Monday, August 9, 2010

Search for a New Couch


Matt and I need to get a new couch. I try not to use the word "need" when describing new, consumer goods, but, honestly, we really need a new couch.

I bought our current couch ten years ago when I lived in rural Louisiana. It has traveled with me to six different homes, in three different states. It's the comfiest, most inviting couch. In fact, the problem is not the couch; the problem is our dog, Hoss.

You see, Hoss is a bloodhound-mix. Bloodhounds are notorious droolers. Hoss is no exception. He also sheds uncontrollably. He pretty much sheds enough hair to create a replica of himself approximately once a week.

Matt and I initially tried to keep him off the couch while we were at work by covering it with chairs. When Hoss seemed to jump beyond the chairs and settle onto the couch anyway, we started adding baskets and other random things. Hoss still managed to jump beyond all of it and nestle himself on the very top ledge of the couch. He didn't even care that he would sometimes scratch his belly in the process. Did I mention that bloodhounds are also notoriously stubborn?

So Hoss spends at least eight hours a day on our couch. As a result, it is covered in hair and encrusted with drool. In other words, it's disgusting. So disgusting, in fact, that I find myself avoiding spending time in our living room. Since our house only has six rooms total (a living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, office, and bedroom), I'm definitely missing out.

The thing is, I'm pretty sure we need to get a leather couch to cope with the bloodhound situation. A leather couch would allow us to easily brush off the hair, and we could use a sponge to wipe off the drool. Sounds heavenly! We could also go the slip cover route, but I probably couldn't bring myself to wash it more than once a week, and in that time, it would get incredibly dirty and I still wouldn't want to spend much time on it.

The problem with leather is that Matt and I are vegetarians. We don't eat meat for a variety of reasons, including the environmental impact of raising cows. Buying a leather couch feels kind of hypocritical, although I do feel better knowing that we will likely have the couch for a long, long time.

I tried to get around this issue by searching for a used leather couch on Craigslist. I've been at it for more than a year. Needless to say, it is very difficult to find a good looking couch on Craigslist...

It looks like I'm going to have to resort to a new leather couch. I've been thinking about the IKEA Stockholm sofa. I wish it were a lighter color, but I appreciate how comfortable it is. It's also super-spacious, despite having a small footprint. I'll have to do a fingernail scratch test on it to see if it could withstand a dog getting on and off.

I should also explore some furniture stores around town and see if we can find something better...




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19 comments:

Matt&Courtney said...

We purchased a leather set... it was beautiful, the right colour, the right price (on sale super cheap due to a manufacturers defect, they had two slightly different colours of leather on the front, and on the back). We thought it would attract less cat hair, less dog hair, and would just be easier to manage in general. The guy even threw in a free leather cleaning kit for free with our purchase. We thought it was great!

We were very wrong. It's icy cold in the winter, and it's gross, hot, and sticky in the summer. Then with the animals - oh my! The cats didn't scratch it intentionally, they didn't enjoy stretching and sharpening their claws on the corners of it, but they would slip on it, and the top was scratched to bits from their jumping to the top of it. Same with the dogs, the cushions were scratched to bits just from their climbing on it.

It looked nice for awhile. Then very worn. We carried the set around for about three years, and finally sold it on Kijiji and found a free set in return.

Leather sounds appealing, but I assure you, it has many down falls as well.

lene said...

How about buying Hoss his own sofa for dogs? Like this maybe:
http://www.ohmydogsupplies.com/chew-resistant-luxury-dog-sofa.html

kim said...

Oh man, if I didn't live in VA, you could totally have ours. I have a leather couch, loveseat, chair & ottoman set that is almost new (but given to us for free), but since I am a vegetarian, I've decided to replace them all with the knihult ikea sofa. We've had the set for a while, but since I'm a vegetarian, I've been talking myself into replacing the set and now we are trying to find a free and good home for it. We have a shedding pug and though her hair does show up on the leather, it's easily wipeable!

Alexis said...

I think a whole lot of adult dog training is in order no matter what you choose. I'm reading the book "good owners, great dogs" right now and highly recommend it. Maybe Hoss should hang out in the kitchen with a dog bed when you're out. It's not like he's roaming around and in need of the space of the entire house when you're out. Our dog now has his own room in our small house where we stick him when we leave and all our dog-on-furniture, dog-eats-magazines, dog-is-anxious problems have disappeared.

That being said, we just bought a leather couch from Crate & Barrel during their summer sale and absolutely love it. I'm sure if our dog shed its hair would be easy to clean up, but I would never let the dog on a piece of furniture I paid hard earned money for.

Nikki Cupcake said...

i have an ikea leather couch for like 10 years now!

it holds up amazingly well and with a toddler who likes to spill stuff everywhere and rather messy family members spills aren't an issue like our other ikea couch (which now needs replacing after only 5 years :/)

bklyn76 said...

hoss is adorable! our pup isn't allowed on the furniture, though i did find dog hair on the bed in the guestroom, which led us to close all the doors in the house when we go out! ;)

i think they make leather-like couches that you could try.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried your local Freecycle site?

Kim said...

We have four cats, and while they don't have Hoss's drooling problem, they do shed a ton, randomly puke, occasionally scratch, etc. So we have a futon - the cover is washable and inexpensive to replace as needed (and guests can sleep on it!). You can also just turn the mattress over if one side gets funky and you don't have time to wash the cover. The downside, of course, is that while a futon is super functional, it's not super stylish. I'm vegetarian too, so I understand not wanting to buy leather!

Rachel said...

Don't feel too bad. I have a dog, and I couldn't imagine not having a leather sofa--any other fabric would be filthy! I got mine at Dillard's on sale for $550 (over 50% off). It's a light tan, modern shape, and coated in something so that you can wipe it clean with a wet washcloth.

Elsa said...

You can always try place's like the Macy's outlet and there are plenty of places around town that have great bargains. If you're up for it, there are great outlet stores about 2 hours away in San Marcos. We got leather couches a year ago and were able to get a good deal because we purchased the floor sample. One thing we did do was have them spray the set with something that would prevent scratches from our crazy dogs. A year later and they still look like new, are easy to clean and are super comfortable.

Leedie said...

This is probably too late, but we got our dog to stay off the couch by using something called the "tattle tail". It is a little box that you put on your couch when you leave that has a motion sensor. If it is disturbed at all (like by a dog getting on the couch) it emits a high-pitched noise that my dog hates. She stopped trying to get on the couch in about a week. Although, the training didn't translate to OTHER people's furniture. She still gets on my parents' couch. I think she thinks ours is the only one that yells at her.

Anonymous said...

We got a fabric couch from Ikea. Extra white slipcovers were only $19 so we bought five of them. That way we can put a new one on while washing and when it gets really stained we can toss it. We have also considered dyeing the white another color.

Jennie said...

I have no idea how difficult this might be... but have you considered making a slip cover out of leather? It might save you money and then you wouldn't have to wash it each week either. But I have no idea what sewing leather would be like, so maybe that's a much bigger project than you want!

Anonymous said...

How about just throwing a couple blankets on it?

That's what I do for my lab. I use those fuzzy microfiber blankets, and she just loves snuggling up in the blanket. I just throw the nasty, hairy blankets in the wash and replace.

I use like 3 blankets, but you're pretty crafty, so you could even make a big one. You don't really need a whole slipcover -- you just need a blanket that covers the arms, right?

Tessa said...

Have you thought of a synthetic leather couch? It's not real leather, but it has the same Hoss-proof qualities :)

Ingenue said...

Hm. Sounds like the real issue is lovely Mr. Hoss. I can second every remark from the first comment posted - dog claws will leave marks and even after sponging off the drool, your couch will always NEED you to DO something to it before you can sit on it and enjoy it.

I think the couch for the dog, or just a big ole doggie bed could quench Hoss' desire to be cozy.

Ultimately, you should be able to sit on your couch without having to work or clean it off before doing so. Having said that... you gotta train the adorable bloodhound to stay OFF of the couch.

We did this with our dog by using a shock collar. Now, just wait... I know what you're all thinking. It took some serious research and a consultation with a professional to talk me into it. But when it came down to it, our dog was shocked ONCE, maybe twice, and that was it. You can adjust the intensity of the shock to make it mild. For our dog, the initial shock was such a "shock" that she immediately got the point and now steers of the couch.

We bought a small electric fence kit (it came with the shock collar) and set up the "fence" wire around the feet of our couch. When the dog gets within about 2 feet of the couch, her collar gives an audio beep warning. As long as she turns away, she never gets shocked. And at this point, she rarely even has the shock collar on.

We tried covering our couch with furniture and other objects too, all to no avail. So, I vote to give sweet Hoss Man his own little couch, and train him to stay off of your lounging pad.

Jenny said...

We totally went through this same thing. Our dogs destroy fabric furniture. It's really kind of impressive. And we tried everything (including that noise maker thing) and they could care less. If we forgot to set the noise maker thing, they were back on the furniture in under an hour.

So we have leather furniture. And we're vegetarians. It bothered me too, but in the end I decided that I really use so few animal products that having some leather furniture so that I can make a sanitary and loving home for my family and my pets was an OK trade off.

And the furniture has lasted for several years and looks nice and new and clean when previously our couches look like we had run them over with a muddy dog hair filled car.

Lisa said...

I'm another fan of the blanket approach. Way easier than a slipcover, and we always have at least 2 around so we can change them out without having to wash one immediately.

Howard M. Wright said...

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