Review: Pottery Barn Buchanan Sofa

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  May 16, 2012 — 36 Comments

When Nick and I went under contract on our house there was one major purchase I wanted to make for our first place: a new sofa. I had purchased our current sofa secondhand six years earlier, and while it had been great for the college years it was time for it to go. Here’s a glimpse of it in a dark and blurry cell phone pic from when we first moved in.

I had made it work with a SureFit slipcover for the last two years, but at this point nothing could have convinced me to keep that couch. It was too small and not particularly comfortable and besides, I just wanted a new one! It was time. Since it takes an excruciatingly long 30-60 days to close on a home purchase, I had plenty of time to research the perfect sofa for us. I wanted something comfy, but not too squishy, and big enough for both of us, but not too deep. My goal was to be equally comfortable cuddling up for a movie or sitting up with a glass of wine. Also on my checklist were exposed legs, neutral fabric, three cushions, and loose back pillows (as in, not attached to the sofa itself). All under $1000. One evening, while trolling the virtual pages of Pottery Barn, I fell in love.

Pottery Barn

It had everything I dreamed of! The only problem was that there was not one available to test out in our local store and, at the time, Pottery Barn didn’t have any reviews on the website. I googled and googled with no luck, trying to find somebody, anybody, who could tell me what the dang thing felt like. Finally, I got the genius idea to call the store in Atlanta, where my longtime BFF and her husband live. They had one on the floor! Lauren and Ryan dutifully went out to Pottery Barn and shot a cell phone video of themselves lounging and commenting on its various merits. The verdict: not too squishy, not too firm, this sofa was juuuust right. So I ordered it in the twill fabric and a few weeks later it was delivered to our new house, where it has lived happily ever since.

Did you think I would have my living room clean enough at eight months pregnant to take a current picture for this post? Ha! This place is a mess. I lifted this picture from our House Tour page. It was taken last September, when the sofa had been here about a year and a half. You can see that it’s still in good shape.

After two years of living with my dear friend Buchanan, I can confidently publish to the internet what I wish someone else had back then: this sofa is awesome. This room is the only place where we sit to watch TV and movies so we’re on that sofa pretty much every evening. I have never ever had a single complaint about its comfort. And I’m not the only one. Nick’s brother Tim lives down the road at LSU and has a nasty habit of spending HOURS napping on our couch on Sunday afternoons. I’m like, “Tim, it’s been four hours, get up. I want to sit down,” and all he can do is mumble about how comfortable our couch is. Haha. It’s also holding up really well–the only signs of wear are cat-induced. Sheila especially loves to lay across the top of the back pillows, so I keep a vintage quilt tossed over the back to deal with all the hair. And even though the weight of her body has squished that one particular pillow down every day for two years it still fluffs right back up when I tell it to.

The bottom line: I did an awesome job picking out this couch. I’d buy it again in a heartbeat. I hope it lasts forever so I can keep on feeling smug about what a great couch I picked. It’s one of the only big pieces in our house that we actually bought new, so it’s kind of a big deal. Now that I think about it, the other things we’ve bought new (dining table, white sofa, desk) were all from Ikea, so the PB sofa was definitely a splurge for us. Everything else is secondhand, and I kinda like it that way. But the PB sofa is definitely more comfortable than the Ikea Ektorp or the vintage one I’ve got in the dining room. I think it was definitely worth the extra dough.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


36 responses to Review: Pottery Barn Buchanan Sofa

  1. We have the same couch and absolutely love it! I was initially looking into the version with the chaise on one end, but ended up getting the normal sofa and the side chair. They are both amazing! My husband will fall asleep on the couch nearly every day. My only gripe is that when I purchased it, the only color they had available for 8-12 weeks was the cream, which looks lovely, but the color will definitely not survive the dirt of kids (and we usually have a blanket covering it for the doggie). So far, so good though :)

  2. I can’t thank you enough for this review on the Buchanan Sofa from PB! The hubs and I have been stressing over the purchase of a new couch because like you will be splurging for the first time on brand new furniture and want to make the right decision. We came across this couch on the PB website but it wasn’t in our local store either so we had to do some traveling within our state to find one to sit on. When we did finally get to test it out the store was so busy and we got like a second to try it out and had our 8 month old with us who was getting fussy. So in the end we really liked it but just needed to hear from others to see how they liked it to make sure in the long run the couch would last. So glad to hear that you are happy with your purchase and I feel confident we will too!

  3. We are strongly considering the Buchanan as well and wondered how well the twill fabric is holding up and how durable it is? We have a three year old and she is neither clean nor gentle with furniture! Thanks!

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap January 3, 2013 at 2:38 pm

      Eh, it’s just alright. It’s all pilled up where our cats scratch the back and there are several stains, but they don’t really show unless you look closely. Good luck with your decision!

      • I also am considering purchasing this sofa, but was wondering about the twill fabric as well. You mention that it has pilled uo. Is this just due to the cat or is it all over the couch where the cat has not touched it? Your info. is much appreciated. Hard purchasing something like this online.


        • We purchased this sofa but in the brushed canvas. It does not pill up so far ( had it for about a year now). But it gets slightly worn looking where we have had to clean up some major spills from my two year old. But its only somethimg you would notice super close up if your searching for it. Overall its been a great sofa!

        • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap January 24, 2014 at 2:18 pm

          It’s only pilled where the cats have scratched. The rest is in reasonably good condition!

  4. What color is your sofa? I am having a difficult time deciding between the walnut and caramel.

  5. We are also looking at this sofa, but have some reservations due to the seat height as described on the Pottery Barn website. The seat height is listed as 21.5 inches ht, which seems high. I am 5 ‘ 4.5″ tall, my husband 5’9″ . I like my feet to comfortably touch the floor while sitting. Many sofas today are too deep and too high. Do you feel the seat height is comfortable?
    Thanks so much for any input!

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap January 27, 2014 at 8:13 am

      I’m 5’0″ and if I’m sitting forward on the sofa my feet do touch the floor, but it is very deep and extends past my knees if I sit back. I mostly only sit on it in the evenings to watch tv so I just use an ottoman or pull my feet up and I find it very comfy. We also have an Ikea Ektorp sofa in another room and it’s a similar look but not nearly so deep. I can sit all the way back on it and my feet touch the floor.

  6. Just curious how the frame and cushions are holding up? We are considering this couch but wondered longevity.

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap March 8, 2015 at 6:56 pm

      Sorry I’m just seeing this a month later! The frame is in good shape but the back cushions are a little smushed from my pets climbing on top of them.

  7. Are the back cushions attached, semi attached or pillows that you can move around?

  8. Thank you so much for this review!! It is difficult to find reviews about Pottery Barn furniture and some that I have found are just not positive. You mentioned the back cushions are attached. Are they removable or are the sewn onto the back? Did you get the poly fill or the down cushions?

    I personally had an issue with the Textured Twill fabric on the Cameron sofa which started pilling terribly after 3 months. Pottery Barn said they had an issue with the fabric during the time I ordered, but that it has been resolved. I am still hesitant to get the same fabric and decided to exchange it for the Buchanan sofa since it is 3 inches deeper than the Cameron which I found to not be deep enough for me.

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap March 6, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      Oops, I meant to say that they’re NOT attached, but autocorrect changed detached to attached. Sorry! I have pets and we’re messy people but the fabric has held up decently except for a few spots where the cats have scratched a lot. We have polyfill cushions and the seats have done great. The back cushions have lost their shape a bit due to various small animals lying atop them.

      • Thank you, glad to hear they are detached. One more question…what is the measurement from the front of the back cushion to the front of the sofa (i.e. the sitting depth). The depth measurements provided by Pottery Barn are from the back of the sofa to the front. It is hard to know without being able to see the sofa in person since none of the PBs near me have it on display. Thank you so much!

        • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap March 8, 2015 at 6:55 pm

          I know what you mean! I actually asked a friend in another city to go check it out in her store, since I’d called and confirmed that they had a model on display. I just measured mine and the seat is 22 inches deep.

          • If u go on the PB website and click on dementions, it will give you seat dementions. Is this couch as firm as the Cameron or softer. Can you wash the seat and back cushion fabric ( do they zip off?)

          • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap March 9, 2015 at 9:22 pm

            They do zip off but I’ve bdver tried to wash them. I’m not sure how it compares to Cameron.

    • You may want to try everyday suede. The lady at the store said you could spill a glass of wine on it and it would clean up! I bought my couch i the light wheat everyday suede and LOVE the fabric/color. You can even wash the covers, but just don’t put in dryer.

  9. The “sitting” depth on the Caneron is 20″ which I thought was too narrow for lounging. For sitting it was perfect. I am 5′ 1″. The dimensions on the website measure from back of sofa to front. I was interested in the sitting depth. I was told if you want to wash them you should purchase slipcovers or it will shrink and might not fit back on. Slipcovers are made just a bit larger for this purpose.

    • Hi – do you find that it is a straight back and that you can comfortably put your feet on the ground? I am 5″1 and most sofas have an angle which bother my back. Also so many are so deep that I can’t touch floor. But you are my size so it would be great to hear how it works for you. Scary to just order it off web since they say that no retail stores carry any furniture to try.

      • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap July 17, 2015 at 7:50 pm

        It’s definitely too deep for me to have my back straight and my feet on the ground. I either pull my feet up or use an ottoman.

  10. hi! I’m curious if you could send me a picture of your sofa without the blanket on it. I am returning the Basic Sofa ( because it’s not made by the same vender- Mitchell Gold–anymore, and it is a completely different feel than the one at the store). Pottery barn has been great, and said they can exchange it with the buchanan. I have a small living room, 20×12, and wondering if it will be too big?Is the buchanan couch cozy comfy? Does it look formal or casual. I’d love pix! :) . Bridgetpeterson@

  11. I am stressing out over buying a comfy couch that looks good. I almost purchased the PB Pearce grand sofa, but the Buchanan seems to have a better dimension, has 3 cushions while the Pearce has 2 and not as wide as the Buchanan. I sat on the Cameron and it was high and not deep. Can you give me a very detailed description on the Buchanan and if I would be happy with it without sitting on one….also, not sure what fabric…the performance tweed desert looks nice but might show dirt…thinking about the the performance tweed silver taupe.

  12. Have you ever heard complaints/comments that the Buchanan sofas are shorter than advertised? One of my former colleagues/potential clients was complaining about it to me, and I was wondering if other people found the same thing.

  13. also — how comfortable is the bed and how hard to open?

  14. Jordan Fisher July 15, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Hello, I’m just wondering how tall the men in your life are that sit on this sofa? Do they think the seat depth of 22″ is big enough for them? I’m unable to buy the Cameron that I love because it isn’t big enough.

    • Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap July 17, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      I just read your comment to my 6’4″ husband and his reply was that it’s plenty big enough for him.

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