Is your living room furniture starting to look its age? From faded or stained fabric to patterns that just aren’t fashionable any longer, upholstered furniture can wear out over time and require replacement.
While it can cost anywhere from several hundred to several thousand pounds to buy a completely new lounge suite, you can create a refreshing new look for your living room furniture using homemade slipcovers for under £100.
From solid colours to patterns, it’s easy to make slipcovers for your furniture using a variety of materials. Read on to learn how to make your own sofa or armchair cover and breathe new life into your upholstered living room furniture.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
Making a sofa or armchair slipcover is a simple process. To make a slipcover, you’ll need the following:
- Enough fabric to cover your sofa (based on measurements – see below) and 20-30% extra for cushion covers and fixes
- Measuring tape
- Sewing scissors
- Straight pins
- Sewing needle (or a sewing machine)
- High quality thread
START BY MEASURING THE FURNITURE
Before you start picking out fabrics for your living room, you’ll need to measure the furniture. Measure each “face” of the furniture and record the dimensions so you’ve got an exact assessment of how much fabric is required for each item.
Some faces, such as the rear or front of a sofa, are easy to measure. Others, such as the side of an armchair or sofa, may be made up of multiple square shapes. Use the measurements from each face to create a diagram of the sofa’s curves and edges.
From here, you can label each part of the diagram to match the section of the sofa or armchair it will cover. Once you’ve measured all of your furniture, calculate the total amount of fabric you’ll need to create slip covers.
If you calculate the total area of the sofa by adding all of the pieces together, add an additional 20-30% to the amount of fabric you need. This makes it easier to cut out all of the individual pieces without running out of fabric due to odd shapes.
Buying extra fabric also makes it easier to create pillow covers for your sofa or to replace damaged parts of your slipcover in the future.
BUY THE FABRIC AND START CUTTING
Once you’ve got your measurements, it’s time to start preparing the fabric. Choose fabric that matches your furniture and feels soft and comfortable. If you choose a cotton-based fabric, wash it before cutting it to make sure it shrinks to size.
Before you start cutting into your fabric, it’s worth preparing sheets of newspaper that match the dimensions of your slipcover. Use the furniture measurements you took earlier to cut matching sheets out of newspaper for each fabric panel.
Once you’ve prepared newspaper sheets, it’s time to start cutting the fabric. Lay out each newspaper sheet on your fabric and measure approximately one inch from the edge of the newspaper sheet – this extra fabric will be used for each seam.
Cut out each piece of fabric, making sure you cut straight along the edge to avoid any misshapen panels. If you find it difficult to cut straight lines using scissors, mark the edge of each piece using a dressmaker’s pencil to create a cutting guide line.
NOW IT’S TIME TO START SEWING
Once you’ve cut out all of the pieces, it’s time to start sewing. Place each piece of the slipcover on the sofa and pin them together, inside out. Sew the pieces together and move on to the next piece of the slipcover, repeating the process.
To make the sewing process easier, focus on one piece at a time. Sew together each of the cushion covers, then move on to the arms of the sofa or armchair, and finally sew together the pieces for the rear cover.
If your sofa or armchair has curved arms, take care while stitching the pieces of the slipcover together to make sure the curve is even. You may need to cut the fabric to account for the curve in the sofa and prevent the slipcover from bunching up.
Once each part of the cover is finished, turn it inside out again (making the right side face outwards) and place it on the sofa. If the slipcover bunches up around the seam, try trimming the edges using fabric scissors for a cleaner look.
Check over the slipcover for issues, such as poor seams or measurements that aren’t accurate. If anything looks a little “off”, you can unpick the seams to sew again with the issues fixed.
PINNING THE SLIPCOVER TO THE FURNITURE
The final step in the process is pinning the slipcover to the furniture. If your sofa or armchair sits close to the ground, you can cover the gap between the furniture and the ground by creating a skirt that attaches to the bottom of the slipcover.
If you’d like a tighter, smoother look, you can pin the bottom of the slipcover to the underside of your armchair or sofa using upholstery pins. Leave a slight amount of slack in the fabric, as fabric that’s too tight could tear when it’s subject to pressure.
Once you’ve finished attaching the main slipcover to the sofa, you can add press studs or buttons to each of the cushion covers to make them easy to remove and wash when required. Alternatively, you can sew a zipper into each cover.
DOES YOUR LIVING ROOM FURNITURE NEED AN UPDATE?
From stains and faded material to fabric that’s just worn out, living room furniture can go from beautiful to seriously aged over just a few years. A slipcover is a simple, inexpensive solution that can make any armchair or sofa look fantastic.
Does your living room furniture need an update? If you’d like to refresh your living room without buying new furniture, try making your own slipcovers using the steps outlined above.
If your sofa is past the point of no return, then it's time for a complete refresh! It's time to splash out on a brand new sofa - but it doesn't have to cost the earth. Check out our latest sofa collections online with a prices to suit any budget.