We're (Finally) Investing in a Good Couch: Part II
Updated: Mar 14
The search, the research, the swatches...
Alright, there was a lot to digest during my search for the right couch for my family. I was a bit overwhelmed at first when I Googled "Slipcovered Sectionals." I started with brands that I already knew, then expanded to brands that were new to me. Based on my criteria from Part I of this adventure, I slowly omitted the brands and narrowed down the specific sectional style that worked for our home. I was reading the fine print in the brand warranties (if any), measuring out the type of the couches that I liked, breaking down the costs, researching the fabric options, if the back cushions were loose, if cushion covers were removable...you get it, I'm thorough. Afterward, I did find a style and a brand that I think is the best fit (hint, hint - these are in bold below*).
Sectional Styles that I considered: L-Shape, Chaise, Sleeper, Modular, Reversible
Why: I chose the modular style because it's a family-friendly style and suits our apartment life. With Mason being a very active one-year-old, we are often moving things around in our living room to best tend to his safety and needs. A modular couch would allow us to shift any individual part around to create more space for Mason. Not to mention, we would also have the freedom to change the look of our seating arrangement every now and then or purchase an additional piece if necessary. I initially thought that I'd get a chaise style sectional, but I just didn't find one that wow-ed me or met the rest of my criteria.
Brands that I researched: Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Raymour & Flanigan, West Elm, Restoration Hardware, Article, Room & Board, Joybird, Rove Concepts, Burrow, One Kings Lane, Sixpenny...there are probably more that I can't even recall.
Why: I've heard hot and cold reviews of West Elm. The pieces are the pricier side; the furniture is often made to order, so delivery generally takes awhile; the pieces are modern yet timeless; the products are unique and well-made; customer service can be challenging, etc. I've had personal experience with West Elm. The process of getting Mason's crib was nuts, and there were so many errors on their side, internally, but as a final result: I love his crib. It's so unique, but not as a bright statement in-your-face piece. It's just perfect for him and his room, and I'll get to his nursery on this blog someday. In my experience with West Elm, while the process can be a drag, this company delivers on its products at the end of the day. The detail and the quality is all there. That's why I chose to purchase from this brand.
*Hover over each photo for fabric details
I actually almost bought a couch a few weeks ago, but at that time, I remembered that Labor Day was approaching and all of the sale alerts popped-up in my mind. So I decided to order swatches, continue researching other brands, and wait for the Labor Day Sale. I consulted with other brands about their fabric options that were similar to West Elm's fabrics. The challenge was that the other brands' fabrics were either not offered as slipcovers, weren't machine washable, the back cushions were loose, or the sectional was too large for our space. While there were plenty of beautiful options, I knew that I had to pick something that would actually work for our apartment space and lifestyle. I'm still totally for the modular sectional from West Elm.
Let's touch base on the swatch situation. I have 4 swatches: Twill "Granite," Twill "Stone," Twill "Gravel," and Performance Washed Canvas "Feather Gray." Besides consulting with West Elm's design team several times, I also read about tight-weave fabrics here and here. I learned that Twill is a great fabric option for people with dogs. Over time, it may pill, but nothing that a handy fabric shaver and lint/pet hair remover can't fix. After much deliberation (with myself), it came down to either the Twill "Gravel" or Twill "Stone."
I loved the Stone color because of how light the cream and grey tones were. I thought that this color would definitely brighten up our living room. However, I wondered if it was too light as Harvey is a black Lab, and he sheds a lot. I know that having his fine hair so visually present would drive me crazy, and I'm not looking to do a daily brushing of this couch. I loved the Gravel color because of the light mixed with the darker undertones. It would still brighten up our room and certainly disguise Harvey's fine hairs, and I could always easily brush it clean once a week and before we have any company. I wanted to see how the fabric would dry, so I poured a little water over each swatch. I didn't see any color change, which was good for me. I then put each of these swatches to the marinara-toddler test. I cut a small square out of each swatch and literally rubbed marinara sauce on each square (stole little leftover from Mason's lunch). While these colors are made out of the same Twill fabric, I wanted to see how well the stains would come out.
Left swatch square: Gravel | Right swatch square: Stone
After rubbing the marinara sauce in each swatch square, I immediately cleaned the Stone swatch. I put a little detergent into a small bowl with cold water, let it soak for 5 minutes, then lightly rubbed it together. I left the Gravel square to sit for 1 hour. Why? Because in reality, there will come a day that I don't see a stain, and it may easily sit there for a longer period. After the 1 hour was up, I did the same cleaning process for the Gravel swatch. I was pleased to see that the marinara sauce came out of both swatches! I needed to do this test for my own peace of mind, and because the modular sectional's seats are all SLIPCOVERED! They're machine washable on delicate and just need to hang dry. This put my mind at ease, knowing that any little (or big) oopsie moment can be washed away.
Mama is thrilled.
Left swatch square: Gravel | Right swatch square: Stone
Part III coming soon...Check-out my IG @thesomedayroom for more updates!