion seat is pretty.}
Crate & Barrel has some beautiful upholstery.  There are also some nice wallet-friendly options available.  I like this Willow sofa from $1699:
{Great arms}
I like this Lounge Slipcovered Sofa for $1999 and it’s 93″ long which is pretty large:
{Love its lines}
The Klyne Sofa is only $1200 but is only 80″ wide:
Anyway, these are just a few of the many sofas out there, but what I like about most of them is that they have fairly nice lines.  I’m drawn more towards the piececs whose arms don’t flare out as much and the ones that are a bit less bulky-looking.  I was lucky and found my own high quality sofa on craigslist for around $300.  We reupholstered it and ended up spending around $1600 total.  I did it in a green velvet and planned on having a washable slipcover made for it eventually but loved the green so much, I decided to wait.  The velvet takes a lot of abuse, but the one abuse that’s really taken its toll was baby spit-up.  (Oh I know how gross this is sounding to you 🙂  When Justin (my second son) was born, he had acid reflux and spit up like CRAZY.  And this inclcuded on the sofa seat.  At the time we’d just grab whatever was near us – usually baby wipes- to get it up so the spit-up/ smell was gone.  Well, fast-forward to a year later and I have started to see light spots on the seat cushions where the spit up was.  The acid & baby wipe & sun combination was not good.  Thank goodness we never flipped our seat cushions so I was able to flip them to the clean sides & it’s perfect again, but I’ve learned my lesson: Although baby wipes are AMAZING, don’t use them on upholstery.  And milk is a horse of another color so be sure to get it up completely.  The acid can be really damaging to color when mixed with bright sun.  We should have properly cleaned the mishaps.  Also, I’m considering having a slipcover made for the sofa when the next baby comes in case we get another spitter. (Our #1 was also a spitter so I’m betting on another)
As far as our velvet goes, we’ve had red wine spilled on the sofa and it’s come out without a stain.  I’ve also had some chocolate on it (Yes, I know I have a problem) and the kids BEAT it up and none of this shows.  We’re trying to put a stop to it but right now their favorite game is to stry to chase each other OVER the sofa.
For kid-friendly fabrics, you can go the slipcovered route and you get the benefit of using wh.  I myself like a slightly oatmeal white slipcover because I have to wash it less, but others love pure white because they can bleach out anything and they never fear.    I have a slipcovered sofa in a twill but linens and denims work beautitfully  too.  Even painters dropcloths!  (My photographer, Helen Norman who took the photo above- uses dropcloths throughout her home on upholsery & loves it.  Brooke & Steve Giannetti (of Velvet & Linen) also wrote about this in their new book Patina Style.  (Which I’ll be posting about soon.. I AM IN LOVE WITH IT!!!)  It’s important to remember that not all slipcovers are loose and many are very tailored.  Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between an upholstered piece and a slipcovered one.
If you prefer an upholstered piece, there are so many family-friendly fabrics out there.  I’m using a light poly-blend fabric right now for a client that looks like linen but is super durable.   Velvet is also very kid-friendly and there are commercial grades available.   There are linen-poly blend fabrics and cotton-poly blends that work beautifully.  Heavy-duty denims in off-white/ natural and painter’s dropcloths work well and there are a ton of beautiful indoor-outdoor fabrics out there too.  Of course patterns are amazing on upholsterry for kids & pets because they hide so much.  I would never go with pure white upholstery in a room where kids will be spending a lot of time  (Only slipcovers in white.)  but there are a lot of fabrics out there that can look very pale and can read white although they are beiges, grays, naturals, oatmeals, etc.  (So  you can still get a light family-friendly look without actually going pure white.)
I also recommend stain-treating upholstery so you can be worry-free.  (Too bad I didn’t follow my own advice before my spitter came along! 😉  Upholstery also typically needs to be professionally cleaned every 2-3 years.  You should vacuum it a couple of times a month and flip the cushions ever month or so to keep it looking good & wearing evenly.    (Oh thank God I didn’t do that when Justin was a baby!!)
I’m off for the day but enjoy yours!!  Hope this rundown helps!

xoxo, Lauren

If you’d like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

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