Yesterday, in Wednesday’s “Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down”column, Terrie and I tackled the pros and cons of slipcovers. I’ll concede the draped style slipcovers look messy, as Terrie noted, but that’s a look desired by some folks. Besides, there’s a lot more to slipcovers than just a single style, as the column noted. In fact, I think the options and savings are significant enough to delve into slipcovers a bit deeper today and also take a look at some of the “how to’s.”
Old vs. New Versions
Slipcovers continue to get better. Did you ever see those very early clear plastic versions used to protect furniture (believe it or not, they are actually still being sold today)? They remind me of a big shower cap for your sofa. When I was young I babysat for a lady who covered her living room furniture with plastic slipcovers to protect the lavender fabric from her kids. When I wore shorts in the summer I stuck to the sofa and then made crunching, squeaking, ripping, noises when trying to get off the furniture. Yikes!
Then came the big sheets of fabric (like I had for my sofa and love seat fifteen years ago) that required lots of tucking, folding, tacking and a elasticized ruffle to hide the bottom edge. Today ready-made slipcovers come in more fitted shapes and the fabrics have evolved to stretch and form better around curves. Plus, many furniture manufacturers now sell new furniture with a set of slipcovers and there are plenty of resources for ordering custom slipcovers for preowned furniture.
Today’s slipcovers also come in a variety of fabrics, including cotton duck, chenille, corduroy, cotton, denim, faux suede and even some that look like leather. Check before buying, but most slipcovers are machine washable and may also be machine dried.
Change Your Mind, Change your Décor
Slipcovers make it easy to change the color of your furniture anytime you please. One day your furniture can be white, the next black, and the following green. Just keep in mind the color of your walls, carpet and draperies so the slipcovers become part of the room, not just something you’ve tacked onto it. Use slipcovers as part of your decorating scheme and take your room from dull to dramatic and outdated to updated with just a small investment of time and money. Check out how the boring baby blue chair below becomes sophisticated and all grown up with a new slipcover!
Dress Your Furniture to Fit the Season
If like me, the changing seasons make you want to change your decorating scheme, slipcovers can be the foundation for redecorating in concert with Mother Nature. Furniture, like the slipcovered chair below from Crate&Barrel, can be dressed for each season:
Winter – choose a warm cuddly slipcover, perhaps chenille, corduroy or velvet, in a rich color like dark moss, maroon, midnight blue or dark chocolate to create a cozy environment.
Spring - burst out of the “stuck in the house” feeling of winter with lighter colored and perhaps even printed fabrics in fresh “outside” colors like blue, yellow, pink and soft green. Be certain the color you select works with the room’s window coverings, flooring and wall paint.
Summer -think sunshine, bare feet and easy care fabrics. Perhaps blue and white stripes reminiscent of the clear sky or lake, crisp white slipcovers splashed with bright spots of colored toss pillows, ice cream colors (pistachio anyone?), or tropical prints like bright florals. Use which ever colors mean summer to you in slipcovers made from polished cotton or cotton duck. Linen is also a lovely choice – but you must be willing to accept the wrinkles.
Autumn - think earthy for fall. Look to the trees for inspiration and select slipcovers that reflect the gold or amber, orange, red, brown and wheat colors that warm this season
For More Slipcover Information
If you’ve never used a ready-made slipcover and want to know more about how to apply one to your furniture, check out this video I found on YouTube. Please note: I have not used this slipcover brand (Stretch and Cover) or seen it in person. Mention of it here is not an endorsement; I simply thought the video might help some of you better visualize how slipcovers can be applied: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRYiP_btHCc&feature=related
Drop in for a visit and see how one woman saved money by purchasing a thrift store love seat for her living room and dressed it up by sewing a custom slipcover for it. View her video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXreNMmIxG4
A slipcover tutorial at Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Beautiful gives great step-by-step detail in a series of photos if you’re really interested in creating your own customized slipcover.
If you’re interested in purchasing a ready-made or custom slipcover the Internet is packed with options. Simply Google “slipcovers” and you’ll find a slew of furniture slipcovers available.
Plus, Amazon offers a large selection of ready-made slipcovers as well as books about slipcovering furniture.
Show Us What You’ve Got
If you’ve slipcovered a piece of furniture – sofa, chair, headboard, dining chair, bench, whatever - I’d like to see it. Share your your experiences and your photos with us by commenting below or sending a message with an attached picture to firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t be shy – share a little!