Slipcover Basics

Custom slipcovers can change the look of a room instantly and extend the life of your upholstery. You can express a different style or color palette easily, and then change it back again, if desired.


  1. Slipcover fabrics should not be too heavy. There will be many layers of fabric where seams join.
  2. Textured fabrics add visual interest and resist wrinkling. Consider twills, damasks, denims and cotton duck. Linen and linen blends are guaranteed to wrinkle, which may be desirable.
  3. Slipcovers should be tightly constructed in a color that doesn’t reveal the upholstery underneath.
  4. Slipcovers are usually made with self (same) or contrast welting. A contrast welt draws attention to the lines of your furniture. If using a contrast welt, choose a similar weave and weight as the slipcover fabric. If your furniture has matching side pillows, use a contrast welt or fringe for visual interest even if using self welting on the body of the slipcover.
  5. Slipcover fabrics should not have a latex backing, which would cause the fabric to buckle and wrinkle instead of sliding over the fabric beneath it.
  6. Slipcovers are best for fully-upholstered furniture. An exposed wood frame will be felt beneath the slipcover, unless it is designed to tie-on like a pinafore, instead of covering the frame like a dress.
  7. Slipcovers will change the look, but not the sit or comfort, of the furniture. Slipcovers will not fix sagging cushions or broken springs. Add new foam or Dacron wrap to renew your cushions.
  8. Slipcovers can be short and flirty. You’ll save on fabric if your sofa is suited to a slipcover without a skirt, or if a dining chair can be made with a short skirt. Wing chairs can also be slip covered without a skirt.
  9. Slipcovers can fit like a glove or be relaxed for a casual look. Be sure to specify the look you want.
  10. Slipcovers should be dry-cleaned to prolong their life and appearance. This will preserve the hand of the fabric and reduce the risk of shrinkage. A wet slipcover is very heavy and stresses the seams.