There are a handful of questions that I know I will get asked on the daily, and one of them is, "Why in the world do you have white furniture with four kids and three pets...and how do you keep it white?" 😉 I get it. I really do--it's sort of a seemingly backwards choice for furniture color with marker-wielding, snotty-nosed littles running around everywhere. But let me tell you why we took the plunge, how we maintain the whiteness, and a review of the IKEA Ektorp sectional and chairs we've had for a few years now.
1. WHY did you choose white if you have four little children in the house?
First, let me start by telling you why we went with white as opposed to a more sane color choice for a family with four small kiddos...I love white. 😬 Is that enough of an explanation?! No...?? 😉 Honestly, we almost chose distressed leather or a grey linen type of fabric, but I very much wanted this light, bright, cozy, cottage, farmhouse look and feel in our space...so the compromise came with these rather comparatively inexpensive pieces from IKEA's Ektorp line. And the kicker that sealed the deal for us...? WASHABLE SLIPCOVERS, YO. 🙌🏻 Not only are these bad boys washable, but, if the worst should happen and an irrevocable stain or happenstance occur to them, the cost of replacing one cushion's slipcover or even the entire chair or sofa slipcover was worth it to me to get that look I desired. The slipcovers are sold through IKEA and are so dang reasonable compared to other brands of white couches in similar styles. Price check and see...the savings are bananas, AND when stains happen, I don't feel so panicked about it since the cost was quite low compared to other similar styles. BOOM.
2. How do you keep the white furniture, well, WHITE?!
One way to prevent stains is that we don't let the kiddos eat dinner or messy things on the white furniture, and that's partly how they remain fairly white on the regular. (However...that family rule is sometimes a sort of wishful thinking type of rule...you know what I'm sayin.' 😉) However, adults have spilled coffee on them (...🙋🏻 guilty....), the girls have accidentally wiped wet nail polish in a spot, an almost-dry finger painting has been laid down on the chaise, etc....you get my drift. Stains happen, man. And I thought I'd be the type to sort of be nervous when people came to my house to sit on my white furniture, but I decided long ago that a welcoming, comfortable home used for hosting will inevitably equal stains...and I chilled WAY out about that. I don't want a beautiful home that everyone is afraid to touch and use! So! Enter the Fantastic Duo...!
These two stain fighters are total lifesavers if you choose white furniture! We love using the Clorox Bleach Pen in a pinch, and then we'll wash the whole thing in Oxy Clean about once every two months to bring back that crisp, white whiteness! Here's a look at Slipcover Washing Day at our house...plus a little time saver trick down below that has changed everything! 🙌🏻
So like I said, about once every two or three months depending on stains, we remove the slipcovers from our IKEA Ektorp chairs and sectional, spot treat them with the bleach pen as needed, and then we run them through the washing machine throughout the day. Talk about a fresh start! 😍 I know it seems counterintuitive to have white furniture with little kids, but man...to know I can rip off and wash the covers starting over completely fresh and clean?? That's a pretty big selling point for me, because we all know how much grime and goo can settle into furniture, with or without kids and pets to help with the griming and the goo-ing. 😉 Now...let me show you our big ol' timesaver trick...
Our least favorite part about slipcovered furniture was the ironing after drying....LOATHED IT. It took forever!! But! Then I read somewhere online (and if you know who posted it, tell me so I can give credit!) about how if you only let the slipcovers go in the dryer until about 50% dry, you can put them back on still damp, pull and stretch on them after putting them on, smooth them out with your hands for a sec....and boom!! No ironing. SOLD OMG. 🎉 I'm sure you can achieve an even more crisp finish if you want to bust out the iron, but for us...it's a circus around here, and if there's an option that involves no ironing, ya best believe Imma take it. 😉 All of the pictures I show here and on my Instagram [CLICK HERE] of the couch and chairs are no-ironing pics, too!
3. Last but not least, what's your real opinion on the IKEA Ektorp sectional and chairs?
We've had these chairs for three years and the sectional for about two years now, and, while I can't really compare them directly to the Pottery Barn version since we've never owned them, I can tell you these things about the less-expensive IKEA line:
▪️ That's the first one....the price! Soooo much cheaper.
▪️ The PB version comes with more depth in the seat, and I've heard it is a bit softer at first, whereas the IKEA version is a bit more shallow and was kinda firm at first. I can tell you for sure that it will soften up and get very nice and cozy over time without losing it's shape.
▪️ We chose the sectional with the chaise attachment because you can move the attachment and cushion to either side of the couch depending on your home layout. There is a slight ridge/bump where the chaise meets the sofa base, but it's nothing uncomfortable or really all that noticeable.
▪️ The Ektorp chairs are surprisingly oversized and cozy, and they really bring in that cottage/farmhouse feel while being comfortable and classic.
▪️The slipcovers take a bit of elbow grease to get on and off (as all slipcovers that fit snugly do), but that's also a mark in the plus column for me: they don't sag or droop.
▪️ We've washed and rewashed them many times, and they haven't pilled or opened up on the seams, and besides one or two spots where we didn't get to the small stain fast enough and it set a bit, the white slipcovers are basically the exact same as when we bought them years ago.
▪️ And finally, the real selling point for me: I can let go of the fact that stains WILL HAPPEN on my white furniture, because, if it won't come out in the wash, the slipcovers are replaceable and pretty inexpensive. We've had them now for about three years with multiple pets coming and going, four very young kids bouncing about, plus numerous house guests and playdates...and we still haven't needed to replace any slipcovers. 🙌🏻
There you have it! THAT is how the heck I maintain white furniture with four little ladies plus three pets, plus my honest review of the IKEA Ektorp line after living with it for a few years.
What about you? Do you dare to have white furniture in your home? Are you crazy like me?! 😉 Did this post maybe change your mind just a little bit on white furniture with kids/pets, or do you still think I'm nuts...? 😂 It's okay. You can tell me. 😉
(**NOTE: Below, I've linked the Pottery Barn versions of what I have as IKEA won't allow direct affiliate links. However, I've linked the IKEA products in the captions up above in the post 👆🏻 as a way around that. That way, you can compare and contrast both brands!**)