I’ve received a bajillion emails and messages with questions about my new white sofa so I thought I’d share some details & info on it.
It’s from Restoration Hardware and it’s the Belgian track arm sofa. It was a bit of an impulse purchase… one we thought long & hard about (is it weird to talk about the purchase of a sofa for hours over the course of a couple of weeks??) but an impulse purchase nonetheless because I didn’t really think it through the way I should have.
With my clients, I keep them safe… In my own house, I take the hits. We’re the guinea pigs. We try things I would never be comfortable recommending until I’d tried myself. Case in point: a white sofa. I have never recommended a pure white UPHOLSTERED sofa to a client. Washable slipcovers, yes, but nonwashable, no neva.
So… before I ordered the sofa, I got the sample of my fabric- the Indoor-Outdoor Perennials Linen Collection in White- and I trashed the thing. I smeared a greasy gob of tomato from a pizza on it. I let it sit a while and then I worked the stain out. It came out perfectly clean!! You could basically just hose this thing off and it came out perfect! Over the course of a few weeks, I’d take the memo out and shake my head that there was no residue from the nasty stain I’d made and that’s really what sold me.
I thought about using my usual trade sources but I was impatient and had already seen the magic of the fabric, so I went with Restoration Hardware.
But I’d forgotten my own previous experience with a nonwashable white sofa which is- it’s not the stains that get you because they can usually be worked out, it’s the daily dinge and grime that kills the sofa. We’ve had a couple of times where I’ve had to work out stains from the sofa and it’s done really well, but it’s when we have lots of people over and there are lots of blue jeans and bare legs and feet on my sofa that really mess it up. I’ve tossed a pretty blanket over the back rail because it’s in a major walkway of the house where people tend to lean on & touch so there’s no problem there but the bottom seat cushion itself didn’t stay looking good for very long. It started looking a bit gray and just not fresh at all like the rest of the sofa.
I started thinking of my back-up plan… (This had secretly been in my head all along but I hadn’t wanted to go there.) The indoor-outdoor fabric isn’t supposed to be machine washable. But I took a deep breath one day and threw it in the washing machine. I couldn’t take looking at the dinginess anymore. I put it on cold & gentle and used a ton of spray & wash and it came out perfectly white. I let it air dry.
My sofa looked so good again!! I only washed the seat cushion and am dreading having to wash the sofa slipcover itself (and may never have to- at least for a long while) because things can tear and get messed up in the washing machine if they’re not meant to be washed and I’ve got to worry about the shape— but I’m definitely going to keep washing the cushion covers.
The perennials fabric itself attracts little bits of lint from people’s clothing and so it looks a little pilly. The washing didn’t get rid of those and so to get rid of them, I literally have to pick them off like lint on a sweater. It is what it is.
It’s super-comfy, really pretty and a bit of a pain to deal with.
So- would I recommend this sofa? Sofa itself, I like. Perennials in WHITE?? Not so much. I know that when I’m washing it, I’m getting rid of whatever is on it to make it bullet-proof. (Washing treated fabric also washes away the treatment.) So if you HAVE to have a white sofa like I did- I’d really recommend going washable. At this point, I’m just telling myself I own a sofa with a washable white slipcover and I’m forgetting that it had any magical stain-proof qualities. As a washable white slipcovered sofa- I like (and kind of love) it.
So for me, it’s a “yes.” For a client? I’d still have to say “no” because it’s pretty risky. If it was in another color other than white (the natural, for example) it would probably be great because even a slight color off from white hides the daily grime although the fuzz/pills would still slightly bug me. (We have a very light- almost white- “natural”-colored twill slipcover upstairs and have had it for 5+ years and it still looks amazing. (Also by Restoration Hardware!)
I will probably keep washing mine for a few years and I do plan on having an alternate slipcover made some time (way) in the future to be able to switch it up.
Anyway, hope this helps!!