How We Choose : White Slipcovered Sofas

White Slipcovered SofasAfter posting our living room reveal, I’ve been getting lots of messages about the white sofa. I wanted to put the myth and rumors of white sofas to rest with a brand new ‘How We Choose‘ post… they look beautiful and don’t have to be a scary commitment. Trust me when I say, you’re not ‘throwing your money away’ when you purchase one, and I promise they do actually go with everything. I consider them one of the best investment pieces you can buy. Click through for a few Q&A’s…. as well as a giant roundup of my all-time favorites and tips for choosing one for your home. 


I’ll start with sectionals because they usually seem more intimidating to purchase. Here’s the thing about sectionals… you don’t want your living room to look like a bachelor pad or a frat house (at least let’s hope not)- the key to pulling off a sectional is to pair it with interesting textiles, side tables, and a coffee table large enough to anchor the size of the sofa.

White-Sofa-Living-RoomI have a theory that round coffee tables look best with sectionals because the sofa itself tends to look pretty boxy. It’s nice to add feminine curves and contrast to the rectangular shape. The same goes for textures. A white sectional in a gorgeous material really doesn’t look masculine at all, but if it were in leather- that’d be a totally different story.

White Slipcover Sectionals01: reese sectional // 02: slope arm sectional // 03: spruce street sectional // 04: willow chaise sectional // 05: square arm sectional

My sectional is #5… the small square arm number from Pottery Barn, in white denim. It’s durable and I have zero regrets.


In general, buying a sofa seems like a big commitment. Most likely, you’ll have to live with your decision for years to come. Sort of daunting, right? It doesn’t have to be! I always recommend nailing down your style first. I like to determine the style based on the arm shape. Here’s a little cheat sheet…

  • petite arm = chic
  • rounded arm = transitional
  • slope arm = feminine, yet modern
  • square arm = modern, and a little masculine
  • english arm = super traditional
  • soft curved arm = feminine

Just because an arm is of a certain style doesn’t mean it won’t pair well with a contrasting aesthetic. For instance, my square arm sofa might be modern and a touch masculine when it comes to shape, but it goes really well with my mid century coffee table and feminine textiles. You just have to make sure the aesthetic is reflected elsewhere in your home, so it doesn’t feel out of place. Make sense?

Sofa Arm StyleI’m breaking down LOTS of different sofas, all by arm style below:

Petite Arm Slipcovered Sectionalspetite arm style sofas: 01: oliver sofa // 02: spruce sofa // 03: la jolla sofa // 04: madison sofa

A white slipcovered sofa with a petite arm feels very chic and glam. This arm style almost has a delicate feel to it. I’d pair this look with a linen or natural material that looks more casual.

Rounded Arm Slipcover Sofasrounded arm style sofas: 01: gables sofa // 02: cameron sofa // 03: everton sofa // 04: orleans sofa // 05: katrina sofa

Rounded arm styles are an easy choice for transitional homes.

White SectionalThey can blend in well with traditional decor, as well as with a modern aesthetic.

Slope Arm Slipcover Sofasslope arm style sofas: 01: farlov sofa + bemz slipcover // 02: york sofa // 03: jocelyn sofa // 04: antwerp sofa

Also, when you’re selecting a sofa, in addition to comfort, seat height, back height, and arm rests, consider how you like to sit. A large bench seat cushion can accommodate more people without it feeling awkward (nobody likes to sit on the crack). If you opt for a sofa with multiple seat cushions, you generally want to think of one person per cushion. The slope arm styles above show perfect examples!

I also wanted to point out a brand that makes designer slipcovers for IKEA pieces (#1). We considered doing this when we first moved in. Have you guys heard of Bemz? I’ve mentioned them before.

Square Arm Slipcover Sofassquare arm style sofas: 01: york square arm sofa // 02: buchanan sofa // 03: pb comfort sofa // 04: william sofa // 05: harmony sofa // 06: lounge sofa

My sofa has square arms. I like that they’re sturdy and modern, and have a very geometric shape. Square arms are a nice contrast to fluffy down pillows, and soft textiles.

Pillow on Sofa

English Arm Slipcover Sofasenglish arm style sofas: 01: pb english sofa // 02: carlisle sofa // 03: miramar sofa

The English arm style is uber traditional. It reminds me of old world beauty and gorgeous antiques. These options feel very glam and luxurious because of that.

Soft Curved Arm Slipcover Sofassoft curved arm style sofas: 01: fairchild sofa // 02: blakesley sofa // 03: tacoma sofa

You really can’t go wrong with a soft curved arm style. It’s a good compromise and always a safe bet for any style.


Q   &   A

Interested in hearing what it’s like to live with a white sofa? Check out the Q&A below…

Q: How often do you actually have to wash the slipcover?

A: That totally depends on your family and lifestyle, but here’s the honest truth… our home is under construction, we’re renovating, we eat 90% of our meals on the sofa (we currently have no indoor dining table), and the dogs are allowed up. I’m not a gross person, I swear. I’m actually the contrary… probably a little OCD / type A / neat freak. I wash our slipcover once every month or two. It stays really clean, I vacuum crumbs, and I lint roll dog hair a couple times a week (our dogs are non shedding).

Q: How do you wash /dry it?

A: It’s pretty easy… I wash the sofa in three sections (left, middle, and right). I could probably do it in two loads, but I like to make sure it gets really clean and isn’t crammed in our washer. I zip the covers prior to tossing them in the wash, I add one cup of OxyClean, laundry detergent, fabric softener, and the tiniest bit of bleach. I then set the washer to warm water on low to medium spin cycle. Once it’s finished washing, I toss it into the dryer on extra low for 10-20 minutes until it’s damp, but warm to the touch. I’ll put it back on the sofa while it’s still sort of damp and allow it to air dry the rest of the way… just to ensure it doesn’t shrink and stays true to size.

Q: How did you land on denim?

A: Denim is famous for it’s durability. It wears SO well. I like that it’s heavy duty, stands up to wear and tear, and still looks casual and relaxed (like a good pair of jeans). Dog nails are no match for it, and we even caught Finn on our doggie camera humping the cushion (terrible, I know), scratching them, and chewing them. Needless to say, he’s no longer allowed in the living room while we’re gone, just as a precaution, but he’s a 100 lb. dog and if he couldn’t puncture the fabric, that’s saying something. Here’s proof of what what he did to our old sofa.

Slipcover SofaQ: WHY white?

A: White is classic, timeless, and it literally goes with anything. It’s light and airy in the summertime, can be paired with pops of color for spring, and can be layered with plaids, checks, pillows and throws in the winter. If you’re non committal or scared to make an expensive furniture purchase, white is always a good answer. It’s not as overdone as gray, greige, or taupe, and can blend easily into any aesthetic or style. I was honestly sold after helping this client and shooting her living room. She has 4(!) boys, two dogs, and a husband and has had these gorgeous sofas for 5+ years. She totally convinced me.

Believe it or not- white actually hides dirt / pet hair / food better than darker colors like black or navy.

Q: Have you even spilled anything on it yet?

A: Duh. If you’ve met me, you know I can be clumsy. Here’s a list of things Emmett and I have already spilled on the sofa: red wine (yep, might as well start there), beer, spaghetti sauce, Chinese food (general tsao carryout sauce, ick), and orange juice… to name a few. Believe me when I say, you truly can’t even tell. With a little stain stick action, and regular washing, every single mishap has 100% been removed. I don’t even panic anymore when something spills.

Q: Is there any other maintenance?

A: I prefer a down or down blend sofa. They’re more comfortable, in my opinion. With any down product, it does require some fluffing and shifting from time to time. I’ll fluff the pillows every other week, and when I wash the slipcover, I’ll be sure to rotate the cushions so they wear evenly. I haven’t had any issues so far and it looks just like it did the day it was delivered.

Q: How did you convince your husband?

A: Ha! I’m not going to lie, it took a little bit to sell him on the idea. He still wasn’t 100% convinced when the sofa was delivered. I think it took the first time washing the slipcover to SHOW him (he likes scientific proof) that it’s tougher than it looks and will wear better than anticipated. That- and the dog camera evidence of Finn trying to destroy / hump the cushions.

Sofa Buying GuideDoes that help to clarify how to make a sofa purchase? Even if white or slipcovers aren’t for you, I hope there were some helpful style and materials tips you took away! Questions? I’m happy to help in the comments below.

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    Hi. I am considering a slip covered sofa. I like Pottery Barn’s Grand sofa in cream Twill or warm white denim. I have been looking at Wayfairs comparable sofa..Paez….it is so much less expensive. I want to save but not at the expense of decreased quality and looks. Not sure if the Wayfair Sofa will be as good.
    Thanks for your help.

    1. Typically when comparing products, I check the material first. It seems like the Paez has down cushions (a good thing) and has great reviews. It might be worth a try, honestly!

  2. Hi Sarah,

    Love this thorough rundown! I’ve been debating the York slope arm sofa for a few weeks now but have been nervous because several people have mentioned that Pottery Barn sofas sometimes don’t hold up so well over time.. It sounds like you’ve had the sectional York for a bit now though and feels like it has held up well, is that right??

    1. Hi Sarah, like any down sofa, you have maintain it. I love having a slipcover because the minute it starts to look dirty / sloppy, I can toss it in the wash. That also helps to tighten the fabric so it looks more tailored. I also fluff and rotate the cushions regularly so it wears evenly. We’ve had ours for over a year and it’s still doing great. Hope this helps!

  3. Clare Mukherjee says:

    Hi! I have a one year old and looking at the restoration hardware white slipcover belgian shelter arm….my ? is… i get in the perennials fabric that is stain repellant but not machine washable….I assumed I was better off getting a subrella/performance fabric but is it actually better to get white denim that i can repeatedly wash and bleach?! help!

    1. Hi Clare! Stain repellent or outdoor fabrics are specially engineered to withstand spills, fading, etc. With that being said, some of them can be washed or cleaned. I’d recommend getting a couple swatches of each from Restoration and testing them with spills. It’s a big investment and sometimes it boils down to what will be the most manageable. I love being able to throw a slipcover in the wash, but it definitely isn’t as durable as outdoor / stain resistant fabric. I haven’t had any trouble getting stains out (including red wine), but would it have been nice to not worry about the spill penetrating in the first place? Probably. I hope this helps! xox

  4. I love your decor and I really wanted to know what color is the wall? It’s almost sage or grey
    Id love to paint my living room the same color !

  5. Thank you Sarah!
    Maybe I can message you later for some insight
    So hard deciding on colors for the living room! I have a white sectional leather couch
    Dark wood tables
    And a dark brown leather arm chair
    And a blue splotchy area rug that has shades of blue gray and navy
    What colors would you chose ?!

  6. Tiffany Calloway says:

    Good Morning! Thank you for sharing your experience with the Denim in Warm White, that is what led me here!

    I was wondering how the fabric is holding up? I am thinking about the Pottery Barn Comfort slipcovered Grand Sofa in Denim,Warm white x 2. I received the swatch and love the stretch it has, the color looks great in my room. I have a dog and a 3 year old 😩 but I am a neat freak and do not mind washing the cushions! This will be my third replacement sofa with PB – first one was a performance tweed and it pulled/worn terribly, this one I have now is the performance twill, which I like but the covers didn’t hold up at all (was normal upholstered).

    I’m a bit paranoid 😬. Thank you!!

    1. I’m also picky and paranoid about that sort of thing, so no worries Tiffany! To answer your questions… the fabric is holding up wonderfully after almost 2 years. I’m currently washing the slipcovers once every 3 months. I also try to rotate the cushions so it wears evenly! My latest post with the sofa was probably this one, if you want to check out what it’s looking like these days: Hope this helps! xo

  7. hi there – how did you get the long cushion? their website shows all the teeny cushions…love the longer look better.

  8. Love the post! I’m considering white slipcovered sofas as an investment and these insights are so helpful!

    I did want to point out that mixing oxyclean and bleach at best results in neutralizing the bleach (making it less effective) and at worst can cause a violent/flammable reaction as oxygen gas is released quickly. —Please be safe and do not use these together! :)

    1. Thanks so much, Maria! I had no idea about the bleach / oxyclean combo. Thanks so much for sharing. xox

  9. Kellen Deady says:

    I know I am commenting on an old post BUT I love this black and white electric windmill picture – mind sharing where this is from? My boyfriend works on them and think it would be a great add to our new home!

  10. Kellen Deady says:

    You are awesome! Just stumbled on your blog and have been OBSESSED!

    1. Aw thank you so much!! So happy you’re here :) Thanks so much for reading! xo

  11. Hi Sarah! I just opened this post (I had pinned it for reference way back in 2017!) and saw that you recently responded to a new comment on it. So, I thought I’d ask how your sofa is holding up. :) We’re considering the PB York Slope Arm Slipcovered Sofa (in the Warm White denim… is that the exact color you have, or is yours a true white?), so I’d love an update on both the fabric and – more importantly – the sofa’s structure if you have a sec. :)

    1. Hi Julie, the sofa is still doing great. I wash it and fluff it regularly. Ours is indeed the warm white denim. You can see it photographed most recently in my basement post here. It’s holding up really well and is keeping its shape (although with any down furniture, it requires fluffing and rotating to help it wear evenly).

      1. Thanks so much for replying, Sarah! That’s so great to hear. I think the comfort of the down will outweigh the maintenance requirements. I’m awaiting fabric swatches, and then it’s game time! :)

        1. Woohooo!! So exciting!! :) Let me know if you have any more questions… happy to answer. xo

  12. Kathleen Harris says:

    Hi! I’ve been looking at the Montgomery 82” Charles of London sofa made by Klaussner of NC for $1,649.99. I inquired as to why the specifics stated the slipcover was not washable or cleanable. I mean, what’s the point if slipcovers, right?!!! Here’s what they replied— “We appreciate your patience while we located an answer regarding your question. Here is the response from the manufacturer:
    Washing the slipcovers can cause discoloration, shrinking, and unraveling.”
    The many reviews on this sofa were positive, including experiences of washing the slipcover. I suppose the manufacturer was just avoiding any claims against them?
    I think I’m going to try IKEA’s Farlof sofa with BEMS slipcovers in linen!

    1. Hi Kathleen! The manufacturer is definitely projecting themselves with that formulated response. In my opinion, slipcovers were meant to be washed- that’s the entire point! I haven’t had any issues with mine and it has been washed 50+ times. I would be cautious and take note of the material, to avoid shrinking. I feel like as long as you’re laundering the slipcover with care (not mixing colors, gentle cycle, etc), it should be fine. Unraveling on the inside of the cover can happen (ours has a bit of unraveling), but you can’t see it from the finished side. It’s just loose threads, that can easily be trimmed after the first wash. I hope this helps! BEMS makes some awesome slipcovers. Linen is an awesome choices, but it definitely more difficult to wash (watch for shrinking)!

  13. T Gillespie says:

    Do you recommend white or soft white for slipcovers? Also, do you recommend adding a navy color to the piping? I’m interested in slipcovering 5 pieces, but only putting the contrasting piping on one chair & ottoman.

    1. Sarah Gibson says:

      It totally depends on the aesthetic you’re going for, functionality (a home with pets or kids), etc.