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Give it the slip ... cover

Why start over when you can refresh for less? I’m talking about furniture pieces – those you purchased yourself, or maybe inherited from a parent, or aunt, or even a friend. They’re comfy, cozy, and fit perfectly in the corner of your family. But maybe the fabric that suited Aunt Mildred in the 70s just doesn’t work for you. Or maybe the material you picked yourself simply screams 1995 (which just happens to be the year you picked it).

These days it’s pretty easy to chuck the old and just pick up a new chair for a small sum, even at places like TJMaxx and World Market. But sometimes you get what you pay for. And you rarely get exactly what you want in terms of fabric selection.

Consider a slipcover. It sounds like something really old-fashioned, but it’s truly a design tool of the inside crowd. If you’ve got a piece that you like from a design perspective (shape), consider the following:

  • Is the piece in sound physical form – when you sit in it, does it wobble? Do you feel as though you’d land on the floor if you moved too much? Then it’s not a candidate for a slipcover, at least not before those issues are addressed. Re-upholstery might be a better option, which any good shop would advise you on.

  • Is the piece comfy? Are the cushions and arms (if padded) plump and full? Again, if not, a slipcover can’t solve that issue.

But if you answered “no” to those two questions, and it’s a piece you simply want to buy a new outfit for, a slipcover is the way to go.

If you’re in the Chicago area, Don at Chicago Slipcovers is your man. He’s been in business for years and offers quick service and impeccable workmanship and good rates – significantly less than you’d pay for reupholstery. Then the sky is the limit!

You can even change the look a bit, either by adding a kick pleat to a previously unskirted piece – or going the other way. Or creating a tailored skirt where there once was a ruffle.

The possibilities are limited only by time (there are endless fabrics online) and money (and some of those cost $100s per yard). Start with and look at the “usage” info to see if the fabric weight is appropriate for a slipcover. For funkier options try a designer’s happy place: Mood fabrics. It’s a yummy selection not really found anywhere else. Or if you like to see fabrics in-person, try Calico Corners (no, they don’t just sell Little House on the Prairie costume materials).

In my own home I took awful floral petite sofas to modern and versatile via a couple of bolts of denim. An overstuffed green/brown velour chair and ottoman went to comfy chic with French grain sack linen. Two mustard yellow slope back chairs became a happy spot with coral and cream dotted material. And on and on. I have nothing left to slipcover and it makes me sad for all those fabrics I don’t get to use …

Give that dated piece the slip … and you’ll have a new look for lots less.

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