Slipcover or Upholstery: Choosing the Best Option for Your Style & Budget
Gramma’s wingback has been in your basement since the kids were little. Hubbies chair is just too ugly for any room. You don’t want to throw these chairs to the curb because they have sentimental value, fit the room well and are comfortable. But should you have a slipcover made for your chair or have it completely reupholstered? Older pieces of furniture are almost always better quality frames, typically constructed of hardwood and glued and doweled frames. To buy a new version of Gramma’s wing back, the same quality hardwood frame and 8 way hand tied springs, with a performance fabric...the prices start at $1,500. Let's look at the differences and similarities in slipcovers to help you decide.
We’ve all seen slipcovers that are loose and wrinkly, hanging off the sides of a chair or sofa. That might not be a good look in your newly decorated family room. And do you really want to be washing and drying the slipcover and trying to get the cushion covers on and looking good? Upholstered furniture appears neat, tidy and fitted, and looks good in every room with the right fabric on it, but may be more expensive than a slipcover. So what is the right choice for your chair?
In most cases, slipcovers cost less than reupholstery. They simply take less time to complete, so the price can be a couple of hundred dollars less than the same chair being reupholstered. Using a high quality performance fabric with permanent stain resistance for your slipcover, ensures years of low maintenance use and value. These are good reasons to select a slipcover over upholstery.
The slipcovers I make at Plymouth Upholstery & Decor, are very tailored and beautiful. Customers come to the shop and see my slipcovered sofa and they exclaim, “That’s a slipcover??! It looks upholstered”. I know it’s important that your furniture looks attractive and new for as long as possible. Using quality fabrics for your slipcover helps to achieve that.
Some chairs are better suited for reupholstery than for slipcovers. If the frame is loose or broken, that can be repaired during the reupholstery process. If the fabric is ripped and the padding underneath is very old, or has a musty smell, it’s best to reupholster. Another consideration is that decorative wood on the frame or arms doesn’t always look good slipcovered. Chairs with large rolled arms like this one, can be slipcovered but the fabric may not look tight and tailored under the arms and this style always requires 1 or 2 zippers in the back corners.
Wing back chairs, parsons chairs, club chairs, swivel chairs, even large sofas are all great candidates for slipcovers. I recommend performance fabrics for my slipcovers. Crypton, Fibreguard and Alta are all liquid resistant and cleanable. Thousands of colors and textures are available to compliment every decor. Ghent by Fabricut is one of my favorite slipcover fabrics. It’s a faux linen blend in 35 colors. Ghent is durable, cleanable and beautiful, everything you want in a quality fabric. 📷
Do you have a chair or sofa that needs a makeover? Slipcovers give you a custom product at a cost savings, but no compromise in durability or lifespan versus reupholstery. I’d love to help you choose the perfect fabric and create a new look for your ugly duckling. You can see all of my slipcovers at Plymouth Upholstery. Call me at 508.317.8429 or email a picture of your chair to firstname.lastname@example.org for an estimated cost and fabric suggestions.
Bethany Wheaton is the owner of Plymouth Upholstery & Decor located in Plymouth, Mass. She has a passion for beautiful fabrics and loves making slipcovers. Plymouth Upholstery & Decor does furniture and boat upholstery, custom window treatments, cushions, pillows and bedding.