Slipcovers have a long and venerable history. Their origin dates back to Medieval Europe when furniture-making wasn’t the craft it is today. Wealthy families who could afford wooden stools and chairs made them more comfortable by adding cushions. They also realized that covering their furniture with fabric added a bit of color that livened up their drab and dark interiors.
It wasn’t until the18th century, however, that slipcovers started being used to protect furniture. Wealthy English households preserved their expensive silk brocades seats with tailored slipcovers made from inexpensive fabrics.
The slipcover found its way to America with the growing numbers of immigrants who came here in the late 19th and early 20th centuries who made slipcovers for a living. Men would fit and cut the fabric in a customer’s home, and then bring back the cut pieces for their wives and daughters to sew. Eventually this Mom-and-Pop operation was replaced by large department stores whose upholstery departments could turn out custom slipcovers faster and for less money.
Although custom, fitted slipcovers are still available, many people are opting for the ready-made variety that they can get off the shelf at a number of big box retailers, or they can order online. Although these slipcovers are easy to find, there are still those who shy away from using them because they remember the ill-fitting stretchy ones that used to protect grandma’s furniture. However, the memories of those old slipcovers that never stayed in place shouldn’t stop you from taking advantage of the decorating possibilities slipcovers offer; because according to Hugh Rovit, CEO of Sure Fit, a leading supplier of ready-made slipcovers, today’s version is far superior.
He says that the ready-made slipcovers being manufactured today have a more custom fit. The range of designs goes beyond the traditional florals of the past to include updated colors, like blacks, blues, browns, greens, multi, neutrals, purples, reds, and yellows, as well as plush, luxurious, durable fabrics, like faux suede, cotton, denim, damask, and jacquard. There are more size offerings, such as recliners, wing chairs, and ottomans, and you can also purchase coordinated accessories to complete the living room ensemble, including curtains and pillows. And of course, today’s slipcovers are machine washable and very affordable.
So besides protecting furniture, new and old, from overall wear and tear, what other benefits can you derive from decorating with slipcovers?
You can use slipcovers to change the style of your furniture. Try using one that hangs to the floor, covering the wooden legs on a piece, and giving it a more contemporary look.
If your living room furniture is an eclectic assortment of sofa and chairs that were bought independently of one another, matching or coordinating slipcovers can pull the pieces together to create a more finished look to the room.
Hand-me-down furniture from Mom and Dad’s basement can be instantly updated with a slipcover in a contemporary color and fabric. That slipcover will also hide the worn fabric on those pieces.
And when you’re thinking about ways to use slipcovers, don’t forget about the dining room. Use slipcovers to extend the seating at your dining room table by covering your folding chairs with slipcovers that match your dining room chairs.
Keep in mind that today’s slipcover can help you make a real fashion statement. With the variety of options that are available, you can change your décor easily and inexpensively. You can even use them to as part of your seasonal/holiday decorating scheme.