Four years ago when I went couch shopping, I factored in pets and kids. Rather than banish my youngest and messiest from the living room, or reprimanding the dogs for curling up on the sofa, I considered sensible yet stylish choices for our busy household. I needed to choose my upholstery fabric carefully. I ended up with a hazel/olive-green microfiber couch and love seat. It was soft, darkish, and the price was right.
The day the couch was delivered, my then 7-year-old left a pen between the cushions. That same day I had to remove black ink from the upholstery. Argh!!! Life with kids!
While the color hides lots of dirty stuff, the soft material – which used to resemble velvet or chenille – is hard to clean.
Microfiber can be vacuumed, but pet dander and dust are never completely removed from the fibers, resulting in the couch smelling like a dog. In my numerous attempts to keep the couch clean, I have tried water, soap, rubbing alcohol with a hair dryer, special cleaning solutions for microfiber, and steamer. Most of the time I’m left with stains and stiff fabric.
The dogs have pretty much taken over the love seat. It’s their favorite seat in the house because it allows them to take in “all the action” (squirrels, loose dogs, two elderly ladies with ski poles, mailman, garbage truck, etc.) of our street. I know I could have the “no dogs allowed on the furniture” rule ( I did try for a while), but eventually I was outnumbered. I’m still not happy about it, but life is too short and we have to pick our battles.
When I’m an old lady taking my last breath, I won’t remember the stains on the couch, but I will remember the love, kindness and loyalty I had received from the pups.
The other day one of them ate some grass and threw up on the couch (three times). I didn’t even cry anymore. Cleaned it up and went on with my day. Let’s not forget about the dirty, muddy paws on rainy days.
And then there are the two valleys in the cushions. Life with pets!! Gotta love them, though!
Once in a while they don’t get along and the older dog moves over to “our” couch, which is still a little better looking than the “dog” couch. I’d love to get new couches and say goodbye to stains, smells, and valleys.
Some pet owners swear by leather couches. I’m not surprised. Leather is durable, easily cleaned, and looks great. But, leather can feel cold in the winter and stick to bare legs in the summer, although this can be remedied with throws and blankets.
Leather is the only furniture material that looks better with wear. Perfect for pet owners who must have their dogs on the couch for cuddles (that’s us). Leather is timeless and expensive.
Years ago, we had two black leather couches. They served us well for over 12 years. Leather survived my kids’ babyhood, toddler years, spills, messes, bottles, diapers, etc. (This was all before we had pets). Leather was great – I could just wipe everything off. However, the leather couches we had were practical but not very stylish.
My requirements for leather have changed. If I had the budget, I’d want a medium tone leather (caramel or dark brown), smaller scale couch; more of a tight back instead of loose, puffy cushions, simple yet modern design.
One of brown’s or tan’s major strengths is their ability to relate to other colors. Pops of color look great with brown leather as do white walls. One of my favorite whites is Simply White by Benjamin Moore. I used this white to paint my exterior trim.
via Benjamin Moore
Below are some of the items I think would look nice in a living room with brown leather.
Home Decorators Collection
One Kings Lane
Pier 1 Imports
How do you feel about leather couches? Do you have them? If so, what are the pros and cons? I’d love to hear from you.