Guide | Slipcovers

How to Choose a Slipcover

Whether you are looking to protect your living room furniture from pets or small children, or you simply want to give your sofa a new lease on life, a slipcover is a perfect solution.

From bold patterns to vibrant covers, choosing the best fabric for your slipcover allows you to change the look of your living room in an instant.

But choosing the right furniture slipcover can be the difference between elevating the style of your home and making a fashion faux pas. Read our easy to follow guide about how to choose a slipcover for your sofa or armchair so your home will always appear immaculately styled.

What Are the Best Slipcover Fabrics?

There is a wide range of fabrics to choose from for your sofa or armchair slipcover. The right choice for your furniture depends on how heavily it is used and the style of your home.

Some of the best fabrics for slipcovers include:

  •   Cotton

    Cotton is a 100% natural fiber with high durability. It is breathable and hypoallergenic, making it suitable for people with sensitive skin. Cotton is also available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. Use cotton slipcovers in family homes with small children or in an informal living area that sees frequent use.

    Although cotton is machine washable, it does wrinkle easily, which can give it an untidy appearance. It also tends to soak up spills quickly, which puts your sofa at risk of developing odors unless it has a waterproof coating.

    Choose a medium to heavy density cotton as a lighter cotton weave can show through the pattern or color of the sofa underneath, giving your sofa a muddled look. A 10-12-oz. cotton duck canvas is an excellent option for slipcovers as the blended fiber still has the natural properties of cotton with the durability of a heavier fabric.

  • Linen

    Linen is often woven with a jacquard weave and has a nubby texture to give your room instant visual appeal. The material has the highest durability of all the natural fabrics and resists pilling and abrasion. It is also less prone to mold and mildew, which makes it an excellent choice for homes in locations with high humidity.

    Like cotton, it wrinkles easily and offers very little stretch, which can make it challenging to find a linen cover that provides the perfect fit for your sofa. Most linen slipcovers feature ties or pleating to allow for a better fit. Linen also needs added care and maintenance to ensure that it does not shrink in the washing machine.

  • Olefin

    Olefin is not technically a fiber - it is a plastic-based synthetic fabric that is completely water-resistant and extremely tough. It has the look and feel of woolen fabric to add a luxe look to your room, but it is also hard-wearing, resists fading and staining, and can be cleaned with bleach if necessary. Olefin is the ideal option for homeowners with pets or big families.

    One of the drawbacks of choosing an olefin slipcover is the lack of variety when it comes to style. You should also take care to dry your washed slipcovers in the shade as prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause the fabric to become brittle.

  • Microfiber Polyester

    Microfiber is a polyester fabric that comes in a vast range of styles, from cotton-look fabric to faux suede. This means you can protect your sofa without sacrificing your style.

    Microfiber is ideal as a slipcover fabric as it holds its color well, making it suitable for numerous washes. It is also exceptionally soft with enough stretch in the material to allow it to form to the shape of your sofa for a more tailored look. Microfiber is a hard-wearing fabric that makes it a great choice for furniture in heavy use areas.

What Slipcover Style Will Be Best for My Furniture Piece?

Different styles of slipcovers are suitable for different furniture pieces. Choosing the right style of slipcover can help you achieve a better fit to give a more refined look to your covered furniture. Some of the style options include:

  • One-Piece

    The one-piece slipcover is the standard cover designed to suit most sofas. They are usually crafted from fabrics that are blended with a stretch material and elasticized at the hem to help achieve a better fit.

    They are quick and easy to remove for washing and come in a broader range of sizes than other styles of slipcovers. They are best suited to Lawson and box style sofas and sofas wit slightly rolled arms.

    You may need to place a rubber grip between the seat cushion and the frame to keep the cover from bunching or slipping off while you are seated.

One Piece Polyester Blend Loveseat Slipcover
Modern Printed Stretch Loveseat Slipcover
Stretch Stylish Box Cushion Wingback Slipcover
White Fashionable Country Style Sofa Slipcover
Black Stretch Polyester Blend Slipcover
Navy Blue Dining Chair Slipcover Set
  • Separate Set

    A separate set is a slipcover that consists of multiple items that cover individual parts of the sofa. The set is usually composed of a cover for the main sofa frame, a cover for the seat cushions, and occasionally additional armrest covers.

    A separate set is more tailored than a single piece slipcover to give you the look of brand-new upholstered furniture. This form-fitting appearance makes them perfect for formal living rooms or modern homes looking for a sleek, streamlined appearance.

    These sets are also best suited to sofas and armchairs with unusual style features such as wingback chairs or camelback sofas.

Stretch Plush 2 Piece Chair Slipcover Set
Elegant Indigo Slipcover 5-piece Cover Set
Gray Stretch Suede Sofa Slipcover
Green Stretch Polyester Blend Sofa Slipcover
Printed Stretch T-Cushion Wingback Slipcover
Stretchy Dining Chair Slipcover Set
  • Furniture Cover

    A furniture cover is a suitable alternative to a slipcover. It does not fully wrap around the sofa but has a cross shape that covers the seat, arms, and backrest, draping over the back of the sofa.

    This style of protective seat cover is very low-maintenance and is an excellent choice for a recliner or modular sofa that has varying dimensions. It does not offer complete protection, so the corners and edges of the piece are still vulnerable to wear and soiling. This style of cover is very casual, and it a good option for homes with pets.

Elegant Burgundy T-Cushion Loveseat Slipcover
Solid Triple Protection Recliner Slipcover
Luxury Comfort Box Cushion Sofa Slipcover
Durable Water and Soil Resistant Recliner Slipcover
Deluxe Comfort Quilted Armless Chaise Lounge Slipcover

How to Measure for a Slipcover?

Living room furniture comes in all shapes and sizes, so to ensure your pieces are protected and well-styled, you need to find a slipcover that offers the perfect fit. While you could get expensive custom-made slipcovers, you can achieve the same stylish look by taking accurate measurements of your furniture.

Basic Slipcover Measurements

Begin by measuring the width of the sofa or armchair from the outside of one arm to the other. Then measure from the floor to the highest point of the backrest. Finally, measure the width, length, and depth of the seat cushions. This last measurement is especially important if you are purchasing a separate set style of slipcover.

Some furniture requires additional measurements as they have some unique design features that do not fit with a standard slipcover.

  • Recliners

    As a recliner is built to expand, you need to find a slipcover that can grow and retract without wearing out the elastic. To find the best fit, you will need to measure the unreclined height as well as the circumference of the chair at half lift and when fully reclined.

Polyester Floral Pattern Armchair Slipcover
Classic Beige Box Cushion Recliner Slipcover
Microfiber Water and Soil Resistant T-Cushion Recliner Slipcover
Soft Jersey Knit Box Cushion Recliner Slipcover
Printed Polyester Box Cushion Armchair Slipcover
Blue Microfiber Reversible Recliner Slipcover
  • Wingback Chairs

    Slipcovers for wingback chairs come in relaxed and forming fitting styles. Measure the width of the widest part of the seat cushion and the angled height of the backrest, in addition to your standard slipcover measurements.

Turquoise Stretch Box Cushion Wingback Slipcover
Brown Soft Suede Wingback Slipcover
Printed Floral T-Cushion Wingback Slipcover
Ultra Soft Fade Resistant Wingback Slipcover
Brown Leather T-Cushion Wingback Slipcover
Black Machine Washable Wingback Slipcover
  • Corner Lounges

Most corner or sectional sofa covers comes as separates to allow for a better fit. Begin by measuring the chaise section of the sofa from the top of the backrest to the top of the seat and then back edge of the seat cushion (where it meets the backrest) to the front edge. Then measure the 3-seater section of the sofa from the outside of the armrest to where it meets the chaise.

L-Shaped Stretch Box Cushion Sofa Slipcover
Navy Blue 2 Pieces L-shaped Sofa Slipcover
Stylish T-Cushion Sofa and Chaise Lounge Slipcover

What Extra Features to Look For in a Slipcover?

A slipcover is designed to fit a basic box frame or square arm sofa, but other living room furniture such as wingback chairs, recliners, or sofas with T-cushions are more challenging to cover. To find a cover that offers the best fit, look for some of these additional features.

Styling tip: Choose a sweet ruffled sofa skirt for casual living areas decorated in Shabby chic, boho, or country-style décor. Or, opt for a modern flat-panel skirt with pleats at the corners for tailored look for your modern or Scandi home.

Quick Tips

The right fabric choice can make or break the look of your sofa slipcover. Choose a material that has the right balance of durability and style, such as microfiber or linen.

Selecting the right style of slipcover ensures the perfect fit and a more refined look. One- piece covers suit most modern styles of sofa, with separate sets are a better choice for rolled arm sofa and chairs with T-cushions.

Accurate measurements of your furniture allow you to find a slipcover that fits your sofa as well as a custom-designed piece. Be sure to take additional measurements for furniture items with unique design features.

Some slipcovers come with additional features to create a better fit. Look for an elasticized hem and armrest ties for the best fits, and a frame skirt for added protection.

Caroline Patterson

Caroline is a young, New York-based interior designer and home decor writer, obsessed with textiles and designer furniture. Backed with rigorous training from a prestigious design school, as well as a profound understanding of material quality and fabric care, she offers spot-on advice on how to furnish your place with reliable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing pieces.  

Foter Magazine is a premier architecture, decoration, interiors and design website. We inspire and guide you to make your home a more attractive place.


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