It’s Here!

November 20, 2013   //  Posted in: Decor, Living Room   //  By: Emily   //  35 responses

(Psst: If you want to see how this sofa is holding up, check out this review.)

Truth: I pushed to get you some pictures of the living room for the sake of documenting it in its new-floor-no-furniture state, so that today I could share with you this:

Our new couch! The sectional is here!

It’s here, our Tillary 8-piece sectional, our first ever totally mammoth piece of furniture for our totally mammoth living room! And it just arrived from West Elm yesterday morning after months of months of waiting. You could say we’re excited.

The Tillary Sectional from West Elm!

The Heather Gray color that we chose is exactly what I had hoped for in the space, not too dark, not too light, promises to hide lots of dog hair and sneaker dirt for years to come. The fabric is a very low nap, almost reminiscent of a terrycloth texture but without any obvious loops. The cushions, very firm, good for working with our feet up on the coffee table (which is really just the trio of ottomans that I made and continue to make use of until we find a real coffee table), and very deep, good for sitting indian style with a board game or for future snuggles in front of the still-to-be-repaired fireplace. We’ve known that the furniture and decor scale was going to be a big obstacle in this house, particularly in the living room and master bedroom, rooms that just seem to go on forever and ever, so Tillary is merely Step 1 at beginning to figure out how to decorate and furnish our new house accordingly.

Never mind the boxes and underlayment still displaced everywhere, when it’s positioned as we envision it against the wall, it’ll look great. 

The pretty new sectional, successfully breaking up our huge living room.

I was more than a bit nervous about placing the order for this couch, mostly because I kind of felt in the dark about what the product was like in real life. There aren’t tons of user reviews for it online, which is surprising considering how long it has been sold. West Elm doesn’t post reviews on its site, and my second resource, The World Of Bloggers, weren’t out there in droves praising or dismissing its features. I found approximately 1 negative review from a sassy customer on the company’s Facebook page, and approximately 1 positive review on a blogger’s site, dated several years back. This is why I sent my husband into a West Elm while he was traveling, and friend Cait who lives near enough to a store to conveniently drop in to investigate for me on separate occasions: I needed the real-life review. We don’t have a West Elm in Rochester.

Sending my squads out into the field even before ordering cleared up a few things that I’m sure I would have been surprised to find upon delivery, the biggest learning being that it’s so modular that none of the pieces connect to each other. The various seats don’t hook together in any way, like other sectionals I’ve seen. The back supports sit on top of the bases, but are simply weighted with a rubbery underside, not connecting at all.

The West Elm Tillary Sofa back supports do not attach.

The mobility of the back supports is something I was most concerned about – would they shift when we leaned against them? But both Pete and Cait reported back that the weight of the supports seemed enough to prevent it from sliding readily. I’m happy to say, now that its here, that I concur. It’s downright comfortable for casual lounging… on extra blankets in case the baby spits up. And again, it’s huge.

Tillary Sectional: Comfy back supports!

We weren’t taking any chances with the Tillary on our new floors though, immediately noting that the feet have a little tack to help prevent scratches. In my experience, these little knobbies cause more damage to floors than a simple flat wooden leg surface – in our last house, it wasn’t until we moved that we noticed dozens of little indentations in the oak floors, the aftermath of the couch shifting and us plopping down on it heavily, over and over again.

I was worried about the foot pegs damaging our new maple flooring.

This time, we immediately removed the tacks with a small prybar, bought some double-sided mounting tape, and cut scrap pieces of utility-weight rug (the kind we used when finishing off Pete’s workbench). FYI – we opted for the tape over glue, considering that glue might bleed through the rug and become scratchy against the floor. And considering that we’re not going to be lifting and shifting the couches repeatedly, we expect that the taped cushion will stay in place just fine.

Protecting the hardwood floors from damaging couch legs with scrap carpeting and mounting tape.

I’ll make myself a note to post again in several months to let you know how it’s holding up as a functional piece.

If you have any questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to drop me a note or leave a comment. (If you want to see how this sofa is holding up after 10 months of life, I encourage you to check out this review.)

  • Katharine
    2 years ago - Reply

    Looks great!

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      We love it so!

  • Staci
    2 years ago - Reply

    I’ll stay tuned in to see what you think about its modularity! I didn’t like how the back parts don’t attach, but let me know how you like its flexibility. I’m short, by the way (5’2″), and found it difficult/uncomfortable to lean onto the back when I checked the sofa out in store. Looks super in your room and I bet it will be great for your family :)

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      Uh huh – I can see the depth of it being somewhat uncomfortable for someone on the shorter side. We’re both in the 5-8″ and 5-9″ range, and it’s not bad for us, but definitely the kind of sofa that you’re either sitting with your feet up on, or sitting on the edge of casually with guests. I was initially more worried that the height was too low (and it may be for some) but then realized that our last couch was the same exact height (and it was cushier – so I think on the firm Tillary we’re actually sitting higher!). Keep you posted.

  • Mark Winters
    2 years ago - Reply

    Lookin good.

  • Rachel
    2 years ago - Reply

    Love it!! Now where does the old couch go? My living room? ;-) ;-) ;-) And I am so jealous of your big living room and satisfied need for big furniture!

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      Haha, we have to figure out where to put it. It might satisfy a need for gigantic furniture in the master bedroom, but it’s getting kind of ragged out…

  • Susan
    2 years ago - Reply

    You and Hattie look very comfy on the new sofa. The room looks really great with those floors.

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      Thanks Susan!

  • James
    2 years ago - Reply

    Thanks for the posts on the Tillary. Like you, I have been searching for reviews online and I found them hard to come by. I went into a store today and tried it out and found it to be comfortable, firm, but not overly so. I would mention that the store sample was not backed up against a wall and several guests sat down and the cushions/bolsters plopped of the couch and onto the floor, several times.

    Did you choose the Heather Gray? If so, it looks much lighter than the color swatch. I’m trying to decide between the Heather Gray and the Granite.

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      Mine is Heather Gray! A few weeks in, we’ve only managed to knock the supports off completely a few times (and this is mostly because of bouncing kids). They do slide a bit, but I haven’t been bothered by it yet (they’re still light enough to easily yank back into proper position), but I guess it depends how heavily you’re relying on them for support. The couch itself is so deep that when I sit down on it normally, I’m not far enough back to need the supports; the corner piece–also the heaviest–has been the best for leaning.

    • James
      2 years ago -

      Ended up going with the Heather Gray. Delivery time is scheduled for the week after Christmas. Looking forward to receiving it. Thanks for the insight.

  • Cait
    2 years ago - Reply

    Ok, so I’m quite behind in blog reading, but- I love it, it’s perfect!! You and Hattie look super cozy, too. :)

  • Elizabeth Ellis
    2 years ago - Reply

    I was so glad to see your review! I’m still not clear about whether the back cushions will stay put when leaning back on them. If it is not against a wall do the cushions stay on when you l;san back as you would normally with a sofa? I’m thinking of adding it to a room with a sofa and chairs as a daybed and it would not have a wall around it.

    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      After living with them, I can honestly say that they do shift if you’re leaning on them heavily. The corner piece is the heaviest and least inclined to shift, but the smaller straight cushions need to be regularly adjusted. If I’m sitting upright and not applying much force, they tend to be OK, but if you’re kicking back with your feet up, prepare to adjust periodically. Hope this helps!

  • Gia
    2 years ago - Reply

    Hi there,

    I had left a comment on another post regarding the Tillary. Anyway, I could have sworn there was an optional security strap for the back of the cushions. I’ve seen them in For Used ads. Does West Elm offer these anymore?


    • Emily
      2 years ago -

      Hey Gia! Thanks for the notes! The couch is holding up well. The cushions on the back certainly do move around if you’re leaning against them heavily and I have NOT heard of a strap for them (wasn’t offered with my purchase, at least, so I will be doing research!). Ours isn’t looking too wrinkly yet, actually I feel like it tightens back up pretty nicely overall if there’s a spot we have been sitting in a long time. I wonder if the fabric choice has something to do with it? It only has been a few months though, time will tell.

  • Ciara
    2 years ago - Reply

    Thanks for your review. I just stumbled on this couch and am very intrigued. Luckily, we have a location in Charlotte, so I can visit them. I am a little concerned about the back pieces but I do love how it can do so many different things. I guess I will have to decide what is more important. But thanks again – very helpful!

  • steven
    1 year ago - Reply

    We are considering buying this as well. People on this facebook page rant about the back supports just falling right off and people falling over and getting hurt. I don’t mind a bit of adjusting, but if they truly slide right off, that’s a problem. I seems like you don’t feel this way. I wonder if they have changed the bottom fabric to make it more stable? Are you still feeling like they stay on ok?

    • Emily
      1 year ago -

      Yeah, I read all those “my pregnant friend fell off the couch” comments too… for one thing, the couch is so deep that unless you’re sitting on it really relaxing back far, you don’t use the backrests at all. They shift, but only gradually because of the friction between the cushion top and rubberized underside of the back support. It’s not like they slide off easily though. They stay on fine for me, but with some casual adjusting if I’m leaning heavily. Hope this helps. All in all, a better couch for casual entertaining than heavy-duty-get-cozy-and-watch-movies-all-day.

  • Kim
    12 months ago - Reply

    Hi, Emily! I’m considering purchasing this sofa and came across your blog post while looking for reviews. How do you feel about the Tillary, a year later? Cheers!

    • Emily
      12 months ago -

      Hey Kim!

      1. The back supports will definitely move if you lean against them heavily. Sometimes, I lean on one side of a back panel and it slides around more easily than if I were to center my back on the support, if that makes sense. The corner piece is the most secure, rarely shifts around.

      2. The base pieces don’t move around too much on us, and that says a lot in that we have a 8-year old leaping around on them, and they are on a smooth hardwood floor. I don’t think adults would find that sitting/napping would cause them to shift too much if at all. They wouldn’t move at all if positioned on carpet, and if I wanted to make them more “sticky” on hardwoods, I would probably go the route of sitting the legs on that no-slip under-carpet mat.

      3. Fabric – so far, so good. When I sit in one place for awhile, you can start to see an indent in the foam, but it has always returned to normal, both the foam seat, and the tautness of the fabric.

      We have since moved the couch into the center of the room, and I actually find that since we aren’t as inclined to lean against the backs heavily (knowing they would slide). We sit more upright, or only with light pressure against the backs. It’s a nice couch for entertaining, when people are sitting and standing and leaning forward to reach appetizers off the coffee table, but for heavy-duty lounging and snuggling, it’s a little shifty.

      Hope this helps!

  • donna jones
    12 months ago - Reply

    Thank you so much for the informative review. I just found this couch yesterday and am seriously considering it for our living room. It would be out away from the walls. I like the ability to move the back cushions because we have a view to the ocean on the living room’s left side, the fireplace on the north, and TV on the east, and are struggling with how to have furniture that allows us to face all directions without our view being blocked by pillows. Although it might be a hassle to move the back cushions regularly. The sectional I really want is something like $15,000 though so this seems like a good alternative. Thanks again for the helpful info!

    • Emily
      12 months ago -

      I do really like how low it is, if that is any concession! Thanks for the note and good luck!

  • Hazel Molina
    7 months ago - Reply

    The backs on this Sofa are truly terrible. Unless you plan to lean the sofa on a wall, they will slide off. We are now in the process of replacing them or, designing something to hold down he backs. Thanks!

    • Emily
      7 months ago -

      If you figure out a way to keep them in place, permanently or more semi-permanently, let me know.

    • ava
      4 months ago -

      what do you think about Velcro?

  • Vanessa
    6 months ago - Reply

    We have the same problem with the Tillery. I tried putting a scrap of rug no slip material, but it still slipped. Am now in possession of a sew-in Velcro strip kit. It may ruin it, but we feel it may be worth it, if it fixes the problem. Thanks for writing a review! Am glad I found it.

    • Emily
      6 months ago -

      Tell me if the sewn velcro works, OK? I thought to get the same thing but was worried that the threads holding the velcro in place would tug at and tear the couch fabric.

  • gwen
    5 months ago - Reply

    very helpful. like others I could find very few reviews of this couch. like you I have an 8 year old and a 2 year old and pla to put this couch in the basement / main area for movie watching. It sounds like you have enjoyed your couch and like the look. If you were to do it again would you make the same selection given all the movement/stick issues of the cushions or would you go for a traditional couch with a back?? and regarding comfort – you mentioned it is better for hosting than snuggling up – how would you describe the comfort level and how the couch is holding up? I hear rumors that while Ikea couches are nice and afordable – they wear out very quickly

    • Emily
      5 months ago -

      No issues with wearing or bad foam yet – it’s not bad or unbearable, but next time we’ll spring for something with backs….. because I’m starting to miss them.

  • ava
    4 months ago - Reply

    I love your review! I love the chaise option to go into the office and use it as a sitting/sleeping lounge. I wonder if Velcro would help with sliding of these cushions.

  • nia
    2 months ago - Reply

    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to do this review. I was wondering if I could replicate it with twin beds and foam cushions (I want this for my son’s video game room) and I was obsessing over how they connected the back to the base–turns out they didn’t! LOL! I would never have known that without you.

  • Kara
    1 month ago - Reply

    WE FINALLY HAVE THE SOLUTION!! I have owned the west elm tilary sectionals for 8 years now and as much as I loved them I always had to apologize to friends who would come over and inevitably fall off the sofa because of the cushions. You would think west elm would’ve shoved this problem by now. I tried everything to keep these cushions on to no avail. My friend, who happens to be a carpenter, offered to build us a removable woo support he could attach to the underside of the cushion that would then connect to underneath the sofa. We are amazed at how well it worked and we can lie back without worrying about eventually falling. My friends can no longer make fun of our impractical sofa! I strongly suggest contacting him if you want this sofa to work. You can choose different stains and finishes for the wood support pieces. I tried to upload photos but couldn’t seem to do so. If anyone wants to see photos send me an email address I could send them to or help me figure out how to post here.

    Or you can contact him directly:

    Grove scenery/ custom fabrication
    Red Colegrove /owner/ designer

    • darcey
      10 hours ago -

      please send pictures of your solution! I have been pining after this sofa for years, but have been so afraid of the back cushions…the reviews haven’t helped, but I still want it, so your solution sounds PERFECT. my email address is

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