On white sofas, being mindful and my love of bagging a bargain

Since the boys were born we’ve had quite a few friends and family remark that we’re brave to have white sofas in our home.

I’m not sure if it’s brave or foolhardy but I’ve always loved pale coloured sofas. They work well with most decorating schemes and can be so easily styled to tie in with our home, particularly if I get bored of the colour-scheme and fancy a change.

We’ve always gone for loose covers though rather than the fully fitted, upholstered versions as  (even though I absolutely love them because they look so smart ) not being able to shove the outer covers in the washing machine — when they’re a bit grubby — would drive me mad so we’ve always avoided them.

In any case, I’ve always been quite good at looking after things and my boys are also learning — from an early age — to take care of their surroundings too.

Sitting room furniture is generally a big investment and you don’t want to have to keep replacing it every couple of years. I say ‘generally’ as, actually, the sofas in our conservatory cost less than a tenner — for the pair — from a well known auction site.

Yep. £9.99 for two perfectly good, Sofa Workshop, sofas.

I kid you not.

I’ve always been a fan of bagging a bargain. Why pay full price when there’s a deal to be had?

I’m a bonafide, card carrying  bargain hunter; Ebay-queen and charity shop scavenger. Although these days there are less true bargains to be had as a lot of things are listed as ‘vintage’ which automatically bumps the price up.

But it’s so worth it.

OK, our sofas may not be everyone’s cuppa — they may not be iconic, design-led pieces, maybe even a bit dated — but they work.

Plus they saved us around £1000 so that’s definitely a reason for us to love them!

For the last few years, our sitting room has been styled with chartreuse, yellow and a turquoise-teal shade. My £9.99 sofas are covered in a variety of patterned and plain cushions and it’s so easy to alter the look and feel of the room simply by changing the covers and the rug.

white sofas

My bargain £9.99 white sofas!

white sofas

Prints, pattern and colour comes from scatter cushions

These sofas have seen a lot of life since we’ve had them.

They’re not the largest sofas in the world — just 2 seaters — but they’re home to play, reading, telly watching, relaxing, wrestling, tickling, cuddling and sleeping.

They have cats and kids climbing on them.

They’ve been boats, rockets and all manner of other make-believe vehicles.

And to be honest, they’re perfect for the way we live now.

me_on_the_sofa mook_on_the_sofa twins_on_the_sofa

There’s a train of thought that suggests it’s tantamount to madness to have pale coloured sofas if you have kids but I don’t agree.

We have another — larger — sofa in the snug but that’s cream too. I think if you’re a bit mindful of your surroundings — and teach your littles to be too — there’s no reason why kids and white sofas shouldn’t mix.

Here are my top tips for keeping white sofas looking nice.

1. Choose sofas with loose, rather than fixed, covers. They may not be quite as contemporary but they offer greater flexibility as they can be washed if necessary.

If we were replacing our sofas, whilst the boys are little, I’d definitely go for loose covers again. The ability to pop them in the washing machine when needed has been the key to them continuing to look good.

2. Minor marks and stains can often be easily removed with a damp cloth and a little bit of diluted washing up liquid. When we’ve had more ingrained stains, I’ve used Vanish before washing and that’s almost always done the trick. Even with red wine stains.

Yep. That *might* have been me (totally was).

Oops.

3. Use blankets or throws to cover your sofa. This is a fab way of keeping them clean, especially if you’ve gone for fixed covers.

4. It may seem obvious but we don’t allow certain food, paints or crayons in the sitting room. The twins do have snacks on the sofa — raisins or biscuits and water in sippy cups — but no chocolate or sticky food or drinks. We’ve got a kitchen table for that.

Having this simple rule means that the sofas have managed to stay looking good and our children are learning to take care of their surroundings too :)

Sofas are a bit like beds in that they get a lot of use. Choose wisely though and your investment should last a good few years before you need to shell out any more of your hard earned cash.

Even if it is just £9.99.

Thanks to Argos for asking us — and some other lovely bloggers — to share our tips for choosing and styling a sofa. You can pop along to see what everyone else had to say here.

Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

58 Comments

  1. 19th April 2016 / 1:32 pm

    This is so strange. Last night I was ranting to The Bavarian about our sofa and how I hate it because it is pale and badly stained. Then I put the throw and cushions back on it and it looked fine again. I have been considering getting loose covers made for it . It is large and really comfy and sits all 5 of us, so I would not really want to dump it. There is a post coming soon about it.
    Yours look spotless. Great rules and tips you have there Caro.

    • 25th April 2016 / 2:12 pm

      DEFINITELY get some loose covers made!! So much goes into landfill these days — it’s lovely when you’re able to upcycle something and give it a new lease of life! Especially if it’s comfy!! ;)

  2. 19th April 2016 / 11:54 pm

    I can’t believe you bagged those for £9.99 – that is one big bargain! They look lovely, and I agree with you that is good to teach children to care for their surroundings, and for us adults to be mindful too (though you weren’t really with the red wine there were you!). Good tips for caring for your sofas – the proof they work is in your photos x

    • 25th April 2016 / 2:30 pm

      I know — so chuffed about it. They’re not the most exciting sofas in the world but they’ll do nicely. Especially for under a tenner!! And yep — red wine shocker. This is why I’m now back on the gin. It doesn’t make a mess if you spill it ;)

  3. 20th April 2016 / 11:38 am

    I think my chin literally hit my desk just now reading what incredible value these were!!! And you know I absolutely love this space in your home and your sofas look amazing precisely because they are loved and enjoyed and family-based. I really need to get into bargain-hunting I think! Xx

    • 25th April 2016 / 2:30 pm

      You definitely DO need to get bargain hunting!! Nothing like getting a mega bargain — especially when it’s something you’ve been after for a while!! I blooming love Ebay!!

  4. 20th April 2016 / 11:51 am

    What a bargain! I love the room, it looks so light and bright!

  5. 20th April 2016 / 12:54 pm

    Oh I love your sofas, I think they look lovely and so comfy too. I think you are very sensible to have sofas where you can remove the covers, makes it easier to clean and really easy to update. Perfect. What is not to love!! #HomeEtc

  6. 20th April 2016 / 12:55 pm

    Wow they are a serious bargain, I am very jealous, as I am of your room, so light.

    I have never been brave enough as I am worried about me let alone the kids, but I agree washable covers is a total must xxx

    • 25th April 2016 / 2:35 pm

      Aah thanks Kara. Perhaps no-one else bid on them because they’re white?! Maybe the colour put other people off?! ;) xx

  7. Louisa
    20th April 2016 / 5:19 pm

    Your sofas look very comfy and what a bargain!! We had cream loose cover sofas some years ago and they actually held up to life with small children very well, which was rather unexpected. Now we have dogs though and I wouldn’t consider a lighter colour, we need everything to be the colour of mud to disguise the mess they make!!

    • 25th April 2016 / 12:32 pm

      They’re brilliant for the price. They’ve been really well used but still look good — that said, we don’t have a dog!!
      Yet!! ;)

  8. 20th April 2016 / 7:54 pm

    £9.99? I would go WILD if I’d won a pair of sofas for that. Your house is absolutely gorgeous Caro and I love how you mention that kids learn how to look after things – I totally agree. Our sofas are light coloured and so are our carpets. They seem to work for us…and look at your twinnies!!!! Blummin’ beautiful! xx

    • 25th April 2016 / 12:28 pm

      Aah thanks lovely! And yep — I KNOW!! I’d set myself a budget of 100 quid for the pair, so when they went for the starting price, I couldn’t believe my luck!!

  9. 20th April 2016 / 8:25 pm

    Wonderful bargain! I love finding things on eBay and auctions too as it’s such fabulous value for money. When the boys were little I was so glad of our playroom Ikea with its removable covers which could be thrown in the washing machine. The covers on our posh sofas are technically washable but I’ve never done it! #HomeEtc

    • 25th April 2016 / 12:24 pm

      It’s addictive though isn’t it? Once you realise how little you can get things for on auction sites, it makes it really hard to pay full price for something!!

  10. 20th April 2016 / 9:46 pm

    What a great bargain for such lovely looking sofas, I bet you feel very smug when you look at them knowing how much got them for. And like you said, white goes with everything and just changing cushions can change the whole look.

    • 25th April 2016 / 12:21 pm

      Haha! Not smug so much as DELIGHTED!! I love a bargain — makes me so happy :)

  11. 20th April 2016 / 9:57 pm

    They look fab Caro, I must say although we have always had darker furniture the boys have always been pretty good and careful, it is Chris that is the problem ! x

  12. 21st April 2016 / 9:32 am

    What a bargain! Considering that kids get crayon, snot, food and other stuff all over stuff anyway, what’s the point in spending hundreds of quid when you can get something just as good by looking on somewhere like eBay!

  13. 21st April 2016 / 9:54 am

    Ahh what a gorgeous room! We had a white sofa from IKEA for a while but as we are clumsy idiots we replaced it with a charcoal grey one. It looks as though your little ones are a lot more careful than we were!

    #HomeEtc

    • 25th April 2016 / 12:14 pm

      Thanks lovely — I love Ebay. I really struggle to pay full price for anything when you can get such bargains on there!!

  14. 21st April 2016 / 10:49 am

    WOW that is an amazing bargain!! Brilliant. We are desperate to replace our sofa but at the moment it just gets too dirty so we are keeping it until the girls are a bit older. We do try and keep pens and mucky food in the kitchen but sometimes they sneak it in. There is a bit of babble wax ground into one of the cushions, very annoying!! But can I recommend plain popcorn as a brilliant snack – white, and easily swept up!! #Homeetc

    • 25th April 2016 / 12:11 pm

      Such a bargain!!! Gotta love Ebay! Loving the popcorn idea too Becky!! :)

  15. 21st April 2016 / 11:29 am

    Ooooh I love your white sofas and what a serious bargain!! I’m still paying for my sofas 3 years later!! Totally with you on only having certain snacks / drinks allowed in the living area, I’m the same! Also saves my cream carpet ;) #HomeEtc xxx

    • 25th April 2016 / 2:42 pm

      We did that with our first sofa. It was SO expensive, we bought it on HP. I swore that we’d never do it again so always buy large purchases like that second hand now! Love a secondhand bargain! :)

  16. 21st April 2016 / 10:36 pm

    I cannot believe they were less than a tenner – BARGAIN! High fives to that x

    • 25th April 2016 / 12:07 pm

      It’s amazing isn’t it? I blooming love Ebay!! The things people get rid of is extraordinary!! :)

  17. 22nd April 2016 / 10:04 pm

    I am totally shocked that you got these sofas for £9.99 – ebay is amazing! I don’t think we could ever have white sofas, we are permanently eating on ours – plenty of choccies stains hehe. Definitely agree on the washable covers, it’s so nice when they are freshly washed x
    #HomeEtc

    • 25th April 2016 / 12:01 pm

      Yep — not as shocked as me!! £9.99 for one would have been good, but for BOTH was amazing!! :)

  18. 23rd April 2016 / 10:15 pm

    Wow what a total bargain! We got ours off Ebay too but didn’t do quite as well as you! Ours are also cream, but unfortunately the covers are fixed so not so easy to clean. We get someone out to do them when they get too grubby which costs about £80 and is totally worth it. Other than that we do use a lot of throws since the dog has gradually worked his way up into the best seat on the sofa…I’m not sure how I let it happen to be honest but I find it so difficult to throw him off when he looks so snug! xx

    • 25th April 2016 / 11:55 am

      They were SUCH a bargain — I still can’t quite believe it!! I think there are so many amazing buys like that to be had on Ebay. When people don’t list things very well — and there’s not a lot of interest — seems to be when you can get the best bargains!! xx

  19. 25th April 2016 / 11:58 am

    oh wow what an amazing bargain! Loving the cushions too – so lovely! x

  20. 25th April 2016 / 2:21 pm

    You are super brave having white sofas with those little ones running around! Your whole sun room there looks lovely x

  21. 25th April 2016 / 6:14 pm

    I can’t believe they are only £9.99 sofas! They are awesome and they look beautiful. H x

    • 29th April 2016 / 10:48 am

      Thanks so much lovely — I couldn’t believe it either! My eyes nearly popped out of my head when I saw I’d won!

  22. 25th April 2016 / 10:54 pm

    Oh wow I am in shock. That’s such an amazing price for sofas and they’re so lovely! I would love these in my house and would have paid a lot more than £9.99 for them! I think cushions, throws and covers really bring sofas to life. A neutral colour like this is perfect for changing up every so often with different coloured accessories! xx

    • 29th April 2016 / 10:47 am

      Not as shocked as me when I won!! LOL!! I LOVE neutral furnishings — colour makes me really happy and it’s lovely to be able to change them as you feel like it :) xx

  23. 26th April 2016 / 11:05 am

    What a bargain and what gorgeous sofas for your lovely family life :) Great post and lovely photo’s too :) Jess xx

    #HomeEtc

    • 29th April 2016 / 10:46 am

      They were SUCH a bargain. Granted, they’re not the most stylish sofas in the world, but I do love them :)

  24. Yvadney @ Style After Nine
    26th April 2016 / 8:09 pm

    We wrestled with buying a pale sofa last year and in the end settled with a mid-grey colour. I wish we had been bold now, they look so lovely + I LOVE EBAY too!! I get so many goodies on there. Yvadney x

    • 29th April 2016 / 10:44 am

      Mid grey is still lovely Yvadney!! Grey is such a lovely neutral isn’t it? And I agree — eBay is BRILLIANT for bargains!! :)

  25. 26th April 2016 / 9:58 pm

    What a fab bargain! And I love light coloured sofas – I used to have cream loose covered ones, which eventually went white through washing – I had four cats at the time!! And they’re a lot harder to train than kids (I think – well not tried the kids…) Right now we have brown leather, but I’m hoping to go pale again soon :) Thanks for hosting HomeEtc xx

    • 29th April 2016 / 10:41 am

      Agree. We’ve got 3 cats at the moment and they’re a bloody nightmare!! Love them, but they’ve got no respect for furniture! At least you can teach kids that, can’t you?! ;)

  26. 27th April 2016 / 9:15 am

    I love white sofa’s but not sure I could handle how dirty they can get.

    • 29th April 2016 / 10:33 am

      Well, we’ve had these for 4 years, have twin toddlers and three cats and ours are still looking pretty good.

  27. 27th April 2016 / 11:39 pm

    I love your sofa and gorgeous cushions, you styled them very well. Still can’t believe how cheap they were – what a great bargain! :)

  28. 29th April 2016 / 1:13 am

    Wow, £9.99 that is an amazing bargain. And I love those sofas. I don’t use ebay (it is a very long story!!!) but sometimes I really wish I did. Especially when I read that you got two gorgeous sofas for less than a tennet. Wow! I love all the cushions on the sofas too. They add a gorgeous pop of colour. And like you say, if you fancy a change of decor then you can just change the accessories. And fab tips about keeping the sofa clean. I really need to put some rules in place about our sofa. Hugs Lucy xxxx

    • 29th April 2016 / 10:12 am

      I have a love/hate relationship with eBay. I HATE listing things — and have massive inertia to do it — then feel very smug when I finally get around to it! But I love bagging a bargain!! :)

  29. 29th April 2016 / 12:58 pm

    What a bargain! I love ebay, charity shops, Gumtree! That is awesome! They look fabulous as well and because you have a neutral palette to work with you can jazz it up with fabulous cushions (which will probably cost more than the sofa…Unless you nip back on eBay again).

    See I want to go and hunt for bargains too now but I need to be disciplined and not go and browse eBay and Gumtree as I am supposed to be trying to increase my blog posting schedule to more than one a week!

    Love the style and layout of your website, btw. Really easy to read and navigate, pretty and easy on the eye….Grey and yellow are my fave combination (we’ve just used them as the colour scheme for our extension…So fresh!)

    • 2nd May 2016 / 9:14 am

      Aah me too Jane! I’m obsessed with getting a bargain — especially if it’s something I genuinely want! And thank you for your lovely comments about my blog, by the way, that’s so lovely of you! :)

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