Aug 20, 2015

Sectional Window Shopping

First and foremost - I’m not actively shopping for a sectional right now. This post is purely window shopping/theoretical/allowing me to get my thoughts down to help make a decision down the road. The (very expensive) porch repairs ate our living room seating budget and then some. However, I have sofas on my mind these days - probably because two of my neighbors in identical houses are couch shopping and we are at the point where our current couch is starting to feel really cramped. Oliver is super active, jumping and climbing on everything everywhere and he’s on the couch, off the couch, in his little chair, climbing back on the couch, climbing on me, sitting on the couch, and jumping off again. My small windows of time to actually sit on the couch and relax have been reduced to becoming the human buffer between him and Georgia to keep them from irritating each other (Georgia doesn’t want to get kicked or hit by accident and Oliver hates being growled at). Mike avoids the couch all together and sits in the chair because there’s never enough room on the couch.

Our living room is small and it’s a weird shape and almost no wall space thanks to the doorways, radiators, stairs and front door. While someday we might change the layout (remove a doorway or move a door), that’s not in the cards right now. And with the front door in the middle of the room, we can’t get a normal sectional or even a wider couch to face the TV because we wouldn’t be able to open the front door. Even if we moved the TV to the other side of the room with the bookcases, the narrow room and front door will still limit the couch size. So our options are very limited.

I don’t want to spend a lot of money because dogs and small kids ruin furniture. Someday we’ll get nicer stuff, but what we need right now is a 5-10 year sectional to get us through the dog nails, sticky fingers, grape juice spilling, possible vomiting, marker wielding messy years. The most important thing is the size - it HAS to fit our small awkward space, an L shape but one side has to be short and still have a back so we can face the TV (no chaise lounges). The other important factors are durability/maintaining the couch and of course price. Currently there are 3 I have my eye on - unfortunately none of them are perfect but they could work.

1. West Elm Henry 3-Piece Sectional with wedge

  • The size is perfect, it’s as large as we could reasonably fit so we really maximize the seating in the space we have
  • The wedge in the corner makes the corner seat usable for sitting
  • I love the design of this couch, it’s beautiful in every way
  • We can get the sofa done in a huge range of fabrics and colors
  • The couch is really comfortable
  • It’s West Elm so you know it’s good quality and should hold up well
  • Removable cushions could at least be flipped in a staining incident or removed for cleaning up a mess emergency

  • It’s expensive, even on sale. It’s still way cheaper than a lot of other sectionals out there, but I’m worried that it’s too expensive, too precious/high quality for where we are right now
  • On top of the steep price, West Elm has high delivery fees (like $300+) and full sales tax
  • No removable cover. When we choose a fabric we’ll have to choose between hiding stains or hiding Georgia’s dog fur. Plus I need help on what the most durable fabrics are (that’s anything but microfiber or faux suede)
  • Not a flexible design - we have to commit to the layout of the sectional when we buy it

2. IKEA Friheten Sofa

  • This sofa is really compact and wouldn’t overwhelm the room
  • If we added extra cushions it would feel like a full sectional
  • The beige color would hide Georgia’s fur really well, the light gray fairly well
  • It’s a sleeper sofa, which could be fun for kid sleepovers or a family movie night
  • Hidden extra storage in the chaise piece
  • The setup is flexible so we could always swap the layout
  • The price is amazing, even if it was ruined somehow we could buy another and it would still be less than either other option.
  • Flat $59 delivery and the store is in a half-sales-tax zone

  • The sofa doesn’t have arms, which makes it less cozy for curling up
  • The cover is not removable at all. The beige or light gray color will stain easily. I don’t even think we could flip the bottom cushion if something bad happened
  • It kind of looks like a cheaper apartment sofa
  • We sat on this at the store and it was not that comfortable. It might just need breaking in (which Oliver is perfect for), but I’m not totally sure I’d love relaxing on it

3. IKEA Karlstad

This would actually be an Ikea hack that I saw a friend of mine do in her awkward living room space - they bought the 2+3 corner sofa and a Karlstad chair (unfortunately you can’t buy the pieces individually) and put then chair where the 2 piece couch would go instead. This gave them a perfectly sized sectional and a separate love seat. We could do this in our living room with the loveseat and the chair together and then use the leftover 3-seater couch in the playroom or sell it on Craig’s list.

  • A great size for the room once we cobble it together
  • Removeable covers and the dark gray cover is washable. WASHABLE!
  • We’d have an extra couch leftover for the playroom or craigslist
  • The setup is flexible - we could always swap the layout of the sectional
  • We know this couch holds up well and is really comfy once it’s broken in
  • The price, even with the chair add-on is half the price of West Elm
  • Flat $59 delivery and the store is in a half-sales-tax zone

  • The hassle of “hacking” an Ikea couch and dealing with the extra piece
  • The light legs will have to be stained or painted so they don’t clash with everything else
  • The removable cover in dark gray will show Georgia’s dog fur like crazy, but the light gray cover they sell is dry-clean only. They used to have beige, but not anymore
  • The back is a little low and might not work with our console table behind the sofa
  • It’s out of stock at a lot of stores, which makes me worry that it’s actually being discontinued even though it’s still online and on their app

So that's what we are thinking about these days when we sit in our living room. Should we get a new couch? When could we get a new couch? What new couch would be best fit? Depending on the day I lean towards something different - one day I think we should get something quality that will last longer and the next I want the cheapest one possible because Oliver and Georgia are so destructive. Or maybe if we keep waiting the perfect couch will come into existence and be the right size with removable washable covers in beige or gray that isn't going to break my budget. Fingers crossed...

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