A Minimalist Facelift For An Aging Sofa

A few days of rest was enough to remind me why I chose the structure of 100 things a day. I can’t believe how easy it is to do absolutely nothing while looking (and feeling) busy. I take that back. I’m a Mom. Meals were made, homework was done, clothes were laundered, groceries were bought, play dates were supervised, Christmas crafts were attempted and skateparks were visited.

In fact, when I sat down to write this. There was a mass protest from all three of my boys (Squirrel included):

But, you’re finished!

They seem to like me without three bags hanging off my wrist.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, it’s so easy to lose sight of your goals when you’re the epicentre of a busy family. I wanted to drop off the rest of the clutter, list the remaining items on craigslist, clean the house, redecorate etc. etc.

Instead I focussed on what kind of throw pillows would look best on the couch in the family room. Granted I needed a bit of a rest after purging 10,000 things, but I did not need to spend 10,000 hours imagining how a carefully chosen pillow would transform our lives for the better.

Minimalism? It didn’t occur to me until later to listen to my own advice. On Day 43, I vowed not to buy anything I wouldn’t want to maintain forever. That probably doesn’t include chartreuse throw pillows.

So, I reevaluated where exactly I was going with my endeavour and I realized I was trying to transform a much-loved, comfortable, middle-aged sofa with lots of life left in it, into a fresh young thing out of the pages of Architectural Digest.

Here it is:

clean light coloured leather

Does’t Squirrel look comfortable?

I realized that toss pillows weren’t going to solve my problem and that what I really wanted was a new sofa, exactly the same as this one, but cleaner. I knew what I had to do:

I wiped it down with water with a drop of dish soap in it. It looks much better but I’ve since learned that using a water based leather cleaner is more effective on light coloured leathers. I may give it a second go round before my friends arrive in December.

Until then, I’ve rethought my throw pillow dilemma through the eyes of a minimalist. What would we use the pillows for? Battling each other and tossing them on the floor (the boys). Lying down to watch TV and propping up the laptop (Squirrel and I).

So, what we really need is two good quality pillows in a soft but durable, washable fabric that I can see myself maintaining forever. And, I decided to go with a neutral colour because what really makes this couch special is the view outside the window.

As you can see, my photography skills haven’t gotten any better. I’ll post another photo when I make my pillow decision. In the meantime, has anyone had any success cleaning light coloured leather?

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7 thoughts on “A Minimalist Facelift For An Aging Sofa

  1. Firstly, that view is astonishing. I think I’d put my bed there, my dining table, and pretty much everything.

    Secondly, I completely understand the throw pillow dilemma. A couple months ago we got rid of two because they kept getting used as napkins by toddlers. Then I realized that the other throw pillows were more often found on the ground than on the couch. Off they went too. Now, we are throw pillow-less. The Hubs thinks we just look poor now. I love not having to clean & pick up any more damn throw pillows.

    Finally, I’m with you over pining over a new couch. We HATE ours–a handed down sectional that is not our taste in the least bit. At least you have a gorgeous couch with great lines!! Good luck in the cleaning!

    • It’s a 10 year old Ikea couch, and despite the grime, we love it. In fact, we’ve bought three couches in our married life and this is the only one we’ve been truly happy with. It seats six comfortably and the leather is indestructible. I recently moved it up from the living room (where I was hiding it) to the main family room in full view because it’s so comfortable. I sure hope I can clean it up a bit more and resist buying throw pillows, I mean napkins, to cover it up!

  2. Holy Moly! Where do you live? I think I’d just forget the furniture and stay outside all day!

    Personally, my house is decorated with a late 20th century garage sale theme. I figure that with 4 cats who sometimes have difficulties distinguishing between couch and scratching post… why bother?

    • I live in Deep Cove. It’s in North Vancouver, BC. And I haven’t always appreciated it. My Squirrel has lived here all his life. About 12 years ago he bought property here. I call it the manic depressive place because in summer, it is the most beautiful place on earth and we all walk around with smiles plastered all over our faces. Then it rains straight through from fall to spring and we all consider moving.
      At least you have your priorities straight with the cats and furniture. This leather couch is the only one our cat didn’t scratch. Bless her.

  3. Beautiful view. Sorry to hear about the dreary winters, though. I’ve lived through many Montreal winters, and as painfully brutal as they are, at least the sun comes out. Now I live in the land of foggy winters and the lack of sun really does get to you quite quickly.

    We have a very similar looking couch, and I have to admit we don’t clean it. I guess we’ll have to some day!

    We have throw pillows that came with the couch and they mostly get shuffled from the couch to the floor and back again. I do enjoy actually using them here and there, which is why I keep them, but I think that they add nothing visually.

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