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Keeping White Sofas Clean With Kids

August 18, 2014

Before I get started I just want to let you know that the Lilly After-Party Sale is starting at 8am today!  You can make fun of me all you want but I swear up and down that the Lilly shift is the most practical piece of clothing Wells has in her closet.  The pattens hide any mess she can find and the sturdy made dress washes in the machine time and time again.  The short style allows my girl to climb and play and you can pop a turtleneck and leggings underneath when it's cold.  If you catch them on sale, don't think twice.  The cost per wear on those shifts is amazing.

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I get a lot of questions about how we like our white sofas and how we keep them clean with small children.  I absolutely love the look of them and am willing to do a few extra things to keep them looking nice!  I think that there are a few things you can do to ensure the longevity of any upholstered piece with kids but it's especially important with white.  These things are so easy and there really is no reason to be scared of an all white room just because you have kids. 


1. Slipcovers
This explains itself, but really and truly you can pop them off and wash them.  It's so easy to stain treat because you can use bleach if necessary.

2. Off-White Denim
When held up next to other white fabric our slipcovers look every so slightly darker.  I think this makes a major impact in looking nice all the time.   There is no obvious reside from someone's skin touching the fabric for long periods of time.  I think a bright white or a less thick fabric wouldn't wear as well and you'd spend more time washing.


3.  Blankets
As you can see in the pictures, I have a white fur blanket folded in half and placed down the center of the sofa.  It's fully machine washable and opens up to twice the size.  This is Tagg's spot.  I didn't tell him he had to sit there, I just put the blanket where he naturally plops down.  This is much easier to wash than the slipcover and keeps me from cringing every time he sits there.   Wells never lounges without her giant frosty blanket so we haven't needed to do anything like this on her love seat side.

I'm really into neutrals and look to texture to bring in some interest, but, if color is your jam this is a really great opportunity to bring in some wow factor. 

4. A Flat Sheet Picnic Blanket
I keep a flat sheet highly accessible in a basket underneath the end table and I pull it out every single time the kids want to eat in here.  Every single time.  It's so easy.  Our television is in here and its unrealistic for me to never allow them to eat in this room.  If it's especially messy, they enjoy a picnic on the floor in front of the tv.  The sheet keeps ketchup or other hard to clean foods off the carpet and the furniture.  And they think its fun.  If they're just having a regular snack, say a banana maybe, then I just throw the sheet down on the sofa or unfold the blankets mentioned above first and let them eat right on top.

5.  Indoor/Outdoor Rug
I placed an indoor/outdoor rug on top of our upholstered ottoman to keep dirty feet from spoiling the fabric.  I actually love the way this looks and am investigating ways to give it a more permanent feel without actually stapling it on.  I'd like to also get one to go over the sisal rug to help that stay a bit cleaner long term.


Do you have any advice or tricks for dealing with white upholstery with kids?  I've been really happy with ours and would absolutely suggest it to anyone else!

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16 comments:

  1. I love the indoor/outdoor rug idea! Brilliant.

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  2. No kids yet over here, but I have 2 pups who love to play outside then hop right on my white sofa. UGH! Thank goodness for the slipcover. I, too, love the way a white sofa looks, but i've been contemplating going darker...

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  3. I would love to know who makes your sofa. Do you have extra slip covers? I have debating the white sofa myself, but have three kids!

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  4. I have had a white sofa our entire lives and if you just MIND the white and have backup plans like yours you can use it without hesitation. It has always been a staple of my living rooms for 40+ years and I wouldn't have it any other way. Your room is gorgeous and I love the lamps! xo Nancy

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  5. This is my favorite, classic look! Beautiful!

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  6. These are such great tips! I love the idea of a blanket over the center in the same color--perfect for toddlers! And the sheet is a fantastic idea! Love your practicality and I totally agree with you that the Lilly's cover all stains. They are so versatile!

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  7. That artwork over the couch is awesome!

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  8. Beautiful interior designing and interior decoration!
    Interior Design

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  9. These are perfect tips! Not for kids (since I don't have any), but for my pugs! Those little rascals shed everywhere.

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  10. Those Colorful Lilly patterns hide messes adults (like me) make as well! Love them!

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  11. So, this is something i've been thinking about a lot lately, as we just got a new sofa. I got it off Craigslist and needed to have it reupholstered (as opposed to a slipcover, which I would have liked as well, but in this case I wanted to start fresh). I went ahead and bit the bullet and got a linen looking outdoor fabric. It really does come across like an off white, and I am really hoping i don't regret this because I don't want to live like we serve the sofa you know? I want it to work for us but I ultimately really liked this look best in our space. Anyway, I'm hoping that by tucking a blanket on the seat cushion and machine washing the cover for the seat cushion, I will not be pulling my hair out over a dirty sofa….we shall see!

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  12. We are about to go white on a sofa (a cheapie ikea one I think). We currently have red ones in our living room and they show everything. The idea of bleaching makes me like going white even more. We have a PB sectional that is slip covered in our playroom that I love - however fighting the slipcover to get on and off is a workout. I love the blanket idea! I'll have to start doing that now! Thanks for sharing!

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  13. White sofas look really good but I'm not brave enough to buy one for my home. I haven't kids yet but have a dog and it would be impossible to keep the furniture or rugs white for longer :(
    Portsmouth Carpet cleaners

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  14. I've loved my indoor/outdoor rug. I recommend them to anyone with kids.

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  15. Do you mind sharing where you get your jute rugs? We have one from Pottery Barn that is great, but I have seen so many others that are quite scratchy.

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  16. I have white slipcovered couches in two rooms, and I absolutely love the way they look! The living room has custom slips, and the family room has an Ikea Ektorp couch and chair. For a room that you are going to use a lot, especially with kids or pets, I highly recommend the Ikea. The slipcovers are easy on/easy off, they wash easily, and they are incredibly inexpensive to replace - $50 for the couch and $30 for the chair, or something like that. If the worst happens and someone spills red wine or ketchup on it, you can replace the cover and move on with minimal angst and pain :) I have a few sets that I rotate, or can throw on in an emergency. I wash mine with Tide and OxyClean rather than bleach to avoid yellowing, and they come out fresh and beautiful every time. I wash them maybe once a month. Another nice thing I have noticed with the white is that I can wash just one cushion cover after a spill, for example, and not have issues with uneven fading or discoloration compared to the rest of the cover. I don't know that I would recommend white upholstery that you can't remove and wash, because the truth is that the white does soak in and show whatever comes near it, ie dust, pollen, and occasionally the dye off of jeans (!!!) and I would not want to have an anxiety attack every time someone goes near the furniture.

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