By Simon Phillips
If you live in a furnished apartment, a great way to add your personal touch to the décor is to use furniture slipcovers on the couch and chairs. Not only can slipcovers hide unattractive or unfashionable upholstery, they have the added bonus of protecting your landlord’s furniture from wear and tear. If you accidentally drop a slice of pizza on the sofa or your friend’s kid leaves mucky fingerprints on the arms, it’s much easier to wash a slipcover in the machine than to scrub the stains out of the upholstery by hand.
Slipcovers also come in handy if you’re furnishing your apartment yourself, especially if you’re trying to decorate on a tight budget. It’s easy to find cheap or even free secondhand furniture from yard sales or family. However, the disadvantage of secondhand furniture is that it’s not necessarily going to be to your taste. Used sofas tend to look their age, with outdated, dirty or worn upholstery. Also, it’s common for thrifty renters to acquire separate items – an armchair here, a loveseat there – rather than be lucky enough to find a matching 3-piece suite. The beauty of slipcovers is they can solve all these problems, by making random seats match and giving old furniture a more modern style.
It’s relatively inexpensive to buy ready made slipcovers, especially if you shop around to find the best offers and clearance sales. A 2-seat loveseat cover typically costs around $40 to $50. A bonus of buying one-size-fits-all, mass-produced covers is they are designed to fit pretty much any furniture. So, you can re-use them if you move to another apartment or if you buy your own furniture in the future. The fabrics are usually hardwearing cotton or polyester, or a blend of both, and can stand up to lots of use and regular washing. Stretchy fabrics that contain Spandex are also available, and are good for getting a really tight fit.
Of course, couches and chairs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so sometimes a ready made slipcover might not fit properly. Custom slipcovers are more expensive and really only worth it if you’ve got a good quality seat you’re going to use for a long time. But for renters on a budget, there are a few tricks you can use to help get a slipcover to fit.
For instance, if a slipcover is slightly too big and there’s a lot of loose fabric, tuck it all tightly behind and to the sides of the seat cushions. Poking it in with a wooden spoon helps. To secure it and prevent it becoming untucked when you sit on it, either buy some purpose-made plastic grippers or make your own from rolled up magazines and rubber bands. You can push these into the gaps around the seat to stop the excess fabric untucking. Another trick worth knowing is to use an old blanket or towel to add padding to narrow or wooden arms.
So, if you’re looking for a way to put your own stamp on your apartment’s décor and get a coordinated look without spending much money, why not invest in some slipcovers?
Simon Phillips is a professional writer, interior design enthusiast and co-founder of www.GetSlipcovers.com. He particularly enjoys finding ways of furnishing and decorating his home for less.