In the fantasy world of TV, having a white couch looks easy, sophisticated – a sure sign of good taste. But we all know reality is more dirty and lived-in than that, to the point where you may ask yourself, “Is a white couch ever worth considering?” The answer is… it depends. A white sofa can be a stunning addition to your home, but it might not be a good match for your family or lifestyle. If you aren’t willing to do at least a little extra upkeep, a white couch might not be a good choice. Otherwise, take these do’s and don’ts of owning a white couch into consideration before you buy.
Do: Use Your Home Lighting to Add Depth
White is a reflective color, which means swapping to a white couch is a quick and easy way to make your room feel a little brighter. While very dark upholstery absorbs more light, and can lose some of their sense of definition, white sofas always feel crisp and clean, showing all of the detail work in the fabric. You can intensify this effect with both natural and artificial light. While white sofas can lose some of their luster in dimly-lit rooms, they can make a little sunlight feel dazzling, and will pick up the ambiance of warm or cool toned bulbs, giving you a little more control over the mood of your space.
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Do: Make Your White Couch Easy to Clean
The biggest appeal, and also biggest drawback, of white furniture is its clean-feeling nature. Nothing looks more clean than fresh-bleached white fabric, and nothing shows dirt and grime faster. Many people are hesitant to buy a white sofa because of how badly the fabric can show stains, scratches, and debris, and it’s a fair deal-breaker. If you aren’t willing to own (and regularly use) a spot or steam cleaner on your sofa, white probably isn’t your best bet. But if you still want that all-white look? Consider investing in white furniture covers. You should start with two, so that your couch isn’t without one when you’re doing laundry, and look for ones you can easily launder (and even bleach) yourself. Depending on the look you want, you can get covers that are more or less fitted; some sofas even come with removable cushion covers for easy cleaning.
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Don’t: Invite Trouble with Pets and Kids
Reconsider a pure white couch if you have multiple pets or young children. It’s not their fault they track dirt everywhere, but it is inevitable that they will. Muddy paws, popsicle hands, and poopy bottoms all spell a bad day for you, and a deep clean for your sofa. Which isn’t to say you can’t have a white sofa if you do have children or pets, just that you’ll need to be a little extra careful. Give your dog their own comfortable sitting spot and train them to use that instead, and enforce the idea of “indoor clothes” vs “outside clothes” in the family to minimize dirt tracking. Thankfully, it’s not a problem that lasts forever. Once they get a little older, both your kids and pets will be much more courteous with the couch than toddlers and puppies.
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Do: Be Smart About Materials
Another important component of getting a white couch is what it’s made of, literally! Not all shades of white look the same, and not all fabrics wear the same way with use. White velvet sofas are peak chic, with a sophisticated, elegant air that comes (at least in part) from the fact that they’re a nightmare to clean. More traditional fabric upholstery – like linen, polyester, cotton, or canvas blends – stand up much better to cleaning; you won’t have to worry about ruining the fabric by trying to scrub it. That said, if you want a white sofa that’s really truly easy to keep clean? Look to leather instead. Real or faux, leather sofas usually clean up with a simple wipe-down, and can be treated to restore their original color.
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Don’t: Get a White Couch Because of a Trend
As the care and cleaning may suggest, a white couch is a commitment. Where a boring beige or even a bold blue will hide a good deal of everyday wear-and-tear, it’ll take more effort to keep a white sofa looking clean and new. So while this look is incredibly stylish and can be a great anchor for your decor, keep your expectations reasonable, and be honest about your willingness to put in the work. And if you love the look and think it’s worth the effort, duh, get one! But if you want a couch to put your feet up with your dog, and not to spend a lot of time scrubbing spots, this might not be the trend for you!
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