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5 Things to Consider Before You Choose White Slipcovered Sofas

by | Apr 12, 2010 | Decorating Inspiration, Details

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5 Things to Consider Before You Choose White Slipcovered Sofas

I know many people love white slipcovered sofas. And I know there are just as many skeptics. Could white slipcovers really be as easy to take care of of some people say they are? Just throw them in the wash and they are good as new? What about if you have kids? Or dogs? Or husbands? Or eat on your couch?

Today I’m going just going to tell you what I have experienced with white slipcovered sofas. I’ve had mine for quite a few years, so I’ll offer you five things to consider.

**Update!!! After this, don’t miss part 2 of this post, “The Truth About White Slipcovers (Part 2: Pet Edition)

5 Things to Consider about a White Slipcovered Sofa:

1. White slipcovers will turn blue if people with newer dark jeans sit on them.

I have several white pieces of furniture at my house (including the white slipcovered sofa at the top of this post), my parents have them at our beach house and have had a white coverlet on my bed for like a decade so I am all for the love for white, but it is just a fact. Newer dark jeans, which a lot of people wear, make white fabric kind of blue even after only one time sitting on it. {Note: Especially if you live in a rainy climate like I do in Seattle!} The blue usually comes out in the wash, though, thankfully! Right now every white piece of furniture in my house is kind of blue. If you are OK with that, proceed on to consideration #2. If you aren’t OK with that, and anyone you know wears dark jeans, white slipcovers will drive you crazy.

2. Guests might feel uneasy and uncomfortable with white furniture.

Just telling you the truth, some people when they come over don’t even want to sit down on my white furniture! Especially if they have kids. We have people over A LOT and I assure them it is fine and that I don’t worry about it because I really don’t, but some people still look for a less WHITE place to sit! Which is nearly impossible at my house. If I sense someone is worried (especially if they have kids) I usually run and grab a quilt to throw over the seat so they feel more comfortable.

That kind of makes me feel bad, I don’t want people to be uncomfortable at my house or flopping down on my sofa. We like to open our home to people. If  you will feel terrible if your guests ask to sit on the floor instead of your couch, you might want to think twice about white. If you think you can deal with it, move on to consideration #3.

3. You will not feel like washing slipcovers as much as you might need to.

Yes, everyone says that slipcovers can be washed and bleached so they are cleaner than most sofas would ever be. This is true. But if you really use a white sofa or chair every day, especially if you have children or pets that you allow to sit on your furniture, VISIBLE things get on it almost every day.  Hair. Pen marks. Shoe scuffs. Dirt. Lunch. Snot. Spaghetti Sauce. Newsprint. Dog paws. Who Knows What. I have to pick long brown hairs off my sofa before company comes. White slipcovers are not maintenance free and you don’t always have time to wash them before a party, once you notice how bad they look the company might already be on their way.

With a patterned slipcover or colored upholstered piece, you can go a long time before you feel like you have to clean it. With the white, it will get the same dirt and grime as any furniture, but you will see it right away — which is good if you are going to keep up with it and not so good if you don’t want the hassle. And I’ve heard that over bleaching can cause yellow stains on some fabrics, which can be a problem on white sofas too. If you are up for regular care or can handle a less than pristine white fabric in between washings, proceed with white slipcovers! But,  you still might want to consider #4.

4. If you want to actually sit on your furniture, you might want to find creative solutions.

Our homes need to be a place where we feel comfortable and can flop down on a couch without worry of messing it up. So, to be real and honest, even though white slipcovers look lovely in a photo, in real life I keep a washable quilt or blanket on the slipcovered sofa we use most. Because even though you can wash slipcovers, I am lazy and don’t want to have to unzip and stuff cushions back in every two days. And, I love my dark jeans. I don’t want to have to shout at my son when he is eating jelly toast nor do I want to ban my kids from our furniture.

I don’t want to be maniac mom because I have white girlie furniture and a nine year old boy.

I can wash a quilt really easily, plus I can whip it off when I want to take a photo to fake you all out that I have perfect white sofas and chairs and a nine year old boy in the same house. HA! Yes, it is a little crazy that I take the extra care necessary to have white slipcovers. But, before you think I am crazy, you have to consider #5.

5. What kind of person are you?

With anything, if you love it enough, you don’t care if it requires an extra measure of TLC or sacrifice. I had wood counters in my last house that I treated like my baby every day, wiping them down, using coasters and kissing them to sleep each night. I adored them. They were not nearly as difficult to care for as people might have thought, but they were a bit more effort than most people are willing to deal with. I actually enjoyed how beautiful they were, so caring for them was a pleasure. That is just how I am though, I am fine with imperfections AND I love caring for beautiful things. A match made in heaven for white slipcovers.

Bonus point #6:

Here is a key point for me though, I think it is great to have pretty things, even WHITE FURNITURE AND WOOD COUNTERS! as long as I don’t let them interfere or become more important than the people who need to be able to live around them and feel comfortable. If you sense that any of these things would be an issue for you in your own personal situation or home, it is 100% OK to not go with a white slipcover.

To be honest (again), even though I love them, the more I see them popping up in blogland the more I start thinking about going back to a brown tweed! Just to be unique — I’m kind of a rebel at heart. He heh heeh.

The important thing is you are making an informed choice based on what works for you and your family, not just based on all the pretty pictures you see. All white rooms and furniture are lovely in pictures, but may not be livable or feel right to you in your own home.

We all have different lifestyles and live in different climates! White is not the solution for every family. Go with what feels right to you!

More super cute white slipcover ideas!

Disclaimer: This is just my own experience (remember, I live in the rainy NW where we have lots of water and mud, this is not a sandy warm beach town!) and my observations from my perspective. Results will vary at your home.

Related Posts:

The Truth About White Slipcovers Part 2 (Pet Edition)

Practical Questions To Ask When Buying a New Sofa


  1. Heather

    I couldn’t even get through #1 without freaking – so no white slipcovers for me. My daughter-in-law has had them for almost 10 years (ok just off white) and she has managed to get through the toddler years with 2 boys and a dog. I don’t know how often she washes them, but they still look great. She is one of those people who can take care of special things. I’m not, so I’ll leave it to her to stay on trend.
    .-= Heather @ what’s happening this week´s last blog ..It’s Alive!!! =-.

    • Allison

      I loved this. This is why I have a patterned sofa! Little “bits” of cat hair, baby and this and that would drive me nuts!

      I also have to remind myself that a home is a place for people to relax and feel comfortable…often that goes against what my vision looks like;)

  2. Emily

    Great advice, Melissa! I love the easy little ottoman that I slipcovered but just having that in my house for a couple of weeks and seeing how high maintenance it is made me realize how much I don’t want my chairs or couch to have white slipcovers. I love the look but there are also a lot of other looks I like too. And I giggled about you wanting to change it when you see everyone else doing it. I am that same way. I think I’ll keep my turquoise and very unique couch, thankyouverymuch! :)
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Link Love: Spring is Definitely Here Edition =-.

  3. Adrienne

    Exactly why we don’t have white slipcovers! My sweetheart works in a machine shop and he comes home with solvents on his clothing and in his hair and on his skin. Sometimes when he comes home after working many overtime hours he’s so tired he heads for the nearest place to sit, relax and talk for a bit and I want him to be able to ‘plop’ down wherever his heart desires. He’s pretty good about it if he’s really dirty but his navy blue leather recliner seems to meet all of his needs! No white for this couple – we’re just not neat enought for ‘white’!
    .-= Adrienne´s last blog ..Source Of Strength =-.

    • Melissa

      Yes, that is exactly my thought. Every family is different, every home is different. I’ve always taught my kids to be neat so we are probably neater than some, BUT, we also believe in LIVING in our home so I have to take that into account when we choose furnishings too. We will take care of things in order to have a beautiful home, but I’m not going to ban people from a room. You want your husband to feel welcome in his own home and because of his profession, you are making the right choice for you! Good for you!

  4. laney

    …ellen stole my amen!

  5. Tara

    Thanks Melissa!!!! I love this post…

    We don’t have white slip covers and all those reasons are why we don’t for now.

    Maybe one day????

  6. TidyMom

    Perfect timing on this post Melissa………I’ve really been envying the white slip covers, and you’ve really given me somethings to think about!! We have a light beige carpet, and one rainy day my daughter came in with her dark jeans on that got wet near her feet….and quickly had blue marks all around the house where she had walked!!- she has also ruined her Coach purse because of those jeans…..I would not have thought about that with the slipcovers!!—-wonder why they can’t do something about that dye in the jeans!

    great post!!
    .-= TidyMom´s last blog ..I Heart Faces – Dessert! =-.

    • Melissa

      Oh my. Yes, I’ve ruined suede boots and shoes before because of rained on jeans. Bummer about the purse! Sheesh. :-(

  7. Alison Gibbs

    This is a great post. I have been wanting white/off white slip covers for ages. With so many family of all ages in and out of my house all the time I think I’d probably just put a throw on them when needed. Maybe one day I will get those white slip covered sofas.
    .-= Alison Gibbs´s last blog ..Enjoying a cup of tea =-.

  8. Dixie Redmond

    White slipcovers + 9 year old boy = too many arguments about furniture.

    Just saying. I can’t afford to replace my 18 year old couch and loveseat. I bought really good furniture with good frames. It’s been reupholstered once already. I’m looking for a really cheap option for fabric and was thinking dropcloths to use in making slipcovers. But white is not the way to go. So I’m thinking of other options. That room is a dark room and needs some lightening up – so I’m going to find some fabric that’s fun and floral or print or something. Spice it up and give the boy room to breathe. ;-)

  9. sarah ABeachCottage

    wow, what a post!!!

    I have to say I have had slipcovers for over 10 yrs on the same old sofa that has lived through a glut of babies and two boisterous boys and a very active family and boys…I have never* had any of the issues you mentioned…no blue jeans or issues with dirt, in fact I love* throwing them in the wash and popping them back on un-ironed for a casual laid back look…now I am thinking I must be really really slovenly…!! :-)

    I’d love to know who you are referring to in blogland…hope it isn’t me

    .-= sarah ABeachCottage´s last blog ..Beach Cottage Old Vintage Suitcases…going White…& Tulips! =-.

    • Melissa

      Oh, no I wasn’t referring to anyone in particular! They are everywhere, including my own house! I think it might also depend on what fabric you use too. Some might be more attracting to dirt…

      Clearly you aren’t slovenly, we are! That is why I have to keep the blanket on ours :-)

      Remember, you live in a different place than I do. A sunny place. We live in the NW United States and it RAINS HERE!! :-) A lot.

      Rain + brand new blue jeans = dye comes off! There is mud.

      You can just brush off the sand. You can’t brush off moss and mud :-)

      • sarah ABeachCottage

        haha to the mud, it rains here too ya know!!!! …oh and what I didn’t say about the jeans is I make everyone undress at the front door ;-))
        .-= sarah ABeachCottage´s last blog ..Beach Cottage Old Vintage Suitcases…going White…& Tulips! =-.

  10. Jenni

    Thanks Melissa for your honesty! It is so nice to know the truth as I’ve wanted white slipcovers for years but question it as the same time. Maybe the time I can afford them I’ll be on to something different!
    .-= Jenni´s last blog ..Amazing Places =-.

  11. sheri

    Did you just post a pic of a slipcover for a slipcover. oh my. lol. but now i want one! I’ve had my PB natural color slips for 4 years now – and they look new still EXCEPT for the cat claw marks. Can’t wash those out. ;0)
    .-= sheri´s last blog ..Dear Peggy, it’s about your house. =-.

  12. sarah ABeachCottage

    oh and I never use quilts over and my kids have no rules apart from no chocolate on the white * leather sofas ;-))
    .-= sarah ABeachCottage´s last blog ..Beach Cottage Old Vintage Suitcases…going White…& Tulips! =-.

  13. anita

    I like this post! I love white slips but don’t know if I could keep up with them. I would probably start with a chair or ottoman. I don’t think I would need it all slipped. I like my leather couch and it is easy to wipe down to keep it nice and clean. The only problem I had was when I put flea stuff on the dog and he laid up against the side and it left a spot!! I freaked at first but learned to let it go! Plus, I like the mix of leather and white or off white. Different colors and textures. I had thought of slipping the leather just for a more summery look but didn’t know if they would stay put. Would they slide around and what about backs with the pillows attached? How would that work?

    • Melissa

      Hmm….if you had slips on a sofa with backs attached the slipcover would have to go over the entire cushion and frame. And yeah, leather would be a bit slippery but if you had them custom made they would fit nicely, I bet! But I love a good mix of furniture and textures too and leather is so nice and cool in the summertime!

  14. Astrid

    Thanks for the honesty. I think I’ll skip that fad until I’m ready to deal with them. I really like that pillow with the nest…where is that from? (it’s in the second to last photo).
    .-= Astrid´s last blog ..Magnificent Magnolia =-.

  15. Becky K.

    Excellent Post! It confirms that I am right to avoid white furniture.
    I am not cut out to wash slipcovers all of the time….and actually when I saw the title of your post I saw Five little heads… of our children and their friends.
    Five reasons not to have White Slipcovers.

    Becky K.
    .-= Becky K.´s last blog ..Easter Blues =-.

  16. Pat

    As much as I love the slipcovered look, at this stage of my life I don’t think I want to have to worry with the maintenance. Thanks so much for these valuable tips, Melissa.

  17. Erin

    These are great points, most of which I wouldn’t have thought of. Although I adore those great rooms with white slipcovers, after reading this I know that they are definitely NOT for me. There are some things I’m willing to put in a little extra work for to get the look I’m going for, but this just isn’t one of them. Plus, I have two enormous Newfoundlands who are not the cleanest animals in the world. I can only imagine what havoc they would wreck on white slipcovers.
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Intriguing gardening products =-.

  18. Abbie

    I appreciate the details you shared! And what you said about being willing to work harder for something you really love is so true no matter what you are talking about!

    I’m not really into the white look for my house. But you sure do find some awesome pictures! White always makes it look cool and summery!

  19. Julia

    Loved this post! As the owner of one slipcovered sofa, I can attest that it’s all true. I like mine and it saved me from having to buy a new piece of furniture when we moved here, but I hate washing it. Everyone makes it sound so easy–just throw it in the washer when it gets dirty! But it’s such a pain that I put it off as long as I can.

    I have to iron the heck out of mine to make it look even halfway decent after washing it, and ironing that much fabric can take all day.

    I’ll never forget washing and ironing and arranging it back it place before we had company one weekend. The couple decided to give their 2-yr old cough medicine on the sofa, but she fought them, knocked the bottle out of their hands, and it spilled all over it. Yes, it’s better that it was on a slipcover that I could wash. But boy, I nearly broke out into tears because I had just spent the day before washing and ironing the thing. And I had to rip it back off and start all over. *Sigh.*
    .-= Julia @ Hooked on Houses´s last blog ..“Rebecca:” Going Back to Manderley Again =-.

    • Melissa

      Oh, yeah. Stuff like that happens to me too all the time. As soon as I do take the time to wash it, we have a freak accident and I wonder why I bothered! I have two slipcovered sofas, one requires ironing (which I usually decide to avoid and thus my sofa has wrinkles all over it) and the other one doesn’t need ironing at all! I hate ironing!

  20. bridget {bake at 350}

    The JEANS!!! Oh my gosh! I bought new jeans two months ago, and YES, I have washed them SEVERAL times and they are still giving off blue dye! I am not so glad we didn’t buy that Pottery Barn slipcovered couch! ;)

    These are great points. When we’re in the market for a couch change, I’m going to remember this post. Thank you!
    .-= bridget {bake at 350}´s last blog ..Oatmeal Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches =-.

  21. Lizabeth

    Try washing the dark jeans with a little bit of vinegar in cold water…should set the dye? At least I think I heard that somewhere…
    .-= Lizabeth´s last blog ..Madsen Cycle’s Cargo Bike =-.

  22. linda

    Spot on! I have had white slipcovers for the past 12-14 years (through 4 kids and all their friends and red clay from baseball diamonds…and horse boots and all). I’ll tell ya, the biggest killer is the big black dawg…that’s when maintenance and sheets thrown on the furniture became much more of a reality!

    Great post!
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Growth… =-.

    • sarah

      HI! I am the proud owner of 2 new white slipcovered down filled sofas I have been dreaming about for at least 10 years. THRILLED to have them and ok with all the # points above.

      My question to you Linda who has had them for 12 – 14 years, did you treat with scotch guard or any other stain preventer? When you did have an oops, red clay, horse boots and needed to wash, did you use bleach? Oxi clean or anything special to spot clean?

      Thanks in advance and white couch bravery unite ! : )

  23. Sandy

    #1 about the blue jeans rubbing off on them was the big turn off. In this day and age, not to be able to sit on them wearing jeans???
    I tend to go for low maintenance patterned fabrics that will stay always looking new. The problem with that though… nothing ever wears out! And then to change things up, there’s a bit of guilt replacing something that still looks good.
    .-= Sandy´s last blog on a mission =-.

  24. Jean

    Thank you for including all the real things to consider with white slipcovers but after reading them I still think I will be alright with them. And, I just purchased 50 yards of white denim on Saturday! I intend to slipcover the whole family room!! (two couches, a chair and ottoman) I hope I am not sorry as I have always wanted them. One question though, When you wash them do you use hot, warm or cold water to get them clean?
    .-= Jean´s last blog ..Spring Pastels =-.

    • Pink and Polka Dot

      I wash the fabric in hot water and then dry it in the dryer before I cut the first piece! After, I made my slipcovers, I continued to wash them in hot and dry them.
      .-= Pink and Polka Dot´s last blog ..Trash Diving in the neighborhood =-.

      • sarah

        do you wash in hot with bleach or use an oxy clean or spot remover?

        Do you scotch guard or stain guard?

        Over the top giddy owner of 2 new white slips.


        • Melissa

          I use bleach or oxy clean as needed! I try to wash it as gently as possible but if it has stains then I give it more effort :-)!

  25. The Nester

    Fantastic post!

    I am totally doing the white slipcover thing soon. Hate me. I’m a fad following zombie. It’s still the least painful choice for me–easier/less expensive than replacing a still comfy sectional or having it recovered. And if after a year I hate it, it’s such a small investment in money that it’s worth the trouble to find out if it works for us.

    In a few years, hopefully, I can have it recovered but for now, I’m going to try out the white slipcovers. Just like having silk drapes in our breakfast area, they were totally worth the trouble to me.

    And besides, I’m always having to rip a huge blanket off our patterned sofa now before anyone comes over, we are blanket freaks even in the summer.

    And, anyway, I have a really great solution that you haven’t thought of for the jeans issue–I’ll just tell all of my guests to remove their pants before coming into our family room.
    .-= The Nester´s last blog ..Write Them on Your Doorposts :: A Giveaway =-.

    • Melissa

      Love the idea of making people remove their pants. That is such a welcoming solution, Nester. Thank you for that. Keep in mind you can always slipcover in a fabric color other than white if you were concerned about the pure white…slipcovers are a great way to go though, especially for such a large sofa!!

      • The Nester

        I’m really trying hard to think of a totally witty comeback. Everything I write is too gross and I have to delete it. But you can use your imagination.

        If I got to visit your house, I would gladly remove my jeans so I could sit on your sofa. You could provide a special jeans rack, kind of like a coat rack only people could hang their pants on it. I bet it would be a new trend.
        .-= The Nester´s last blog ..Write Them on Your Doorposts :: A Giveaway =-.

        • Melissa

          LOL. Ok, so now I’ve pretty much ensured that no one will sit on my furniture when they come over since I’ve revealed that their jeans might make the cushions blue.

          Note to my guests: my slipcovers are already blue from my jeans. Please, have a seat and don’t remove your pants first.

          Although, you got me thinking Nester. I’m adding a pants rack to my shop today, just in case your idea catches on. I want to be the first to have one. I’m going to call it Fancy Pants Rack.

  26. Mrs.Rabe

    I adore white and have a white coverlet on my bed. It has imperfections because I have 5 kids that live at home! That is okay with me. Having said that, I would not want white furniture in my home. My husband works for a printing company and would never be willing to sit on the furniture! We have company a lot, like you do, and I know the folks that come – they would be uncomfortable!

    Good thing I am not hung up on what everyone else is doing! I have tan and use punches of red and yellow in my decor! It works for us.

    I’ll just pop in to see your white and admire it from afar!

    Good post Melissa!
    .-= Mrs.Rabe´s last blog ..Asking For Prayer =-.

  27. Kim

    That is so true. They do get dirty and they do turn blue with new jeans. Thank goodness it is just me and hubby here. I would not have these white slips with kids probably. I do put a coverlet on mine, too where I sit a lot and the dog. Great tips!
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..New Old Treasures =-.

  28. Sue

    I am so happy to read this! I was about to buy a white slipcovered sofa NEXT WEEK for the room that my kids LIVE IN, with their dark jeans and jelly toast. I need to do a little more thinking on this. Or at least, budget for a second set of slipcovers to make changes a little easier.
    .-= Sue @ Laundry for Six´s last blog mom’s declassified spring break survival guide =-.

  29. Kathy

    Good points, Melissa! I just got a white slipcover for my living room sofa earlier this year. I had been wanting one for awhile and instead of putting it off even more, I just went for it. I love it so much better than the large floral that I had grown tired of. I haven’t had to do it yet {because we don’t use the living room as much as the den}, but I could see putting a nice quilt or something down. Especially with a new grandchild added to the family this Summer, it is something I may have to think about once she starts becoming active! I’m glad they are washable, but I’m sure it gets tired fast if you have to do it too often.

    • Melissa

      My kids used to wipe their noses all over our dark green sofa when they were little. It was awful! White streaks all over the dark green! Quilts can keep everyone sane and I love the look of them anyway. Enjoy that new grandbaby!!

  30. Stephanie

    Love the look of white slipcovers, so simple and classic. I would never have thought of blue jeans staining the slipcover, good to know though.
    I also really love the bib.
    Fantastic post Melissa
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Custom Word Art =-.

  31. Stephanie

    Love the look of white slipcovers, so simple and classic. I eould never have thought of blue jeans staining the slipcover, good to know though.
    I also really love the bib.
    Fantastic post Melissa
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Custom Word Art =-.

  32. Debbie

    Hi Melissa, what a great post. I laughed at the comment of people removing their jeans. That was great…I loved it. I have (old) white couches that I love and I am able to wash the covers…thank goodness. My white find was from a great consignment store and the most comfortable couches in the house….everyone wants to sleep on them, sit on them…relax and eat. I’ve had to take on the approach like you said…people are more important.
    Needless to say I have a lot of quilts and throws draped across the couches…you can hardly spot the jelly stains!
    .-= Debbie´s last blog ..Applique a Vintage Towel =-.

    • Melissa

      My white PB sofa is super comfy too and I have no shame at all in draping it with a quilt. That is just being real and making it work! I knew there were other people who would see it the same way I do! :-) Love the white, love our quilts :-)

  33. Kathysue

    Melissa, thank you so much for this post. I love all white furniture when I look at a room but have hesitated for all the above points you made so wonderfully. I love that you keep it real and give such sage advice. Great post and great information. I guess it is back to my blue and white ticking!! Which I love! Kathysue
    .-= Kathysue´s last blog ..I Will Take Quaint and Charming Please!! =-.

    • Melissa

      Oh, my I LOVE blue & white ticking! LOVE!!

  34. Aimee

    Great advice. I’d been mulling the idea of off-white slipcovers, but I have enough laundry as it is. My dogs are black, and it’s too late for dog-free furniture. I’ll stick to my patterned couch. Thanks for helping me decide.

  35. Becky

    could you please tell me where the pillow with the bird and nest came from

  36. tina

    Thanks for this post! I do love the look, but honestly, I’m a rebel at heart too. I’m not a follower, other than to follow the beat of a different drum LOL. I’m also a lover of color, so I don’t think I’d be happy with the all white look. However, I have a couple of chairs slipcovered (not white) and have plans to do (ON MY OWN!!! OH MY!) a large slipcovered ottoman in our sunroom. Creme, not white LOL.

    I have seen so many darling slipcovers in color/print fabrics (not white), so those who don’t care for or don’t want the all white can easily find something they will love.

    Thanks for sharing your (honest) thoughts!


    • Melissa

      Wow, I sure wish I could slipcover my own! :-)

      I agree, there are ADORABLE slipcover options in patterns! So many choices!

      • tina

        Oh it’s just a big square ottoman – my hubby built to be covered. If you saw Country Living last month (I think) there was an off-white or white slip covered ottoman. I sew, easy stuff only. I’m pretty sure I can handle this one. No chairs or anything though. LOL


  37. Hip Hip Gin Gin

    Oh my gosh, number 1 made me laugh so hard! While I was in college my mom acquired some very lovely white slipcovers and I remember coming home on a visit and plopping down on the sofa in a “gosh it’s good to be home way” as soon as I walked in. In my dark rinse jeans. My mom screeched, ran over, and although she is quite petite nearly lifted me off the sofa herself!
    I apparently learned nothing from this experience (other than my mom having superhuman strength in sofa emergencies) because I currently have a white sofa. And it is not slipcovered so I can’t toss it in the wash when needed, nor can I slip cover it because it is an odd mid-century modern shape. And to speak to point number 5, I’m the type of person who likes to be comfortable, doesn’t forbid snacks in the living room, and lets her little dog climb all over the sofa. Which means I really shouldn’t have white furniture (at least white furniture that can’t be washed).
    Great post!! I wish I would have read it before we went furniture shopping.
    .-= Hip Hip Gin Gin´s last blog ..Simple Pleasures: Magnolia Trees =-.

    • Melissa

      That is hysterical about your mom!

      And very funny that you learned nothing except that your mom has super human strength. You crack me up. Really, those of us who love beautiful things tend to go with what we love over what might be practical anyway. That is OK! Now you know why I use quilts! Much easier and less cumbersome than using super human strength to remove people from our sofas.

      Too funny!

  38. Liz

    Great article. I can’t even wear white without getting covered in sticky hands/dog paws in about 10 minutes, so probably best our sofas avoid white too :)

  39. The Virginia House

    Great post! I have some white slipcovers in my family room and we mostly use the living room, so it works out well. I love your tips and insight on this!
    .-= The Virginia House´s last blog ..All Those Link Parties =-.

  40. Sue

    I adored you before…but I adore you even more after this article!! This couldn’t have come at a more pertinent time in my life! Wow. I’m just getting ready to move my all white slipcovered furniture (that is now in guest bedrooms and master) into the living room. Get rid of all my leather! I’ve been having second thoughts because of a very spoiled golden retriever who insists the second and third cushion are hers. Now you’ve given me even more to think about. No, there’s no thinking involved anymore. The white stays in the bedroom! Thank you a million times over.

    • Melissa

      Glad to be of service. :-) If you change your mind about the furniture, get the dog his own special quilt for those cushions! :-)

  41. {Gypsy Soul}

    I definitely agree- I did the “trendy” light slipcovers {duckcloth} and I certainly don’t wash them like I thought I’d be diligent about doing. Just part of life…

    I used the slipcovers in a lower-traffic room, my style of slipcovers have the ties in the front which are a more casual feel {so I don’t think people ever hesitate to sit on them}, and I guess I’m lucky, but haven’t had the dark jeans problem.

    But hopefully as you said it will stay a classic look and even if not, I’m glad they’re slipcovers and can easily be changed!
    .-= {Gypsy Soul}´s last blog ..Black White & a Little Grey =-.

  42. Lou Cinda

    One husband, two sons, fourcats PLUS my OCD self would NEVER allow me to have white ANYTHING! Though I do love them, I have pictured my self walking through my house with lint brushes permanently attached to both of my hands!!

    Great post!

    Lou Cinda :)
    .-= Lou Cinda´s last blog ..Nifty Thrifty Tuesday =-.

  43. teresa

    Happy Monday!
    What a great post!
    Had to pop right over when I saw the word SLIPCOVER! ;o)
    I actually am taking some pics…
    in the middle of washing mine…
    which can take several days you know…
    so I was going to create a post about the process of washing WHITE slipcovers.
    Do you use clorox bleach when you wash your slipcovers?
    I haven’t used it…but just wondering!
    This is a fab REALITY check about slipcovers.
    I can only imagine the many people that come and go from your home…with your son being 9 and with your church get togethers.
    I am sure this creates lots more wear and tear on your slipcovers.
    Doogan…my fur baby…enjoys the slipcovers!
    I’ve got some BIG ole black paw prints on the back of my big couch piece that were put there when he popped up to perch in his favorite spot by the window!
    I took some pics of the spots…hoping that I can show how washing them makes it looks like you don’t have a single fur-baby popping on and off of them!
    And I am SURE you flip your cushions…
    just like I do.
    It is just amazing to me how FRESH and clean they look after washing!
    You and I have the same mindset/love for the WHITE!
    I too am willing to LOVE AND CARE for my slipcovers…
    WORTH IT!!!!
    I never ever ever ever tire of waking up to them each morning.
    Or leaving them before going to bed.
    We have a landing that overlooks the living space.
    Sometimes when I come down in the morning I will stand on the landing and just oooooh and aaaaw over my white furniture.
    LOVE the LOOK!
    I had been DREAMING of all white for years before diving in last summer!
    Okay…well I could go on and on…
    rambling about my love of white slipcovers!
    Getting ready to switch out my pillows to change the LOOK to summer.
    Do you do this?
    Maybe one day I can have you over and you can sit on my white slipcovers…:o)!
    By the way….I wrote down the paint colors and will email.
    Hope you haven’t already purchased the paint.
    Sorry it took so long.
    And can I ask you this….what did you use to clean your wood surfaces in your kitchen? I have the wood island surface….and just wondered what you used like when you just wiped them clean?
    Happy Day Sweet Melissa!
    Oh…one more thing!
    If ANYONE dare knock at my door…
    with DARK blue jeans on their body…
    well they’ll be STRIPPING down before entering this WHITE sanctuary! Ha…hahahaha! ;o)
    .-= teresa´s last blog ..GREEN =-.

    • Melissa

      Cracking up. I’m with ya, I love how fresh and clean and pretty they look in a room! Even though they might be more practical at the beach (you and i know exactly what I am talking about, living in or near Seattle is not at all like living at the beach with dry sand!), but I FEEL like I live at the beach when I see them!! Don’t you? YES, I agree they are worth the several day process of washing just for that feeling!

      I flip my cushions, yes, to extend the length of time between washings. That is definitely helpful!

      Do alert me when you write that post about how to wash them? I would love to share it with my readers who also love the white slipcovers but need to know how to keep them white!

      For wood furniture: I have a bottle of Old English and I love to wipe down my wood with it, it really freshens it up! And also I use Endust. NOT pledge (it has wax) to dust all my wood.

      Can’t wait to find out your colors. I started painting some rooms but I don’t want to use the same color everywhere so I’m looking for options!!

      Laughing so hard about all the talk of asking guests to remove their jeans before entering. LOL. Can you imagine? Maybe we could hand out sweatpants, to be a little more modest. LOL.

  44. Lisa

    I wouldn’t worry about being different with white slipcovers. The blogosphere is a small, (but growing) group. If you were to visit every home in your neighborhood, I’d guess maybe one or two other homes have them. (Unless you live in Houston, (by Joni!) or at the beach!)
    I’m in Utah and I haven’t seen them at any house but my own. And I love being different- I built a Southern, wrap around house in this mountain world!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..A Time for Miracles =-.

    • Melissa

      Sooo true!! It is easy to think that blogland is a good indicator of what everyone else is doing, but in your own city things can be entirely different. I’ve noticed that too on other decorating issues too…there are a lot of bloggers who live in the South and the things they do in their homes are not at all what I see people do in the Seattle area. It can just feel like everyone is doing something when really, they aren’t! Great point!

  45. Celeste

    Whew. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I’ve been wanting to slipcover our furniture for a while but I have a hard time keeping up with the laundry for my five kids as it is. I’m glad you shared these tips!
    ☺ Celeste
    .-= Celeste @ Cottage Dreamers´s last blog ..Take Flight =-.

  46. Lisa

    PS. I wash mine 2 or 3 times a year. Just the Babe and me at home, but our 4 kids and their soon to be 9!! children come over very often. We are all over that furniture. I seldom allow food, but I’m totally relaxed about that. We put in a wood floor and bought a beautiful patterned wool rug- soft blue- just for all the bottle drips! LOVE our babies! And every little finger print brings a happy feeling!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..A Time for Miracles =-.

    • Melissa

      That is how I used to feel about fingerprints on our windows! I cherished those tiny prints everywhere because I knew they wouldn’t be there in a few years. Great perspective!! That is how I look at things too, you have to be able to live in your home! Even though I have white, my quilts make it livable even when we want to eat pizza on them. :-)

  47. LeAnn

    A few years ago I finally bought my dream off white slipcovered sofa from Arhaus. This past winter I sold it. Even though I don’t have small children, I do have dogs and they are like family in our house and to me what’s the point of covering a sofa up, it defeats the purpose of having it I think. Also, I like to be different and too many people had them so now I have an orange chippendale and an olive herringbone settee and I love them. They are not as easy to take on and off either. One day I worked up quite a sweat trying to get the base back on so they definitely were not for me.

    .-= LeAnn´s last blog ..Last photos…I promise and a GIVEAWAY!! =-.

  48. Sarah Sarniak

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I have a white slipcover couch and I also have the biggest problem of them getting dirty faster than I want to wash them so sometimes it looks just gross. I’m trying to think of a good alternative. I might try the whole blanket/quilt over it for the most part. I’m not sure. I like the look, but yeah it can be hard to keep up.
    .-= Sarah Sarniak´s last blog ..Dining Room Table Redo Inspiration =-.

  49. Heather Ozee

    I love country living’s approach to balancing style and comfort.
    .-= Heather Ozee´s last blog ..Fun with Friends =-.

  50. cathy

    What a great post. Thanks! I have been considering not, white, but light and think many of your valid insights come into play.

  51. Tracy

    Thanks for this, Melissa! I’ve had my off-white upholstered sectional sofa for 20 years and I’m amazed that it’s remained in such good shape despite not being babied at all. The fabric has started to pill all over though and I’ve been torn between reupholstery and custom slipcover. The fabic that’s on it now is very textural and I think that’s been key to its survival. After reading your tips, I’m fairly certain now that I’ll reupholster – I don’t want to be suddenly obsessed with a sofa I haven’t paid all that much attention to in all these years. Regular vacuuming and spot-cleaning plus a professional clean every couple of years has kept it plenty presentable (and we lived on it with kids every day). I’ll use one of those sweater de-piller gizmos on it now and then too (don’t think I don’t know how crazy that looks). I do remember that the first time it was cleaned by a pro, he showed me the blue water and asked who was sitting on it wearing jeans all the time! (well, everyone) It didn’t then and has never looked “blue” though. Textured fabric vs smooth I think, don’t you? Thanks for helping me make up my mind!
    .-= Tracy´s last blog ..New to My Library =-.

    • Melissa

      Yes! Definitely. The fabric will make a big big difference!! I would highly recommend a little texture, it will make things much less noticeable and easier to wipe off. My matelasse quilt has a little texture and it still turns blue, but it is probably only noticeable to me because I look carefully at it :-) If it was a smooth fabric everyone would probably see it.

  52. tasha

    I flip my cushion over when they start to get a little grungy. I have a dog that sits on the couch every day for 8+ hours. He is mostly white and doesn’t shed.

    I’ve had beer spilled on it at a party and my guest was mortified. I said that’s why I had a slipcover :)

    I don’t traditionally eat at my couch. Stark white couch and your guests might wonder what you do…

  53. Infarrantly Creative

    Thanks for this post. I felt like I was missing out on the white slipcovers. After reading this I am post comfortable where I am at. Thanks for the perspective. Hugs!
    .-= Infarrantly Creative´s last blog ..My Design Guide Giveaway =-.

  54. Beth

    #2 is so true. We have white ultrasuede on our upholstered dining room chairs and no one wants to eat there, even when I tell them they are virtually stain-proof. Ultra suede is pretty stain resistant, plus I had them professionally scotchguarded. In order to convince me that they were family friendly (we have 4 kids), my designer even poured coffee on the fabric sample to show me doesn’t stain. The first week we had them, a little boy got lasagna on them, and it wiped right off. Even when I tell people this, they still feel uncomfortable eating on them.

  55. paige

    what a fabulous post!!
    i am still laughing…

    however, i’m totally digging my white slipcovered bliss from ikea…much cheaper than selling both cars to afford the original ones i wanted, from pottery barn!
    & when my beloved four girls wear their dark jeans…well, i encourage them to wrap themselves in one of the conveniently placed blankets first! ha!

    for those on the fence…i’ve had mine for 4 months &they are still perfectly white…& i have a doggy too!
    i do LOVE the little bib thingy though!

  56. Karen B

    Thanks for this post, Melissa. I’ve thought about this option often and this helps. I have a beautiful little desk chair from Ethan Allen upholstered in a yellow buffalo check and my husband’s jeans have discolored it. He doesn’t even wear dark wash! There’s no way to take it off and wash it. Makes me sad. All good points to consider, especially about how often would I want to wash them. Not much, I can tell you that.
    .-= Karen B´s last blog ..Floral Fridays =-.

  57. teresa

    Amen to everything you said…..I got my first white slipcovered sofa for the first time last year….and it works fabulous for just the two of us and I love it, so me…but if I were still raising children I would be giving it a second thought…..when the grand children come over I just throw a comfy throw over it and everyone is happy. {because even though they are washable, it is a pain to take off and to put back on.}
    Thanks for the tips.
    .-= teresa´s last blog ..Wedding Day- =-.

  58. the BLAH BLAH BLAHger

    I have dark red couches…and I’ve never once worried about spills or stains. BUT, I have white fabric dining room chairs and I honestly don’t worry about those, either. I think that if a person is going to go in that direction, they have to be willing to deal with a few spills every once in a while! ; )
    .-= the BLAH BLAH BLAHger´s last blog ..I CAN’T WAIT!!!!! =-.

  59. Melissa

    I think Nester and I have come up with 100 solutions to all of our white slipcover dilemmas. Maybe we’ll do a follow up post for you. But I’m warning you, our creative solutions might be hysterically offensive to most civilized and classy people.

  60. Kate at Centsational Girl

    Love this post ! You’ve thought of everything, but I’m looking forward to that follow up post with those solutions for white slipcovers ! So far, I’ve only dared to slipcover a small bench in cream fabric and so far, so good. Thanks for reminding us all that just because something seems to be happening all over blog land, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you. March to the beat of your own drum, I say, especially when it’s right for YOUR family ! :-)
    .-= Kate at Centsational Girl´s last blog ..The Vintage Pearl GIVEAWAY ! =-.

  61. Megan

    It’s funny, I’ve been seeing so much lovely white and it’s very appealing and I was a little envious at first. But I’ve been realizing that it’s not for us. 3 little kids and a rancher for a husband=cleaning my brown microfiber sofa more than I’d like…I can’t even imagine if it were white! Maybe we’ll try for creamy neutrals in the bathrooms when they get renovated, but we’ll stick with darker neutrals and COLOR for now!
    .-= Megan @ Meanwhile, back at the ranch´s last blog ..Pease Porridge Hot! =-.

  62. Amanda

    Thanks for sharing, Melissa! :) I know myself, and as much as I love the look, I don’t think I’d be as dedicated about washing those slipcovers as I’d need to be. With two little kids and a very furry dog, I doubt they’d last long at my house. :( I appreciate your honesty! I would have never considered the dark jeans problem…I live in mine! :)
    .-= Amanda @ Serenity Now´s last blog ..Spring Bunny Frame Makeover =-.

  63. crush.

    things only learned through experience – how very helpful that you thought to share yours. knowing now that having white would truly drive us crazy, helps keep us in love with the dark ones we chose…
    .-= crush.´s last blog ..stiched. goodie bags?! =-.

  64. Amber T.

    Great post! I have off white slipcovers and the one point I have to agree on is that people often seem to be uncomfortable sitting on them on the first visit- yikes! I may make some “bibs” as suggested for that very reason. Thanks for posting!

  65. dballhome

    Where do you buy good slipcovers? 6 years ago, I bought a nice chenille sofa for our family room. The frame and the cushions are still sturdy and comfy, but that chenille fabric has seen better days. I’d love to keep the sofa and slipcover it, but we sit on it all the time so the slipcovers would need to stay put. The back cushions are attached (another thing I wouldn’t do again in a high traffic area) so I can’t do invividual covers on those cushions. Slip covering is cheaper than a new sofa, but still is an investment. I’m not sure where to start.

  66. stacy

    great points. i have a piece or two that i have been wanting to cover it white. i don’t sew and am wondering if pre-made slipcovers are easy to find. any ideas on where to find some good quality white covers?

  67. Gail

    I have PB slip covers on my sofa, and I have only washed them once in 3 years. Want to know why? They were so hard to get back on (half a day wrestling with couch cushions is not my idea of fun), they didn’t look the same (almost streaked/faded in certain spots) and the seams seemed to come undone. I decided from that point on, I would steam clean the couch just like it was a normal couch. So much for the grand idea of getting a slip cover so I could wash away the dirt of two boys, two dogs and a husband. Oh, and I didn’t dare go white. I went with the neutral butter-tan color. Let’s just say my new puppy decided to get into my husbands red wine one night. Had it been white, I guess maybe I could have bleached it, but seriously. Red wine and sofas don’t mix…washable or not!

    Fabulous post. I do have a dream home with white slip covers and beach cottage decor. But I keep it in my dreams, cause there is no way I can control my crew to not sit on any of the furniture. :) Maybe I will be rich and famous one day and make a Gail house in the back yard that only I am allowed to visit. Again, I am dreamin’!
    .-= Gail´s last blog ..Inspiring Organized Spaces – Master Bathrooms =-.

  68. Lynda

    Great post, Melissa! I’ve been thinking about white slip covers for a while and have finally decided to make them just as soon as I can spare a few hours. While I love my red toile upholstery, I’d love to be able to lighten things up for the summer months … slipcovers seem the ideal solution. And I have to confess I’m totally in love with white! With no kids and no pets, I’m hoping I won’t have to wash them too often. *crosses fingers* You’ve given me a few things to consider before I take the plunge!
    .-= Lynda´s last blog ..whispering =-.

  69. Kate Watson

    I am currently decing on ‘the look’ for our new-but old home and I am considering white slipcovers. Based on your advice I will still go for them, but in my formal lounge. I will use our current leather lounge suite in the everyday family room frequented by a builder husband, three teenage boys, two large dogs and three cats. Thank you for your timely advice.
    .-= Kate Watson´s last blog ..~YES MASTER~ =-.

  70. Kacey

    Very good points to consider. I suppose our house is not the ideal place for white: two little boys and a hairy dog and two cats who love lounging on the furniture. But I love it just the same. Right now I’m trying out white on our boring brown sectional, using a bunch of white sheets as a temporary slipcover. I love the way it brightens the room and just seems more comfortable. Now if I could just figure out an inexpensive way to do permanent slipcovers…

    Thanks for the words of advice!
    .-= Kacey´s last blog ..Distressed White Side Table =-.

  71. Nikki

    I love to hear you say you keep a quilt to sit on, because we have blankets on our couches so our dogs don’t ruin them. We wash the blankets once a week and vacuum the couch. But I hate seeing the blankets every day. When we have company and take them off they look so much better. However we have company less than the amount I would have to tell my dogs to get off the couch. I know, I’m a pushover ;)
    .-= Nikki´s last blog ..Encounter in the produce aisle =-.

  72. Elissa

    Thanks so much for this post. I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me for not having white slipcovered furniture all through my house! As I write this, my 8-yr. old is eating a slice of pepperoni pizza, sprawled out on the couch….wearing clothes that he was just outside playing in. I would be a nervous wreck all the time if my couch was white–even if it was washable! They are very beautiful though. And for sure, most of my guests would be extremely intimidated by the whole white thing!
    .-= Elissa´s last blog ..Lightening My Load =-.

  73. Tracey

    I love the look…I even covet the look at times, but I am not willing to commit to the upkeep. I am lazy. Maybe when I retire I will have white slipcovers :)
    .-= Tracey´s last blog ..Clip It, Clip It Good =-.

  74. Annelise Wilcox

    This is exactly why I went with sunbrella camel colored slipcovered furniture. I still see stuff though, you can’t get away from it. Although I do have four kids under the age of six.
    .-= Annelise Wilcox´s last blog ..Client Room After Painting and Before Decorating…Update =-.

  75. desiree

    I’m currently in the market for slipcovers. Thanks for all the info. I love my sofas but after 10 years, 4 kids, 3 cats and now a puppy–I can’t bring myself to pay for re-upholstery at this point. I’m thinking a study faded blue denim would be perfect for our heavily used family room.
    .-= [email protected]´s last blog ..Just Listed: Eichler Gem =-.

  76. Rhoda

    Hey, Melissa! Glad to hear you telling the truth about white slipcovers. I just can’t see that they are practical for everyone, like many claim. I only have one white slipcovered chair & it’s not used all the time, so it is fine. But, I can definitely see if you have it in a main room, it could become a pain to keep clean. I just knew it wasn’t as foolproof as many white slipcover fanatics claim it is! I’ve heard some exclaim that it’s SO easy to keep it clean with 5 kids & 2 dogs. Yeah right!! :)

    And I didn’t realize you have all that white slipcovered furniture at your house either. Guess I didn’t notice or pay attention before. It is pretty, but as I said in an earlier post, you won’t find it at my house in big doses.

    Love the honesty!

    • The Nester

      I think some people’s definition of “easy” is “easier than buying a new sofa or using a sofa with a fabric they hate or easy based on the fact that they get to have the all white look that they love”–they’d rather have to wash and oxyclean a white slipcover, than dish out the $$ for something new. I’m sure that definition of “easy” is in Webster’s. I totally believe that to them, it is easy or at least worth the trouble. But, I don’t have proof. I only have one white slip covered chair right now too.

      Some people think we are crazy for having so many tchotchokies to have to dust around. To me, it’s EASY! meaning, I still might have to dust {actually, dust is just my cue to rearrange} but it is BEYOND worth the trouble of a little dusting to display things I love. Easy! to me.
      .-= The Nester´s last blog ..Everyone Wins Something =-.

      • The Nester

        PS, I am going to be making {with friends} my own white slips soon. Watch me come back here and warn everyone to NEVER have them and tell everyone it’s so NOT easy. I’m hoping that they are easy to me. I’m so afraid I will hate them in 30 minutes but, the cost of fabric and sewing is so much less than buying a new sectional or having it recoverd. And I’m a sucker, I LOVE the white look.
        .-= The Nester´s last blog ..Everyone Wins Something =-.

        • Kristi

          It’s going to look wonderful and I have been reading about your plan and can’t wait to see!!! We are moving and I’m going to do my bedroom in them first as the “trial”, lol :)
          .-= Kristi´s last blog ..The Home Front Cafe (warning PIC HEAVY!) =-.

  77. Mary Jean

    I think the bib advice is the best one yet. Looks pretty in blogland but this girl will NEVER be having any white furniture! I had already decided that long ago, but you sealed the deal for me. I already vacuum way too much for any normal person, so the white would just put me over the edge!
    .-= Mary Jean´s last blog ..Be Still Monday’s =-.

  78. Michele

    Great ideas, and loved the honesty. I am the same way I just want to do burlap or a tweed just to be different,and after reading this I am almost positive that with a 19 month old and a four year old I am not cut out for white right now!

  79. Lindsey

    Three children equals no white furniture for me! More power to those who are willing to brave it. :) As much as I just LOVE the look, I know it would drive me crazy when they got dirty.
    .-= [email protected] Mama Sews´s last blog ..a letter of love to my son =-.

  80. Mona Thompson

    Hey Melissa, I probably should have read this a few weeks ago but I am having white slip-covers made for outdoor dining chairs on my covered porch. I’m going for that Bunny Williams solarium look she has in her home. Hopefully because they won’t be used that much I will be alright. My thought was it would be good to be able to pull them off and wash or bleach them if someone spills something. Ttotally different from stuffing big sofa cushions back in. I sure hope so, because the plans for the porch are so lovely. I plan to post pictures when I am finished. You might enjoy those.

  81. Rocio

    Thanks Melissa. Here in Mexico, they are not as popular, and I am considering a little… I REALLY appreciate your honesty, and your writing (as always). Take care!
    .-= Rocio @ Casa Haus´s last blog ..Tiles -Suggestions =-.

  82. Traci Hutcherson

    Great post!
    I have one white slipcover chair in my den and it has held up wonderfully with a house full of 4 boys and 1 man! Not bad!
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    .-= Traci Hutcherson´s last blog ..Bling for my Room =-.

  83. Condo Blues

    Thank you much for this post! I’m considering a black and white duvet for my guest room that is also my craft room. You reminded me that that the room is not a magazine but my home. Meaning that I’ll be washing that white duvet a lot more that I think I will.
    .-= Condo Blues ´s last blog ..Telephone Book Wreath =-.

  84. Sarah

    Well, I’ve considered slipcovers lately…but in a cream or tan, and now I’m reconsidering that!! :) This was AWESOME. I love your honesty.
    I think they look absolutely lovely, but I don’t even wash my clothes until I have none left — the slipcover would NEVER get washed.
    I do have white bedding, and I don’t mind that. Although if people come over I have VACCUM the cat hair off of it. So…yes, that’s a NO for white slipcovers. :) :) :)

  85. Missy

    Well, I must admit…I’m one of those foolish people who loves the white slipcover look (actually anything beachy and casual) so I caved. I bought a gorgeous white slipcovered sofa from PB and well, within days I regretted it. (Funny enough, apparently I didn’t learn my lesson because months later I bought the matching chair!)

    From the 3 year old and 5 year old…to the black cat…to the dark jeans…to just every day life. Yikes. It’s definitely difficult to keep clean and, as you suggested, a total pain to wash. I recently got replacements from PB and had them treated with Guardian fabric protection and it’s worked well (*Fingers crossed*).

    Anyway, wish this post was written months ago! However, I will say that overall it’s beautiful and really completes the look I’m going for. You just have to know what you’re in for. :)

  86. Elizabeth

    I don’t have to tell my boys to take off their jeans, I’m always telling them to put them back on ;-), hey, I guess they like lounging in boxers. No pets in our house but two boys and lots and lots of nieces, nephews and greats. My boys hang out in a dairy barn and beef barn too! After a trial with two white slipcovered chairs, I decided to cover our older sofa with white IKEA slipcovers. First, it saved a ton of money in reupholstering or buying new. Secondly, I like the look of white slipcovers (btw I agree about blogland not always reflecting our neighbours homes, I don’t see many white slipcovers in homes here.) Thirdly, while we let our kids and visitors LIVE in our home, I don’t mind having to wash them once in a while. We have leather in the family room and the white in the front living room. Great points in your post for folks to consider. Having some quilts or coverlets is my favourite point.

  87. Lisa D

    AMEN to that! I’ve always look in complete envy at people with white slip covered furniture as I complete adore the look of it all. I wished I could be one of them. But I always knew I couldn’t. I am far too particular about keeping things clean to add that additional angst to my life. I do prefer colour and texture to mask those little things that might otherwise drive me from zero to mental in an instant of spotting any pet hair or dribble on a white cover. Thanks for exposing the ‘not so perfect’ side of white.
    I feel better now! lol

  88. Pink and Polka Dot

    Loved your post Melissa! It is definitely a cost to count for some! For me, it was an easy solution to my yucky green plaid couch. I made the slipcover for my sofa and chair. I recently found an ikea loveseat on craigslist and bought the white slip for it off ebay. That one is a bit more challenging to rip off and wash than the one I made. Love my white slips even with kids, and dog and dirty hubs! You’re so right about how you’ll give a little xtra TLC to the things you love to live with! Haven’t had that jeans problem though.
    .-= Pink and Polka Dot´s last blog ..Trash Diving in the neighborhood =-.

  89. Sharon

    Just as I was thinking of making a slipcover for my “sofa” chair…Thanks for this post, it was enlightening!

  90. laurie

    Thank you for this. I am considering it, and I like to know the whole truth. I will most likely be buying a white slip covered couch in the next few months, but I will be using some of my sisters lovely quilts as well.
    .-= laurie´s last blog ..Floor update =-.

  91. Whitney R.

    Bless your heart for posting this! Although I adore the look of the white slipcover- there is No way I could have them with my three kiddos & hubbie. Yikes! I would be washing them everyday! You have saved many a women from that heartache from this post!
    Thank you for your honesty!
    I am actually getting ready to slipcover my sofa any suggestions on fabric & color with my young family????
    Thanks so much in advance!
    Love your blog!

  92. frenchgardenhouse

    I don’t have tiny kids anymore, but we do have lots and lots of people over. I have a white couch (which was actually supposed to be cream, but that’s another story!) and I DID buy an extra set of pillow covers for it. That way, if they get dirty, I just pop those off and get them cleaned. The other part of the cover only needs a clean every 5-6 mos or so.

    I did have the blue jeans problem, but only with relatively new jeans. The blue washed right out though. White is not for everyone, but here in California, where it’s not wet all the time, it works. Love your blog!

    .-= frenchgardenhouse´s last blog ..Baby Hummingbirds =-.

  93. Victoria

    Finally the truth about white slipcovered furniture. I’ve seen them highly touted at times but never having them, I knew there had to be some disadvantages as well. I have been in lust over white slipcovered sofas for several years now and they are finally on my horizon. So your post is perfect timing, Melissa! I am so happy to know these important facts so I can be prepared. I owned a white sofa and loveseat back when my three children were younger. and had to have it professionally cleaned several times a year to make it look presentable. What was I thinking? But now that my children are grown and gone, white slipcovered sofas are on the top of our list, even with seven grandchildren who will visit. We plan to purchase two sets of slips — one in another color so we can change it up some. So thank you so much for this very informative post. Now I know exactly what to expect and how to deal with it. Thank you! Thank you!

  94. Kristi

    I knew there was a reason I covered my sofa in red matelasse!!!! Seriously, I used to be a VERY CLEAN neat freak. And I still do take care of things that I love. I’m not sure (as much as I love them) that white slipcovers are the right thing right now with 9 yr old twin boys and a 20 month old baby girl!!! I think I will compromise and slipcover the chairs in my bedroom! :)
    Thank you for the insight. I think I’ll save my need for them when we are empty nesters. Mine would look pretty disgusting!
    .-= Kristi´s last blog ..The Home Front Cafe (warning PIC HEAVY!) =-.

  95. Marie

    Thank you for being honest! Personally, I can’t think of anything more impractical than white slipcovers. All those people in magazines who say, “nothing to it, I just throw them in the wash whenever they get dirty” are either stretching the truth (lying) or are trying to protect the goofy decision their decorator made. I can’t imagine zipping them off, doing 3 or more laundry loads of slipcovers, (sofa and chairs) then wrestling them back onto the cushions.

  96. Karen from Fishers IN

    I found your site via an organizing web site and the “community where you leave reviews” (I forget the name -lol)— anyway, I’m sooo glad I did!! I love this posting! I am actually downsizing from a large home to a 2-bedroom apt and want an Ikea sofa because you can change slip covers, wash them etc. I always wondered how practical white sofas were- they are “all the rage” on home blogs and sites these days! I’m so glad you gave us some honest things to consider!

    I love your honest commentary and writing style- I am going to read your whole blog and add you to my Bloglines list to keep up with you!

  97. Amy B

    Thank you for your review on white slipcovers — I am so close to purchasing them and I have 3 boys — ages 5 – 14!! I’m so glad to hear from one with real-life experience and a down-to-earth approach. =)
    .-= Amy B´s last blog ..Classical Music Web-site for Kids! =-.

  98. Sandy

    What a great informational post! I call it “The Great White Post”. I, too, love the white slipcovered look but I don’t think I will ever have it in my home. I slipcovered (not in white) a chair years ago and I learned then that I didn’t enjoy taking the slipcover off and on to wash very often. But it is nice to know that the cover can be cleaned.

  99. Nita

    I bought some for my couch in the family room with only me sitting on it, and it was dirty after two days! Never again. I am a very clean person too, but those things just pick up everything.

  100. Nichole

    Thank you so much for the information about white slipcovers. I only started blog reading a little over a year ago, but have been dreaming of a white slipcovered sofa in my living room for about 2 years. Even though I have ruined an office chair with my dark jeans, I never thought about what that would mean for a white sofa. It would not be in our TV room, but I really wanted to use it to read. Especially for when the husband is watching a scary movie that I can’t handle!

  101. donna

    wow I’m late to the party! This was really a great post and very true. I’m a new white slipcover girl, and I have to say I’m so glad. I love the look so much that the care doesn’t bother me. I too am a clean freak but after twenty three years of kids I have learned to lighten up a little. Yes they are a pain to wash (still three kids two dogs and four cats at home) but all laundry is a pain! I wait for a beautiful day to wash mine and put them out to dry. I will never iron them. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? I also have an extra set so that I’m not freaking out if a celebrity comes over! haha. Love the bib idea… Great post <3

  102. Diane

    Love this post! I have white slipcovers in two rooms, and couldn’t agree with you more. I have a love / hate relationship with them. When they are clean, they look great, but with four kids, they are rarely pristine. My initial thought when deciding to go white, was, “hey, a quarter cup of bleach in the laundry and they’ll always look great.” But, you’re right, washing them is sort of a pain. I still love them though, and like you, am willing to put up with the extra effort involved (and the imperfections!).

  103. Michelle "Chaos Caretaker"

    I actually had this post “starred” in my Google Reader. I had to giggle when I read it because it was published the same day that…

    Love your blog. I am a fan.
    .-= Michelle “Chaos Caretaker”´s last blog ..Being Accountible to Me =-.

  104. Becca

    This is an awesome, honest article! I actually bought a white slipcovered sofa three weeks ago and ended up selling it on craigslist a week after bringing it home because, although it was beautiful, I realized that it was going to be a source of constant stress for me. Every time my almost three year old child walked near the sofa, my heart would begin racing and I’d inventory everything that she was holding (juice box? fruit punch or apple?) not to mention that I have two shih tzu also that track in mud after it rains.
    I LOVE the look and feeling of white slipcovered furntiure, but I am still on a quest for the right sofa.

  105. Maya

    Great post! I’ve lived with white slipcovers for 8 years and love them. Your points are great and absolutely true (dark jeans and light-colored furniture really don’t get along!). My tricks for sanity with white furniture: I’ve come to love the upholstery attachment on my vacuum cleaner – brilliant invention, even if you don’t have a white sofa! And I’ve never used bleach on my slipcovers – the standard powdered OxiClean has always been enough if a regular wash won’t clean them.

  106. Libby

    Great post. I have white slipcovers and denim ones as well. White does get dirty especially with 3 boys. Be prepared to wash often and just let go. Denim wears so much better but is far more relaxed looking. I love the bonus comment that says that people are more important than anything. So true!! Oh so true!!!

  107. Holly

    I love your blog! Little late but oh well… I seriously love the white, had them for awhile and got rid of them cause they shrunk quite a bit (IKEA Ektorp ones) but am so thinking of reording them as I just LOVED the way they look yes I have 4 children (ok so two boys as home) and 3 dogs, but still….

  108. MG

    I just took the plunge. We are so NOT “white slipcover” people – we’re messy, have a hairy dog who tracks in leaves/dirt/mud/everything else, a sloppy kid, we eat on the sofa regularly etc etc – but as soon as we got it in the house it looked SO good that we’re going to give it a try. For the Ikea Ektorp couch we have the slipcovers are only $49 a set, so even if it’s a total wash, uh, disaster, the worst that happens is I dye them a darker colour and we go from there.

    HOWEVER. In a fit of inspiration, I scored the bottom of an Ektorp slipcover (not the cushions, just the frame section) in the as-is section of our Ikea on half-price Wednesday, which meant it was only $5. I cut the arms off to make arm covers, and used the large piece leftover to make an “overcover”, which I’ve tucked in over the seat cushions (which are the ones mostly likely to get grubby, cf hairy dog etc). I can easily whisk these three unattached covers off for a wash anytime without the hassle of a full-set wash, and I think it may just make this work for us. I dearly love the look, as it opens up our small living room so much more than the pretty, but darker, sage-green velvet of the sofa we replaced.

    In any case, just thought I’d pass on the tip. I’m very pleased with my $5 fix – we’ll see how it goes! :)

  109. Carolyn

    We have Ikea (Ektorp)white sofa’s and two chairs and ottomans.While I love the look of white, you hit the nail on the head-on all counts.Blue denim leaves marks, my three cats shed, drag in dirt, and company is very uncomfortable.Yikes, if I had known, I would have gotten leather instead(although Ikea sofas are surprisingly comfortable,and of course, very affordable!

  110. Arlene

    I have had a white sofa with slipcovers for 7 years now. It has endured through my adult children and now my grand boys ages 5 hrs. And 18 months. You just pull them off and wash. Of course you get the comments from others like, your brave…. I would never have white. I say there’s nothing to fear but fear its self…

  111. Dilaina Imandieva

    Thanks, Melissa! I am in love with white furnitures of all sort and think they need the same care as any other – I just bought same slipcovers in white, so I can change it for guests (my cleaner one). I love dark furnitures but they also need polishing and dusting all the time and I am not the biggest fan of dusting. Thanks for the tips!

  112. Linda Lees

    Soooooooo thankful for the insight. I have been thinking of investing in this type of furniture for three years. I love white furniture not blue!! Never thought about the “jean effect”. I love company and love people and use my home to pamper my guests. I never thought they might be afraid to sit on white but I think you are right about this too. I just have to weigh out the washing effort I would want to put in because neither blue or dirty would be acceptable to me. Right now it’s just me and hubby at home and no pets so I don’t think I would have the work that others who wrote would. Thanks for writing about ” the dark side” of this option.

  113. Georgia

    You make this look so lovely, pure and pretty. But honestly I’ve never been tempted by white slipcovers, for all the reasons listed and because they remind me of my costume-design-school days, when we did our pattern draping in white muslin. A white slipcovered couch, to me, looks like the “first draft,” like it ought to be taken off and used to make the pattern for the “real” slipcover! Funny how everyone responds to color so differently… it looks so perfect in your house!

  114. Carol Johnson

    I don’t have white slips but really loved them. Could not get anyone to remove my very large sectional sofa 13 years ago so bit the bullet and had it slip covered. At that time the total to do it was $1000.00. The cover is off white with a light beige toile print…It was supposed to be shabby chic when ordered and it was only slightly large. Good thing too. During that time I have only had to wash it 3 times. It shrunk slightly initially. I have no children at home anymore so that was not an issue. I do have grandchildren that visit very frequently. There was a big potty accident 12 years ago and it washed up fine. I love my sofa. It was purchased in 1985 so it has more than served it’s purpose. My daughter suggested I get a new one recently and she got my “are you crazy” look. I have never regretted my decision to slip cover it.

  115. Michelle

    What a hoot, yes I’ve gone for white slipcovers, no problem I am the throw them on wash them and throw them back on type, UNTIL I bought the new fangled LE, HE, super duper low energy ( low water) wash machine. Try throwing a slip cover in there, it will do the tango across your lovely white tile, leave all spots on your slipcovers, and even with the soak cycle, some numnuts engineer decided to lock the machine while it is going, so I can’t even see what the problem is. You can imagine my husband, our 4 boys and the white and black cat’s eyes when they couldn’t get through the front door and having to crawl through a broken down White sofa including slipcovers (soaking wet) on top of the $1500 pair of washer and dryer we had just bought. My husband being the gem that he is promptly loaded up the whole mess with the boys in the back of the truck, and I haven’t seen any piece of that tornado since. He even had the good grace to take a look at my face, and didn’t ask where to take the offensive mess. I now have made slipcovers for my new oversized couch from antique coffee bags from France (25 bucks a bag). They look great, I also have a new wash machine with an agitator that fills to the top. Get them now friends. By 2017 we are going to be washing our clothes with foam. Really. Ping me if you want to know which are the best I know by now. Clearly my advice is steer clear of white slipcovers unless you have an agitator in your wash machine. Who needs therapy???

  116. Andrea

    I just had to get in on the conversation! I adore my white slipcovered sofa. I think I am less manic about it than I otherwise would be because I got my Pottery Barn sofa for $50.00 on craigslist 2 years ago. We homeschool 3 kids; boys (12 & 10) and a 6 year old girl and have 2 dogs and a cat! I was so excited for the opportunity to try white without the commitment of a huge price tag. I think I’m going to get another for my sitting room. Nothing like having your sofa smell like clean laundry!

  117. Tricia

    I love your post on white slipcovers! I have a white slipcover on my couch in my family room. I love it! I have an 11 year old, 9 year old and a 3 year old – plus an oversized shaggy dog (Briard). Currently I have my seamstress making a second white slipcover with navy piping because I love slipcovers. I just looked over at mine to see what sort of shape it is in (I’ve got 25 people coming over this afternoon) and the slipcover looks totally fine. I do wash the cushion covers about every 6 weeks and the entire slipcover probably every other time. Yeah, they could probably stand a wash a bit more frequently but they usually look fine. I love that I know when there’s dirt and I can do something about it. With dark furniture or pieces that aren’t slipcovered you really can’t do much about them. I’m about to switch from slipcovers to upholstering on a couple of chairs and THAT is freaking me out! My take on white slipcovers – a huge yes even with dogs, kids and sippies of chocolate milk.

  118. Donna

    I am so smart after reading your blog. Smarter than I was when I ordered a new slip-covered sofa to anchor my shabby-coastal family room. I changed the color from white when I realized I eat 90% of my meals on the sofa. This self-analysis was quite shocking but personal truth won out over socially acceptable table manners. And I have yet to finish a Klondike bar without chocolate on my tee-shirt or pajamas. Or my face before it hits the cushion. I changed the color from white to NAVY anticipating years of pigfest ahead. I am astounded that every caution you raise applies! (Except the jeans effect. Wear jeans and feel free to writhe all over my coastal couch.) The sofa was delivered two weeks ago and this us what I will (diligently, perfectionistically live with:
    – lint shows
    – blonde hair shows
    – pet hair shows
    – make-up shows (don’t ask)
    – other things show
    – spot-CLEANING shows because it picks up some dye (that’s the first and last spot I’ll be cleaning)

    And to think I had an instant education in the error of NAVY when during delivery I noticed stains on one of the cushions. Caused by sweat dripping off one of the very apologetic delivery guys.

    And yet still.…I love the look. The space is as I pictured it: a work of art I walk through, sit in, sleep in, eat in. So, okay, I hadn’t pictured a finger-painting, but I imagined it, I’m committed to it. Caring for it will be my pleasure.

  119. suzisingleton

    Pray for me please! I am having a white slip cover sofa delivered this morning and it’s not from Ikea. I have dreamed of one for years and finally talked my husband into getting one. Did I mention we have 2 boys ages 2 & 4? I will have to work extra hard not to hear the “I told you so’s” . :)

  120. Ann

    One thing you mentioned solidified my decision to buy a white slipcovered sofa from Ikea. It was the mention of snot. If things like snot and unidentified dirt are actually on my sofa, I want to know. I want to see it and be able to deal with it right away, even if it just means spot cleaning until I can machine wash the covers. The thought of sitting on crusty snot or a cat pooh smear just turns me off. Imagine all those patterned or fluffy brown sofas in people’s homes that hold this type of dirt for a long, long time because nobody ever sees it. Yuck!

  121. Glenda Miller

    Hi. This post is so timely for me. I am considering a new sofa and have always admired the white ones, and have waffled for ages . But, being 67, it may be ‘now or never’! However, it may also be the right time: my kids are now adults; I have 1 cat & live by myself. For those times friends come over or my kids come for a stay or the Christmas socializing happens (etc. etc.), as a quilter, I’ll whip one out and grace it with a quilt to save it from too much wear……….. I love the cottage or shabby chic look anyways. Thanks again for helping me with my decision.



  1. White Slip Covered Sofa: The Debate - [...] saving dollar signs might help me win the white sofa battle after all ;) Melissa at the amazing Inspired…

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