Slipcovers make the most economic sense if you buy higher quality furniture. Photo courtesy of C.R. Laine Furniture Company
Do you like to mix up your interior design as seasons change? Just purchase two slipcovers—one for warm and one for cold weather. Photo courtesy of Nantuckit Furniture Company
Today's slipcovered furniture looks no different than standard upholstered furniture. Photo courtesy of C.R. Laine Furniture Company
For easy washability in slipcovers, choose cotton and cotton blend fabrics that have been preshrunk. Photo courtesy of Nantuckit Furniture Company
All Slipcovers Aren’t Created Equal
Slipcovers generally are made to fit the sofa frame like a glove, so getting them back on after washing or dry cleaning can require some gentle manipulation. Be sure to ask how your slipcover is made. Is it one piece? Some one-piece slipcovers have zippers. Some slipcovers come in several pieces and Velcro together. Note: If the slipcover is washable, you typically will be instructed to put it back on while still damp so it can stretch and dry in place.
Slip into Something Sensational
Slipcovers offer fashion flair and easy care.
- by Deanna L. Thompson
Whether you want to make a stunning design statement or just want comfy furniture that will withstand the wear and tear of kids and pets, you’ll find exciting options in slipcovered furniture.
Discover the ‘New’ Slipcover
These are not your grandmother’s dowdy furniture covers! You can create a look ranging from comfortably casual to cutting-edge elegant, depending on the fabric and style you choose. Today’s slipcovered furniture is available for nearly every room of the house. Try a slipcovered sofa, sectional, chair, ottoman, chaise, dining room chair or even a bedroom headboard and footboard.
One of the newest trends in slipcovered furniture is tailored slipcovers that are virtually identical to their upholstered cousins—except the cover is removable.
“You really can’t tell them apart,” says Holly Blalock, creative director at C.R. Laine Furniture Company, an upholstery manufacturer in Hickory, N.C., which offers a slipcover option for about 30 percent of its furniture.
So how is a slipcovered piece different from a traditionally upholstered one? Instead of upholstering the item, the manufacturer typically stretches muslin over the finished frame, which is then topped with your choice of slipcover. Some fabrics are washable; others must be dry-cleaned.
Design Flexibility: Off with the Old, on with the New
Today, red. Tomorrow, gray. With slipcovers, you don’t have to worry that you’ll be locked into your current choice of color and fabric for the next 10-20 years, or however long you own your sofa. Instead, slipcovers give you freedom to keep your look fresh without replacing entire pieces.
“You can be a little more bold,” says Blalock. “You can buy something trendy in a fabric. Then, when you’re tired of it, you’re not obligated to purchase a new sofa. You just put a new ‘jacket’ on it.”
Slipcovers make the most economic sense if you buy a quality sofa—such as one with 8-way, hand-tied springs and a lifetime warranty on the frame, notes Blalock. That way, you’ll be sure that your frame will last through several “jackets.”
Seasonal Style: Go Hot and Cold
Do you like to mix up your interior design as seasons change? Just purchase two slipcovers—one for warm and one for cold weather, suggests Anna Hill, chief design officer at Nantuckit Furniture Company, a slipcovered furniture retailer based in Brentwood, Tenn.
“In summer, you can have something a little brighter and cheerier,” Hill says. “In the winter, when you want something cozier, you can go with darker colors or a different fabric, such as a damask or velvet, with a warmer feel.”
Slipcovered furniture also works well for people who rent out their vacation homes, says Hill. The homeowner can buy two sets of slipcovers—one for family use and another for rental guests.
Easy Care: Is that Chocolate on My White Sofa?!
Got kids? Got pets? These are two more reasons people choose slipcovered furniture. But don’t automatically assume that any slipcovered furniture you choose will be washable.
Typically, high-fashion slipcovers in fabrics such as chenille and wool must be dry-cleaned. For easy washability, choose cotton and cotton blend fabrics that have been preshrunk, advises Hill.
Cotton was the choice of Shannon Garlington of Jackson, Miss., for the sofas, chair and glider she bought from Nantuckit. She was looking for washable, comfortable seating for her living room, and slipcovers saved her when a neighbor’s child rubbed chocolate onto her white sofa.
“I just tossed the slipcover in the washer with a little bleach—and it came right out,” says Garlington.
Of course, you can’t use bleach on a colored cotton slipcover, but there is another color fabric option that is just as kid-friendly. Outdura, a soft, cotton-like fabric that was originally designed for outdoor use, is available on C.R. Laine furniture. Because the color is built into the fibers of the fabric, rather than applied as a dye, you can use bleach or even turpentine to get out stains, says Blalock.
“Ketchup, rust, mildew, tree sap, ink, coffee—anything—will come out,” she says. “And it’s so soft, it’s just like a twill.”
So whether your goal is high-fashion or low-worry, furniture dealers today have got you covered—slipcovered, that is.