4 Reasons Designers Say You Should Stop Buying White Sofas

Let's face it: they're pretty, but are they practical?

A white sofa in a beachy casual living room

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As trendy as we want to be, we sometimes have to face the harsh reality that our best intentions don’t work out the way they’re supposed to. And for so many people—designers, home staging experts, and everyday consumers alike—the white sofa was exactly the ‘thing’ that didn’t exactly go as planned. 

White sofas are beautiful, yes. But in a statement piece of furniture—and in a piece of furniture that actually gets used day in and day out—it doesn’t quite make sense. 

Yet, we’re falling for it because of, well, *aesthetics.* 

However, designers are putting their foot down on this trend and calling them a thing of the past. We talked to some designers to find out why.

  • 01 of 04

    White Sofas Are Just Impractical

    A white couch in a white living room

    Nicole Peacock / EyeEm / Getty Images

    “White is such a clean and crisp color and can add a fresh look to any living space in your home,” says Andrew Griffith, Owner of Garden Furniture. “When it comes to white furniture, however, that is a thing of the past. White sofas, in particular, should be avoided.”

    Griffith argues that so many of us have pets, kids, or busy schedules. That means it just doesn’t make sense to have such an important (and well *loved*) item be white.

    “Most families need a low maintenance couch that is easy to clean, but at the same time, does not need to be frequently cleaned,” Griffith says, “Therefore a white sofa does not make sense as they show dirt, grime and hair more so than other color couches and need to be cleaned regularly.”

  • 02 of 04

    They Don’t Really Add to the Space

    A white sofa in a white-washed space

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    White sofas are impractical, but beyond that, they don’t add must visual appeal, either.

    In the past, the monochromatic was all the rage… and white was preferred because it blended into the background, creating a softer, crisper, and perhaps even cleaner look. Now, as design trends shift to more statement colors, a white-washed space is far less appealing.  

    “White couches can wash out the color in a room if not decorated appropriately,” Griffith argues, “Darker color couches are more in style as they bring a luxurious feel to a living space and make it warm as opposed to the cold feeling of a bright sofa."

    When picking a couch, try to stick to a darker or a more neutral color palette," he suggests, "Use white as accents such as pillows or throws, as opposed to the main color.”

  • 03 of 04

    They’re Expensive to Clean and Maintain

    A white sofa in a modern living room

    Robert Daly / Getty Images

    It goes without saying that if you’re investing in a white sofa, you’re also investing in the cost to upkeep it. This means anything from dry cleaning the fabric each time there’s a spill (which, by the way, is the only option for white sofas) or, like Alessandra Wood, VP of Style at Modsy, suggests, getting a slipcover to (at least) keep messes from ruining the fabric.  

    Wood also cautions about dyes from clothing and how the dyes can transfer to the fabric even when you’re sitting. It’s best to opt for a slipcover for that reason—and then wash and dry clean the cover often to maintain the ‘crisp’ feel.

  • 04 of 04

    They’re Honestly a Visual Nightmare

    A white sofa in a farmhouse-style living room

    Artjafara / Getty Images

    Okay, so beyond the white-washed vibe and the fact that cleaning your white sofa will always be a project, you have to keep in mind that regardless of the steps you take, you may not get the *visual appeal* you originally thought you would.   

    Amira Johnson, Interior Designer at Emerald Doors, shares her insight. “If [the fabric of your couch is] stained, it can be extremely hard to remove from the sofa fabric and the sofa will never look as good as when you bought it," she says.  

    "You’ll also have to watch out for cracks," she says.

    The more you have to wipe down or wash the surface, the more visible these cracks will be—and they’re already more noticeable on the lighter colors.

However, Johnson does give us a little encouragement if we think we’re still partial to the white vibe. “At the end of the day, purchasing a white sofa should depend on your personal preference,” she says. “While it may not suit some lifestyles, if you are willing to put in extra work keeping it clean, there is no reason you shouldn’t buy one."

A good rule of thumb that she suggests is to consider your couch like your denim. "If you are not comfortable purchasing and wearing white denim on a regular basis," she says, "[Then] you should probably steer clear of purchasing a white sofa.”