As I said in the last column, I recently got the overwhelming urge to slipcover the living room furniture, but I didn’t. Yet. But it seems a fair number of my readers have also had the urge in the last while, so it’s time once again for an updated “Slipcover or Upholster?” column. I’m talking here about custom-made slipcovers, not the catalogue ones or ones you see in furniture stores. “One size fits all” doesn’t work in pantyhose and it doesn’t work in slipcovers.
Reason to upholster:
*The furniture squeaks or wobbles.
An upholsterer takes the cover off, right down to the wood, and can fix the squeaks and wobbles.
*The springs are sprung.
Same thing as squeaks and wobbles. Needs an upholsterer.
*There is a lot of exposed wood on the piece.
-Upholstery fabric is stapled in place and leaves the wood exposed where the design dictates; slipcovers aren’t good for this.
*You want the tufting reproduced.
-Tufting involves ties pulled through the surface and attached to the frame. Because slipcovers are removable, they can’t have tufting.
*The piece is leather.
-Some leather pieces can be slipcovered but most don’t do well. The surface is so slippery the cover just won’t stay in place.
*They can be washable, depending on the fabric you choose.
-Slipcovers need natural-fiber fabric which can be pre-shrunk.
*Slipcovering can be much less expensive than upholstery.
-A wing-back chair slipcover starts at 300.00; upholstering starts at about 800.00.
*Slipcovers do not damage or change the furniture in any way.
-Semi-attached back cushions, recliners and sofa-beds can be slipcovered.
*Slipcovers can alter the mood and style of the piece.
-A change in fabric, a change in trim size, adding or removing a skirt and changing the style of the skirt can update an older piece without altering the furniture.
*You don’t need to take the piece to the shop.
-The covers I make are fitted in your home and sewn in my shop.
Good-fitting custom-made slipcovers look like upholstery but they are, after all, fabric on fabric and they can shift. Be realistic in your expectations, please, and don’t expect a slipcover to perfectly reproduce an upholstered look every time.
Your fabric choice and how you use the furniture will affect how it looks.
If you’d like to chat about your possible slipcover project, call me at 250-833-1120.