Ahhh, the look of a beautiful white sofa! Pristine, elegant, sleek and sophisticated. It is a work of art, begging to be admired, but forbidden to be touched. A home with a white sofa often seems to be like a trophy, marking the advancement of a couple moving into “empty nester” status. For the rest of us, the white sofa years may seem a distant pipe dream as we acknowledge the sobering reality that our current lifestyle simply doesn’t jive with the immaculate look of a white sofa.
Years ago when I was newly married, my husband and I purchased our first home. We skimped and saved for what felt like forever for the down payment and, because of our years of sacrifice, we were so grateful and proud of our little home. Having children was a delightful prospect, yet we never anticipated the effect children would have on the physical appearance or design of our home. We joyfully selected fluffy white wall-to-wall carpeting, flat paint, and upholstered furnishings.
I religiously vacuumed my lovely white carpet and admired the line patterns my vacuum produced. Little did I know that soon three cherubic angels would enter my home bringing with them a melodic percussion of dirty diaper leaks, sticky fingerprints, spills, and filthy feet. Not only did my lovely white carpet suffer, but my upholstered furnishings took a serious beating. I began to think long and hard about how to maintain a beautiful home, capable of withstanding the daily wear and tear of three active children and a husband who loves to eat gelato in front of the T.V. I was determined not to sacrifice my sense of style just to fulfill my desire for family. And, I soon realized that even in this phase of life, the white sofa years didn’t have to be behind me.
Creating beautiful and stylish interiors for busy households has since become, not only my mis-sion, but also my calling card. This being said, I can assure you that whatever phase of your life, you can experience the white sofa years now! This incredible phenomenon is made possible by textile designers who have created fibers that are able to withstand stains, wear and tear, and the elements. These textile designers have diversified their performance fabrics by creating softer materials for indoor use as well. I am a big fan of Sunbrella, who has pushed the boundaries of textile construction and achieved a fabric quality so linen-like and yet virtually indestructible. You will find yourself blinking as you take it in, mentally trying to make sense of the fact that you are looking at a fabric that can also be used outdoors.
Many furniture manufacturers include Sunbrella or other performance fabrics as an option for new furniture pieces. You can also purchase yardage of these fabrics and re-upholster your old pieces of furniture. Purchasing second-hand furniture and reupholstering it in a performance fabric is a way to get a custom look and an incredibly durable furniture piece at a great price. Consider using a coordinating fabric as a welt/piping on your upholstered piece for extra customization. You can score unbelievable prices on furniture at consignment stores and Craig’s list. Revival in Overland Park is a favorite of mine for bargain-priced upholstered pieces – I once found a mid-century modern chair there for $25! New fabric gave it new life, and it was a significant savings compared to buying new. In addition, it was a more eco-friendly option.
So, the next time you are out furniture shopping and are tempted to add yet another brown leather piece of furniture to your collection, consider taking the white sofa challenge! Always grab a test swatch and check your fabric's wearability, however, before you commit. If you love crisp white interiors, then allow the white sofa years to begin today!