June 12, 2014


Slipcovers were originally used as both warm 
and cool weather 'cover-ups.' 

In the 18th century upholstery textiles were expensive silk brocades or woven wool's. In the summer heat silk could be quickly ruined by perspiration and wool textiles were too hot to sit on, and hideously scratchy against the bare parts ... so they covered them with muslin.  In the 19th century coal was burned for heat and slipcovers of inexpensive printed or woven cottons were used to keep the coal soot off the upholstery in chilly months. 
In the 20th century they became less utilitarian and more of a 'summer season ritual.'  They've gone in and out of vogue more than Cher. 


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(Source: Remodelista)
In this room all the lines are clean and linear, there's no curtains or plushy rugs to offer visual softness; but that's accomplished with the "sloppy slipcovers" on the club chairs, they interrupt the rigidity and make the room feel more inviting.

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(Source: Cote de Texas)
This beautiful living room has a little of everything - contemporary, rustic, modern - and still remains elegant. The heavy Belgian linen slipcovers on the sofa's add texture and softness as there's few curtains and no carpet.

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(Source:  House Beautiful)
In a pretty room with crisp surfaces the slipcovered settee adds a soft, cozy element - it implies comfort with the slipcover.

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(Source: Nicky Haslam)
Here's what many of you think of when you think of slip covers, the old English interior; to some it's a pretentious bit of tatty elegance, to most - a flea-bitten dog bed...
Shabby-Chic is sooo 80's people!

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(Source: Tria Giovan)
This is the opposite of the prior photo - lean, clean and super edited.
The sofa adds just enough softness to make this room feel usable.

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(Source: Coastal Living)
Getting your beach house in order? Take Aunt Pearls old Miami Beach furniture and throw a slip-cover over it and voila, a groovy  look with little outlay. And, when you get suntan oil or self-tanner all over it, you can just throw it in the washer.

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(Source:  Thomas Jayne)
One of America's top designers, Thomas Jayne, has parlayed the local French flavour into his New Orleans home by using toile on two re-purposed club chairs for a sitting room. Again, very approachable and welcoming.

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(Source: Coastal Living)
Another beach house gets craycray with second hand furniture!  
I love the same fabric on everything. Notice the green piping on the blue-and-white stripe sofa slipcover?

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(Source: Owen Dalton OTD Design)
Another beach house where food, drinks, perspiration and lotions abound; when someone makes a mess you just keep on partyin' instead of going all drama-queen and rushing around with club soda.

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(Source: William Hefner)
Whaaaat, slipcovers outside?
Absolutely! Bird shit, red wine, BBQ sauce....you do the math.

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(Source: Home & Garden)
Another grand English estate -  minus the flea-bitten dog bed.
An architecturally imposing room needed to be made more cozy and user-friendly. The slipcovers and bright colors have created a casual, fun and happy space, lessening the formality.

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(Source:  House Beautiful)
An elegant, traditional room gets a set of summer slipcover to give the room a new look for half the year.
Simple fabric, contrast piping and ties instead of zippers.

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(Source: Sotheby's)
This ain't your grandma's drawing room! 

The recipe for this transition:
  • Paint all the dark, dreary woodwork white
  • Paint the gilded and faux'd ceiling white
  • Switch out all the heavy dark furniture with fewer slipcovered, clean lined upholstered pieces
  • Replace dark Persian carpets with sisal
  • Lose all the fancy-drapy curtains and replace with simple white linen 

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(Source: Veranda)
So you wanna update your colonial home, huh?
The fastest and cheapest way is to lose the ubiquitous Williamsburg textiles with a natural linen colored slipcover.

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(Source: Angele Parlange)
Cant afford new furniture right now?
Find a fabric outlet and look for a simple cotton. Also, get a few yards of a contrasting color for the piping.
(ask your slip-cover maker for the yardage or see the chart below before you go buy the fabric - don't guestimate)

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(Source: Veere Grenney)
I love this elegant English bedroom with the plain, painted taupe walls and the contemporary lamp thrown into the mix. The old club chair is perfect in this room with its chintz slipcover - it looks embracing and comfy.

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(Source: Victoria Hagan)
People are staying home more - using their furniture more, and allowing undisciplined kids to do whatever they want on whatever they want... So, the utilitarian aspect of a 'washable cover' is perfect for today!

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(Source: Marie Claire Maison)
Outdoor textiles are virtually indestructible - albeit expensive, but they make excellent slipcovers for high-use furniture or weekend homes with animals and kids.


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(Source:  Cindy Hattersley)
Need a little life in your dining room?
Slipcover your chairs and you'll have it all - casual chic with easy maintenance!

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(Source: Pinterest)
Formality in homes is lessening and people with high-end traditional furniture cant figure out what to do to "lower-the-tone"...
Slipcovers help you bring the tone down and make the room look less formal.

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(Source: Google)
Why not have a few sets made to use at different times of the year?
These white slipcovers have reindeer embroidered on the backs.

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(Source: House Beautiful)
These Louis XVI chairs have tied-on covers which look awesome in this "country casual" space. An elegant frame with a totally caszhe look.

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(Source: AD)
These simple seat covers can be a wonderful way to smartly protect your chair fabric when entertaining - or if you have an older person or baby with shakey motor skills

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(Source: Kay Douglass)
LOVE these in the brown Belgian linen!
Patterned or flowered slipcovers can often look like a sloppy upholstery job, I think simpler is always best.

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(Source: House Beautiful)
These pedestrian Windsor chairs have been given a new life with the seat cushions and the half-slips over the backs.

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(Source: New England Home Magazine)
Y'all know that bar-stools are uncomfortable and get majorly dirty; do something like this and both issues are handled.

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(Source: Laurie Annas)
Entertain often?  This could be a fun way to seat people. 
The cheap burlap with some cool stencils makes the whole party more fun!

Making your upholstery go from ugly-ass to bad-ass!
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You cant swing a cat without hitting an old camel back sofa!
Don't throw it out, slip cover it. It's gently curving lines give it more interest in a world of boxy upholstery, and the slipcover will make it softer, less formal looking.

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Change the look of your Louis XIII arm chair from
"bad suburban McManison"  to  "Villa on the Riviera"

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Old-fashioned wicker porch chairs get an updated makeover with 'outdoor' fabric slipcovers

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The 80's are over! Who wants an old Louis XIV marquise?
Put it in a girls bedroom and give it a feminine slipcover - boom your done!

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I think every second-hand store has several of these old turds around. But you can take it to the beach or country house and change its looks with a slipcover.
Notice the embroidered monogram which can make it fun for a kids room or ladies bathroom

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These Louis XIII chairs are super masculine and a tad pretentious; but give them a super simple white cotton slipcover and you've made them casual, handsome, inviting chairs

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This formal Heppelwhite sofa is the last thing you'd would want these days, but 8 yards of fabric later and BOOM you have a new caszhe looking, small scale sofa

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These ultra-suede chairs are available at most big-box stores like Target or Home Goods for around $149 and they're perfect to slipcover! 


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With slipcovers you have the ability to easily customize your piece 

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Have an artist in the house?
Use heavy cotton duck and let the artist have at it with indelible markers or fabric paint. It'll be a personal, impactful statement - when you're tired of it - pull it off and throw it away...

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When discussing with the fabricator how you want your piece slipcovered you'll need to be specific or you'll get the pedestrian version... 

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Its always nice to add some details, but remember, not too many!

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Details on the piece should be considered with the fabric being used - keep it simple.

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If you have an old fully upholstered chair around and know how to knit - go for it!

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Yardage estimating chart


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This is scary, too cute and ruffly....

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The details are too "fat," and it looks like a blow-up chair with a store-bought slip cover from Sears

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For what it cost to buy all that fabric, have it embroidered and sew in all those details you coulda had new chairs!

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These look like a house dress from the Grapes of Wrath

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When they're dirty, pull them off and wash them.

You can do it, I'm here to help!

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(Jayne Mansfield's Beverly Hills Home ca. 1959) I've never been known to keep my opinions to myself... especially of thos...