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Sofas - if not brown leather, then WHAT?!

(30 Posts)
CoffeeMum Thu 09-Jun-11 10:52:25

I can't deny that with small children and pets, the lure of the brown leather sofa is very strong. But the widespread criticism of them on here, and the fact that everyone i know seems to have them does put me off slightly. However, i do wonder if it's the only realistic option with children and pets. I've heard it said that fabric sofas are good in that you can wash the covers - but what about the arms where there is no cover to remove if you see what i mean? Won't they end up especially battered and grubby?

Please talk to me about practical alternatives to the brown leather sofa! Thanks very much smile

Laquitar Thu 09-Jun-11 11:40:59

Brown leather sofas are fab, dont listen to others grin

I had an IKEA fabric one with washable covers but ended up removing them and washing them every few days. And you need to have second cover for when this one is drying. The hassle and the cost of washing/drying was too much. If you are clean freak there is only one solution imo, leather sofa.

supadupapupascupa Thu 09-Jun-11 11:42:21

brown leather sofa all the way. there's a good reason they are so popular

GrendelsMum Thu 09-Jun-11 11:42:35

We've got a brown leather sofa (Laura Ashley), a fabric sofa (Sofa Workshop) and two fabric chairs (John Lewis).

The fabric sofa has removable covers on the arms, so you can wash those too. The thing we have noticed with the sofa is not stains (no stains I can think of), but that the piping on the seat cushions has worn badly just where people put their legs. Oddly enough, the leather sofa, which I thought would be tough, has a conspicuous ring where someone put a mug down on it, and has got quite visibly scuffed by cats' claws. The fabric ones have had the cats go at them, but it's less visible. However, I'm aiming for the leather sofa to look 'distressed' and 'antique' in 10 years time or so, so I just put the stains down to the distressing process. The chairs were so expensive that I hover over them like a mother chicken, and prevent small children from going near them.

angel1976 Thu 09-Jun-11 12:03:49

We got a fabric sofa about 4.5 years ago from a very poncey expensive shop in London. This was pre-DCs. We have had two boys since and both under 4 so you can imagine that our sofa has taken a bit of a battering. To be fair, we love that sofa, it's really comfortable and it's low so the kids seem to slide off it as opposed to hitting the ground with a thud. And in a moment of unexpected genius, we went for a very fine and subtle stripey design made with threads of different textures and colours (there's brown, green, red, grey and white in there!). It's just pure genius as no stain show on it EVER! And we have had pee, tea, wine, food all over it... We will go for fabric anytime as it is so much more comfortable than leather but choosing the right design/fabric is key. Will try to post a photo of it.

thaigreencurry Thu 09-Jun-11 12:08:36

I'm quite happy with my brown leather sofas, when we are past the spilling drinks and projectile vomiting stage I would like to buy some lovely grey fabric ones but for now they suit family life perfectly.

7to25 Thu 09-Jun-11 12:29:36

We have a Laura Ashley sofa with removable covers. however I had a local firm replace these with aubergine chenille covers. We also have arm caps on top or these.
I have six children and they are brilliant. We have had the covers three years and they are fantastic! they are very dirt-friendly yet look good at all times because of a slight stiffness in the fabric.
Honestly the best money I ever spent.

CoffeeMum Thu 09-Jun-11 18:34:32

Thanks for your replies - sorry for late return to the thread. You know, you all speak alot of sense about the brown leather sofas....they do just seem to make sense don't they? The idea of washing sofa covers just makes me feel very, very tired. Hadn't even thought about the fact you'd probably need a second set while the first set washed - and it's such a bugger putting covers on and off isn't it? like the tip about getting a fabric where the pattern doesn't show stains, but i know in my heart i am a plain sofa lover really.

Okay, maybe the answer is to do brown leather sofas while the DC are pre-schoolers, and aim for them to last 10-15 years until the DC are about to leave home. THEN buy the gorgeous, expensive investment sofas. God knows, it'll take us that long to save up for them wink

Thanks for the advice smile

kbaby Thu 09-Jun-11 22:32:06

We've always had cream leather sofas with 2 dc and cats. Even though It's cream a quick wipe with a baby wipe once a month to clear off greasey hand prints, chocolate etc is all that's needed. The only prob is that after 9 years our old one started to look yellow.

The fabric one we have in a spare room gets clawed by the cat all the time.

I'd say if you don't fancy brown have a think about cream.

PigletJohn Sat 11-Jun-11 11:54:48

I find leather sofas particularly unpleasant on bare skin in warm conditions.

lucyspangle Sun 12-Jun-11 09:19:02

I too vote for chenille fabric sofas.Have had two lots Sofa workshop and more recently Next.Multiple spills nothing shows I have choosen a sort of biege/caramel tone but with quite pronounced weave to the chenille.Honestly I am a domestic failure a quick wipe down with babywipes is all they get.

Have leather in the dining room and noone will sit on the sofas without a throw.Cold in winter and sticky in summer.

Fabric for me.

ninah Sun 12-Jun-11 09:23:04

what the hell is wrong with brown leather sofas? and would you really let something you read on tinternet put you off buying something you wanted? blimey!

cybbo Sun 12-Jun-11 09:24:36

I'm going for grey felty fabric next time I buy a sofa

Try and get that dirty, you divvels

narmada Sun 12-Jun-11 14:02:08

I was just saying to DH last night how despite having 2 kids we are not having a bloody brown leather sofa when we move into our new house. YOu can get stain resistant materials or materials that don't show up as many stains.

You know how us kids of the 70s all grew up with those browny-orange tweedy-looking sofas? Brown leather are their modern-day equivalent, I reckon.

herhonesty Sun 12-Jun-11 19:35:29

agree with narmada. done to death imho BUT if you want one, buy one! dont listen to MN..

howdidthishappenthen Sun 12-Jun-11 19:38:47

John Lewis current brown leather Chesterfield is ready roughed up and sooooo comfy. It converted me to chesterfields ( which inalways found slippery and cold before). Try it, you'll love it.

notsogoldenoldie Sun 12-Jun-11 20:23:41

I've got charcoal grey sofa and chairs from sofa sofa. They are sort of textured, and treated with repellent. They cost £700, including delivery and treatment. I love them, as they are squarish without being lumpy, and ever so comfy if you like a firm sit. Model - Cardiff.

Otherwise, I'd go for chesterfields as they are not so slippery as ordinary leather. They last for ever, but remember to check the holes for accumulated muck!!

ScaredOfCows Sun 12-Jun-11 20:40:30

Another vote for chenille here - we have dark blue sofas and chairs. We got them from sofa workshop around 10 years ago. They still look like new.

We have a brown leather sofa and chair in the conservatory and even though they are some kind of distressed leather, they have not aged well at all - about 4 years old.

CoffeeMum Tue 14-Jun-11 09:28:38

Thanks very much for further replies....hmmm, i'm all confused now! I totally agree, it does seem insane to factor the opinions of internet folk into my choice of sofa. But the internet folk are actual people with valid opinions too - and often rather good ones! The fact that SO many people on here seem to despise them just does make me a bit concerned. Having said that, i'm still quite keen, and of course, at the end of the day, it will be our decision. Anything else would be madness! But, it's still a big purchase, and i want to be sure about it.

Cream leather would be lovely i'm sure, but it does smack of a clean minimalist home that i'm not sure i'd be able to achieve, and i don't think it would go with the furniture we already have - but a good thought, thank you.

Interesting about the comfort factor - don't think it would bother me though. I'm normally so happy to collapse on the sofa when i get the chance that it's bliss anyway. And i'm not one for lounging nekkid on the sofa, so can't imagine that'll be a problem grin

So, those of you who have gone the fabric route, with success, would your sofas REALLY cope if your toddler had a poo-accident on them, or someone dropped red wine on them, or your cats were sick on them? Really and honestly?

Thanks again for replies smile

ScaredOfCows Tue 14-Jun-11 13:56:44

To answer your last question, our chenille sofas have had red wine spilt on them, also pasta sauce etc. It just wipes off. They were scotchguarded when new, but even so, I have been really impressed with their 'keep clean-ability'.

happymole Tue 14-Jun-11 14:06:18

Pre child I had very expensive fabric sofas in wait for it.....cream. Twas lovely and comfortable.

I still remember the moment I cracked grin

I had washed the covers even though i wasn't supposed to because dd (6 weeks) had pee'd on them, then the dog ran ion from the gardens with muddy paws, because i could stop it she managed to jump all over both.

I actually cried blush

I have chocolate leather now and honestly I wouldn't go back, they are very comfy (it is worth spending extra) and always clean and never small bad. Which to be honest with dogs and a child my other ones got a bit manky.

I find the sniffy they are common attitude a bit silly really. It's about being practical for me. Wooden floor and leather sofas mean my house always feels clean and is easy to do. That's my personal choice though, I wouldn't say someone with a fabric sofa was an idiot, because TBH I don't ponder on other peoples furnishings that much.

HTH smile

happymole Tue 14-Jun-11 14:07:57


<tragic memories of cleaning trauma has killed my spelling>

CoffeeMum Tue 14-Jun-11 16:12:18

This is it happymole - i'm just not very domestically capable and feel that life will be a great deal easier if we go for the leather sofas. At the end of the day, they are what i want really i think, just wanted to mull it over a bit and get a good range of opinions. Thanks everybody smile

happymole Tue 14-Jun-11 16:22:08

No worries grin

Honestly they have made my life so much easier i am hugely lazy

It's worth it just for when my dd sets a yogut flying and it takes me a second to clean up with a baby wipe.

yankeecandlelover Tue 14-Jun-11 19:13:41

I have three sets of different couches and chairs. Out of them all the brown leather couches are so easy to keep clean. They just wipe down and are really child friendly as ours are in the childrens den. Think alot of 'style' advice on mumsnet is by people who want to try and seem like they are posh or something grin

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