5 Family Friendly Sofas That Look Good Too

Nesting on 02.17.12
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Photo Credit: Pottery Barn

It's one of the most daunting tasks in creating a home-- right up there after actually finding the space and then signing the papers on your mortgage or lease-and is only made more difficult when you have children. That's right, finding a sofa that looks good, fits the entire family, and can withstand the wear and tear of crayons and juice boxes is an enormous task and a huge commitment because in case you haven't heard, they don't typically come cheap. But don't worry; I've narrowed down the options to give you some great options that are sure to suit your style and not have you freaking out when junior's chocolate-covered hands go dragging across your sofa.

1. White is Right

Ectorp Sofa
Photo Credit: IKEA

Before you click away from the story because you think I'm a lunatic for suggesting you get a white sofa while your children are small, hear me out. There are a few wonderful things about this IKEA Extorp Sofa in white. Besides the fact that it has a nice shape, particularly for cottage or farmhouse style home, it has slipcovers that are machine washable. While many slipcovers are machine washable, white ones are bleachable which makes them much more ideal for families than any fabric that is a color that can't be bleached or doesn't hide stains. Not only that, but this particular sofa is so reasonably priced that even if your kids do manage to ruin the fabric you won't be devastated, and you can buy a new slipcover for it for which start at only $50. In fact you might just want to pick one of them up when you buy the sofa to be on the safe side. (IKEA White Ektorp Sofa, $399)

2. Leather is Better

austin sofa
Photo Credit: Pottery Barn

One way to avoid stains on your new sofa is to get one that can easily be wiped down with little more than a wet cloth. A leather sofa is durable and sophisticated, and while it's not completely immune to damage it has a better chance of surviving the average mess than most fabrics. I like the Austin Leather Sofa from Pottery Barn for its beautiful cognac coloring, traditional styling, and even the turned wood legs that leave the underneath exposed which means that there won't be any lost crumbs that linger under the sofa for months. (Pottery Barn Austin Leather Sofa, $2,199)

3. Come to the Dark Side

piazza sofa
Photo Credit: CB2

Perhaps the only thing better than being able to bleach your fabric is being able to just have it hide every spill, and so going with a very dark fabric is also an excellent choice. Dark fabrics certainly still need to be cleaned, but that marker that lands on it ("It was an accident!") is certain to fade to black and not become the eyesore it would be on a medium to light colored fabric. Of course, a black sofa can often be a bit too severe in many of our homes, and that's why I love the Piazza Midnight Blue Sofa from CB2. Its low profile and deep seat make it perfect for the more modern home and great for lounging about as a family. (CB2 Piazza Midnight Blue Sofa, $1,299)

4. Get Busy

graham sofa
Photo Credit: Ballard Designs

For those who don't want to go white or dark, the best way to go with colors in between is do so with a pattern. Patterns can easily distract the eye from a spot here and there. When choosing a pattern, whether it be a stripe, floral, or graphic design, be sure there are some darker shades in the print and stay away from anything that is predominantly white or very light. The Graham Sofa in Tuscan Stripe from Ballard Designs offers a lot of colors to play off of and keeps the eyes busy without being overwhelming. (Ballard Designs Graham Sofa in Tuscan Stripe,  $2,123)

5. Bring the Outdoors In

catalina sofa
Photo Credit: Crate & Barrel

If you're looking for a sofa that can withstand even the harshest elements, consider an outdoor sofa for indoors. Outdoor fabrics are no longer stiff or rough on the skin like they once were and often they can't even be distinguished from indoor fabrics. However, these fabrics are fade and moisture resistant. The Catalina Sofa from Crate & Barrel comes in Sunbrella fabric and is perfect for a cozy couch with a touch of an industrial look as it comes on locking casters. This is also a fabulous feature for the family that frequently moves, likes to re-arrange, or just needs to make space when it's time to get your Wii on. (Crate & Barrel Cataline Sofa, $2,999)

Whether one of these sofas is right for you or you're going to continue your search, remember to steer clear of light colored shades, choose a durable fabric, and avoid things like tufted seats which are great dust and crumb catchers, but kind of a pain to clean. And when you are making an investment this big, make sure it is something you feel like you can live with for the next ten years or longer!

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