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The Real Truth About White Slipcover Furniture

The Real Truth About White Slipcover Furniture

If you are in the market for living room furniture and considering white upholstery, you are going to want to read this post. Today, I am sharing my honest experience with white slipcover furniture.

During a time, long ago, my living room was comprised of an entirely white upholstery palette (documented in the photo below)…

my honest thoughts on white living room furniture

Observing this space, complete with not only a white couch but white arm chairs, one might conclude I was a glutton for punishment. What mother in their right mind would commit to such a daunting furniture selection? Well…

As I reflect back on that time (about four years ago), I  first would have argued that the slip-covered nature of my furniture alleviated any potential risk for disaster- if a spill or smudge were to occur, I could simply remove the slipcover and wash the item.

And while that logic has proven mostly true, you have to realize I was at a completely different place in my life when I first formulated that kind of logic….

You see…when I purchased my white Ikea Ektorp furniture almost five years ago, I only had one child (an infant who couldn’t walk to be exact). There was no way I could have foreseen just what horrible slobs fully functioning children truly are.

While it wasn’t too difficult to keep up with the stains with only one child, reality hit me pretty hard after the birth of my second son.

In fact, as soon as I returned home from the hospital with my second bundle of joy, I noticed a giant yellow stain on my once pristine, white couch (toddler urine I presume).

When I was finally able to address the matter and remove the slipcover to wash it, I was completely unsuccessful in my efforts. Neither bleach nor Oxy-Clean would remove that unsightly sucker as I had simply neglected the stain for too long. Don’t judge… I was a breastfeeding zombie with a newborn and a toddler to care for. In survival mode, my slipcovers were the least of my worries. 

When I finally emerged from my postpartum haze, I decided to replace the white slipcover on my couch with a safer, darker choice…

honest review of ektorp slipcovers

After three years of owning the Nordvalla Dark Gray slipcover for my Ikea Ektorp couch, I can honestly say that darker colors are so much easier to maintain. Converting to the grey slipcovers was actually one of the smartest design choices I have ever made.

So….what about the white slipcovers on the arm chairs?

my honest review of white ikea slipcover furniture

Given our couch receives the most use, our arm chair slipcovers have held up pretty well over the years and as a result, I decided to keep the white slipcovers in this zone.

Don’t get me wrong…unless they are freshly out of the washing machine, the arms are pretty much always dingy….

honest review of white ikea slipcovers

Nonetheless,  it’s something I can live with – mind you… pre-kid/OCD Erica would not have tolerated such an eyesore, but I have somewhat learned to pick and choose my battles. Come to think of it..exhaustion is a pretty legit cure for obsessive compulsive disorder.

To appear as less of a slob, if I know we are hosting company, I simply throw the slipcovers in the wash with a bleach/ Oxy detergent combo and all is well.

Unfortunately, after five years of abuse, the canvas fabric is starting to show its age. This devastating tear occurred the last time I washed the slipcovers…

review of white ikea slipcovers

The constant washing and stretching has finally taken a toll on the slipcovers (I am sure the strong use of bleach didn’t help matters either). As a result, I am now terrified of exacerbating the tear, and have come to settle for nasty a$$ arm chairs until I can figure out a plan b.

So…..what are my conclusions on white upholstered furniture??

Conclusion: My Honest Thoughts on White Slipcovers

Knowing what I do now, I would have gone with a leather sectional couch and accent chairs with darker, more forgiving upholstery. In a house full of rambunctious boys, my plate is already full with cleaning chores. Why complicate matters?

After five years of owning my Ektorp slipcovers, I can confidently say that white is not a good choice for my household or my relaxed lifestyle. Function over form, my friends!

I hope this review will help some of you avoid the hard-learned mistake I have had to come to grips with.

Now get out there and design some good vibes, babes!

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how my white ikea slipcovers are holding up after 5 years



My journey in interior design and home improvement began with transforming my first fixer-upper home, all while managing a budget and raising two young boys. My work, a reflection of my passion for creating beautiful, uplifting spaces, has been recognized by top publications like Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, HGTV, and more. I invite you to explore my site and witness the transformation of my home and the vibes we've designed.Read more...

ashley allen

Thursday 4th of April 2019

I've always wondered how these would hold up and I am glad you gave your honest opinion. I could honestly never see myself wanting to wash slipcovers or deal with my crazy perfectionist husband when it comes to the stains so we've steered clear. They look so beautiful in many homes but I think you're right, white couches and kids don't mix :)

Designing Vibes

Friday 5th of April 2019

You are one smart cookie, my friend! Wish I would have known better beforehand.


Wednesday 3rd of April 2019

I am so glad to read this! This is extremely helpful. I came upon your first review just now as we were thinking of getting two of the ektrop chairs in white. my dream has been white furniture but With 2 small kids and 2 small dogs I think we will go with the gray now!! Side note, I love those poofs - where did you find them?

Designing Vibes

Thursday 4th of April 2019

I am so glad you found this helpful, Audrey! White is a fussy choice with kids and pets for sure. I got my poufs off of a shop on Etsy. Here is the affiliate link where you can buy similar ones...

They do come without the stuffing (this is what makes them more affordable), but I have a post that shows how I stuffed mine...

Hope this helps! xoxo


Wednesday 3rd of April 2019

Aw, damn...I was hoping you were going to say GO FOR IT! I am considering for a house we are building at the beach...I love this look. Our kids are grown but we do have a small, spoiled dog that thinks he owns the couch and I do have a husband, so, yeah...

Designing Vibes

Wednesday 3rd of April 2019

haha! Yeah...dogs and husbands are almost worse than rugrats. Attempt the white furniture at your own risk. lol! In all fairness though, these slipcovers have had to endure 5 whole years of abuse. If you don't mind having to replace them every few years, then go for it (just know that it's a high-maintenance choice). Wishing you a fabulous rest of your week, Christine. :) Good luck!


Tuesday 2nd of April 2019

Thank you for your honest review. The broken seam fired up my desire to darn it immediately. If you have a sewing machine and some white thread you can fix that seam in half an hour or less. Good luck with your new leather furniture!

Designing Vibes

Tuesday 2nd of April 2019

Thank you so much for the tip, my friend. I am completely embarrassed to admit that I cannot sew. haha! Guess I should find someone to teach me. :) I am so happy to hear that you found this post helpful.