A few years back I decided I wanted a good basic sofa with a slip cover. Truth be told, I have never spent much money on furniture for my home. A lot of what I have was given to me or found at garage sales, consignment shops and second hand stores. I am the epitome of a “use what you have” decorator.
The furniture in my home is all good quality from stores like Ethan Allen, some are even antiques, but I learned from my mom that you can have high end for much much less than you think if you are willing to get creative and let your home evolve over time. Quality furniture will last a long time, so it is worth having.
Only once did I splurge and buy a full price custom loveseat. It was the first sofa I ever bought (18 years ago), and it was the ONLY thing I ever I spent a lot amount of money on (it was over $2,500) and to this day I cannot believe I did that, knowing all I know now about bargain hunting. It was so unnecessary for me to spend that kind of money, we certainly couldn’t afford it, but live and learn.
I will say that I still have that loveseat and the original upholstery — it WILL NOT wear out. So in the long run of 18 years, maybe it was a good investment. For that reason, I recommend buying a classic neutral sofa if you are spending a lot of money on it!
Other than that one crazy splurge, I have never set aside a big sum of money to go shopping for an entire room. Never have, pretty sure I never will. It would be fun (I guess that is why I became a professional decorator), yes, but it is just not something I have felt the need to do. We have other financial concerns than spending our money on furniture. I have gathered a piece at a time as a bargain treasure is found or given. After 22 years, I have a house full of quality pieces that work together that “evolved over time” way.
It takes patience to gather your things over time without a furniture budget. But it can be rewarding to look through your home and not be able to find more than a thing or two you actually spent a hundred dollars (or more) on. Even if you can afford it, imagine all the things you could do with the money you saved!
But back to my desire for a slipcovered sofa. Since I was determined to buy one for very little money, I knew I was going to have to be on the lookout for a deal. I searched my usual haunts but couldn’t find what I was looking for.
I started searching on Craigslist for the PB Basic sofa and lucky for me, I found a local woman selling a down blend PB Basic for $400. So, it wasn’t cheap but it was cheaper than new! And remember, this is DOWN so it is OH SO COMFY! I kept the slipcover she had on it for a couple of years until it wore all the way through and started to embarrass my children. True story, it had holes all over it for at least a year. I am so ashamed.
Finally last fall I was ready to update it with a new slipcover. I searched Craigslist but never found an affordable replacement. I decided it would be most affordable to have a slipcover made for it rather than to buy one from PB, but when we decided to put our house up for sale, I realized I was out of time and that ripped up slipcover was going to devalue our house. I am not a seamstress and don’t even own my own sewing machine, so making one wasn’t really an option for me this time. I had to act quickly to find one ready made.
So I called Pottery Barn in desperation and begged them to search for a floor model slipcover. Sure enough, they had a white (or off white) floor model slipcover up high on a shelf. The only wear on it was a small stain on the skirt, which is usually folded under the sofa a little bit anyways. I knew we’d make our own marks so that was no big deal. She sold it to me for $300. Not as cheap as making one myself, not as cute as one I would make if I could customize it with a pleated skirt, BUT, it was an instant makeover without the fuss. Exactly what I needed!
So now I have a PB Basic down sofa that I spent $700 for. That made it the second most expensive sofa I ever bought. I loved the challenge of finding what I wanted for a fraction of what it would have cost new. I have seen dozens of really high end beautiful quality sofas for $700 in recent years, so I know there is really no need to spend more if you are willing to be creative and flexible! You can buy an IKEA sofa that looks just like this for even less! It might not be quite as comfortable as the PB Basic with down, but hey, it looks great!
And for those of you who asked about keeping it clean, you can wash the slipcovers or take them to the cleaners. So far, I’ve done neither and it has held up just fine. It does get dirty and it is not perfect, but I live with it!
I have a post scheduled for later this week that will give you some tips on second hand shopping, which is my favorite way to find quality furniture at discount prices! I found a $4,000+ high end sofa for a client at a consignment shop for $800, it is a great way to shop! Stay tuned!
this post shared with my buddy Nester
Tips on buying a sofa: Canadian House and Home