Thursday, March 29, 2012

drumroll please...the sofa results

Wow! I am so happy to see so many of you weigh in on my sofa issue! The opinions were all over the place...some loving the Ektorp sofa from Ikea, some of you really disliking it. 

Now let me preface this decision by saying I am a comparison shopper. I don't jump at brand names, or high price tags assuming they are better. I drive my hubs nuts because I research, read endless reviews and weigh all the factors before making a decision. If I could have a side job working for Consumer Reports, I would! I love to save a buck whenever I can, but have been burned more times than I can count choosing on price alone, whether it be because it was cheap or because it was expensive and I assumed it would be the best. 

Use caution...this is a long-winded post. Many of you that left comments yesterday wanted details of my search so I am laying it all out there for you!

Ok, now for the winner. 

{ Insert falling confetti and party horns blazing here...}


Isn't she gorgeous??

Now here is WHY I chose her. 

I shopped locally at 6 different furniture stores that carry various brands. Only one carried a sofa I could get slipcovered in white, and the quality was questionable. Yesterday, I shopped Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and Ikea in the Chicago suburbs. 

Here is my verdict on each store I shopped yesterday:

 (Pottery Barn - Basic)

POTTERY BARN -  They had a nice selection, but the Basic sofa was way to small for my hubs. It just was not a good fit. And to be honest, it seemed a little 'basic', hence the name I guess. We tried the PB Comfort, and the back cushions I could just tell were going to be trouble. The sales girl admitted they do have issues with the back cushions looking broken down and squished. No thanks, been there done that on many different sofas in the past. I just wasn't feeling it from anything else in PB. For the prices they were by the time you upgraded your fabric and cushion, I expected more. I really wanted something to work, because I do have a very loving relationship with Pottery Barn, so would have loved to have one of their sofas adorning my home. But in the end, I just didn't find what I was hoping for. 

(Ikea- Ektorp)

IKEA - The every popular Ektorp sofa. At $399 and $49 for a replacement cover, you just can't beat the price. I will say this, I went in thinking it was going to be really uncomfortable. I remember sitting on the floor display a number of years ago and thinking "what the heck, its like I'm sitting straight on the plywood." Well I am happy to report it was not as I remembered it! We found ourselves thinking it was "ok" could be our sofa in a secondary room and it would do the job, but we wouldn't "love" it. Does that make sense?  It for sure didn't have a feel of quality, but it could get the job done and get us through a couple of years AND save us a boatload of money 

 I have to say, I could tell straight away it was not a quality piece of furniture. But lets be real for $400, you are not going to get top of the line. If I had children and wanted a white slipcovered sofa, I would TOTALLY be buying the Ektorp. Sticky hands, juice cups and goldfish crackers need something that is not an 'investment' piece. And for the price, if the cushions break down and go flat after year two, you could but 4 more for the price of one better sofa. But if you want something to go the long haul, I am not convinced this one is it. 

(Crate & Barrel - Willow)

CRATE & BARREL - now for the reasons I chose the Willow. Maybe I am a little biased, as I have a Crate & Barrel sofa in my living room. I have had it for 6 years, and it still looks practically show-room new. It is micorfiber, which normally I am not a fan of, but chose it on a whim in a cream color. Truly, it is AMAZING how this thing cleans up. We have dropped BBQ sauce straight on it, and all I need is a paper towel and a few squirts of Windex (who knew?) and it is 100% gone.  You would never know a baby back rib was just face-down on my cream colored sofa. The down-wrapped cushions have still retained their shape nicely, too. So where I am going with this, is that C&B has proven to me the quality of their craftsmanship and materials. 

When the hubs first sat in the Willow, his words were "Oh, this one feels good." It was the first time I heard that! The cushions are down-wrapped...enough to make it comfortable, but not so much that you get that 'sinking' feeling. They are supportive in all the right places. The size was right, and the tall arms I didn't think I would like...well I LOVE them! Perfect for snuggling in with a pillow or to use as an arm rest. For a shorter person, maybe they wouldn't work so well, but I am 5'11 and the hubs is 6'2 so we found them to be perfect!

The cover is exactly what I was looking for. Snowy white, it has a nice weight to it...and I of course ripped it off so I could turn it inside out and inspect it. VERY well sewn. Heavy stitching, nice straight lines. It surpassed all my tests! 

Another thing I loved about the C&B sofa - it is made 100% in the USA, North Carolina to be exact. I try to be conscious of that as much as I can. It is also is "bench made" which means the same man in the factory that builds the solid wood frame, it also the guy that makes the cushions and sews the slipcover. Love that. 

The price is high, I can't hide that fact. Not on sale, it is $1799. Gulp. But, in this case I really feel is is the best decision for us. I know it is not for everyone...and that is why it is such a great thing to have an affordable alternative like the Ektorp. 

So there you have it. 9 stores, and many...many white slipcovered sofas! I am so glad that process is over, and I can't wait for April 9th to get here so it can be delivered and I can sink in and enjoy it!

Tune in Monday if you would like the review of the 'vinyl faux wood floor we installed!


  1. I totally know how you feel about the hunt for a white slipcovered sofa - except here in Dubai, there's not a lot of choice!! I used to have the Ektorp and it was fine - didn't LOVE the comfort of it, but for the price, it worked well for us and having an extra cover kept it looking sharp. We sold it before moving to Dubai so the hunt began.

    I originally wanted the Carlisle from PB but the location here only carries a limited selection of PB stock so out of luck. The only reason we didn't buy the C&B one that you got was that we didn't like the tall, square arms (but then, I'm only 5'4" so that's probably why).

    We ended up ordered the Linden from Laura Ashley and chose a natural linen upholstery. They don't offer slipcovers for it, so I'll be tacking sewing one up myself once I get the covers done for my 2 leather chairs.

    Glad you found one you love and hopefully will continue to love for many years!

  2. Good for you! It is beautiful and I so appreciate all your helpful research. I love that my daughter-in-law does that too. Like I said the Extorp is perfect for me with kids on it and cats around but this is good for me to know in case I ever decide I want to do something else one day (when the kids are older and the cats pass on--haha! Enjoy!

  3. I really appreciate this review! We've been debating if we should make the drive from Nashville to Atlanta to check out the Ikea Ektorp and the PB Outlet. After someone's comment on your last post, I checked out Surefit and ordered damask slipcovers for the sofa and loveseat I already have. If for some reason they don't work, I'll know to revise my shopping plans. Thanks! Robin

  4. I love that you did all the homework for us! But I know those arms would bug me yet I love the lines of it. I am so impressed with your search and scoping all the details! It sounds like it is the perfect choice for you! The hubs and I bought a GIGANTIC sofa right after we got married...when we lived in North Carolina. It is so comfy but like you said...the pillows are squished and out of shape. I am constantly plumping the heck out them before we have guests. I don't think I will go with loose pillows for the back next time either. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  5. I absolutely dislike shopping for any kind of furniture at all. First, we are limited in the shops that carry furniture here. There's no IKEA, Crate & barrel, or Pottery Barns here. And finding functional, comfortable, nice looking furniture is almost worse than a visit to the dentist. And don't get me started on the lack of decent recliners (which my husband insists on having). I've never figured out why furniture makers don't include recliners to match their sofas, couches, etc.

    OK so after rant, I'm so glad you settled on a sofa. It's lovely and I know you will be happy with it for years to come.

  6. How great you found a sofa that you both love...and aren't those arms cozy...I really like them on my sofa.

  7. I think you made the right choice and I can't wait to see it in the new space! I bought our sofa from ethan allen about 15 years was a floor model on deep discount...had it reupholstered once and will do it again!

  8. Looks like a great choice! I have sofa envy now...kinda wishing I would have waited to get a better sofa than the Ektorp, but with little Maggie it's probably a good idea for now!

  9. I was set to get the PB basic but hadn't seen it yet in person. Taking hubs to the mall to sit on it. I guess I am going to checkout crate and Barrel too...although I promised him I would stay below a certain price point and the C&B is over.... oooops~

  10. I think you made the right choice, Mary!

  11. great choice!! I personally love the straight arms! So classic!

  12. I think it's a good choice...that's the one I liked. It has a nice, clean look :)

  13. Yay for you! MAkes so much sense why this one works for you! I am wanting Restoration Hardware's slipcovered sofa - for a lot of reasons. And it's price tag is almost double the one you got!!! Ouch! But it is for our main room. Someday...!

  14. Lovely choice!!! Sometimes in pay for what you get:)

  15. I'm glad you found what you were looking for! I didn't know Crate & Barrel carried this and I was doing a lot of searching myself last year. I finally decided on the slip covered sofa that Walter E. Smithe carries {they are just in the Chicago area and suburbs}. It's perfect in every way, I could sleep on it every night! A little pricey but a nice investment. Glad you are happy!


  16. Great critique . . . I value it and may be off to do some shopping! Thanks a bunch!

  17. yes, one must be picky about the sofa - its such an important piece! Sorry I missed the post where one could weigh in on choices...I've had my Ballard Designs sofa for 15 years and it is still in great shape - just bought a new slipcover for it since the previous one was looking a little faded...I like that it has deep seats so plenty of room for lounging
    I'm sure you'll be enjoying your sofa - good job!

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your search for a sofa, I am have been slowly going white in my living room and had been looking for sofa's online and trying to find just the right one. You have made that search so much easier now, thank you so much.

  19. Sofa comfort is so important. I'm pickier than sin too about higher cost things. Actually, I fuss over a loaf of bread too so what am I talking about?! This is good to know. I want a small sofa for another room and you possibly just saved me some leg work. The Willow is beautiful. I agree, PB furniture is too tiny for me let alone a dude.

  20. it's really pretty! i have the PB white slipcovered one but it's in the LR not in the family room that we use everyday so it's been fine. i love the look of this one though it's great! we don't have a crate and barrel so it's harder when you can't try it out. have a great weekend!! susan

  21. it is very pretty mary. good choice. i always have a hard time choosing something that is going to be with you for a while. i want to make sure i chose right.

  22. So happy you found what you wanted in an American made piece....good for you and the economy. Offshore goods are killing the North American furniture business. But like you say, the price point of the Ektorp and the look is incredible.

  23. I'm back... lol... cause I am in the midst of a new couch hunt... so when you say "snowy white"... does that mean more cream colored? Is it still a true white? I have other slip covered whites in the room that are true white.. so I am wondering? Is the willow a different shade than the PB or Ikea white denim?? TY

  24. I'm looking for a white slipcovered sofa, too, and so far the Willow is my fave. It is supremely comfortable. I just wish it would go on sale! I can't remember who the manufacturer was of the Willow, but C&B has another white, slipcovered sofa available that looks more like the Ektorp that's made by Lee Industries. It's also very nice, but smaller than the Willow.

  25. Hi! Great Choice! I'm getting the "Willow" too because our current slipcovered sofa is almost identical to this one. I'm sure you discussed how to best launder the slipcover? The sales person said to launder it in a front loading washer only and preferably a LARGE one. Top-loading agitators are hard on slipcovers apparently; however, I've been washing ours (which I made), and it hasn't damaged it. Over use has, but the washer is innocent '-)! Enjoy!

  26. Hi, I just found these posts and find them very helpful although i don't know how old these are! I was just about to order the Pottery Barn Comfort Slipcovered Sofa but am wondering now if I should look at Crate and Barrel. I am buying this for a small beach house so love this look. The Willow at C&B happens to be on sale right now which is a good thing! The only difference is the PB sofa gives you the option of rolled or straight arms (I had been planning rolled) and it looks like C&B is just straight. Also, Pottery Barn has many choices of fabrics and colors. I had been planning on the Washed Linen/Cotton in Ivory. Not sure if the C&B will be too stark white for me. Also need to find one to sit on and compare comfort. Any comments or suggestions anyone can offer? Thanks!

    1. I'm curious what you decided! I'm having a similar debate! Thanks! - Jeff


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  30. I am considering the Willow and wondering how it has held up. I've read some online reviews about the fabric fading in just a few months and even some problems with the frame.

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  33. I know this post is old but I want to add my 2 cents about the PB Comfort Sofa. DO NOT BUY! I have had two in my living room for about four years.I've been good about fluffing, plumping, and rotating the cushions but they started looking sad and dilapidated almost as soon as we got them. Never again!

  34. I know this post is old but I want to add my 2 cents about the PB Comfort Sofa. DO NOT BUY! I have had two in my living room for about four years.I've been good about fluffing, plumping, and rotating the cushions but they started looking sad and dilapidated almost as soon as we got them. Never again!