Tips

Reader Feedback Request – Alternative To New Couches

I have a few questions for you guys, my awesome readers.  First, a little information.

My wife and I have a couple of couches.  Structurally, they’re both in great shape.  However, one of them has some damaged fabric on its arms, and the other has been faded by the sunshine.  We’d love to keep the couches – they’re both very comfortable – so there’s no real (non-cosmetic) reason to get rid of them.  At this point, we’re thinking about buying some slipcovers for the couches.  (We don’t sew, so we’ll have to purchase the slipcovers.)

Now, the questions.

1.  Have you ever used a slipcover to improve the look of an old couch or loveseat?

2.  If so, how did it look?  In other words, did you find a slipcover that didn’t “look” like a slipcover?

3.  What type of slipcover did you buy and approximately how much did it cost?

Feel free to leave your comments section.  If you have a site where you ordered your slipcover, feel free to leave the link.  If, for some reason, the spam filter blocks your comment, please contact me and let me know.  Alternatively, you can head over to Twitter and @NCN with your input.  Thanks so much, in advance!

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26 thoughts on “Reader Feedback Request – Alternative To New Couches

  1. We bought a slip cover set for our loveseat & couch a while back so I don’t remember the cost exactly. I think we bought it Bed Bath & Beyond and the items were on sale/clearance, so we got a pretty good price on it. Material-wise the slip cover were really good & canvas like. Very washable, too.
    Our only complain was we should’ve got the fitted ones instead of the one with tie-bow. I think if you want slip covers that doesn’t look like slip covers, go with something a bit expensive like the SureFit brands — just my two cents… and good luck with the couch 🙂

  2. I wish I had a great recommendation for you.. but ever slipcover I’ve ever used (cheap ones from Walmart or Target… more expensive ones from JCPenney) all look like a sheet draped over it! Drove me crazy to be constantly adjusting the covers after sitting on the couch/chairs…

    For the chair with the worn arms… consider making armrest covers with matching fabric (or even a coordinating color hand towel) to cover the spot. Very basic hand-sewing would make an easy armrest cover. You can get upholstry screws to secure them to the chair.

    As for the sun-faded one.. I’d just pretend it was always that color! Anything new will just get sun-faded again… unless you move it out of the sun!

  3. I have slip covered a number of things. I don’t buy the slipcovers made, though. I buy the fabric and have someone make them. Ask around locally for recommendations. Last time i had a couch done, labor was in the $3-400 range. Fabric I buy at Joanne’s when they have a 40% off coupon. The person making the cover will come look at your couch and tell you how much fabric to buy.
    I have done my last 2 couches with white duck cloth. Years ago I visited a friend of a friend with 3 small kids and she had white couches, which I thought INSANE. She explained that it was very durable fabric and sturdy, and easy to throw in the wash with bleach if the kids or animals make a mess on it, which they will do . Important: pre-shrink by washing in hot water and drying in the dryer, and have the person making the cover make it a little loose.

  4. Mrs. MBH told me:

    1) Most store-bought slipcovers look like slipcovers.
    2) You can have good-looking slipcovers (fitted, with zippers) made if (a) you have a talented sewer working for you, but you will pay for it, and (b) you have the right kind of couch, because not all couches will work with this kind of slipcover.

  5. I’ve spent the big bucks on the supposedly surefit stuff, but I’ve never really been happy with it. It always looks like slipcovers – even when you spend a lot of time and effort using upholstery screws and make things tight and non moving!

    Find a local tradesman who does upholstery and go from there. If you shop around you can find it pretty cheaply (same price $3-$400) as having slipcovers done. Slipcovers can be a great solution if you want to be able to wash them – I prefer having the look of upholstered pieces.

    Also, you are in GA if I remember correctly? There is a great little shop in Snellville that has really cheap upholstery fabric. It is also worth a trip to (just south) of Charlotte, NC to go to Mary Jo’s. You won’t find better prices or selection anywhere else on material.

  6. had the stretch sure fit, did a good job, but it still moves around and it a lot of dirt and crumbs got trapped in it….took it off to have the couch and love seat clean and it left a lot (i mean, a lot) of pills…you could try re-upholstering, probably not much more than having slip covers custom made.

  7. Tried several different types of commercial slipcovers. They all looked good when first put on the couch but within a few hours they would loosen up and look terrible. Never found one that was worth the money.

  8. Our furniture is all cast-offs from family members, so the original fabric makes our house look somewhat, um, eclectic. I’m looking at overstock.com for slipcovers. Like most folks have said above, they probably won’t be a perfect fit, but they’ll at least cover the ugly fabric, holes, etc. and unify the look and feel of our rooms a little bit.

  9. We got a free couch and bought slipcovers from Bed Bath & Beyond while in college. They looked super nice…for the first 3 minutes after straightening them. The first time anyone would sit on the couch they would come untucked and look like a painter’s drop cloth.

  10. We purchased a suede-like slip cover from Target (89.00+tax) for our couch when the very washable canvas fabric started wearing through on the corners (we have kids & dog). It always needs a tuck as it has bows/ties and seems to get loose a lot. My sister had a chair recovered professionally and it is very washable, durable fabric but she thought the cost was a lot. I would get a tight couch cover and new pillows (ours doesn’t have an attached back cushion, only large pillows we can replace)

    My favorite furniture is our This End Up couch and chair & coffee table/bench that we got from friends when they were moving out of state. We LOVE how comfy, durable and versatile they are. When we have the cash we will (ok, first buy a new-to-us car) but then purchase covers from the company. It will cost about 400-500.00 to purchase new cushions/covers but the furniture never seems to wear out and is classic casual style. We see this brand on Craig’s list for about 400/ for couch/chair in great condition.

  11. I use slipcovers. Usually, I’ve purchased from E-Bay or Overstock.com. They ALWAYS look like slipcovers and they NEVER quite fit. Frankly, the best idea is to buy a bunch of cheap, warm throws in matching or complimentary shades and dangle them over the arms, faded spots, etc. If, like me, you tend to keep your home on the colder side, these will be appreciated a lot more than slipcovers.

  12. I haven’t used them, but my mom and cousin both swear by surefit.net Not too expensive I don’t think.

  13. A few years ago I bought a really nice slipcover for about $100 from Linens N’ Things (think Bed, Bath & Beyond). It looks fantastic when I put it on, but after sitting on it for any amount of time everything would come untucked and just look really messy. It was a huge pain in the butt and so not worth it. I ended up giving away the couch and slipcover for free a few months later (because it was the only way I could convince anyone to pick up a couch and carry it down four flights of stairs in a building with no elevator).

  14. I bought a slipcover for a old stained sofa, but was not pleased with the results. How nice a slipcover looks could depend on the shape of the sofa. The “arms” of my sofa were very narrow, unlike most fat arms that I see in most sofas, so my slipcover had this bagginess on the arms that couldn’t be disguised. I still used it, because it was still nicer looking than the stained sofa.

    One great slipcover tip: get a piece of PVC nearly as long as your couch, and push it into the crack between the back and seat of the sofa. That way, that portion of yur slipcover will stay in place and not become untucked as people sit.

  15. you can get them re-upholstered. Try to find mom and pop places. they’re usually much cheaper than furniture stores.

  16. Are the seat and back cushions on your couch attached to the frame? If they are don’t even bother to try one piece slipcovers, they all look awful after someone has sat on them. However, if they are separate you can purchase slipcovers where one piece covers the frame and has separate seat cushions. These tend to stay in place better and hide the fact that they are not custom made for your sofa. Also carefully check the shape of the arms of your sofa compared to the picture shown of the slipcover. There is often excess fabric here if the arms on your sofa are narrower. Here is an example from Surefit: http://www.surefit.net/shop/categories/sofa-loveseat-and-chair-slipcovers-three-piece

    This will still not look as professional as a custom made slipcover but the price is alot less.

  17. Those surefits look pretty bad, as others have noted. To custom reupholster or slipcover a sofa takes a lot of fabric, plus labor is expensive.

    I used a company called todoes, based in California. They made custom fit slipcovers from photos/measurements. The cost was around $500, far less than custom because it included labor AND fabric. Check out their website.

    I was happy with the results–and I figure my couch has at least 5 or more years.

  18. we use surefit as well. we like it, but they are a slipcover look. lots of options at many price points and great sales. plus, you can get swatches, which is nice.

  19. Would totally recommend finding a local seamstress/upholstery person!! Many times at local craft stores there are boards for people to advertise their skills. Thankfully, my husband used to do uphostery for a used car shop, so we go to the local fabric shop and I pick out what I like, and he makes it! We have tried the Target brand slipcovers, and of course have used throws and such to cover things, but since we have children who still build forts, and dogs that think they are children, they never lasted! Husband made everything using the current material as a pattern, so it all comes off easily and I can throw it in the wash. We’ve had our current furniture for about 10 years, and I always get comments about our “new” furniture.

  20. I had a surefit slipcover over a couch for a year or two. It always looked so bad so I had it professionally reupholstered.

    I also had a chair that had damaged arms and for it I picked out a coordinating fabric and had professional arm covers made. Much cheaper than reupholstering the whole chair and better looking than a slipcover.

    Good luck!

  21. We bought one of the nicer $50 ones from Target when I found it on clearance. My husband constantly had to adjust it and got exceptionally upset with it. One time he didn’t adjust it and sat down and in the very back left corner the fabric pulled apart when he sat on it.

    Was it better than getting dog hair on the couch? (The couch fabric caught it and it took hours to pluck out.) Yes. Was it washable? Yes. Did it look great? It looked like a slip cover.

    We ended up buying a new set of couches from the Habitat for Humanity Resale shop on a 50% off day for $250. They’re very nice.

  22. I have a gorgeous and structurally sound couch that my dog slimed up. I couldn’t afford to reupholster it, and figured the dog would just have at it again. I got a slipcover at Ikea; it cost around $40 and is not a perfect fit. It doesn’t come down all the way in the back, but the back is up against something, so no one sees that. The cover is made of heavy duty white canvas and is machine washable. My dog is black, though, so it was always noticeably covered with dog hair; so I threw a patterned full-size sheet over the slipcover, and it looks great. I can take everything off and wash as needed, and it was much less than reupholstery or paying for a seamstress to make slipcovers.

  23. Another vote for having them custom-made. I grew up with a sofa that was covered with a hand-made slip cover, with zippered slip covers for the seat cushions. We also had three or four throw cushions covered with the same fabric. I spent most of my childhood not knowing that the slip covers existed. The best part about this approach, I think, is that you can choose a fabric that you really like (we had a velvet texture and a very nice pattern).

  24. I have tried the Target brand slipcovers at about $50.00, the one piece kind and the more expensive sure-fit two piece. The Target one fit better and stayed put better, though I was forever tucking it back in, The material was much better than the Sure-fit suede like material. I though I the sure fit would fit better and be better thicker material, since it cost almost twice as much. This was not true. The material is very thin and cheap looking and now I need to tuck in the the cushions and the frame cover. It never looks good. I went back to my Target one. I recently tried to reupholster my husbands’ recliner with fair success. I am going to attempt the couch, it has to be better than the look of the messy looking slip covers. I know why they are called slip covers, they always slip out of place.

  25. I have made my own slipcovers (OK, but not professional looking), used Surefit and other brands (messy looking), and, eventually, got to a professional. Bought the
    fabric myself from a mill-end shop (JoAnn’s Fabric is also a great source, as is
    Fabric.com on the internet.) My sofa slipcover is white, looks like upholstery, and
    has held up well without slipping/sliding for over 10 years now. Everyone who sees it compliments it, even today. At present, I’m having a chair slipcover
    made in a Microsuede fabric that cost me ~$8./yd and it will be very nice.
    The big question is whether it’s worth it. I have some furniture that cost big bucks, is very sturdy, and will outlive me and these pieces are worth it. So if the original chair/sofa is very well made, w/ good springs and cushions, it deserves a good cover. Generally, if the original upholstery lasted a long time it’s worth it; if it was a cheaper piece and the original fabric was thin and wore or faded quickly, I would use a purchased pre-made cover or just save for a new chair. If you can sew, you can make a slipcover, not difficult, but a somewhat tedious process for a novice. Pretty much
    the same thing goes for reupholstery, which actually isn’t much more expensive than
    professional slipcovers, but much more difficult to keep clean.

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