Editor’s Update: I still get lots of comments and questions about this sofa. 4+ years later and my views in this post are still right-on. Updated March 2018.
After living with the West Elm Tillary sectional for about 10 months and receiving countless emails that politely inquired about how the couch has been holding up to our lifestyle, I’ve finally gathered my thoughts into one concise place. If you missed the first post I wrote on this product, check it out here.
Before I get into anything that presents negativity, I have to say, I still do like this couch for our house. With its deep seat and low height, its size is perfect for our large living room and I know that I would have a challenging time finding something comparable with those qualities. We really love that the back supports are so low that they are just below our windowsill so when we push the couch up to the window, we’re not blocking line of sight, and the depth of the seat mirrors our deep fireplace hearth, a stone sill which spans one whole wall of our room and engulfs about 45 sq. ft.. Feels pretty Feng Shui, if I were to be pretending that I was an expert in Feng Shui (totally not).
On to other points. The fact that the back rests are loose (not at all connected to the bases) is a bit of a pain in the ass when it comes to working on the couch for extended periods, or snuggling up with pillows and a blanket to watch a movie. The smaller/straight back supports do slide (the corner piece, considerably less so because it’s larger and heavier), and we usually end up pulling the supports “towards us” so they are positioned more on top of the seat, rather than teetering on the edge like in this next photo. Because they’re weighted, when they tip off, they’re loud, like, “Did one of the kids just bust open their head?” loud. And also, if you’re relying on them when they crash, you crash too.
It’s because of the backs that I usually tell people that it’s a couch that’s better for entertaining, when people might be more inclined to be sitting with their feet on the ground and their tush at the edge of the seat with a glass of wine balanced in hand. It’s also the same stance I sit in when I’m folding laundry, so sometimes, less wine, more housekeeping. You can sit cross-legged on it pretty easily though too, because it’s a firm seat, and deep.
The other thing about the backs though, the thing that I really like, is that we can position them however we want. So, we’ve tried dozens of configurations, and you can really change the look of the couch by moving (or removing) certain back rests. Our daughter will rearrange them to suit too, and because they have a nice flat top, they make for a nice play surface, not that “playability” is a major selling point for you, I suppose. And sometimes we move them right onto the floor for when we’re playing games spread out, or just reclining… I find that easier than propping myself up with 6 throw pillows.
West Elm’s photo that I’m showing here, demonstrates another way we like to position the cushions, on the short end of the seat to create a sort of chaise styling.
We bought the Tillary in a Heather Gray color; zero complaints on the quality of the fabric itself. No signs of wear, no pilling, no discoloration. When I sit on it for a long time, sometimes when I get up it looks like the fabric has stretched to be a little loose/wavy, but so far it has always retracted back to its original smoothness… I do wonder when its elasticity will wear out.
Since Day 1, we haven’t been thrilled at the seams and puckering all around. Sometimes we can smooth them down a bit, but for the most part, the couch always looks like this. It’s just aesthetic and I assume that guests are more focused on giant drifts of dog fur in the corners of the living room, but for a couch in the $2,000 range, I would not expect this. IKEA, maybe, but not West Elm.
We’ve been taking advantage of the fact that the bases move about so easily (none of them are connected together, and we added little low-pile carpet pieces to the undersides of the feet so they can slide easily on our hardwood floors). Sometimes the sections are pushed together like a square when Julia wants to have a sleepover on the couch. Sometimes, it’s arranged into a long, straight line against the back wall when there are 15 kids lined up watching a movie projected wall. For awhile, we had the two long sections separated and parallel to one another, just to see how that would work (good, except that it limited seating space when we wanted to watch TV).
So, right now we actually reduced the size of our sectional so that it’s just the two long bases forming an L. We shifted the square base that was previously the corner “hinge” over to the other side of the living room as a place to sit amongst baby central. Honestly, it’s only been like this for about a week and it’s fine for now, especially since the back support can’t shift when it’s against the stone wall, but we’re looking to get a smaller love seat for this space eventually (PSST we did, it’s from Urban Outfitters, it was really cheap, and 3-years in as of 3/2018 and it’s holding up really well).
Again, if you missed the first review I posted on this product, check it out here. And if you have any additional questions, please feel free to drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.