In our home, and in our main living areas, we have two couches.
One is in the living room:
The other is in the family room:
And both are very light in color.
What we also have are four children:
(Aren’t they cute?! Taken on the first day of school last week)
A question I am asked often is “how does your light couch hold up with the kids?“.
It’s a great question.With an active family and messy kids and regularly having guests over, you would think choosing light couches would be a problem. However, we have not found this to be the case at all.
With an active family and messy kids and regularly having guests over, you would think choosing light couches would be a problem. However, we have not found this to be the case at all.
A couple of thoughts before I get all bossy on you and tell you how we make the light couches work for our family:
First, let me start by saying I prefer a light-colored sofa mainly because of aesthetics. A couch is often the largest piece in a room and keeping it neutral and light works well with my decorating style. I like that I can switch out throws or pillows to change the look seasonally and with how dark it can feel around here in the winter, it is nice to keep the furniture bright to offset the gloominess.
Second, many people proclaim their love of white slipcovers because they can be thrown in the wash and bleached. Our two couches are not slipcovered, so we don’t have that luxury of easy cleaning, but they are both nice quality upholstery with stain-treatment. I still declare my love for each one and would choose them again if given the option.
Third, these are our everyday couches and get a lot of use.
The tufted couch was previously in our great room in the old house where it was the main couch in the house (see it here). It now sits in the living room where we use it much less, but is still a go-to for bedtime reading or weekend video game playing.
Our family room couch is where the kids mainly hang out, where we gather with friends, where we watch shows and movies. It is the comfiest big sectional I’ve ever sat in and we love cozying up on it.
All to say, these couches were conscious design choices, are regularly used and still two of my favorite purchases we’ve made.
So now for how we manage to keep them nice looking, while also living …
RULES FOR LIVING WITH KIDS AND A LIGHT COUCH
No food or drinks
Forts can happen elsewhere
Sorry, puppy. You have to stay off.
I sound so mean with these rules, but I’m telling you, they work.
We generally take our shoes off in our house, so that one isn’t a big deal for the kids (or us). Since we live where it is rainy and shoes track in dirt and mud, we typically have the kids take them off at the door. Keeping them off the couch helps reduce the risk of dirt stains.
Since the kids were babies, we’ve always had a ‘stay in the kitchen’ rule when eating. I think this is the number one way to keep the furniture in good shape. Little crumbs and spills are inevitable and kids (at least mine) are messy eaters. Instead of fighting it, we just say no food or drinks allowed. When they are watching a movie and want popcorn, I’ll either lay down a few blankets over the couch or just have them sit on the floor to eat it. I’m slightly protective of the furniture, but it seems to be working :)
As for the fort-making, we reserve that for their bedrooms and the playroom. These downstairs couches are nice pieces of furniture that we want to have for a long time. As much as we value creative play, we also want to teach the kids about taking good care of our things. In our old house, we had a broken-in couch in the playroom that they were welcome to jump on, toss the cushions around, build forts out of. In this house, we have a kid hangout space on the third floor with a couch they can be harder on. So we’re all about providing spaces for the kids to be kids (their bedrooms, third floor, outside) and okay with keeping some places in the house just for regular living.
P.S. I felt the same way about toys when the kids were much younger and even now have a general rule that most toys stay upstairs or outside. It’s a weird balance between giving the kids the run of the house and finding ways to have kids and adults live happily together. Did you happen to see my Instagram story video of the third floor literally covered in legos? Or the time when Ryan bought a case of duct tape and the kids had cardboard all over the family room? This is absolutely a reality in our house. Of course we are a very normal family with a million legos and sports equipment, nerf guns, craft supplies and baby dolls. Those things edge their way into our living areas and we can be super flexible and accommodating to their creativity. And also? I want my house to be clean and orderly so I can function. So we work to find a balance.
And as for pets, we don’t let ours up on the furniture. Plenty of people we love are couch-pet snugglers, but it’s not our thing. Atlas, our big hairy labradoodle, keeps to the floor.
So, yes. You can live with kids – and a dog! – and a light couch. It takes some conscious decision-making (are we okay with shoes on the couch? do we like to eat on the couch?) and a mildly protective nature, but it is totally doable and enjoyable and a light couch looks great in almost any room :)
Anything you’d like to add? Do you agree or disagree with our family’s approach to keeping the house nice? I’d love to chat about it!