When you choose sofa or chair slipcovers, you are actually choosing to dress up your furniture. Just as you would pay attention to fabric weight, textures, and fit when you dress a human body, you should consider what would best fit your piece of furniture. Be aware that slipcovers may not always be the perfect solution for a certain chair or sofa style.
Consider Them to Be a Cosmetic Change Only
Slipcovers will change the look of your chair or sofa and can hide unsightly stains, but the feel or underlying structure will not change— it is a cosmetic change only. So if your sofa is sagging, lumpy, or the springs are sticking out, simply getting new slipcovers will not magically make them more comfortable.
If your furniture is falling apart, this budget solution could turn out to be a wasteful expense because you stand to gain nothing from it. You are better off buying a new sofa or reupholstering so that the filling is repaired as well.
Choose a Look
Slipcovers come in many looks ranging from loose and flowing to very precisely tailored ones. Decide on a look that fits your room. You can choose a loose or relaxed look for a casual effect, or select a tailored look that fits the lines of your sofa or chair more closely for a more formal look. Let your general decorating style dictate the look along with the shape of the piece.
Choose a Fabric Weight
Not all fabric is suitable for slipcovers. As a general rule, it is best to avoid very heavy upholstery fabrics such as chenille and velvets as they may not adapt very well to the shape of a sofa or chair. But rules are meant to be broken and these materials can be good for a very custom-made, structured look. But as a general rule, slipcover fabric should usually be of medium-weight to more easily fit over your furniture.
Choose a Weave and Color
When choosing a slipcover, select a fabric that is tightly woven. Select a color or pattern that does not let the fabric underneath show through unless that is the effect you are after.
Choose a Texture
Textures add so much to the look and feel of any furniture. Consider the use of texture before you decide on your slipcovers. Textured fabric such as twill, damask, or denim can add visual interest, while also resisting wrinkling.
Consider the Shape
Not all shapes lend themselves well to being slipcovered. If your chair or sofa has a wooden frame around it or wooden arms, a slipcover may not be a good idea as they will be felt through the fabric. A piece that is covered in fabric leads you to believe that it will have a soft feel, and the hardness of wood underneath will not feel pleasant.
Details such as welting can be an attractive feature in a slipcover. You can buy slipcovers with welting, or add this if you get them custom made or make them yourself.
Decide whether you want self-welting or contrast welting on your slipcovers. Contrast welting will draw attention to the lines of your chair or sofa and self-welting will play those lines down. Braids, fringes or buttons can also be added depending on the look you want.
Choose a Length
Your slipcovers do not have to reach the floor, even the loose ones can be made to a length that stops short of covering the legs. When you have a wooden frame on your sofa, it is best to leave the bottom exposed. However, if you prefer you can change the look by putting a skirt on it.