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A Cottage Style Couch Quest

July 23, 2021

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Trying to find a true cottage style floral sofa is not easy.

They aren't offered on the floor and most designers don't understand. 

So here we go again!

It seems like every time I head out to find decor for my home lately, it's disappointing.

And I have to say, it's starting to bug me.

Cottage Style Fabric Samples

I don't think I'm asking for too much.

A little charm.

A little whimsy.

A little cottage style flair.

But nope.

All I seem to rack up is a few hours of frustration.

And tons of reinforcement for my latest decor theory, that if you're not looking for cookie cutter decorating trends, you my friend, are out of luck.

Do you remember my wallpaper search about a year ago?

I was basically chastised in every store I entered.

I was told point blank that my style was outdated and outmoded. After weeks of visiting local shops, I was left wondering if country style was even still a style.

I've had the same experience searching for bisque appliances.

Good luck finding one of those. I was told they were passé when I first bought them over 20 years ago.

Imagine, beige. Outdated. Wow.

Now my latest quest has put my in front of the designer firing squad again.

Apparently, I'm a decor rebel. 

Simply because I want a new sofa with personality, lots of color, maybe even some flowers. But patterned sofas are most definitely out.

Calico Corners Floral Fabric Sample

And true mixed fabric cottage style ones are impossible to find.

Try to locate one online and the listings are all second hand.

Walk into a furniture showroom and you'll be surrounded by a sea of white slipcovers or microfiber.

And that's a giant no...something the salespeople don't understand.

Don't get me wrong. I currently have both.

The white slipcovered number is in the living room.

And the green microfiber is in the basement.

But trying to replace my beloved floral sofa in the family room is proving to be a very challenging prospect...and an expensive one at that.

Cottage Style Family Room with floral sofa

Since there's nothing that fits the bill in a ready made style, I'll have to go custom. A word that sounds pricey before we even get started. 

And it is.

I need a 94 inch sofa, something very deep and very comfy. Even at Pottery Barn, a store I used to work at years ago, the sofas were almost $2,700 for those specs. Yikes.

A cream colored, slipcovered style that I wasn't in love with for over three grand once we added tax and delivery. Um, no thanks.

Cream Colored Sofa and Ottoman

But that's what you find in most stores.

So like I said, custom.

However, now in addition to the sofa you have to pay for fabric.

Upholstery Fabric Choices on rods

Because let's face it, the couch styles are basically the same, for me, it's fabric that makes the difference. And therein lies the rub.

Most are boring.

Again, I was pushed toward white material or neutral solids and when I protested and asked for patterned fabric, I got that familiar wrinkled nose and disapproving look.

What's worse when I asked for cottage style, I was told, politely, that it wasn't in style anymore.

As if.

First of all, cottage style is a classic. It never goes out of style. 

And second, had these women, professional interior designers, not heard of cottagecore and the recent resurgence of granny style that was exploding everywhere?

Of course, I didn't feel the need to enlighten them, and I understand that they're just sales people, not the store's fabric buyers, but I guess I was less patient this time around, because my daughter said I was shooting off the no's at a rapid fire pace.

Shopping For Fabric, on floor comparing samples

Feeling defeated, as if no one understood my design vision and faced with the fact that these sofa prices didn't come with fabric and my couch would need at least 28 yards to cover...um hello... I left the showroom and went back online.

This time I decided that instead of worrying about finding the exact couch, I would focus on inspiration pieces. You know, ones that had the look I liked that I could show to the designers as a guide.

Ones with mixed cushion or patterned combinations, so I could get an idea of what fabrics I should be looking for and what style sofa caught my eye.

Did I want a skirt or feet?

Fringe, like on my absolutely impracticable with a spaghetti on the couch eating husband, dream sofa. Or not.

Two cushions or three. 

You get the picture. 

But again, after literally days of searching every corner of the internet, from high end showrooms - which by the way had tons of mixed pattern furniture - to Pinterest, I came up empty handed and abandoned ship.

Ralph Lauren Ashley Fabric Sample

That is where you found me on Tuesday. I had basically given up and began to focus on my other DIYs instead.

I worked on a Christmas in July post, added this new pillow to my covered porch, read a few chapters in my book and ate chocolate chip brownie bars while looking for something new to binge on.

For some reason, we've been very into old NBC comedies lately so when that Paul Reiser show Mad About You showed up on the featured Amazon Prime list, I bit.

The first episode was cute. Cute enough, that when the second episode came on, I kept watching.

This one was a little funnier. It was also a little more interesting because the main plot line involved shopping for a sofa. Hmmm. Sound familiar??

My husband had gone to bed by this time and my girls had also abandoned ship, so when I started stammering and yelling at the tv, at close to 1am, there was no one there to hear me.

Or share my joy.

It wasn't until I literally stood up and yelled, THAT'S IT!!, that I finally got a sleepy Are you ok?? text from the other room.

There was no way to truly share my excitement over text and no way any of them could truly appreciate it, so I just wrote back, yup

But I was more than ok...I was giddy. Jubilant. In fact, I was downright ecstatic, because as I'm sure you've already guessed, I found my couch.

Mad About You Loveseat on tv


There on tv. Featured in a 1992 rom-com sitcom was exactly what I'd been searching for and I was over the moon.

Makes sense...everything old is, well, old again. And apparently that's my style.

Oh sure, the fabrics might not be exact and theirs was technically a love seat, not a sofa (which was a big part of the plot, actually), but the combination and placement of the flowers and the checks, the deep seats and that romantic lived in style - it was all there.

Hiding in my family room.

Ironic isn't it? 

But that's what they say about love isn't it?

It just shows up when you're not looking for it.

Fabulous.

Maybe I'll stop looking for bisque appliance now, too.

Where do you find inspiration?
  1. Wherever I look these days, I get the feeling I'm living in some future dystopian society, except that the future is now. Everything is black, white, and grey. It’s what people do to their homes and put on their bodies.

    I refuse to join the brainwashed crowd and I join you in keeping color alive. Rebels unite!

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    1. There's something in me that just cries out for color, Pat! I'm glad to know I'm not alone. I think there are a lot of us, and there has been a resurgence in the softer cottage styles, so maybe color is on its way back!! 🤞

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  2. I find inspiration mostly on Pinterest. Good luck. Have you tried Etsy for fabric?
    Brenda

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    1. I have looked on Etsy, Brenda, thanks for the suggestion. They do have some really pretty patterns. I need A LOT of it and sometimes they don’t offer samples, which makes it hard to really know what the fabric look like. However they’re a great place for inspiration. Pinterest is, too, lately though, they keep showing me the same stuff over and over!!

      Who knew tv would be the place I should’ve been looking!! Ha!

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  3. I love my current sofa, but so do my cats - as a scratching post. My husband used to work in custom van conversions, so he says if I will sew the fabric, he can put it all together on the current sofa which is very solid. I called about having it reupholstered - almost $2000.00. We're going to try to do it ourselves. I found a website that gives step by step instructions. We'll see how it goes!

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    1. You can do it, Kristy!! It's great that you have back up, too!! There's nothing better than a knowledgeable and willing DIY guy. It's a huge undertaking, but it sounds like you've got a sound plan. Keep us posted, I'd love to see and hear about how it turns out!!

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  4. I am with you 💯. I refuse to follow the masses, living in their monochrome world. I have wallpaper in my 1860’s home too. Not peel and stick either. Real wallpaper. How appalling. LOL

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    1. Linda, your home sounds AH-mazing!! An 1860's home with wallpaper?? Absolutely dreamy...but yes, I see the appalled looks from here!! Hahaha! It's crazy isn't it?? Enjoy your gorgeous home this weekend and thanks so much for weighing in today!!

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  5. So now you’ve seen it, how will that translate into getting it?? I’m suffering the same issue with some chairs. I know in my brain, but have yet to find anywhere!!

    Good luck!

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    1. Oh Carolyn, I feel your pain. Calico Corners is one store that offers custom style (sort of) sofas and chairs. If you can find the style there, you can then cover it with any fabric you like. You can use ones they have in the shop or one you find. There are also tons of furniture stores in North Carolina that have different styles and you can also choose your fabric. One fabric company that offers furniture styles is called Kovi, but there are others like Lee and Cox and Lexington. It's not cheap...but then again, nothing is anymore. Is it? I hope you find your chairs!! Keep me posted!!

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  6. When I need inspiration I come to you!!!!!!
    Thanks :-), blessings to you and good luck!! J

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    1. J…I think I should be coming to you for inspiration instead!! I got lost on that website you sent me and found a bunch of beautiful fabrics!

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  7. Just a thought Kim, English country is very similar to cottage style..maybe they would have a better idea of what your looking for. At the very least it sounds sophisticated and might avoid the snarky looks..lol
    There are some Etsy vendors who do slipcovers that get good reviews, have you considered that avenue?
    I was just getting rid of a country living magazine that had floral pieces in it and the companies were shabbychic.com and theinside.com you might want to checkout the May issue if you can't find one i'll send you mine.












    May issue

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    1. First of all, you are the sweetest!! Thank you so much for offering me your copy!! 🥰 Thank you so much!! I actually do have it. I need to go back and look. Second, what a great reminder...The Inside is a company I have worked with before and I adore their furniture and fabrics. I need to go back and peek at their site again. I will also check out the shabbychic.com. People are always saying that I inspire them, but honestly I get just as much inspiration - if not more - from my kind readers. I think that's the best part of blogging. Thank you so much and have a fabulous weekend!!

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  8. Oh, hon, I am with you on the floral couches! I love those things and lucked out one day at Haverty's back in the early 90's and found the couch and loveseat of my dreams. Then when they needed replacing (huge sob), I had to custom order a new floral set and it was, I think, around $2300 for a sofa/loveseat combo (eight ways hand-tied!) at the same store. That was in the early 2000's. I haven't been in there lately, but I fear it would be the same experience you had. Blahblahblahboring! I love the cottage look which, I agree, is classic. Have you thought about having floral slipcovers made or (gulp) doing your own upholstering? Happy Friday, my dear!

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    1. Same experience here, Kim. Sofa of my dreams early 2000s for about $1500 I believe and now it’s time for new. At the moment it needs new cushions and new fabric, so if I were to have it done I’m still getting estimates for slipcovers over $2k before fabric and reupholstery for about $3k before fabric. It’s crazy. The frame and springs are in great condition, but I just don’t think I could do it myself. Like you said, that’s a huge (gulp!!) job. I think it might be beyond this glue gunning girl. Happy Friday to you, too!!

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  9. Kudos to you for standing firm o. Your decorating pursuits! Your style is lovely. I am very tired of all white decor. I do have a a cream couch BUT a checked chair, tweed look navy and and red and navy medallion print on another chair…. I adore color and pattern!

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    1. Thanks so much, Molly! It's hard to stand firm sometimes, no one seems to get it. They tell me that I can add the pattern with pillows and yes, I can, but I'd prefer to have it on the couch!! And your chairs sound lovely, I bet it's a beautiful room. My living room sounds similar. I have a cream sofa, but patterned chairs, as well. A girl's got to have that color and pattern!!

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  10. Have you thought about searching marketplace for that style Kim and having an upholsterer recover it for you - or maybe even trying it yourself? Those sofas are still around and ripe for the picking' :).

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    1. It's a good idea for sure, Sara, and I did look, but they're all just as old as mine and need work. So with that in mind I decided if I was going to go the older route, I'd keep mine and have it redone, it's just so pricey though...some estimates are higher than new!!

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  11. It is horrible trying to find anything right now. I am not in a hurry, but I know we will need to do something about our sofa in a year or two. It is not bad. I would like to find a cover for it, but so far it would be cheaper to buy a new one. It is a flexsteel and has good bones, so maybe having someone reupholster it. I know that will cost a lot, but not as much as a new one or I hope not. I just can't find a style I like in stores now.

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    1. I have all options open right now, Betty, so I get it. I am supposedly meeting with a young lady at a fabric store next week who was so excited when I explained what I wanted. She said, "Finally, something fun...this is what I've been waiting for!!" SO hopefully she can point me in the right direction. Good luck on your hunt. Kathy Ireland has a very pretty slipcover, but it doesn't come in my couch size. Maybe it fits yours...keep me posted!!

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  12. You'll have to go to France where old/fanciful/style/individuality can still be found in the brocantes (flea markets). Pity.

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    1. I think you may be right!! All the fabric I love is from Europe. There is still such a magnificent sense of style and appreciation for vintage patterns and design. I haven't been on any French sites, I need to search for them, but I have fallen hard for some of the Kate Forman fabrics and others from London. Of course, they're a pretty penny...but maybe I can ask Santa for a few yards for pillows.

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  13. I enjoyed this post so much! We share similar tastes and I need a new chair but there is nothing out there that suits me. So I will probably pay an arm and a leg to have it recovered. The last thing I had re-upholstered cost $800 and that was for a loveseat! But the fellow made new cushions and did an excellent job.

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    1. Oh Jane, it is so frustrating, isn't it? I'm leaning toward having it recovered, too and it needs new cushions, so I've gotten estimates for about $2000 without fabric so far. Pricey, but a little less than new and, like you, at least I know I'll love it.

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  14. It's so frustrating looking for something when you know just what you want and no one has it! I've had the same experience. I like farmhouse style which seems to be going out. I like things that look old and have some character, not just white and cold!

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    1. Isn’t it crazy, Mari, that something as all American and completely timeless like farmhouse is getting hard to find?? So silly!

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  15. I know you will find exactly what you need. I just go back to if you decorate or surround yourself in what you love then you will never be wrong. Everyone has to find what makes them happy in their home. I love the couch from the sitcom. The different fabric sofa is adorable. Happy Weekend. xoxo

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    1. You are so right, Kris! You know me, I'm like you, I won't stop until it's just right. I think we both have that Goldilocks affliction when it comes to decorating...and unfortunately it's usually the handy husbands that swoop in and make it what we want when we can't find it on the shelf. But my man can't sew...how about yours?!? Enjoy the weekend!! xxoo

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  16. I totally get you on this couch dilemma. Why is it these stores do not listen to us? I was told I was out of style as well. I want a sofa with a skirt, and I would love for it to have a wing back. Traditional, what happened to it? Maybe we are the ones who are in style and the stores are out of style? LOL. I like to think so anyway. HA! I think it is time for new, and I am with you, cottage is always in style!

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    1. It's annoying isn't, Cara! I think a wing back sofa with a skirt sounds lovely. I bet you could find it, too, but it will cost you! Just like my floral sofa...if it isn't a standard size, style or color you are out of luck. I hope you do find it, though, I know it'd be super charming in your own cottage!

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  17. Try FabricGuru.com for your upholstery fabric - great deals. We reupholstered our couch and it wasn't as hard as I envisioned it to be.

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    1. Thanks for the tip!! I will check them out. That's a big job, I'm so impressed. Maybe I should look into the process. I'll check out YouTube!

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    2. Kim, in today's language, you should have asked for "vintage". I searched three years for a sofa for people with short legs, not the big seat you cannot get out of or break your neck leaning back. I ended up with a used one. Don't care.
      What about a slipcover like Ballard Designs sells ? Hand paint those flowers on ! LOL

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    3. Thanks Myrna...lots of great suggestions and yes, that's what I should be asking for, vintage! Funny how a word choice can make all the difference, isn't it? I'll try that and keep you posted.

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  18. Oh, boy. You have my sympathy, Kim. Shopping for seating has never been one on my favorite things to do. I'm sure you'll get the sofa you're dreaming about. I remember so well that mixed fabric in Mad About You. I loved it then and I still do. Hugs.

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    1. It's so frustrating, Nancy. There are just no really good furniture stores around anymore. Pier 1 was a go to...and a favorite! Oh well, I'm just glad there are still reruns of old shows!! Haha!! Hugs!!

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  19. Hi Kim, LOVED the post. HA! to receive that sleepy text message "are you okay" LOL ... that has me laughing.
    We just purchased two chairs at auction. We have been working a lot outside, so our indoor projects have been at a standstill, but soon our room will be ready for a tour and use. ;-) P.S. we will be re doing the chairs ourselves. And I found our fireplace! We have been selling items we don't use anymore to purchase the fireplace. We only need a few more dollars, and I have a small garden tiller on Craigslist today. :-)

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    1. Oh Carla, this comment excites me!! I can't wait to see everything you have to share. And I'd love to see your chairs. I give you a lot of credit. That's a big job, but I know they'll be fabulous. Good luck with the tiller!! xo

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  20. Kim, the first time you mentioned that your beautiful flowered couch had to go, I almost lost it. I think it is so pretty in your room. I have favorite styles and colors that I had over the years and it still is a pain to not be able to see them anymore in the stores. There are things that do go out of style, I get that, but to just throw something beautiful out and refer to it as "granny style" just burns me up. Some of the ---- out there now would certainly benefit from a little granny style, if you ask me! I hope you are able to find what you are looking for. I have to have faith that it is out there. No matter though, you will come up with something that is beautiful and lovely to you. Good luck..xxoJudy

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    1. Thanks Judy! It's so crazy isn't it? Especially in this great and vast country, you would think there'd be room for all kinds of decor stores, but nope. I think there are very few true furniture manufacturers out there now and the majority of places just slap their names on the stuff...hence the repetitive styles and lack of true originality. I too have faith that I'll find it, I just want to do it without spending an arm and a leg and with a guarantee that what I get is going to last. I'm losing faith in that part! Finger crossed though...xxoo

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  21. Kim! Why are you getting a new sofa? I LOVE the one you have!
    Anyway,


    Best wishes on your journey!

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    1. Thanks!! I love this one, too. Unfortunately, the fabric is literally coming apart at the seams and disintegrating in other spots. It makes me sad, but I hope to find something that will make me smile!!

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