Aaahhh the white couch saga. Never in a million years did I think that the conundrum now known as the “white couch saga” in our house would drag on for as long as it did, but if it hadn’t, it wouldn’t be the white couch saga, now would it? Though I’m not sure the privilege of being able to use the overly-dramatic noun “saga” in this story is reason to be grateful this dilemma dragged on as long as it did, but what I am grateful for is that this little journey into the world of white couches gave me so much (hopefully) useful insight to pass on to you guys, all in the name of helping make all your Pinterest-perfect white couch dreams come true. Long story short? We went out in search of a white sectional couch to brighten up our living room space. Specifically a sectional with a comfy-cozy chaise that we could stretch out on. One problem? Practicality. Is it even possible to have a white couch with a dog, a husband and a life? Turns out, it is in fact possible to achieve both practicality and pretty on the white couch front and make all your white couch dreams come true. Promise!
After endless hours of research, fabric swatch feeling and testing, white couch recommendations from every corner of the internet and our friend/family circle and consulting all kinds of “experts” in the custom couch world, we were finally able to land on a “white” sectional that we love so much for both its form and function, and that made us thank our lucky stars we hunted and researched as much as we did. It’s perfect. It’s beyond perfect. I’m pretty sure Chris is slightly worried about the amount of hours I’ve spent stretched out on that chaise since it arrived, but I can’t stop! Needless to say, now that our white sectional couch has been in use in our home for one heavenly, blissful, nap-filled a month, we can officially dub this beauty a “winner” which propelled us to share what we learned with you guys to help you along should you decide, like we did, that you can fight the urge to have a white couch no longer.
Pottery Barn Townsend White Sectional Couch Review:
So what was the white sectional couch we chose when all was said and done? The Townsend Square Arm Upholstered Sofa with Reversible Storage Chaise Sectional in Performance Boucle, Oatmeal that we waited patiently to purchase and scored 30% off on during Pottery Barn’s Black Friday sale in November. This sectional reads totally white, as you can see from the snaps, but it’s actually an “oatmeal” color as the fabric name would imply, which means that it’s white with subtle flecks of tan throughout, giving it that oatmeal look. It’s a relatively deep sofa in general, and the chaise is the perfect length to fit even Chris’ long legs, and we went with the reversible storage chaise option, which has storage space underneath the chaise part of the sectional and the chaise can be reversed if you simply move that storage box to the other side and flip the chaise cushion over. How awesome is that? The feet are L shaped, wood and an espresso color which is probably my least favorite feature of this sectional and the only thing we compromised on in this process, but they’re so subtle and understated that you hardly notice them. We might do something about that down the line, but for now they’re not a total eye sore or anything. The cushions are polyester wrapped, and we explain why we prefer a polyester-filled couch cushion as opposed to down-filled below. The fabric is a performance fabric for extra durability, but is as soft as soft can be with a really cool, slightly chunky weave and all of the cushion covers can be unzipped, washed on cold and laid out to dry. Ok so those are the nuts and bolts, but there’s so much more about why we chose this specific sectional with the features and fabric we did below, so make sure you read on because there’s hopefully some really useful insight in there if you’re hunting for the perfect white sectional couch.
Also of note – we usually have a really cool rug on the floor in this space and it definitely feels a little bit naked without it, but in his old age Hamlet is just too unreliable right now, so we had to roll the rug up for the time being to save it from destruction. Someday we’ll be able to have rugs in this space once more, but today is not that day.
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Sectional, Vintage Buffalo Check Chair (custom upholstery from Calico – read all about the fabric HERE), White Fringed Pillows (custom from Calico – read all about the fabrics HERE), Wheat Tassel Pillows, Wallpaper, Counter Stools, Green Nobby Lamp (old from At Home, similar HERE, HERE & HERE), Vintage Side Table (also love this side table, this side table & this side table), Striped Throw Blanket (sold out, similar HERE, HERE & HERE)
All About How We Chose Our Pottery Barn Townsend White Sectional Couch
First, we considered a roll arm sectional to sort of match the somewhat traditional, cottage style charm of our home and match the style of the sectional in our den, but after seeing this sectional on display on our local Pottery Barn store, we just couldn’t get over the wide, square arms on this sectional. They’re just so comfy and practical! In all honestly, I’ve actually given very little thought to the arm style of a couch before, but these are the strange things adulting has done to me. In the end we also didn’t feel like this sectional style overall was too modern to feel at home in our house, and now that we’ve lived with it for a little while we couldn’t love the square arms more and wouldn’t change a thing. They’re nice and wide and give the sectional an extra comfy, cozy, oversized feel, they’re perfect for perching on if you have an overload of bodies hanging out in the living room and need more bum space, and they’re great for balancing a laptop or just resting an arm on. I’d also argue that they’re really perfectly designed for propping a pillow against, too for max comfort when you’re stretching our for a nice long nap. All things that speak straight to my heart and things to consider when choosing an arm style when presented with the bevy of options. Worth nothing – if the arm were a slimmer square arm, I don’t think we’d love them as much.
The White Fabric We Chose For Our Sectional Couch
Next, the fabric. As far as fabric choices go, the one we chose was in Pottery Barn’s slightly higher fabric price tier, but this was something that we ultimately decided to spend the money on as it’s kind of the most crucial element in making this whole “white couch” thing work. Not only does this technically “oatmeal” fabric read white when you look at it in a space, the variation in color is perfect for hiding dirty spots! Now it’s not like we’re not going to address dirt and grime as we see it, but we didn’t want a stark white fabric with no variation in the tone that would show every single ounce of use and wear. That would be so exhausting. We wanted a little wiggle room and this fabric’s color variations are so perfect for that! This is also one of Pottery Barn’s performance fabrics, so its designed and built to stand up to spills, stains and other wear and tear. Chris spilled coffee on it the other day and I can confirm that by simply blotting the spots thoroughly with water until the spill disappeared and letting that dry, it’s like it never happened. That’s where performance fabric is really helpful – if it were a less durable fabric, that coffee spill may have been much harder to clean up, if it cleaned up at all. Another thing that was a huge draw for us with this fabric was the texture and feel of the fabric. Not only do we love the look of the slightly chunkier weave, but this fabric is so so incredibly soft. This was another thing that was thankfully on display at our local Pottery Barn, albeit on another sectional style, and the second I sat on it and felt it I was a goner. It’s beyond cozy. I actually went back to the store about 3 times to feel it and sit on it, just to be sure I couldn’t live without it. It was just so much softer than any of the other fabric swatches we felt in PB’s fabric book, and that was a huge draw for us because we wanted to really, really love this sectional and feel compelled to curl up in it every day if we were spending the money. We wanted it to draw us in. Those are the kinds of attributes that make us absolutely love the furniture pieces in our home over time, for the long haul, and because this was going to be a bit of a splurge, we didn’t want to compromise on comfort at all. The last thing that really solidified our sectional choice was the ease of maintenance. We knew that with a “white” couch, ease of cleaning would be a big deal and was our biggest unknown going into this. Sure this is performance fabric, but what if something a little bit more serious or catastrophic than coffee happened? Like a big ol’ glass of wine or dog pee or worse?! I don’t know what that worse would be, but it could happen, I’m sure of it! We knew that we’d be devastated if we didn’t have flexibility in our ability to do a deeper clean on the fabric, which is why we decided that if the cushions couldn’t be unzipped and either washed or laundered, it was a no-go. These cushion covers do in fact unzip, and in this fabric’s care instructions you’ll see that you can wash said cushion covers on cold in the washing machine and hang them to dry, which is a game-changer. The lesson there is to always check or ask if the cushion covers can be unzipped and how you can care for the fabric.
The Care Instructions For The Fabric on our Pottern Barn Townsend White Sectional Couch
- Performance Boucle, Oatmeal Fabric
- 79% Poly, 16% Acrylic, 5% Linen
- Care: Machine wash cold, gentle cycle, chlorine or non-chlorine bleach , as needed. Air dry.
- This texture softens with use and wear, and may develop a brushed appearance. If the brushed appearance is objectionable, a fabric shaver may be used to remove loose fibers from the surface of the fabric.
Reversible Storage Chaise?
If you search for this sectional on the Pottery Barn website, you might notice that there are other optional features outside of the arm style. Specifically, you can choose to have a reversible storage chaise, which is exactly what we did. And here’s the skinny on that. When we first visited our Pottery Barn store and chatted with a design associate about what we loved, she expressed that she preferred the non-reversible chaise, sans storage because it gave the sectional a more custom, tidy look. Which I completely understand and appealed to us at the time. Then when we visited a second time and chatted with a different design associate, she said that she personally preferred the reversible storage chaise for its endless versatility and obviously, storage. Her reasoning was that down the line you might want to put the sectional in a different space with different needs, and because the chairs is reversible you can move it to the other side seamlessly so it fits the needs of whatever space its in. Right now, our chaise is on the side it’s on because on the other side sits our backdoor and if the chaise were on that side, it would block the door and the flow of traffic. Down the line, if we moved it to another space, maybe we would need the chaise on the other side. Versatility always appeals to my practical sensibilities, so she really sold me on that idea. Also, who can turn down extra storage? Not this small space dweller! We need all the storage we can get, and it’s so nice to have a little bit of storage underneath the chaise for blankets, magazines and the like.
Why We Chose A White Sectional Couch With Polyester Wrapped Cushions
Then, there are cushion considerations. This sectional comes with polyester wrapped cushions, and that’s exactly what we wanted. I know I know – down cushions are super luxe and comfy and stylish. However, we were chatting with my sister and brother-in-law one day about their custom Pottery Barn sectional that they bought a couple of years ago, and when we asked them how they liked it they said that for the most part it was great, but the one feature they regret is the down cushions. They said that it’s constantly shedding feathers and poking them, which is super annoying. Though I understand not all down cushions will do that, for the most part, my experience is that feather shedding is a common and super obnoxious problem. What’s more, down cushions require much more regular fluffing and maintenance that polyester-wrapped cushions, which is another downside.
How To Properly Care for Couch Cushions & Prolong The Life of Your White Sectional Couch
An important note about caring for ANY couch cushions, though – you should always be rotating and flipping your cushions if you can, with relative regularity, to keep them fresh and fluffy. This is just a kind of unavoidable couch maintenance thing that absolutely prolongs the live of any couch.
How About A White IKEA Couch?
Our very first stop on the hunt for a white couch was IKEA. Why? Because we thought that although we desperately wanted to brighten up our living space with a big, comfy white sectional of some sort, it was probably never going to be a practical pursuit, thus we should spend as few dollars as possible and settle for something we could simple live with, that wasn’t necessarily the most awesome piece of furniture we’d ever encountered and that we wouldn’t leave us devastated should it inevitably be destroyed by our everyday life. Reasonable enough, we thought. But after heading to our local IKEA and feeling and testing the white sectional we had our eye on, we decided that there was no way we could spend any amount of dollars on it. Now don’t get me wrong, we’ve loved many an IKEA item, but this just wasn’t one of them. It was a “full on Monet”. Name that movie! It looked Ok from far away, but when you got closer it was just a big old mess. It was awkwardly low in seat height, not in the least bit comfortable and the white fabric was scratchy and the fabric was so stark white that it looked completely demolished on the display, making us realize that we’d be washing those cushion covers on a weekly basis. As for the cushion covers, they were tragically ill fitted and just looked rough. Nope, not for us.
Now, I’ve seen white IKEA couches and comfy, cozy chairs that look absolutely gorgeous in other people’s homes on Pinterest. Heavenly, in fact! My hat’s off to those people. Once we’d seen the sectional in person in the store it was like we couldn’t unsee it. That dream had died, but we’re glad we gave it a good hard look nevertheless. Now we know!
Did You Try Trendy, Contemporary Custom Couch Websites Like Interior Define, Article or Maiden Home?
We ordered 3 “white” fabric swatches for a few different sectionals that we had our eye on from Interior Define upon the recommendation from friends, and when said swatches arrived, we put them to the test. The sectionals we liked were the Charly, the Ainsley, the Maxwell and the Maxwell Slipcovered. Two of the swatches, Cirrus and Vanilla, were what Interior Define labeled as “pet and kid friendly”. The other, the Ivory, was not labeled as pet and kid friendly, but we wanted to give it a go since it was one of the only other fabrics in the white family. The Cirrus? Pretty, but too scratchy for us. The Vanilla had a bit of a yellow tone to the fabric and felt a little too polyester-ish. Not comfy-cozy. And the Ivory was cool, but definitely too stark white and fussy to fit our needs. Then we spilled wine and coffee on the swatches to see how easily they’d clean and much to our disappointment, we had a tough time cleaning all three of them and some of the stain was left behind on all of them. So basically, it was a bust. They have some really beautiful sofa and sectional styles, but their fabric choices were just to limited and lackluster for us. We needed soft, we needed snuggly, we needed durability!
What I did love about the whole Interior Define process was that you get to choose your leg color which is so awesome and something that, with all of their customizable options, you can’t do at Pottery Barn. Also I just loved their sectional styles. They’re contemporary and stylish and fresh and just beautiful. I think if we weren’t looking specifically for a “white” couch, there are some awesome options in there. I’m especially in love with the idea of their “Cargo Canvas” fabrics. I think those could be super cool in the right space on the right sectional.
After our experience, we finally decided that it might just be too hard for us to fork over the cash for a sectional that we’ve never seen in person or sat on. Fabric swatches are great, but it’s hard for me to part with that much cash when I haven’t sat on a couch or felt it. That’s totally personal preference, but that was the realization we came to after the Interior Define eperience. After that, though intrigued by them, we decided not to order swatches from Maiden Home or Article, since we wouldn’t be able to see those in person, either.
What About A Wayfair, Overstock or Joss & Main White Couch?
There are tons, and I mean tons of options for white sectionals on these sites, but honestly, the prospect of ordering a sectional from one of these sites without seeing or feeling it in person was really daunting, as we mentioned above. I poured over the options on these sites, and looked at tons of the user-uploaded photos in the review sections like I always do so I could get a better idea of what these sectionals really looked like, and although some of them looked “fine” I still didn’t feel confident about any of them. I never had a moment where I was wowed or felt like it would absolutely, positively be money well spent. In the end I kept going back to my home decor rule of thumb that I’ve learned the hard way over the years – when it comes to big, key pieces that you’ll be sitting or sleeping on with frequency in your home, save up and invest in something that you really love. Don’t settle for something subpar. The reason? In the end, it’s a matter of saving up and spending more on something you absolutely love up front or spending less on something of slightly lower quality up front, and replacing with relative frequency later down the line when it doesn’t hold up, which means most likely spending more money over time. Not to mention the headache of going through that process over and over again. I definitely don’t subscribe to this rule on all home decor topics and in general feel like there are really great affordable options for almost everything you’d need to curate a stylish, comfy-cozy home you love, but haven’t found this to be totally true when it comes to high quality, super comfortable couches. Remember, custom couches usually can’t be returned or exchanged because they make the couch after you order in whatever fabric you choose, and I just can’t be locked into that kind of commitment without seeing it in person and sitting on it. So, the whole online couch-buying thing was out.
Should We Buy A Slipcovered Couch For Ease of Cleaning?
This was a big debate pretty much throughout our search for the perfect white sectional couch. The question remained a conundrum – would it be more sensible to have a slipcovered couch in which we could easily remove all cushion and frame covers and throw them in the wash, and just as easily put them back on? We have a fully slipcovered, custom Pottery Barn denim couch in our office and absolutely love it. It’s not only perfect for the space and the denim is super soft and comfy and has that great washed denim look, but all of the couch cushion covers are easily unzipped and removed, and the frame cover is also easily removed since it’s attached with velcro to have that custom, perfectly snug fit. So if we get a stain or spill anywhere on that couch we just simply remove, throw in the washing machine, lay out to dry and we’re back in business within a day and it’s as if it never happened because the slipcovered pieces are perfectly custom fit to that couch. Naturally, our experience with that couch made us wonder if a slipcovered sectional was the way to go. Pottery Barn has a “warm white” denim fabric that we gave a good, hard look and of course, a thorough feel in the store, and we really had to think on that one for a good few days. In the end we chose not to go this route because a) we didn’t feel like a slipcovered sectional in our living room was quite the look we were going for and b) a white denim fabric is far, far different from a blue denim fabric. The white denim fabric from Pottery Barn, though beautiful and super, super soft, is a slightly warm, but totally stark white hue and again, made us feel like we’d be washing all of those cushion and couch frame covers day in and day out at the sight of the slightest spill or spot in order for it to not look gross. So bottom line, not the style/look we were going for and too high maintenance in white.
So there you have it, friends! All you’ve ever wanted (or maybe not wanted) to know about white couches, courtesy of our lengthy hunt for the perfect white sectional for our living room. If you have questions about specific white couches or sectionals you’re considering and need thoughts on, or are contemplating a custom Pottery Barn couch or sectional and need additional insight, chances are we have answers for you. So don’t hesitate to drop a comment or shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to chat all things white couches with you! In the mean time, happy white sectional couch hunting!
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Happy Tuesday! 🙂
I read your blog and 5 month update reviewing the Performance Boucle Oatmeal. I am thinking of purchasing that fabric on a different sofa frame but do not know how it is holding up due to not knowing what year you purchased it? Was it a smart purchase?