Back at the end of April, we were on our way to the Baltic sea for the Baltic Soul Weekender festival. Matthias let us borrow his big VW bus for the weekend (we totally slept in the back of it in our sleeping bags!) and since we had the car, we decided to stop at our favorite flea market. It was on the way. And, with the knowledge that if we did find something BIG, we would at least be able to bring it back home with us.
And, as luck would have it, we found the most awesome sofa. I had pointed it out at first as a joke, even though I found it cool–it’s super 70’s orange! But we tried it out, sat down, talked with the salesman. It had a matching chair, and he offered both to us for 50€. Tobias, ever the haggler, asked if he could have it for 40. And he said yes. Especially since we had our own car to transport it. We happily forked over the 40 euros and then finished looking around at the flea market before bringing the car back around to pick up our new couch.
Isn’t it a beauty? We were a bit afraid the orange wouldn’t look so great with our orangey wooden floors, but it works well enough. The couch is comfy (and it’s a sleeper couch!) and we could always reupholster it if we want to change its color. (I’ve always kind of wanted a green couch…) But for now I’m super in love with the orange!
It’s kind of hard to pick up the real color in pictures, but it’s somewhere between these two–a little lighter than the top picture, and a little darker than the bottom.
Cleaning it was a bit of an intensive process. And we definitely wanted to clean it! You never know where flea market stuff has been. Our first plan was to take the covers off and simply put them in the washing machine. But it turns out that the covers don’t come off without cutting off the buttons, and seeing that we had 8 cushions with 5 buttons each, we thought it’d be too much effort to sew them all back on.
So we looked online to find some tips on getting it into shape. Of course there are couch cleaners you can get, but we decided to go with what we had and, using our KitchenAid mixer, whipped up laundry detergent into a foam. We then rubbed the foam onto each cushion by hand. Then the instructions were to wash off the foam with clean water–but that part was easier said than done. Maybe our foam was too dense, or maybe we rubbed it in too much, or maybe powdered detergent makes for thicker foam–in any case, we washed it over and over again but it still had a soapy residue.
That’s when we moved things over to the shower. We sprayed down the entire cushion, inside and all, and Tobias got a full-body workout squeezing them out as much as possible. A lot of dirt came out when we did that, though, so at least it felt like we were really getting it clean. It was a sopping wet mess and we had water all over the floor, but in the end, it worked out quite well.
Turns out our method was a heck of a lot of effort, too, probably more than it would have been to just re-sew the buttons back on. I had to sew two back on anyway that had popped off from washing the cushions, and with the right tools, it wasn’t that difficult. The shower method took a lot longer to dry of course, too, but we lucked out with the weather and had 4 days in a row of sun and warmer temperatures. We would take them out into the sun to dry and bring them back inside at night.
For our wedding, we had several guests contribute cash to our sofa fund. Turns out we’ll have some money left over for the next sofa, too! So thanks everyone who contributed!
Have you ever bought thrift store / flea market furniture before? Any better tips on cleaning them?