Picking The Perfect Couch: A Timeline of Couches That Didn't Last

I am on the hunt for a new couch, but couch shopping is inevitably a totally stressful situation for me, and I am dreading it. I somehow always end up with the wrong couch. Follow me after the jump to see what I have learned from my past couch failures.

Couches are expensive and are supposed to last a long time. Fabric, color choice, style and quality all factor into this big decision and ultimately help prolong the life of the couch. Somehow I have always made the wrong choices in these categories. Here's a look through my past couch problems over 16 years:

Couch #1: Dark Green Corduroy L-Couch
Ok, so I was 19 and didn't know the first thing about, well anything, so this is what I got.

Lessons: Don't buy a dark colored couch when you have three cats. Corduroy (cheap and rough corduroy, not soft and luscious) attracts all sorts or lint and is impossible to clean or vacuum. Cheap fabric is rough on your skin and isn't fun to nap on.

Lasted: 5 years

Couch #2: Light Lavendar Couch from Ikea
This time I pretty much went the complete opposite way: Big soft overstuffed pillows, soft duvet that can be washed, light and bright color.

Lessons: Cat hair, win! It wasn't a problem. However, the overstuffed pillows shifted and became badly disformed over time and it drove me insane. The cats began scratching at the arms and the fabric just tore away like nobody's business. Over the years you could see the wear and tear of the cushions. The color changed in the sitting and back areas and no matter how many times I would wash it with stain removal nothing helped. In a final attempt I tried to bleach the entire duvet to white. Well, when I ended up with a tie-dyed mess and couldn't find a replacement duvet, I said good-bye and good riddance.

Lasted: 6 years

Couch #3: MCM Style Green Couch
Ok, so by this time I was a bit older and had had enough of the miserable couch experience, so I was going to spend a bit more money to try and combat these problems. I got a more modern, firm couch that couldn't change shape and had better material that was stain guarded and tightly woven.

Lessons: I got the shape right, woo hoo! But the fabric all wrong, again. It was stain guarded so I thought that it would be better with normal wear and tear. No, it wasn't. If I tried to clean anything on the couch the water itself would create a stain. I would have to wash the entire couch and fan dry it so it dried evenly. I even had it professionally cleaned twice and they couldn't figure it out. The cat scratching also became a problem. It did take much longer for them to destroy it, but they ultimately did. I even used tin foil and sticky strips and cut away each tiny snag for years, but nothing worked.

Lasted: 5 years (currently have and on its way OUT)

Couch #4: White Vinyl Click Clack Sleeper Couch

This is my guest bed and it works well. I can wash it down and the cats don't want to scratch it (just the occasional nail hole from slipping). The only problem is that the cushion on the most used side of the couch has compressed and makes it visually uneven. Not a main couch, so I can live with it for now.

Ok, so this time I am going for a modern, firm but comfy, middle grey (not totally solid) toned felt couch (I don't like microfiber to deal with the cats, so that's out). Now I just have to find it for a decent price. Wish me luck! And if you have any helpful wisdom to impart, please do so below.

(Image: Apartment Therapy House Tour: Eric and Alison's Chic Eclectic)

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Alysha is a photographer and designer living in Seattle who loves dark chocolate, tea, and all things furry. In her spare time you'll find her with paint in her hair renovating her 1919 Craftsman and sharing the process on her blog Old House New Tricks.