Buying Guides
Feb 19, 2013

Buying guide: Slipcovers

By: Christine Hanlon

Buying guide: Slipcovers Author: Style At Home

Buying Guides
Feb 19, 2013

Buying guide: Slipcovers

By: Christine Hanlon

Unlike their slouchy predecessors (which looked more like oversized sacks), today’s slipcovers are sophisticated and refined. Like practical clothing for your furniture, they can be customized and allow for instant room reinvention at a low cost.

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Photography courtesy of southhillhome.com

Before you buy

  • Decide if you want a custom, a casual-fit or a ready-made slipcover. The price will reflect your choice, custom being the most expensive (but still cheaper than reupholstering or buying a brand new piece).
  • Consider your fabric choices, both the material and whether you want a solid or a pattern. My personal favourites for slipcovers are solids, stripes and mini checks, such as gingham. If you choose a patterned fabric, remember that you’ll need to order more yardage, depending on the repeat.
  • Think about the details, such as piping and skirts, and don’t be afraid to ask about adding a particular embellishment you like.
  • Bring pictures of your inspiration with you for reference and be sure to include swatches of other fabrics and paints used in the room, as well as existing arm caps (for profile) and seat covers.

When ordeing a casually fitted slipcover, you’ll need to provide a simple set of measurements (including width across the back, inside back, overall height, seat width and seat depth). For a custom slipcover that’s tailored to the piece of furniture, the seamstress will take the measurements herself.

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Stylish options
Fashion-forward, streamlined and tailor-made in fine fabrics with look-at-me detailing, slipcovers offer a sought-after bespoke quality we all desire in our homes. While slipcovers can be custom made for existing furniture, retailers offer many ready-made options for popular living room furniture styles in their own collections.

(1) Chastain chair. Hickory Chair Furniture, $2,130 US.
(2) Dining chair. Restoration Hardware, $395 US.

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Styling secrets
  • Heavy fabrics, such as linen, work best for slipcovers because they drop nicely and stay in place.
  • For a unique custom embellishment, try inverted kick pleats in a contrasting colour for the skirt.
  • A tight-fitting slipcover with minimal detailing and no skirt offers a clean look that mimics upholstery.
  • Throw the slipcover in the dryer for a few minutes with a damp tea towel – the wrinkles will steam right out!
  • To freshen the look, switch your slipcovers seasonally, or even just twice a year.

(1) Cheshire Roll armchair. Ethan Allen, $1,619.
(2) Loose FitUrban Karlstad armchair cover. Bemz, $289.

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Glossary
  • Slipcover A removable fabric cover that fits over your existing furniture; can be tailored, casually fitted or ready-made.
  • C.O.M. Customer’s own material. A popular option to customize standard furniture by buying and supplying your own fabric.
  • Pleat A type of fold used along the skirt to create a fullness that isn’t frilly. Common styles of pleats include knife pleats, box pleats and kick pleats.
  • Piping In upholstery, a type of trim or embellishment consisting of a strip of folded fabric inserted into a seam to define the edges or style lines of the furniture.

(1) Carlisle armchair. Pottery Barn , $1,384.
(2) Portico Swivel Glider. Crate and Barrel, $1,199.
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Buying Guides

Buying guide: Slipcovers