Most people looking for seat covers for their living rooms are looking for slipcovers. If you are looking for something to protect your couch from accidents, spills and pets then you should look in the appropriate category for our buying guides, and products. This guide is focused on living room slipcovers for couches, sofas, loveseats and Ottomans.
Just as with Dining Room Chairs, there are a large number of different slipcovers for your living room. Along with different fabrics, and designs, you also have to deal with very large variations in couch and sofa design (dining room chairs have their differences but they are more limited). That means that even more so than with dining room chairs, getting a good fit is a challenge. Also, you move a lot more on living room furniture than on dining chairs so you can spend a ridiculous amount of time tucking and retucking poorly fit covers.
So, with all of the choices, where should you begin? The place to start is making sure you’re going to get a good fit. Since this is about style, you’re probably not going to want covers that make your chairs look they’re dressed up in a sheet — even if it is one of those lovely soft T-shirt style ones.
What do I need to do to get a good fit?
Start by getting excellent measurements of your chair. Your first step is to determine the style of the chair back and the style of the cushions.
Cushions are usually either shaped like squares or the letter “T”. Square or rectangular cushions sit within the frame while T cushions spread their arms around the front of the frame. Sometimes, “T” Shaped cushions are actually only half a “T” because two different cushions will wrap around different sides of the couch.
When you look at the back of our chair remove any back cushions. Most chairs have either a round back, a high back, a square low back or a Tuxedo back. Round back chairs have rounded, fully upholstered backs with no cushions. The back is almost always less than one foot about the armrests. High back chairs have at least one foot of space between the arm rests and the top of the back and may or may not have removable cushions. Square low back chairs usually have removable back cushions and the back is straight across. Finally, tuxedo back chairs have about the same height arm rests and chair back. Universal fit seatcovers are going to fit sofas and loveseats with built in back cushions better than ones that have separate cushions.
You now need the measurements. A number of slipcover sites have decent guides to measuring that are relevant for their products. In terms of completeness, we recommend taking a look at the following article which lays out how to take detailed measurements.
I have my measurements, now what?
You need to decide on your budget and the degree of fit that is right for you. Ready-made slipcovers, semi-custom slipcovers and custom covers.
Ready-made slipcovers are off the shelf covers that are sized to fit a large number of chairs. You can find them at mass retailers like Walmart and Target and online at any number of places. One example is: Surefit. While read-made slipcovers are available in a host of different fabrics and styles they all functionally similar. Essentially, these covers are a single piece of fabric that drapes over your chair. Regardless of the size you purchase, you must tuck the excess fabric between the cushions and armrests of your chair to get a fitted look. Given the need to tuck the fabric, ready-made slipcovers work best on couches that have a tight crevice between back, sides and cushion.
Semi-custom slipcovers typically have different pieces of fabric for the couch and for the back cushions. This means that there is much less tucking and retucking to get a fitted look but it’s going to cost you. Prices usually start around $200. A companies you might want to look at for semi-custom slipcovers is Potato Skins Slipcovers.
Custom covers are the most expensive option but get you the best look. Each piece of your sofa or loveseat gets a separate piece of material that is truly cut to the exact side and secures with zippers. It’s going to cost you but this is comparable to complete reupholstering. To learn more about this option checkout Needle and Shears.
What is the right fabric?
There is no such thing as the right or wrong fabric, only the wrong choice for you. You are unfortunately going to have to sift through lots of choices but it will be easier if you can decide on whether you want something solid or patterned and if you can get to a point where you have a feel for the color you would like. We recommend you get started sifting through your choices at Amazon.com because of their wide variety of styles, fabrics and colors. From there you can expand your search if appropriate.