Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Your Slipcover Is Showing

I love slipcovered sofas . . . when they look like this:

 And this:

In our business, though, we rarely go into a home with slipcovered furniture that looks like those pictures. Generally when we run into slipcovered furniture, it looks like this:

Furniture like that can be a BIG problem when you're trying to sell a home. A buyer who sees a room in this condition will usually do one of two things. They will leave thinking there is "no way I'll make an offer on that home. It's a mess." - OR - They will make a lowball offer because they don't believe the owners care much for the place.

The thing is, that room is actually pretty clean. So why does it look so dumpy? The furnishings are a bit dated, but even super dated rooms can show as clean and neat. Being of victim of old fashioned taste is not the issue here.

The problem lies with those sloppy sofas and droopy drapes. I believe the technical term for it is a "Hot Mess." When I first saw this photo I started looking around for painters, because it totally looks like there are drop cloths everywhere. The slipcovers do not fit properly and the dozens of pillows trying to camouflage the situation are only making matters worse.

In the past week, my business partner and I have been in two homes with slipcovered furniture eerily similar to the sloppy sofas above. BOTH times, the furniture being covered looked far better than what was being used to cover it. And each time the owners told us that the reason for the slipcover was that they'd gotten something on one of the cushions.

Folks, there are hundreds of products on the market to clean upholstery. If you don't feel like running out to the store, there are recipes on Pinterest for making your own with stuff you probably already have on hand like: rubbing alcohol, peroxide, vinegar, baking soda, etc. If that doesn't work for you either, there are companies that will come clean it for you. And if all else fails, flip the cushion over or drape a cute throw over it until you can afford a new sofa. No matter what, a discount slipcover should almost never be your fix.

The recent epidemic of sloppy slipcovers is not entirely the fault of homeowners. I lay most of the blame on the manufacturers who mass produce those "one size fits most" slipcovers. They are liars. The label should read "This probably won't fit your furniture, hardly any of them do." They should also include language like -- "WARNING: The contents of this bag will never look like the picture. Whatever blemish you are attempting to cover up will be magnified to eyesore status upon placement of this product." They should also warn purchasers that: "Once you spend two hours getting the product as close to resembling the picture as possible, sitting on it for even a millisecond will require another full hour of tucking, stretching, pulling, and more tucking."

So for goodness sakes, if you cannot find or afford perfectly fitting slipcovers with separate cushion covers, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not just settle with whatever you find on the clearance shelf at Kmart. To get a custom look, you're going to have to get customized covers. It's as simple as that.


  1. So funny. And so true. I tried store bought slip covers and they did just like you said. It took me hours of tugging and tucking to get them in place and then after someone sat on it one time, they were a mess. I threw mine in the trash after a month of constant retucking and went out and bought a new couch like I should have done in the first place. A new sofa cost me about $600, but I ended paying a little over $700 in the long run because of the money I threw away on the slip cover. Wish I had read this first.

  2. Good Advise! Glad I saw this as I was going to order some slipcovers. I think I'll just wait till I can afford to purchase a new couch and chairs. Thanks a bunch!


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