DECOR

REVIEW: POTTERY BARN CHESTERFIELD SOFA AND PERFORMANCE VELVET

Sofas are big investments, and we absolutely want them to last.  A lot of people end up at Pottery Barn because of their nice clean designs, plus lots of fabric choices and ways to customize your sofa.  A major downside, though, is that there are no reviews for their furniture and products on Pottery Barn.  I’m sure you’re like me and really value reviews.  It gives me that extra bit of confidence when I’m scared about making a large purchase (hello, especially a non-refundable purchase).  So I thought I better review my Chesterfield and fabric choice and help anyone out that’s undecided.

As you probably know reading others’ reviews, people either love or hate Pottery Barn sofas.  I fall into the love category.  So let’s get started reviewing the Chesterfield sofa!

I LOVE tufted furniture.  I love it as much as subway tile, and that’s saying a lot!  Our current furniture was great fit in our last house, but not this house.  I really don’t have room for a loveseat, wish I did, but it won’t work with my living area.  So, I was interested in one larger sofa, mixed with a few chairs.  The Chesterfield sofa style has ALWAYS appealed to me.  It’s just gorgeous!  I would see the Chesterfield in the Pottery Barn catalogs and in stores and just drool.  A big positive for me using Pottery Barn was that I could pick my sofa size and my fabric.  I knew I wanted a light colored sofa, and I wanted it to be durable!  First thing I did was request free fabric swatches online of everything that appealed to me.  While waiting on these swatches to arrive I went up to the store and really examined the Chesterfield sofa closely.  Now that this sofa was a possibility I had to really check out its comfort level.

Some Chesterfield sofas are uncomfortable.  For this reason you want to avoid buttons on seat cushions!  In the store the Chesterfield passed the comfort test.  It really was comfortable, I wasn’t just blinded by love.  It was also deep, so I could easily add pillows and have plenty of sitting room.  About a week later the fabric swatches came in, and that’s when the real stress started. Picking fabric can be hard!  I instantly eliminated many fabric choices, some looked a lot different online.  The fabrics that appealed to me most were the Performance Everyday velvet, Performance Everyday suede, and the Performance tweed.  I instantly nixed the tweed because of cost, it was quite a lot more.  Here recently I’ve read some reviews of the tweed pilling.  If your interested in the tweed please do lots of research!  So, it was between the velvet and the suede.  Torture was done on both samples.  Ketchup, wine, and coffee.  Nobody will be having ketchup on this sofa, but I always test ketchup on samples.  Both the suede and the velvet samples cleaned up quite well.

In the end I decided to go with the velvet in buckwheat, and by luck it was actually the cheapest out of the tweed and suede.  Velvet feels luxurious and is perfect for the Chesterfield.  Remember the Seinfeld episode where George Constanza flips out over his new girlfriends velvet sofa? “I would drape myself in velvet if it was socially acceptable”, haha sometimes I think about that while sitting on my sofa.

Anyway, I committed to the Chesterfield Grand Sofa 96 inch length it was a great size and much wider than our old sofa.  So I waited on a sale, for me waiting on a sale for Pottery Barn purchases are absolutely mandatory.  During this waiting period I tried to find reviews on this sofa or the Performance Everyday velvet, but I didn’t have much luck.  I read all the information I could find and watched the Pottery Barn videos about this fabric.  It was stain resistant and great for kids and pets.  Luckily soon I hit a 25 percent off sale so I placed the order.  A week later they called to confirm my non refundable sofa and said it would be delivered in 8-10 weeks.  After that I instantly felt nervous.  Had I made the right choice?  Did I really research every possibility?  I actually had few panic attacks that I had made a horrible non refundable choice.  I waited what felt like forever until it was finally delivered.


The first time I saw this sofa fully unwrapped and in my living room I loved it.  Then I thought “we’re going to ruin this.” Well, let’s fast forward to 2 years later.  We work this sofa hard.  I don’t baby it much.  It sees lots of activity.  We try not to eat on it, but occasionally little snacks will happen.  We drink beverages on it all the time.  Little coffee dribbles easily clean up with a damp cloth and a drop of soap.  One day after a Christmas party I found red lipstick on the cushion and I got it out with soap and water.  A black shoe mark on the back was easily cleaned off.  Then one night I spilled a full glass of red wine on the cushion.  I instantly blotted it up and used my regular soap and water.  With the dark evening light I thought I had gotten it.  The next morning I saw pink splotches everywhere.  In a panic I threw it in the washing machine, air dried it, and poof the red wine stain was all gone!  You’ll be glad to know I’m much more careful with red wine now! Below you can see the perfectly clean cushion cover.

I like how this sofa has a much lower back then our old one.

Our sofa has so far been excellent, its comfortable, clearly stain resistant, and the style very much works for me.

It does have a few negatives.  One minor negative is the fabric will go all different directions with activity.  When the light hits these spots just right it can give a dirty appearance.  This is easily fixable I just smooth my hand or a dry rag over the velvet and brush it smooth again.  Another drawback, and this is with all Chesterfields really, the little buttons can fill with dust and will on occasion need to be vacuumed or wiped out.  Any wrinkles on the cushion top are usually temporary and smooth away; however, I’ve also noticed little wrinkles forming along the edge of the cushion.  These do not smooth out.  They’re probably from the cushion wearing slightly, and luckily this doesn’t really bother me.  Here below I’ve made a list of pros and cons for the Performance Everyday Velvet and Chesterfield sofa

Pottery Barn Chesterfield Sofa

Pros
Solid well-built construction
Polyester wrapped cushions keep their shape well
Gorgeous style that’s very comfortable
Many different sofa lengths available as well as sectionals
Easy to customize with fabrics to create your own look
Deep enough to hold large pillows and still have sitting room

Cons
No sofa bed option available
Dust collects in buttons and must be cleaned
Wrinkling along cushion edge
Special order takes 8-10 weeks
Non refundable

Performance Everyday Velvet in Buckwheat

Pros
One of the more affordable fabric choices
Very stain resistant, even light colors
Cushions can be unzipped and are machine washable
Tough fabric is great with kids and pets

Cons
Must occasionally smooth fabric to avoid a spotty looking appearance

Well, there you go.  I hope this has helped you in either your Chesterfield sofa or Performance Everyday velvet selection.  This has been a true honest review on my Chesterfield sofa.  I plan on soon writing a review of our Pottery Barn outdoor sectional once I wash and test it out a bit more.  As soon as I make a sofa decision for our upstairs loft I will let you know.

**UPDATE 5/13/19  I am still in love with our sofa and the Performance Velvet.  The fabric is so durable and stain resistant that I just ordered the Raleigh Square Tall Storage bed in the same color.  I’m known to drink coffee in bed and spill it everywhere but I’m not worried at all with this durable fabric.

Laura

Join the Conversation

Leave a Comment

25 thoughts on “REVIEW: POTTERY BARN CHESTERFIELD SOFA AND PERFORMANCE VELVET

  1. Hi there – I am sectional shopping and thinking seriously about PB as my choice, also in the Everyday Velvet buckwheat. Wondering if the swatch and the actual product are true to color? I ask because the swatch I’ve seen looks darker than how yours photographs. I prefer the color in your photographs, but seeing the swatch and online pics makes me worry 🙂

    1. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Everyday Velvet in buckwheat online and it really does look darker on the PB website! It’s definitely lighter in real life, like a cream, even lighter with the window light at times. Have you seen the swatch in person? I know you can order a swatch, but at times the little swatches can be deceiving depending on the light. I think buckwheat color looks true to our photos, but it can look darker on an overcast day.

    2. Full disclosure…..I am a Pottery Barn employee. And I am currently trying to decide on a fabric for a replacement slipcover, which is what brought me to your review (I always recommend stain tests as well!). In regards to the swatch question, we always tell folks that with the small swatches, there is almost an optical illusion effect. The final product will appear roughly a shade lighter than what your eye thinks it looks like on the swatch. Our store has some larger swatches to look at (in store only) that help give a little better impression of the final visual effect. To demonstrate this to guests, I will often show them a small swatch of a fabric we have somewhere in the store on a sofa or bed. Once they see the furniture piece, they can see the overall impact of the optical illusion for themselves when they hold the smaller swatch next to the furniture. My best advice is if you think the swatch is a little too dark, you’re probably spot on. If you think the swatch is too light though, I’d look for a different color or you may be disappointed. Thanks for the review!

  2. Hi Laura, love your review. thank you! Can you tell me if the cushions are upholstered on both sides? Can you flip the seat cushions over or are they only velvet on one side? thanks so much, thinking of the navy velvet. Also, did you look at the Everyday Performance PLUSH velvet? I can’t figure out what the difference is? Thanks again, Mia

    1. You’re welcome. Yes the cushions are upholstered on both sides, you could turn them over. The plush velvet must be new because it wasn’t an option a few years ago. I guess it has a more plush pile which sounds luxurious but I have not seen the sample IRL. It sounds nice but I’m wondering if the nap of the fabric would move around more catching the light creating an uneven look? Every now and then I smooth the nap of our fabric down by hand or with a dry rag for a smoother look, so I’m wondering it this would be need to be done more often with the plush? Just a thought, good luck!

    2. I’m in the same boat, performance v plush velvet – what did you decide? There’s a 20% off ending today and not enough time to order samples! I’m trying to decide for a wingback chair that will not be used much.

      1. I love the performance everyday velvet in buckwheat, the plush version wasn’t available when I ordered our sofa. The regular performance everyday velvet is amazing and spills clean up like a dream. We’ve had this sofa for a few years now and I have no regrets! I’ve cleaned red wine, coffee, ink pen, and lipstick easily off the fabric. I can’t vouch for the plush performance, I’m sure it’s great but if it costs more go with the performance everyday velvet because it does very well. You won’t regret the purchase and the savings sound great, I only buy from PB on when it’s on sale.

  3. Ah! Thank you so much for this very detailed review. I’m looking at 2 swivel chairs in the everyday velvet in the carbon color. I did a milk test because that’s the most often spilled liquid in our house (I’m a white wine girl). We are also considering the microsuede, but I wish it came in a different color. Not in love with the dove gray. Also have samples of the sunbrella. You note that the everyday velvet is good with pets. We have 2 cats with claws. We did scrape forks on all the samples to see how they would hold up, but I think my husband was way tougher than he needed to be. How do you think the fabric would hold up to cat claws?

    1. Thanks Laura for the wonderful review!
      I have my eyes on” slate color” / “smoke ” both performance velvet for Raleigh upholstered bed!
      I wonder do they fade over time? As I surely know in that respect sunbrella is a good choice but because of the feel and color I keep on coming back to velvet! Any advice is well appreciated !
      thanks in advance!

      1. I love the performance velvet fabric, our living room faces west Texas sun and I’ve had no fading. I love sunbrella fabric too, it’s so durable and does amazing outdoors. I’ve considered using sunbrella fabric indoors but I hesitate because it doesn’t feel luxurious and soft like the velvet. I’m so pleased with PB everyday velvet I’m considering ordering an upholstered bed in another color. It’s lovely & durable.

    1. Thanks, I love the fabric it’s so durable! We’re moving soon and I plan on ordering more pieces in performance velvet.

  4. Thank you for this! We’re getting ready to order a sofa and loveseat in the performance velvet. It says dry clean, but you wash yours! I wonder if the fabric’s changed or if it’s still okay to wash contrary to label.

    1. I was told the fabric was machine washable but when we moved I found a dry clean only label and I was shocked! I’ve washed the seat cushions in the washing machine countless times and I’m about to do so again. It seems tough, I felt confident enough to order 2 upholstered beds in the same fabric. I think it’s the same… maybe they just stick that label on everything.

      1. Is your couch fabric the same as the everydayvelvet buckwheat being sold today? My sample looks darker, but I love the lighter color of your couch. How did your newer items compare to the couch fabric? Thanks!

        1. Yes it is. On the PB website the swatch looks very dark. I ordered new swatches of buckwheat for our beds and I thought the swatch looked darker than our sofa but I held it up to it and it matched. Buckwheat definitely seems to change color with different lighting, sometimes it looks a little darker or quite lighter. I just took photos of my daughters room and her bed is buckwheat, it will be on the blog tomorrow. With the light her bed photographed a little warmer in some photos than real life. Both our new beds are upholstered in velvet buckwheat and it looks the same color as our sofa. I think the swatch just looks dark, once it’s on a big piece of furniture it looks much lighter if that makes sense. That was a long response, lol hope that helps.

          1. Thank you so much for getting back to me! I, too, ordered my couches and will probably fret for weeks until they arrive. Hopefully, I am as pleased as you!

        2. I just went back to look at those photos, our old living room had a ton of bright natural light which played a role on how the light the color looked. If you go a few recent blog posts back to “our space efficient master bedroom reveal” you’ll see how it looks darker. Our new bedroom is dark without much natural light, yet it matches the new swatch which matches our sofa.

  5. I just ordered the chesterfield in the everyday suede (light wheat). I purchased the sectional years ago for the basement and did the everyday suede in the lighter oak. It held up fabulously if anyone is interested in knowing about that fabric.

  6. Thank you so much for this review! I’m getting ready to purchase 2 Thatcher wingbacks and a settee for our library room. I’ve been paralyzed with fear, but I have to make a decision before the sale is over! This review has helped so much and the pictures are everything. I’ve decided on this very fabric. Thank you!!!

  7. Thank you so much for your review. It really helped me with my decision on getting the everyday velvet.
    I’m wondering if anyone knows how to get scratches off of the velvet. I have 2 boston terriers and one of them has made some light scratch marks on it.
    Any advice would be appreciated.Also I had read that we needed to use alcohol instead of water to wipe off stains. Do you agree? I’ve been using a lightly wet towel.
    Thank you for any help you can give.

    1. I had no idea they recommended cleaning the fabric with alcohol! It seems like it would be harsh on the fabric. I’ve only used water and when I’ve washed the cushions in the washing machine I use a bit of tide. Never a problem. That’s too bad about the scratch marks from your terriors, I know the fabric is rated well for pets. If the fabric isn’t cut maybe you could smooth it down with a damp rag?? If it’s on the cushions you could try washing them in your machine. I would definitely call PB and ask if they have any advice.

  8. Thank you so much for your awesome review! I am thinking of ordering the Chesterfield without being able to test it first (I know that is sort of crazy) and I wondered how the cushions are? Is it a firm sofa, or squishy? I am hoping for soft/squishy……..

    1. The cushions are soft and have softened even more with time but they also hold their shape nicely. I’m still very happy with it, upstairs we bought a Restoration Hardware sofa and I hate it. I can tell it’s not going to wear well. I love Pottery Barn sofas!