Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Slipcover Conundrum: Solved

Instead of just responding to the couple comments below I thought it was high time we discussed slipcovers! I get a lot of emails from readers who are looking to update furniture in a fast and affordable way with slipcovers, and besides those two great qualities slipcovers also offer quick and easy cleaning. While much of our slipcovered furniture comes from Ikea (cheap+great looks=no brainer!), not all does. The sofa in our living room (pictured in the post below) was actually a custom piece we had made for our first house. Not surprisingly, the actual color of the sofa is white but the slipcover was surprisingly a later addition.

Here are my tips to slipcovers:

1. Go custom with store bought.
Huh??? Let me explain. To buy enough fabric alone to cover a sofa you are looking at atleast $100 or more. Plus you still have all the work of planning and sewing one. I am not nearly that adept of a seemstress, but I do know how to use a needle and thread. I found that sofa cover in a clearance bin for $30 at Bed Bath & Beyond. It was a great khaki color, however I did not see the lovely, huge, purple mystery stain right in the middle until I got it home. That explained the price... But I threw it in the wash with some bleach and it came out a perfect cream color, mystery stain was gone. But it was stilll slouchy and baggy, so I pinned it in a few areas around the arms and sides, stitched it up with some upholstery thread and I had an instant custom slipcover. No sewing machine needed!

2. Pillows are your friends.
Pillow backed sofas are your friends! But if your sofa doesn't have a multiple pillow back and just one or two big ones I would highly recommend finding pillows to match your new slipcover and use those over the cover instead of using the one(s) that came with the sofa. This aleviates the issue of constantly re-tucking in your covers and gives you a much more finished look.

3. Covers that tie at the arms fit best!

Avoid covers like these:

And look for ones like this:
This also helps to tighten the front piece along the bottom, accentuates the arms better, and makes for easy re-application after a washing.
I hope these tips help anyone looking to cover something, especially those who wanted an option to the slouchy store bought covers!


Emily said...

Great idea on the pillow backs, Holly. I use a surefit slipcvoer for our sofa, but bought some inexpensive matching material (cotton duck) and whipped up individual seat cushions to give it an even more custom look. It was inexpensive and only took a couple hours (I'm a novice sewer - it's incredibly imperfect).

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

I have a slipcovered sofa from PB and do love it for all the reasons you mentioned. I would, however, caution against the use of many of the one-size-fits-all type covers. I have tried them and it is difficult to get the look you see on the ads. Have you noticed how they always strategically cover certain areas with pillows or angle the sofa in the ad? The ones we tried needed to be adjusted every time someone got off the sofa.

Sorry to sound like such a downer, but I don't want anyone wasting their money.

Yansy said...

I love the Pottery Barn slip covers. I've had clients use them and they love them. They work wonders if you have kids. I always stay away from the one size fits all, they never look good and are super uncomfortable to seat on.

Katie Bug said...

Thank you for sharing these tips. I was just about to email you some slipcover questions, and you answered all of them in this post!

Anonymous said...


julie said...

my couch and love seat both have a white duck cloth slip cover! they were custom and pricey but i love them! now on my grannys wingback chair i purchased a slipcover from surefit however it sure doesnt fit! i think i need to work on it! thanks for the idea of doing it myself!

Better After said...

Hi there! Can I just say how much I love your blog! Your redos are so beautiful. You seem like one of those people that just oozes style without even trying! Not fair! Anyway, I'd love to feature some of your projects on my blog! C'mon over and check it out and let me know what you think! :)

Jenna said...

I love your blog Holly! It is definitely one of my favorites. Your tips and tricks are awesome! :)

Little Lovables said...

I love m y slipcovers. I got them at Surefit and they are the faux suede, so spills and ink comes right off.

Also, I got the kind that has a seperate seat cushion, so the tucking isn't as bad.

Melanie said...

Thanks for the bleach tip. My fear with that was that I'd end up with a leopard print vs. a lighter solid color.

I have a slipcover that is not as light as I'd like and although everyone seems to like it, I don't. That being the case, I'll try the bleach! ;-)

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