One of the most common questions we encounter from Modsy homeowners is, “Should I get a white sofa?” It’s up there with “How should I decide between a sofa vs sectional?” and “Should I skimp or splurge on a sofa?”
It’s not surprising that so many people struggle with deciding whether a white sofa is right for them. We get it, a white sofa is cool, trendy, and it’s a look we all love seeing on Instagram and Pinterest. But it also feels daunting to purchase, not to mention possibly very hard to maintain.
Like white jeans, a white couch (and any white furniture) can seem like it’s fraught with disaster waiting to happen. And if you’re going to be investing thousands of dollars into a sofa, do you want something that you’re worried about dirtying or spilling coffee or wine on all the time? After all, a big-ticket item like your sofa isn’t like a pillow you can easily replace.
That said, there are also tons of reasons to invest in a white sofa—from how it goes with any type and style of furniture and decor to how it can open up and brighten your room.
To help you figure out if a white sofa is for you, here are some things to consider before you take the plunge. Plus, get our best tips on what styles, materials, and buzz words to look for along the way.
First, Consider These Questions
Getting a white sofa can feel like a risky big investment, so before you even start browsing for white sofas, ask yourself these key questions below. It will help you get a better idea as to whether a white couch is for you.
Does a white sofa work with your lifestyle?
White couches (like white furniture) can feel like a design gamble since it feels like they’re a spill away from being ruined for good.
So, it’s important to consider if a white sofa will work with your lifestyle: Do you eat dinner on your sofa often? Love to curl up on the sofa with a glass of red wine at the end of the day? Think about your lifestyle and habits realistically and if they align with having a white sofa. A good rule of thumb? If you wouldn’t buy white jeans you probably don’t want a white sofa.
Where will your white sofa go?
If you’re working with a formal living space that your family rarely uses, a white sofa can be a great option since it’s a room you don’t use every day, which means it will be low-maintenance.
If this is a sofa for the family room, on the other hand, consider how it will be used every day. Do you have kids? If so, what are their ages and personalities? Will they know to keep your white sofa in top shape? Or are they going to treat a white sofa like their new canvas? Take family members and their everyday behavior into consideration.
In general, white sofas might fare better in homes with older children or little ones who are gentle on furniture. If that doesn’t sound like your household, don’t worry, there are still ways you can bring in a white sofa—keep reading!
If you have pets, are they ready for a white sofa?
Another factor to keep in mind is if you have pets. Consider their fur color and temperament. Does your dog love to roll in the mud before curling up on your sofa? If so, a white sofa is probably not right for your home.
On the other hand, if your pooch or kitty has white fur and sheds frequently, a white couch might help camouflage their fur but you’ll want to enlist the help of slipcovers to make upkeep easier on yourself.
Get more pet-friendly design tips from our experts!
How much upkeep are you okay with?
If you’re the kind of person who washes your sofa cover frequently no matter the color, you’re probably in good shape to take on a white sofa. But if you simply love the look of a white sofa and are thinking you’ll just keep it clean by not spilling or dirtying it as much as possible, it might not be enough to take the plunge with a white couch.
There’s no denying white sofas require more maintenance, but the question is if you’re ready for the regular upkeep or not. It’s a personal preference, but one you should think about seriously.
Do you want slipcovers?
Cleaning your white sofa is inevitable, but making it a chore isn’t. If you’re set on a white sofa and ready for the occasional upkeep, one convenient option is to opt for a slipcover that’s easy to clean. A white slipcovered sofa will give you the same crisp look but make maintenance a whole lot easier since you can remove the cover and toss it into the wash (with pet fur and spills and all!)
Because slipcovers are removable and machine washable, make sure to get two sets to start. When one is in the wash, you can pull out the other one. Consider slipcovers in different shades of white, which will give you a little variety to play with the look and feel of your white sofa!
Consider Your Sofa Material
If you’ve decided you do want to take the plunge and go for a white sofa, next you’ll want to decide on the material for your white sofa. The quality of the material for your white sofa can go a long way in determining its life span. Here are a few considerations for a longer-lasting piece.
Performance fabrics: Whether you’re going for a white couch with a slipcover or without, performance fabrics are great options since they stand up to wear and tear. They’re also usually easier to clean and come with stain and mold resistance protection.
Tight textures: When looking at sofa upholstery, keep an eye out for fabrics with a bit more tooth and texture (or a tighter, more durable weave.) They’ll keep better over time. If there’s a depth of color and texture, they’ll also be better at hiding any stains.
Durable leather: If you don’t want a slipcover and can’t find a fabric you like, consider a white leather sofa. It will give you a look that’s a bit more glam and industrial, and white leather is durable and easier to clean in the long run. But if you have pets with sharp claws, you might want to steer clear of leather. Additionally, white leather can be more difficult to clean if you accidentally stain it, so be warned!
Cleaning Your White Sofa
Beyond a slipcover and choosing strong fabrics that make it easy to clean your white couch, here are some good routine cleaning tips.
Keep a Tide stick handy: It does magic and is probably your best bet when it comes to instant spot cleaning for small spills and spots. Make sure there’s always one within easy reach of your white sofa.
Get a hand steam cleaner: It’s worth investing in a hand steam cleaner for regular upkeep. It’s a great way to remove small stains without a full wash.
Skip the dryer: This ensures your slipcovers won’t shrink. With a white slipcovered sofa, a good trick is to put your slipcover back on the cushions while they’re still damp so they’ll form to the shape. Just be sure to read the washing instructions carefully.
Try an Alternative To A White Sofa
A white sofa is definitely a stunning and bold option for your home. However, if it doesn’t work with your lifestyle and feels like too much upkeep, here are other colors that are great alternatives to a white sofa.
Shades of gray: A versatile neutral color, gray in any shade offers a similar crisp look but the darker undertone hides stains a little better than white. Opt for a cooler shade of gray to keep your space from having a pinkish tint.
Beige or neutrals: For a warmer look, beige and rich neutrals, from sand to taupe, are great alternatives. These colors pair well with other neutrals and are slightly more forgiving of spills.
‘Bluetrals’: Shades of blue are the new neutrals. A blue sofa might sound bold but it can actually be a perfect base if you’re after the farmhouse vibe or California casual look. Blues also pair nicely with other white furniture, so you can get the best of both worlds!
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