Slipcovers can dress a room up or down - East Valley Tribune: At Home

Slipcovers can dress a room up or down

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Posted: Friday, June 29, 2007 1:21 pm | Updated: 7:39 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Slipcovers are one of the great multitaskers of the home. They can cover a nasty coffee stain on a couch, make a hand-me-down chair blend in with your decor, or spruce up a dreary room for spring.

Slipcovers are one of the great multitaskers of the home.

They can cover a nasty coffee stain on a couch, make a hand-me-down chair blend in with your decor, or spruce up a dreary room for spring.

Slipcovering furniture can be as easy as purchasing a one-size-fits-all cover from a department or specialty store or, for a slightly bigger investment of time and money, they can be custom-made at a fabric store.

Jan Jessup of Calico Corners says slipcovers are still more popular in the East than they are in our Southwest homes, and she thinks that’s “kind of a shame.”

“I think people in warm climates are under the illusion that they don’t need slipcovers,” she says. “But without them, they miss the opportunity to have a fresh look in their homes twice a year.”

She likens using slipcovers to bringing your winter wardrobe out of storage and remembering that you have a whole other set of fun pieces to wear.

“Slipcovers are really like a dress for a chair or a sofa,” she says. “You can put slipcovers on important pieces for a more casual look in spring and summer and take them off in the winter for a more formal look, for your holiday entertaining.”

Slipcovers are a more affordable option than redecorating or even reupholstering. As long as your furniture is structurally sound (no cracked frames or lumpy filling) you can cover it in a variety of patterns and fabrics for a fresh look.

Calico Corners offers a service that will make slipcovers for you, and they recommend these tips to consider when making your own slipcover, or when having someone make it for you:

• Slipcover fabrics should be medium-weight, but not too heavy. While upholstery fabrics are stapled to the frame, slipcover fabrics are completely stitched together. There will be many layers of fabric (plus welting) where seams join, so heavy chenilles and velvets won’t work.

• Textured fabrics such as twills, damasks and denim add visual interest and resist wrinkling. Linen or linen blends are guaranteed to wrinkle — which may be or may not be desirable.

• Slipcover fabrics should be tightly constructed and in a color that doesn’t reveal the upholstery fabric beneath.

• Slipcovers are best suited to fully upholstered furniture rather than furniture with exposed wood frames. The wood frame will be felt beneath the slipcover, unless it is designed to tie on like a pinafore, instead of covering the frame like a dress.

• Slipcovers can be made to fit like a glove, or with a relaxed fit for a more casual look. Be sure to specify the look you want.

The same Angby chair from Ikea gets two looks with slipcovers — the first in Eggshell Blue and the second in Mandarin Orange. One chair features a skirt; the other leaves the legs exposed for a more formal look. Both slipcovers are $90.77 from Bemz.

How to put on a slipcover

Most home stores sell one-size-fits-all slipcovers for sofas and armchairs. We purchased one for $59.99 and put it on, following the directions, to see how easy or difficult it is to do (http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/video/66',%20438,366);" class="content-link">watch the video).

1. Remove the slipcover from the packaging and spread it out to determine what is the front and what is the back. Our slipcover had a sticker marking the front center and back center, as well as two stickers marking the chair arms.

2. Spread the slipcover over the chair and start tucking. This is the most time-consuming part of the process, and involves adjusting the fabric until you get the cover to the desired smoothness.

3. The finished chair may not look like the photo on the package your slipcover came in, because the design of your chair may be different. We spent about 15 to 20 minutes slipcovering this chair. The finished look is not as tailored and formal as the chair was to begin with.

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