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Buying a Kid-Friendly Sofa: The Final Word

Buying a Kid-Friendly Sofa: The Final Word

Besides paint colors, probably the number one piece of decorating advice I’m asked is what kind of sofa is the best if you have kids?  Well, the short answer is there really isn’t just one answer (despite this blog post’s title!).

But let me tell you some great options I’ve learned over time, and I’ll share with you what I did personally in my own home.

Here are the options I’ve seen work with great success:

1) Go Dark.

Some great colors for dark sofas – charcoal gray, “flax”, navy blue.  This is a sectional a client of mine chose for her family room:

Lorri Elder Dyner, 16 Mountain Avenue, Larchmont NY

I LOVE light colored neutrals for sofas so I was skeptical.  Huge dark sofas can make a whole room look dark!  But I really think this sofa works because the rest of the room (and furniture) is nice and light.

These clients also opted for “performance” fabric – an option at many large retailers!  The only thing is, “performance” fabric tends to be microsuede or velvet so you just have to like that look.

2) Go Leather.

Just like marble, leather can show stains and wear and tear.  But it’s supposed to.  So the idea is that you can be less stressed about mess.  If you do choose a leather sofa, however, I suggest a leather that looks vintage-y.

kensingtonThe Kensington from Restoration Hardware

One last thought – if you go with a leather sofa, make sure the rest of your furniture is upholstered in something else other than leather (you know how I feel about the sea of brown in so many living spaces!).

3) Go Slipcovered.

I absolutely love the slipcovered look (although I know it’s not for everyone!).

Lorri Elder Dyner, multiple projects

One reason I love slipcovers is that they allow you to go lighter in color (they pull off easily and you can wash them if you find stains).  And a light colored sofa = a happy room.  If you go this route, I suggest going for a soft twill or heavy cotton canvas.

4) Go Outdoors!

As in, outdoor fabric.  This is what I opted for in my own home and it’s one of my decorator tricks:

Lorri Elder Dyner, multiple projects

Outdoor fabric is basically made up of polyester so it’s really stain and water resistant.  And companies have really taken the whole outdoor fabric trend to a new level – you can get fabulous colors and textures (no more large old-fashioned flowered patterns).  The technology is so much better too –  you can’t even tell that my sofa is NOT cotton!  It’s that soft!

A few extra tips:

– If you decide to go for a non-outdoor fabric option (like, just plain fabric), make sure you treat the fabric (with Scotchguard or have a professional do it).

– Good quality is key.  High quality fabric is going to take wear and tear better than something cheap (which is by the way my 100% advice for stair runners! Heavy traffic?  Go high quality!).

– Bear in mind that if you have kids….things will get worn and stained.  They just will.  They are kids.  We have no choice but to take a deep breath and (try to) shrug it off (I know, easier said than done, right?).

Tell me – what sofa do you have in your own home?  Does it work for you?

  • Sarah's Book Shelves

    July 14, 2015 at 6:07 PM Reply

    God…I wish I’d had this post when I got my den couches! I did go for the light colored slipcovered option, but I’m super lazy and never wash them. I think the outdoor fabric would have been the way to go for me. I’ll keep that in mind for when we get into our “real” (i.e. not rental) house!

    • Lorri Dyner

      July 15, 2015 at 5:57 AM Reply

      it’s funny I bet a lot of people are in your same boat – you just start to loosen the reins a little and think what’s a little stain? 🙂 I know I do that. Thanks Sarah!

  • Bonnie Joyce

    July 14, 2015 at 9:06 PM Reply

    Thanks for the tip about using outdoor fabric. I mentioned that idea to Becky for the cushions on their window seat in the dining room. I am going to have a chair slipcovered in my living room and I never thought of having it made out of outdoor fabric! Crazy!

    • Lorri Dyner

      July 15, 2015 at 5:58 AM Reply

      Love outdoor fabric idea for dining chairs. So smart!! Good luck with your living room chair -send a pic!!

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